So, as some of you can probably guess, I finally got my hands on Space Marine this Tuesday. Not that I was playing it or anything. Nope. Hard at work with… stuff. For things. But while I was off not playing my brand new game, I decided to not check out the multiplayer and see how it holds up. Bottom line: interesting mechanics and fun to play, but ultimately nothing truly special, will survive on a dedicated fanbase. Hope to see new maps soon. Now that that’s out-of-the-way, lets take a little more in-depth look at the multiplayer experience and my adventures through hacking people apart. For Chaos. We’ll be splitting it up into 3 parts; The Annoying, The Good, and The Bad. Might come back if I get a high enough level to reflect and see how much has changed. For now, we begin!

The Annoying:

Okay, so, multiplayer is two identical sides facing off in various large boxes with the only difference between the factions being cosmetic differences. Why do we still have no opt-in feature for playing as our preferred faction? I see this in every game, people randomly being assigned to teams, but why can’t we ever weigh in who we want to play as? I vastly prefer the cosmetic appearance of Chaos to the Imperial Space Marine, and have heard people on both sides complain about being stuck with their least favorite faction. People repeatedly getting thrown on the Imperial team when they’d want to play Chaos, Imperial fans getting forced to play Chaos. Worse still, in Space Marine the system appears to ‘stick’, meaning once you are assigned to a faction, odds are you keep playing that faction over and over through the rounds, even if you don’t want too.

Just make it an option in the Customization screen. “Select Prefered Team: [] Space Marine [] Chaos Space Marine” and then have the system try to sort it out based on that. If too many people want to play, say, Chaos, some of them have to go Imperial, but there is no reason for both sides to be complaining about placement and then being stuck on those teams until they leave of the system decides to play nice and toss them a bone. Simple solution, everyone gets (the chance) to be happy.

See? Happy Chaos Space Marine!

The other really annoying thing, you can’t see what perks do in-game. If someone has a perk and you copy their class, unless you know all the images and what they do, you’re out of luck. Even if you go back to using armor sets you yourself set up, once in-game those perks refuse to tell you what they do. It’s annoying and confusing. I didn’t even find out what the basic perks of the game did until I unlocked the ability to create my own custom class, and even then I had to bail from the lobby, go into customization, select class, open perk window, then look at it. And then I got to do all that again for the other two classes.

Third, and most petty, annoyance of the game: You can’t  rename custom sets. If you make your set be, say, Devastator/Havoc, the only thing it will say ever is “Devastator/Havoc 1.” As someone who enjoys making multiple sets built around specific instances, this is fairly annoying since I have to look at whats in the set to make sure I’m grabbing the right one, instead of just looking at an assigned name.

The Bad:

My god the balance is flat up broken in some places. One of the perks for the light/melee class is called Final Vengeance. You learn real fast what that perk does. It turns your jet pack into a bomb that almost 100% of the time results in a near-instant kill. You have 1.5~2 seconds to get away from it. The damage it deals is high enough to instantly kill me through full shields and health. The blast radius is so massive, even at my absolute highest point reachable with the jet pack, it blows through my shields and sheers off 80% of my life. That’s at full on both, if anything hit you at all, you’re dead. The only thing that can survive this is the heaviest class with the most resilience, everything else just folds like paper. I’ve had to stop playing my favorite class in the game, just because every kill I got would result in a near instant death on the enemy jump-packs.

You will see this. A lot.

Speaking of the jump-packs, they have weird positioning sometimes. If you blast off, enemies can still kill you by shooting/meleeing the spot you were just at in a split second window. It’s infuriating to try to use your speed as an advantage, only to be swatted out of the air by some guy with a Thunder Hammer furious pounding the ground you used to be standing on into submission.

Lastly, maps don’t rotate fast enough. My favorite map I’ve only played two or three times, while my ‘best’ map I’ve played on almost a dozen times, just because it keeps coming up. More maps and better rotation will go a long way to getting some longevity into the multiplayer.

The Good:

What, think I had forgotten? Despite my complaints, I do really, really enjoy the multiplayer in this game. The three classes are all distinct and feel unique. The heaviest is the beefiest and carries the biggest weapons, but only has a small hop as a dodge skill. This is the class that can turn into a stationary turret and chew through enemies like it’s harvest time. Proper positioning is key to killing and defending capture points. The next is the ‘Tactical’ class, who has access to various weapons, including a lesser version of the Heavies’ sniper, and automatic rifle, a shotgun, and so on. This is also the class with the most perks, allowing you to customize yourself to be felt the most on the battlefield. Things like “Teleport Homing” that let allies spawn right on top of you, even in the middle of combat. The lightest is the jump-packs, who only have a pistol for ranged combat, but have access to all melee weapons and the speed and agility to use them to maximum effect. Using the jump-pack effectively takes a bit of time, but the rewards are insanely fun.

CRY SOME... wait, wrong game.

Speaking of perks, each class has their own set, and a goodly number of them are unlocked by reaching certain milestones with the weapon in question. The most recent one I unlocked, “Axeman’s Zeal” heals you on every Power Axe/Chainaxe hit that connects. Others like “Take Off” offer a lot of fun potential, making the jump-pack burn anyone nearby when you take off and land. Most for the Devastator/Havoc (heavy) class are defensive in nature, but some combine the effects. One perk turns your armor into a stun-grenade, knocking unwary players off if they get to close when you fall. A personal favorite for the Tactical class is called “Signum Link”, letting you see the enemies health and shield bars when scoping in. Makes sniping a dream, when you know just who to head shot!

Wish List:

Apothecaries. In-Lore battle medics. Just something I think is a missed opportunity. Too often in games like this, they either leave out the archetype Medic class, or shoe-horn something in. There is potential to really get into the Space Marine lore and have true Battle Medics available in-game, which would go a long ways towards making the game more team based, shake up the classic ‘healers heal, everyone else kills’ stigma in shooters. Think Medic, but instead of a Medigun, he has an actual gun, and repairs allies with a cocktail of drugs, chemicals, and augments. And/or gives buffs. Just an idea to freshen up the online scene.

Overall: I really like the Space Marine multiplayer. It’s fun, the classes are all different from each other, and the massive list of perks gives everyone something to work towards. It really is a blast, despite the things I’ve said above. I’ll let you know how the story is, once I tear my self away from axing the crap out of my opponents.

It might take awhile to stop.