Chaos All-Stars: Space Marine Hands-On

By Quintin Smith on July 27th, 2011 at 11:54 am.

Space Marines are a bit like lamp posts with vendettas
Multiplayer, eh? Bit of fun! Having a laugh with friends. Persistent unlocks. Leaderboards. And all I can think as Relic demo Space Marine’s multiplayer component to me, is this: Frivolity! The Emperor would not approve. My tune was, however, changed slightly following several hours and a dozen matches of hands-on.

The most important thing to know about Space Marine’s multiplayer is that it features the same 50/50 split between ranged and melee combat as the singleplayer. This shapes absolutely everything. When you round a corner to see some terrible, spiky Chaos Space Marine around the corner (all of the multiplayer is Space Marines vs. these corrupt yet perfectly matched antagonists), your first thought isn’t simply drawing a bead on the freak and firing. Or, perhaps it is, but there’s a second, more intriguing thought jostling for space with this: is he going to charge?


Because every single melee weapon in this game, be it the chainsword, thunder hammer, power fist or even a lowly sword or the charge attack of a Devastator class who already has both his hands full with a colossal lascannon or heavy bolter, is something to be feared. If an opponent drops into melee combat with you, be it through charging or a literal drop in the case of the jump pack equipped Assault class, and you do anything other than utterly outclass them in a fantastic display of evasive rolls and well-timed hacks with your own weapon, that’s you cooked. It’s over.


Which isn’t to say the guns are frail – there’s a beautiful satisfaction in gunning eager Assault troops out of the sky as the go rocketing towards you – but the thick armour of Space Marines and the capacity for melee attacks to punch clean through it colours everything, morphing the game’s two modes of Annihilation and Seize Ground (read: team deathmatch and point capture) into unique experiences.

But persistent unlocks were what Relic were really trying to sell us on, and the game certainly does have its fair share of them. The game features a hefty 41 levels of progression that you’ll advance through for everything from getting headshots and revenge kills to winning matches, unlocking every classic weapon you might hope for, from melta guns to storm bolters, as well as new perks and pieces of armour.


The flexibility of the game’s customisation is a bit eyebrow-raising. Everything from each of your shoulder pieces to your backpack can be painted whatever hideous day-glo shade you care to inflict upon your enemies, and the instant Relic unlocked this for us fully I found myself facing down a veritable 70s disco of far-future warriors. That said, I was able to content myself in a set of armour pieces that turned me into an 80s Space Marine miniature, done up in classy Dark Angels green.

Space Marine’s fabled co-op mode will still be the main draw here, I suspect, but finding out that there’s still fun to be had competitively was a nice surprise. This is a package that might not have the thunderous poise and confidence of a Space Marine, but it looks more and more like it has the stoic competence of one every time I see it. Put some money aside for when this one arrives in September, guys. For the Emperor.

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111 Comments »

  1. Jockie says:

    Are there any Co-op Modes with this? They should totally repeat DOW 2′s Last Stand mode, but from a 3rd person perspective.

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      Diziet Sma says:

      “Space Marine’s fabled co-op mode will still be the main draw here, I suspect”

      It sounds like it.

    • Jockie says:

      Oops, serves me right for commenting before reading the whole article.

    • Commisar says:

      Yes, this looks friggen’ awesome, I was already going to buy Space marines, but multiplayer is an extra treat

  2. Skeleton Key says:

    An open mind is like a fortress, with its gates unbarred and unguarded.

  3. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Could you not find an actual Dark Angel? Shoddy work, Quinns — I can see why they fired you!

  4. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Fail reply

  5. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    Mk VI armour was always the best. How long before they charge £4.50 for the privilege of metallic shades or similar, though…

    They totally need to mix in some asymmetric multiplayer as well. A handful of space marines versus a respawning horde of Orks, L4D style. The setting is absolutely ripe for it.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Hanban says:

    Eager to crunch some heretics! Blood Angels, to me!

    • ATwig says:

      I’m now torn between Classic Blood Angels red or going for the Death Squad black/red look… Or possibly going like Lord Commander Dante…

      Either way I’m definitely giving myself a jump pack and a chainsword. That’s the only way to fight!

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      Hanban says:

      Spoken like a true son of Sanguinius!

    • Creeping Death says:

      Just because he didnt want to comment on it doesn’t mean it isnt there. If anything his refusal to comment is a more resounding yes than if he had said yes

    • Hallgrim says:

      Yeah I did a double take when I read that. Wanted it to be true, but knew it wasn’t.

    • Baka says:

      Now I’m scared again.

      “Space Marine’s fabled co-op mode will still be the main draw here, I suspect”
      I suspect.
      Mister Quinns Smith Sir, could you please confirm that there is a co-op mode? It’s pretty important!

