Or, How I Paid a Hundred Bucks for a Game and Didn’t Get What I Wanted . . .
So picked up Space Marine on Friday night, as my girlfriend and I were looking after her ten-year old brother again – the guy I played Kill Team with. The next day I had a chance to sit down and play it properly myself, so I thought I’d put down my first impressions. This is not going to be a technical review. I haven’t won the game yet or anything, and there are plenty of other good traditional game reviews about, for example here and here. I’ll just mention the things about the game that I personally found striking or disappointing on first play.
Basically I can sum the experience for me so far up like this: Great visuals and tone, poor organization. The Campaign is great fun. The marine feels like a marine in every way, from the way he runs to the way the Guardsmen fall to their knees when he talks to them. The combat is brutal and really fun, and the Orks are even true to the setting. They take a lot of putting down, and really come across as tough, furious, fearless opponents.
Unfortunately there is no option for split screen play, which is how I normally like to play these games. I don’t have the longest attention span when it comes to games, and I don’t care about finding secrets and unlocking achievements – I play games when there’s nothing better to do. This means for me to even finish a video game I normally need to be playing with someone else, to spur me on. I played the Halo Reach campaign with my girlfriend and Borderlands with my dad, and enjoyed them both a lot. I can’t play Space Marine with anyone. It’s just plain anti-social I tell you.
The multi-player is even worse in this respect. I basically wanted the customizer, it’s one of the main reasons I bought the whole bloody game, and I find it’s locked until I reach level 4. As are the Assault and Devastator marines and nearly all the weapons.
No worries, I’ll just log in with the missus and we can stalk each other around the Basilica until I’ve unlocked the customizer and I can go online with a shiny Mk VI beakie marine. I then find that there’s no multi-player split-screen either! The girlfriend (who loves FPSs) then sits there bored, only able to play with me if we had two TVs and two X-boxes. We don’t, by the way.
This is some serious bullshit right here. This is like when I bought Street Fighter IV and had to jump through all these hoops to unlock Fei Long, and only two colours were initially available for each character. It drives me nuts. At least Capcom learned that’s not fun and released Super Street Fighter IV a year later with everyone and everything unlocked straight out of the box.
I’ll tell you what this lack of split-screen and with-holding of the goodies meant for me: as a beginner, unused to the multiplayer game, I was forced to go online alone and fight strangers. With only an extremely limited choice of weaponry.
Most of these people are tooling around with perks, jump-packs, melta-guns, flash-grenades, las-cannons, whatever, because they are the early birds who are FPS experts. So “getting to level 4” meant “getting annihilated mercilessly by people with super-powers and better guns, which you can’t even pick up if you manage to kill someone because you haven’t unlocked them yet. Oh, and you only get experience from the odd kill you manage and when your team happens to win.”
So I pretty much just played over and over again until luck had it that the teams I’d been randomly assigned to had won enough games to give me the customizer. Which took several agonizing hours.
Overall the multi-player has left me with this strange feeling I get sometimes, that games are not aimed at gamers like me anymore and maybe I should just stop trying to maintain my place in gamer culture and take up golf. I won’t of course, but it makes me sad. I don’t want to play serious games against strangers, I want to relax in my own or a friend’s house and laugh and mess about. It seems as though this is becoming too much to ask.
I was going to end on a positive note and show you guys my beakie I made, but it turns out that I now have to get 200 assist kills to get Mk VI armour. Just give me a complete game you jerks, I paid nearly a hundred fucking bucks for it.
Space Marine is really fun to play as a single player game. I’m sure multi-player could be fun too if I could play in my living room with friends or family, but I can’t. I now have to rely on my friends to buy it and organize times to play, and then we can all sit in our own houses talking on headsets.
Okay. Take a deep breath. The single player game is cool, let’s just leave it at that . . .