The evil gods of Chaos tend to use fear and the promise of power immortality to motivate their warriors, but it turns out all they really need is an experience system and a linear series of unlocks. THQ are setting out to prove this with a new lump of paid DLC for Space Marine's recently added co-op survival mode, Exterminatus.
Exterminatus added two survival maps to Space Marine for free recently. Many Orks were slain. Much honour was gained in the eyes of the Emperor. Many badass assault packs were unlocked. The new Chaos Unleashed pack will cast you as the forces of Chaos, and will pit you against waves and waves of Imperial Guardsmen and Orks in new arenas. The pack also includes three multiplayer maps, Habs Ablaze, Station Tertius and Aquila Canyon. The pack will cost 800 Microsoft Points / £7.99 and will arrive in December.
THQ announce that they will also be selling Salamander, Alpha Legion, Legion of the Damned and Blood Angel skins at the hefty price of 240 Microsoft Points / £2.39 each.
If you're not tempted by any of this stuff, THQ say that the update will also add a capture the flag mutliplayer mode to Space Marine for everyone for free. A flag seems a little mundane for the Warhammer universe. Capture the Giant Robot Skull might be better, don't you think?
Space Marine has finally received its four player co-op survival mode, Exterminatus. An automatic Steam update should add the mode to the Online section of the Space Marine main menu, and will offer you and four friends two maps on which to trounce hordes and hordes of Orks. I jumped in for five minutes and killed about 115 with nothing but a Heavy Bolter and a big power-armoured booty. Stomp, stomp! Dakka dakka! Weapon unlocked!
Experience earned popping green monsters in survival mode will also count towards your overall multiplayer rank, giving you new weaponry with which to embarrass your enemies, which acts as an unnecessary extra motivation to team up and make a big gooey mess of a charging Ork Waaaagh!
THQ's executive VP of core games, Danny Bilson has been talking to Joystiq about the possibility of a sequel to Space Marine. His muted reaction isn't good news for those hoping for a bigger and better follow-up. He says he's "not sure if there's room" for Space Marine 2, thanks in part to the upcoming Warhammer 40,000 MMO, Dark Millenium Online.
Bilson points out that THQ have "already annouced the Imperium in the MMO as a class you can play," and notes that it's "very active, as opposed to the more turn-based stuff. I'm not sure there's room for Space Marine." Dark Millenium's estimated 2013 release could put it in competition with a Space Marine sequel.
There is some good news for those who have enjoyed Relic's use of the license so far with the Dawn of War series and Space Marine. "We are heavily invested in the 40K universe, so there's more stuff coming in the 40K universe, absolutely. We extended the deal for quite a while," says Bilson.
Dark Millenium is being developed by Vigil, but recent rumours have suggested that Relic may be helping out a little with development, and the MMO could use a version of the Darksiders Engine, with similar combat to Space Marine. That would fit Bilson's description of the MMO as "very active." The information, mentioned on Strategy Informer, hinted at some of the included classes and characters, namedropping Imperial Assassins, Eldar Farseers and even Tau units. The info-dump mentioned that races would be separated into Order and Disorder factions, with Chaos and Orks on one side, and Imperials and Eldar on the other.
THQ have since responded to say that "at this time THQ has not officially announced a release date and any reported features are pure speculation. THQ will announce confirmed game features and an official release date at a later time." We've assigned our finest Eldar Rangers to the bushes outside Vigil, but they haven't discovered anything yet because Eldar Rangers are a bit rubbish. We'll be sending in the Space Marines as soon as Rich has managed to fit himself into his power armour.
Skyrim. The very name makes all other roleplaying games tremble in fear. But not PC Gamer—we charged into Bethesda's breathtaking new game world without regard for personal safety. We emerged hours later with a sacred tome containing the tales of our adventures therein, which we now present to you in the form of this month's cover story.
Once you've read and reread the Skyrim feature, be sure to check out the 50 things you need to know about the free-to-play MMO shooter Firefall. We've also got a preview on Gearbox's gorgeous-looking Borderlands 2, in-depth insight into PlanetSide 2, and the review of Relic's Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. Also, see which mouse tied the highest review score ever. This, fellow PC gamers, is sexy hardware at its best.
The Exterminatus mode for Space Marine will be available as a free download on October 25, Eurogamer report. Exterminatus will add two co-op arenas, Assault on Hab Center Andreas, and Escape from Kalkys Facility. In each of these up to four marines must fend off increasingly brutal waves of enemies made up of Ork and Chaos enemies.
Each member of the squad can choose to be Tactical Marine, a Devastator or an Assault Marine, and will be able to use perks unlocked in multiplayer to gain an advantage over the AI controlled hordes. Kills in Exterminatus will give you experience that will level up your characters in competitive multiplayer, too. Teams will be rated in each round based on their performance. Point multipliers and "dynamic challenges" aim to keep the survival maps fresh.