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Yeah I’d like a confirm as well.

      I suspect it WILL be the main draw…. ON CONSOLES

  7. AbyssUK says:

    Needs more genestealers

  8. Teddy Leach says:

    Oh god I want it so much.

    EDIT: I can’t take it any more. Preordered from Amazon.

    • aircool says:

      Aye – £55 for the CE isn’t bad. Especially if you’re a big fan of Warhammer CE stuff…

    • Kent says:

      I also want it so badly! >.<
      But it's too damn expensive!

  9. Tams80 says:

    Ah, turning corners in combat games. Usually one person is dead within seconds from either a hale of bullets or a ‘one shot’ kill melee attack. I’m now very excited!

  10. Creeping Death says:

    This customizing every part of your armour thing really invalidates every single preorder bonus this game has.

    Why should I spend more to preorder from store x that has a bonus skin of chapter y when I can just make it myself?

  11. President Weasel says:

    is that a Blood Bowl reference? That’s a Blood Bowl reference. How very Games-Workshoppy.

  12. TheFlyingWooly says:

    There is a video on the Space Marine site showing some of the customization.

    http://www.spacemarine.com/gb/videos#warhammer-40000-space-marine-multiplayer-customizer

    • Jake says:

      Nice, I for one can’t wait to GO AHEAD and JUMP INTO the customiser.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Whoo! They have Raven Guard in there. *geeking out*

    • Ralphomon says:

      “Hello, Peter, whaaat’s happening? Uum, I’m going to need to you to go ahead and come in to–morrow, so if you could be here around niiine, that’d be greeaat, mmkay? Oh, oh, and I almost forgot, uuuh, I’m also going to need you to go ahead and come in on Sunnnday, too, OK?”

      That’s all I was thinking when I was watching that video.

  13. aircool says:

    Captain Cortez of the Crimson Fists!!! Some of my 80′s Space Marine models are so old, they came on a square base!

  14. mondomau says:

    I’d just started getting over my natural cynicism about this game and began to get excited, when I realised they’ve pushed the date back from August. Curses.

    Also, the customisation tool looks fucking awesome.

  15. magnus says:

    Well if there isn’t a decent campaign mode I’m not buying it, I’m not really bought on multiplayer. :(

  16. Kollega says:

    I still do not approve of this game. Space Marines’ weapons and vehicles are cool, yes, but the whole “Catholic space Nazi” thing and “Kill everyone who isn’t like us, even if they’re not actually dangerous and did nothing wrong (which is rare but can happen)!!!”… not so much. The only way i’ll even consider getting this game is if there’s a mod or skin pack that allows me to play as Alister Azimuth. Otherwise, it’s of less intrest to me than the Street Cleaning Simulator.

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      Hanban says:

      Is that adult, angry Gizmo?

    • Kollega says:

      Which Gizmo do you mean, exactly? This name is not exactly unique amongst fictional characters. And no, he’s a fairly important and badass dude from Ratchet & Clank (the Playstation-only series which you probably haven’t heard of).

    • Premium User Badge

      Hanban says:

      Gizmo from Gremlins! They are somewhat similar!

    • Kollega says:

      Oh, he. Just looked him up, and i have to say that Alister and Gizmo are similar in the same way that Panther and M1 Abrams are similar: very vaguely. Both of the latter are tanks, but they look and behave quite differently.

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      Hanban says:

      Sir, are you a robot?

    • Kollega says:

      No. What gave you that idea?

    • mondomau says:

      “And no, he’s a fairly important and badass dude from Ratchet & Clank (the Playstation-only series which you probably haven’t heard of).”

      Get out of here, hipster. Shoo!

    • blackjackshelak says:

      Sounds like your problem isn’t with this game specifically, but with the whole Warhammer40K franchise in general. If that’s the case, then why even venture into such a thread? Unless of course you’re only looking for a new place to amaze people with your vast knowledge of console libraries and their respective casts.

    • Kollega says:

      @mondomau: Hipster? Me? Me terribly confused…

      But yeah, on second thought invoking “you haven’t heard of that” does make me sound a bit hipster-ish. That was not intended.

      @blackjackshelak: You see, i have that peculiar philosophical question unfolding in front of me everytime there’s a news article about 40k. On one hand, you’re right: it’s stupid for me to come in here just to say i don’t like it. But on the other, everyone here acts like 100% of geeks adore WH40k, which simply isn’t true.. I want to make it known that there are, in fact, people who don’t like 40k.. So “is it worth it getting opposed, at times fiercely, just to let people know that not everyone likes 40k?” is actually a serious question for me which i ask myself every time i post on this kind of thread.

      Also, it wasn’t to amaze anyone with my knowledge of blah de blah. I would actually play Space Marine if i could play as Alister.

