Relic Entertainment's Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is now available to all in demo form, but if you've not yet been convinced it's worth the trouble, or if you have tried it but are just keen on checking out some footage and screens, soldier on.
Clearly, Space Marine stands as a radical departure for the studio, shifting the approach from RTS to almost pure action. Skeptical as I was, dammit, it works.
Though the game may appear generic at first glance, it hits all the sweet spots, almost as if to say 'step aside, coming through' to much of the competition. Relic has built Space Marine on the brand new Phoenix Engine, which has proven a very wise choice; it has that smooth as eggs feel and set of features that makes tech geeks like myself get maybe more excited than they should, plus some excellent presentation to match. Action is fluid, crunchy, varied, and delightfully gratuitous; graphics are altogether pleasing, and performance on a 1055t / 5770 is a buttery ~80fps average.
The demo gives you four guns, plus your chainsword, all of which you'll use to tear through orks big and small. As well, reader deltasquad451 says in the first demo section, look ot the left of the hangar for a Power Axe. Quite a few combos are available for each weapon, all easy accessible via the menu. When you need to regain health, just hit the F key to stun an enemy, then E to deliver a brutal finisher -- just make sure there's nobody trying to attack you while you do it, or it will be somewhat in vain. Finishers don't work so well on the bigger guys, though. In fact, they won't hesitate to perform similar moves on you, which feel nearly as satisfying, despite you being the one having your face pummeled into the ground. Once you've reached the combo quota, you can enter 'Fury Mode' to deliver finishers on damn near anything, no stunning necessary, and just generally tear through anything that gets in your way.
See below for the most difficult portion of the demo, as played on Hard difficulty.
If the final game lives up to what's presented here (or exceeds it, preferably), we'll have a winner. It may still get sneers from strategy snobs, but if you can appreciate a great action game on its own merits, you should find yourself right at home.
Space Marine launches September 6 on PC and consoles. Be sure to look out for our review. The demo is available now on Steam, Xbox LIVE Arcade, and PlayStation Network.