As for future DLC, Relic tell Eurogamer that "we're working on some other DLC" for Space Marine, and "there will be a free component to them as well as some paid components." Perhaps we'll see new maps and more wargear in future, similar to the DLC packs Relic and THQ released for Dawn of War: Retribution's superb Last Stand mode.
Space Marine has some of the most gristly, crunchy combat we've experience this year. The prospect of stomping on Orks with friends makes us sternly thump our desks in approval. Find out why we enjoyed Space Marine so much in our Space Marine review.
We've gathered together for an extra long PC Gamer podcast to celebrate our return after a bit of a hiatus. We discuss Tom's trip to play Skyrim, get excited about Firefall and Planetside 2, have a think about Space Marine co-op and chat about Diablo 3's spectacular runestones.
Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our older podcasts here.
Slowly but surely, the intern takeover/revolution is beginning. Join us as Gavin leads Dan, Evan, Lucas, and newcomer intern Greg into battle, discussing their impressions of Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, Dead Island, Hard Reset, and the trials and tribulations of proximity mines in Goldeneye: Source. We also (attempt to) answer the age-old question: do unlocks in multiplayer FPS games enhance or encumber our experience?
PC Gamer US Podcast 287: SMAZ (Space Marines and Zombies)
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UK fans of everlasting war in the 41st millennium will have been looking forward to the release of Space Marine today, but if you're looking to pick it up on Steam, then there's bad news. Space Marine isn't available on Steam. The old Space Marine Steam page has been replaced by a message saying "this item is currently unavailable in your region."
It seemed likely that this would happen when the Space Marine demo pulled the same vanishing act a couple of weeks ago. Previously, Dragon Age 2 and Brink have vanished from Steam in the UK with no explanation. Brink eventually reappeared several weeks after launch. Hopefully Space Marine will return in good time. Until then, this means yet more frustration for UK customers.
I love my thunder hammer. I love the crackle of blue energy dancing across the weight on the end as my Space Marine – Ultramarines Captain Titus – hefts it backwards. I love swinging into the gurning face of an ork. I love chaining together three standard attacks, whirling and spinning with destructive force, before pressing F to slam my hammer into the floor, stunning every alien, monster, and monstrous alien in the vicinity.
But life is difficult, because I also love my chainsword, and I can’t carry both. Oh, and can I tell you about my power axe? I want to explain how satisfying it is to boot a Chaos cultist very hard in his scarred face before burying a five-foot axe in his shoulder. Sorry, hang on. I’ve got too excited. Let me calm down.
Space Marine is a third-person action game that understands weight. A space marine is nine feet of purebred superhuman, dressed in power armour as heavy as half a car and the universe’s biggest shoulderpads. That shit is massive, and Relic’s greatest feat with Space Marine is making you feel it. Every step you take across the scorched earth of besieged forgeworld Graia is a mighty clomp. Start running, and it’s so loud and screen-shaking that were I my mum, I’d ask Captain Titus if he was a herd of elephants. Then make him tidy his room.
But Space Marine isn’t about walking. Ninety percent of my time in-game was spent up to my heavily armoured elbows in combat, and Relic have also brought weight and heft to the battles you fight. Which is why I got so excited about my axe.
Sprint Titus into a fight and press the right mouse button, and he’ll begin a bullish shoulder-charge. Aim this at an armoured target – one of the bigger orks, or one of the lategame’s Chaos Space Marines – and they’ll stagger back. Charge into something squishier, like a goblinsized gretchen, and they’ll just burst. For the first quarter of the game, I found it hard to employ any combat tactic beyond laughing madly and popping small green creatures with my shoulders. The Warhammer 40,000 universe says one space marine will happily eviscerate 20 orks in a stand-up fight, but Space Marine takes it to extreme levels. Titus is so gloriously overpowered that a sea of green is an invitation to wade in, chainsword swinging.
As if Titus’s standard weapons weren’t lethal enough, Relic have included little moments of ludicrous excess. From time to time, he happens across jump-packs and heavy weapons. The latter offer a few minutes of extra-swift murder, but the former is an absolute joy to use.
Any Dawn of War 2 veterans will know the drill: the pack lets Titus boost high into the air, before crashing into the ground and shattering anyone standing nearby. Space Marine gives you a little yellow reticule with which to aim your ultra-slam, and I found myself hanging for a few extra seconds in the air, savouring the oncoming carnage, before launching myself into the fray. The jump-pack is rationed in use, but every chance I had to use it began with an audible “YES!” on strapping it on, and an “aww” when the fuel ran out.
Back on the ground, the combos aren’t complicated, and there’s not much nuance to their deployment: the only consideration I had amid the mouse-button spamming was when to unleash Titus’s fury meter – a buff to his attacks that’s built up by killing enemies. But the hand-to-hand fights feel so meaty and so good that I didn’t mind the simplicity.