    • Jake says:

      Wait, some people DON’T like Warhammer 40k? I better rethink my internet dating profile.

    • blackjackshelak says:

      I had no idea that your posts were actually serving double duty as a PSA for 40K fans. Honestly though, even as a fan of the series myself (though neither a rabid one nor a player of the actual games) I don’t make any assumptions that being a member of the fandom carries any sort of “geek cred”. As far as the Ratchet&Clank comments, I just couldn’t resist giving you a poke after your declaration of the series being something we were probably unaware of. It’s all in good fun after all, and now we have some insight concerning the reason for your intrusion here as well.

    • Kollega says:

      I wouldn’t call it a “double duty” – i’d say that informing 40k fans that there are people who don’t like it is the single duty duty of those comments. I don’t have much to say beyond “i’m not waiting for this game”. But then again, people who say “I’m so hyped for this game now!” don’t have too much to say either, so i guess i have the same right to post such a simple declaration.

      As far as the R&C comments go… well, it is a Pee-Cee gaming site. I wouldn’t expect many people here to be familiar with the Ratchet series except for maybe hearing the name once or twice. I did sense a humorous overtone in the “vast knowledge” comment, and did want to say that it isn’t really vast but on second thought here such a comment is most likely intended to be negative.

    • wodin says:

      @Kollega

      I think your taking the whole concept way to serious…it’s sci fi….make believe…not true….catholic nazi in space…hmmm…Nazi’s didn’t like catholics….and never went to space…and Orks don’t exiist so you can chop them up….etc etc…

      You sir are odd.

    • Kollega says:

      “Catholic space Nazis” isn’t supposed to make much sense from a historical standpoint. It’s just a convinient analogy that encapsulates the main features of Spess Mahreens without the need to write a fifty-page long treatise on why even with taking all the grim darkness into account, most of the chapters are still huge dicks.

      As for 40k being make-believe, it is true – but it still does not excuse all the charactes from being unlikeable and the conflict from being between bad guys and worse guys. I get enough of that in real-world history and politics, thank you very much.

      My main gripe with 40k is that it both presents the universe and characters that are 99% unlikeable AND takes itself completely seriously. In my opinion, you can’t do both at the same time: it kills the drama. The reader or viewer can’t root for anyone if there’s nothing at stake. And yes, i know that in the original tabletop your victory is at stake (when you play to win and not just for fun) – but it still irks me that “communist aliens who may or may not be just as evil as everyone else” and “cannon fodder led by fascists who sacrifice thousands just to go get some coffee” are the two best options you’re going to get in the narrative sense.

  17. Malk_Content says:

    I would love for the game to properly emulate the weapon choices from the tabletop (not that I’m a fan of the tabletop stopped playing last year) so that rules like Gets Hot come into play and have a chance to kill you. Also hopefully they have some kind of points/slot system for character design so that if you take the nice shiny new weapon you have to drop something else like grenades, otherwise I’ll quickly hate the multiplayer when people start getting better weapons with no downside AND have played longer with more experience.

  18. coldvvvave says:

    PLASMA GUN

    DREADNOUGHT

    PLASMA GUN

    DREADNOUGHT

    PLASMA GUN

    DREADNOUGHT

  19. BreadBitten says:

    Absolutely LOVING how that Chainsword is perfectly parallel with the screen border in that 4th screenshot…

  20. Hatsworth says:

    Unlocking advantages in multiplayer games is the worst thing. Boo.

  21. KilgoreTrout_XL says:

    It’s nice to hear to good things about this one. I remember reading a few unhappy previews of it right after E3.

  22. Ralphomon says:

    Yess Mk8 Errant armour! I loves that high collar.

  23. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    ROOOOOAAARRWWWW :D

    Can’t wait

    ps – you must be meaning the ps3 iterations of ratchet and clank because he doesn’t appear in the 4 (1 racing) from the ps2.

    • Kollega says:

      Yes, i mean the last released PS3 game, but everyone considers the PS2, PS3, and PSP installments a unified series anyway. Also, reply fail on your part.

    • Premium User Badge

      MonkeyMonster says:

      i wasn’t replying straight… hence the use of ps – post script.

      Is there any answer from those that scout the forums as to why its not available in UK steam yet?

    • Kollega says:

      Hm, okay then. I’m watching this comment thread, so i caught your reply (obviously). Seems a bit odd that you didn’t say who you replied to – buuuuuut there’s only one post here to which this reply could pertain :P

  24. Daz says:

    I kind of feel that that a game like this would lend itself better to some objective based multiplayer. Something like UT’s assault mode or wolf:et/brink style maps.

    Maybe even a space hulk mode where your fighting through claustrophobic corridors as terminators <3

    It doe's look awesome though, had it on my steam wishlist for a while now!

