E3 2011 hands-on: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine


If you’re expecting to read about a real-time strategy game, you’re going to be disappointed. Like the ill-fated Starcraft: GhostSpace Marine is THQ’s attempt to bring the Warhammer board game and RTS series into the modern world of action games. Very obviously modeled after the Gears of War series (most every shooter is these days), Space Marine has a very clear idea of what it wants to be, and it succeeds. I spent a lot of time with the game at E3 this week, and found myself consumed with its tight controls, fun atmosphere, and clever combination of melee action and shooting controls. This isn’t Dawn of War, but it may be the beginning of a great new franchise.

Lets get right into the demo. Space Marine shoves you in the middle of a war between a number of different factions. You are the Space Marines, a group of eight foot tall, genetically modified super soldiers who are loyal to the Emperor of Mankind. The demo has you facing off against hoards of big green orks and occasionally a race of humanoid enemies known as Chaos. The two levels shown at E3 have you charging through a series of decimated industrial buildings in a dash to defeat the orks that seem to have infested the whole facility.

Controls are pretty familiar. On an Xbox controller, the R trigger is used to shoot, the R bumper reloads, X is used for melee attacks, A is for jumping and combat rolling, Y is for a special fury attack, the D-Pad lets you hotswap between weapons, the L trigger zooms in, the L bumper is for grenades, and the B butten lets you execute enemies during melee attacks and do things like open doors. I have never been particularly great at aiming in console shooters, but Space Marine has a really nice default balance to its analog control stick aiming as well. Overall, the setup feels snappy and natural, a welcomed trait that lets you concentrate more on killing orks than figuring out how to play.


While many shooters these days rely on hiding behind objects and cover systems, Space Marine seems determined to encourage you into combat as fast and recklessly as possible. Shooting hordes of orks is fun, but there are rewards for bringing your saw-like sword out as often as you can. In fact, the only way you can get health (from my experience) is to perform a brutal B attack on your opponents while beating the crap out of them. This charges your suit armor up (a necessity) and is quite fun to watch.

I enjoy a good action-shooter, but they usually aren’t the first games I turn to when I’m looking for a quick fix. Space Marine may change that. It isn’t the most original third-person shooter I’ve seen, and it certainly won’t win any innovation awards this year, but it was one of the most immediately enjoyable and satisfying games at the show. Better still, the more I played it, the more I wished to continue. On the last day of the show, I found myself trying to find a way back to THQ booth just to give it one more go. There’s something to this game. Hopefully the final product will live up to the demo when it hits PC, PS3, and Xbox shelves on September 6, 2011.


Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.

Relive Nintendo’s handheld golden age with the 25 best Game Boy Advance games

The Game Boy Advance was the swan song of the Game Boy era. It also happened to have a boatload of amazing games. We decided to countdown our 25 favorite GBA games. Check it out and let us know your favorites in the comments below!
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Itching to fight in an online match with friends in 'SSB Ultimate'? Here's how

You can play online against your friends in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but it isn't quite as simple as you might expect from a multiplayer game in 2018. Here's how you can do so using the Battle Arena system.

Still trying to unlock your main in 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Try these tips

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Nintendo’s biggest entry in the series to date with over 70 characters to unlock, but the process can feel tiresome. Here are our tips to unlock your roster as quickly as possible.
Product Review

‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ is an ode to gaming that lives up to its name

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a loving tribute to Nintendo and video game history. It’s a terrific multiplayer fighter that also has plenty for single-player fans to love this time around.

PlayStation Classic hacked in less than a week to play games via USB drive

Hackers have already managed to crack the PlayStation Classic, with programs now available to allow users to play additional original PlayStation games on the system via a USB drive.

‘Fortnite’ adds sword from ‘Infinity Blade,’ which disappears from App Store

Epic Games has added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to Fortnite just as it pulled all three games in the Infinity Blade trilogy from sale. The games are still available to download if you bought them.

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

Want to know how to make a clan in 'Destiny 2'? Here's everything you need to know, including how to design your clan's banner, earn extra loot, and help other players with guided games.

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.