Worthy of the Emperor's finest
Whilst initial thoughts surrounding THQ's Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team's announcement seemed that the game would serve very little outside of its tie-in to the upcoming Relic Third Person Shooter Space Marine, and given little fanfare outside of its unveiling (not even for its release) it would seem like the game was just set to meekly walk under the release radar - however, THQ have delivered a surprisingly addictive and satisfying dual stick shooter in Kill Team that works incredibly well for the 40K franchise: No game until now - and maybe until Space Marine hits this September - has really given you the feeling of being a member of the eponymous Space Marines in such a gratifying manner.
Kill Team takes place in the Grim future of the 41st Century - UK-based Games Workshop's brutal and futuristic Warhammer 40,000 setting - where, as the slogan goes, 'there is only war'. Placed in the role of one of 4 Space Marines (A Melee-focused Vanguard Veteran, the ranged focused Sternguard Veteran, the Psychic power wielding Librarian, or the Jack of all trades Tech Marine), the player must fight their way through an Ork 'Kroozer', a massive flagship heading towards an Imperial manufacturing world - a Forge World - and disable it before the Ork hordes can invade the planet. However, all is not as it seems aboard the ship, and soon the Space Marines find themselves facing a far more deadlier threat than they imagined, in the form of the alien Tyranid swarm, which is also infesting the ship. Whilst Kill Team's story isn't anything to particularly write home about, the pace at which it propels you across the game is certainly to be commended, and despite the lack of real storytelling meat, it's a serviceable frame for the game to set itself upon.
Despite only having one setting in the Ork ship, Kill Team does a good job of keeping the visual presentation very well done. Although the single location does mean the Ork-ish aesthetic is consistently present, THQ have done a good job with a fantastic usage of lighting to keep each level feeling a little different from the others - although at some points (sometimes incredibly effectively, but a few times its just annoying) it does stick a little too close the 40K's 'Grim Darkness', leaving it a little too dark and making it hard to see enemies. The visual flair of being able to choose from a range of Space Marine chapters (such as the famous Ultramarines, or the Blood Ravens of Dawn of War 1 and 2) to personalise your character is also a nice touch, and both the player and enemy models are reasonably well detailed and varied - which is shown off even more so every so often with the final kill of an enemy in the area treating you to a zoomed in slo-mo shot of their body flying to the floor. Kill Team is also surprisingly cinematic for a dual stick shooter - from the gorgeous-but-short CGI intro, to the various little cutscenes to introduce new objectives and boss opponents, and the constant vocal presence of your Commander spouting typical Space Marine rhetoric (expect to be told 'And they shall know no fear!' plenty of times) give the game a high quality presentation. Whilst the soundtrack, perhaps typically of the 40K franchise, isn't particularly memorable, it still has a solid, orchestral presence throughout the game that adds another quality layer to the overall product.
Given the overall strength of Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team, It's surprising to see that THQ have put it out with very little fanfare. 40K fans gearing up for September's Space Marine will want to get this for the in-game weapon included as well as the grand dedication to Games Workshop's universe, but you don't necessarily have to be a fan of the tabletop franchise to enjoy it. For 800 MSP (or $10 dollars), Kill Team offers a good few hours of well made shooter fun, even moreso if you can find a local friend to bring along too - and offers a nicely presented and thoroughly satisfying look into the power of the mighty Space Marines.