    • blackjackshelak says:

      Space Hulk mode is probably the best way to go for those interested in a “L4D-style” game. Four Terminators working their way through an abandoned, claustrophobic, Tyranid-infested wreck of a space complex would make for a lot of fun as an FPS experience. Wouldn’t be too far from the feel of the original game either, since you had the viewpoints of all four available to you at once in that case.

  25. Davie says:

    The Dawn of War series’ multiplayer has always suggested that, deep down, everybody wants to be Disco Marines.

  26. Serenegoose says:

    Once more with the rank up to unlock basic functionality! system though. Why do people think it’s a good idea to restrict versatility to people who have been playing longer? Even if the gear isn’t markedly -better- the fact remains that players often play in different ways, and forcing the newbies into one cookie cutter build is going to hamstring everyone that prefers to play in any sort of different way! It’s just infuriating for everyone who hasn’t unlocked everything yet!

    *DRAMATIC SIGH*

    • blackjackshelak says:

      I think the idea behind that system is that you’re forcing exposure to earlier equipment options so people don’t ignore them entirely. If it’s done right, it helps people to figure out that the “top tier” items aren’t necessarily the best. If it’s REALLY done right, then they actually won’t be.

    • KilgoreTrout_XL says:

      Good point- this is definitely the case in most classes in BCBF2.

      More importantly, I get the feeling (along with millions of CoD and BF players) that *most* people enjoy unlocking that stuff.

    • blackjackshelak says:

      I would have to agree with you on BF:BC2. I usually play engineer, and the gun you start with in that class is one that I held on to for a LONG time. Only the availability of my 3 favorite types of guns (.45 caliber SMGs, Pump-action Shotguns, and Battle Rifles) drew me away from it, and aside from those exceptions it’s still my favorite option as an engineer.

    • Eversor says:

      Well, if the weapons are anything like in tabletop (and they should), they each have their own uses and strategic applications. For instance, plasma and melta weaponry is usually with a much lower rate of fire while doing more damage to armored opponents, while a bolter is a good all-rounder with a good rate of fire. Same goes for a chainsword, while, say, power weapon would probably have a slower swing, a thunder hammer even lower one (but be devastating against anything it touches), likewise with the slow and cumbersome, but mighty powerfist.

      Really, the rank up is just more about unlocking specific tools for a specific build, rather than just getting the “best stuff”. Sure, you’ll feel more of a badass with, say, Lightning Claws and a jump pack than just a bolter and chainsword jump pack setup, but you’ll have some ranged viability that the flying Wolverine fellow will lack. It’s really about the trade-offs, and I really hope this’ll be the case in Space Marine.

    • blackjackshelak says:

      That’s a really good point Eversor. Ties in well with the idea that the expanding choices in your respective armory should be more about specialization than direct upgrades to older equipment. I think the Meltagun in particular will be interesting to see, as it’s essentially a heat-ray that burns through pretty much anything within a limited range. If they keep that gun true to form, I may have found an excellent replacement for the shotgun they’re likely not going to include.

  27. oatish says:

    Hopefully not lame Gears of War MP?

  28. Snack says:

    Great developer, great universe, great game, no dedicated servers? …Boooo!

  29. wererogue says:

    It’s such a stupid, picky reason for an opinion, but my enthusiasm for this game completely deflated when I saw the first gameplay video with the combat roll.

    I just can’t take it seriously. It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m sure there’s suitable suit-tech to make combat rolls perfectly possible in power armour, but it just doesn’t look right. And it looks so integral to the gameplay that I wouldn’t be able to ignore it.

    I’m sure I’ll get this eventually, but the hype has died for me.

    • Eversor says:

      A big, hulky dude in power armor can roll as he please with his Initiative 4.

    • blackjackshelak says:

      Men in plate armor have been capable of doing combat roles since the dark ages. I don’t see why men in POWERED plate armor should somehow be any less light on their feet. Hopefully you can get past this hangup at some point, because this game looks to have a lot of promise and I’d hate for you to miss it on account of something like that. I don’t hold it against you though, as I’ve sworn off Oblivion and the newer Fallout games for reasons other than “this game isn’t awesome enough” myself.

    • bleeters says:

      It does seem a little odd that they forgo the use of cover (because Space Marines don’t take cover, and all that) but have them rolling around to avoid attacks.

  30. Retribution says:

    Now show us DoWIII! Or HW3…maybe…please

  31. wodin says:

    I really want this to be good….but so far I haven’t read or seen anything that makes me think it will be anyhthing other than repetitive boredom…

  32. wazups2x says:

    Will there be dedicated servers? Relic is a mainly a PC developer so I really hope they get the PC version right.

  33. bill says:

    We can make proper beaky marines? None of this stupid piggy-snout newfangled armour?

    Ok, I’m in. Mentor Legion here we come!