Sometimes after your interest in a game has waxed and waned and you think you’ve plumbed the depths of the value you can get out of it, occasionally it’s a good idea to reinstall or boot up old titles to see if there’s anything you missed out on the first time around.
This happened to me recently with Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Relic Entertainment’s foray into third-person character action games. I liked the game quite a bit when it first came out (you can read my review here), but in the intervening time Relic added a co-op horde mode to the game called Exterminatus, which I missed out on the first time around. It follows the usual horde-mode set-up of allowing you and three friends to battle through 20 waves of enemies with occasional objectives, but what makes it shine is Space Marine’s solid gameplay.
I had forgotten how fun and satisfying Space Marine felt to play. Considering that your average Space Marine is built and looks like a walking tank, it might be easy to forget that the melee combat in the game is fast and fluid, and the shooting benefits from the combat-roll ability which is basically your “get out of jail free” card when you’re being mobbed by Orks and don’t have a chainsword handy. Add in two or three friends backing you up against insurmountable odds and throw in a bunch of frenzied yelling when you’re up against the wall and you barely manage to pull through and win a round and you’ve got yourself a really good time, especially out of a game that I had pretty much given up on a couple years ago.
Has anyone else experienced this? Have your friends ever dragged you back to an old game that got some post-launch content that you originally passed up on, only to find yourself having an awesome time?
I know that we’ve sort of reached the point around here where developer diaries are kind of passe with everyone and their Nintendogs talking about how their game is the awesomest. That said, I do kind of have a soft spot for Relic and their skills in bringing the tabletop strategy game Warhammer 40K to PCs with their Dawn of War series. Now that they have that genre nailed down, they’re taking a stab at third-person action by dropping you into the boots of a Space Marine. Take a look at this new trailer which details what it’s like to be a Space Marine, and what you’re doing to stop the enemies of the Imperium.
I have to say, the game has a very Dawn of War feel, and given that that series has been getting progressively more about controlling a small selection of characters rather than a giant army, this seems like a natural step. The action looks brutal, the Space Marines look stoic and the Orks are ripe for the killing. What more could you ask for from a Warhammer 40k game?
While I’ve been known to bemoan the stripping down of traditional Real Time Strategy mechanics, there’s one game that goes about it the right way: Dawn of War II by Relic. You may know Relic for their previous excellent strategy games like the original Dawn of War and Company of Heroes. While you needed a PC of the most beefy variety to play CoH, there’s no denying that it had some of the most dynamic game-play I’ve ever seen in a strategy title. Dawn of War took that and refined it a little more, focusing completely on unit manipulation in the field. A lot of upcoming RTSes purport that they want you to feel “attached” to your cannon fodder, but DoW2 comes the closest. A new expansion came out recently, and it’s been getting some rave reviews. Check out the trailer, heretics.
Has anyone else tried this game yet? If so, what did you think of the original, and do you miss the battlefields covered in carpets of slain Orks? Are you going to pick this expansion up? Just for extra nerd cred, who here paints Warhammer figurines? I have a few painted myself.