I survived most of these battles by spamming the right mouse button to weave together four-stage attacks. Each weapon feels different in Titus’ ham-sized hands: the chainsword is zippy, and cleaves through targets without stickiness; the power axe is heavier, and its killing blow is usually a jarring thwack rather than a deft slice. Each has a slightly different combo animation, but the end results are the same: right-mouse button four times ties four swipes of increasing intensity together. Three times then a tap of F adds an area-ofeffect slam to stun nearby enemies.
During that stun, they’re open to Space Marine’s glorious execution moves. Press E on a reeling foe and Titus will jab his chainsaw down their throat and open their skull. Or pick them up, hurl them to the ground, and stamp on their head so hard it pops. Or kick them in the ribs, wheel around and break their back with his hammer. As well as being so grimly over the top I wasn’t sure whether I should be clapping or retching, the executions provide health regeneration. Titus’s shield repairs itself after a short respite, but his health won’t recharge without him getting his hands dirty.
It’s a trade-off that forces you to weigh up risk and reward. If you take the time to execute that Khorne Bloodletter, you might recoup some lost health – but chances are his friends will jab you to death with their swords before the animation’s over. It’s smarter to dice through the main mob first, riding your last chunk of health, then isolate one foe off in a corner to eviscerate him.
Space Marine doesn’t do a great job of warning you of imminent death. When it spawns a few rocket troopers who stand back and pelt you with missiles, Titus can go down easily. At such times you have to employ that most un-space mariney of behaviours: running away. Early in development, Relic were fond of saying “Space marines don’t take cover,” but I repeatedly had to park Titus behind boxes to recover from some misjudged sprint into combat.
Fortunately, stabby time isn’t your only method of murder. Titus can carry up to four guns, and each of these has a physicality only slightly less palpable than the melee weapons. His bolter is the mainstay. It’s essentially a standard assault rifle, but Relic have imbued it with just the right kind of crunch. Take aim at an enemy’s head, squeeze the trigger, and that head will disappear with a wet splat. Firing bolter shots – particularly with the ‘kraken’ upgrade found later – is like firing super-powerful long-range punches: you can feel each one connect.
The other weapons vary between satisfaction and usefulness. Perhaps the least impressive to fire is the lascannon – which launches a beam of light that only leaves a wisp of superheated dust in its wake – but it remains useful throughout the game, enabling the immolation of tough enemies from long range with minimum fuss. One of the most fun, the rapid-fire storm bolter, is less durable. It’s inaccurate over distance and replaces your other long-range weapon slot, so I saved it for moments of cackling madness where I could unload an entire clip into a clump of Chaos cultists.
Space Marine is the first time Relic have taken their Warhammer 40,000 licence to consoles, but having tried playing with both a controller and mouse and keyboard, it’s clear they’ve not jettisoned their PC heritage. Using a controller, I’d pick a fighting style – ranged or up close – and stick with it throughout the duration of a rumble. With the speed and precision of a mouse, I could flick between both, decapitating an ork nob’s retinue, moving in to stun him with my chainsword, before ducking further out to take potshots at machinegunners firing from the surrounding masonry.
I quickly came to love all of Titus’s weapons, but never the man himself. Space marines are the most boring thing – men in armour – in a universe full of wonder. Ultramarines – the perfect choirboys of the space marine school – are the most boring of the lot. At the very least, I’d rather play with one of the other chapters: give me a Dark Angel hero and reference their near fall to Chaos, or let me be a techno-viking Space Wolf.
And there’s an underlying fascism to the space marines that Relic have sidestepped: instead, Titus is an unequivocal hero. The game’s only real baddie is so pantomime that he might as well be tying a damsel to a train track the first time you meet him. He’s even got weird, lank hair. He only needs a moustache to twirl to complete the image.
Space Marine is not a long game. It’s not a complicated game, and there’s little incentive to replay the campaign once you’ve stomped through its eight hours. There’s little to the story beyond “kill all the ork troops because they’re bad, then kill all the Chaos troops because they’re worse.” But I didn’t need plot investment to keep me playing: I just needed the next fight. Relic have Space Marine’s pacing just right: playing in lengthy sittings, I’d repeatedly reach what I thought was the end of my tether with endless war. Then I’d round a corner, and be handed a jump-pack, reigniting my desire to carve the limbs off sentient beings all over again. The darkness of the far future is less grim when constant war feels so good.
The first screenshots of the Space Marine co-op mode, Exterminatus, have arrived. They show four players of various Space Marine chapters holding off an Ork horde. In addition, there are also trailers for the Power Axe and Chainsword, joining the previous Thunder Hammer trailer for more completely over the top Warhammer 40,000 goodness.
Space Marine is released in September, the co-op mode will be added, as free DLC in October. FOR THE EMPEROR!
The Chainsword is a chainsaw that is also a sword. It saws people as you slash them! This makes sense in Warhammer 40,000, honest.
The Power Axe is an axe covered in power. No really, it's covered in powerful forcefield that makes it hit harder. As you can see, this tends to make Orks explode a lot.