Well, a new Space Marine video's been released


  Just watching that new video, my reaction is it looks really great. I was particularly impressed with the glowy particle effects they're implementing for the plasma rifle, it looks exactly how you'd expect it to without being too cartoony and goofy. As a longtime Relic fan, the game is shaping up to be this year's War for Cybertron.

However, I did find it funny when one of the developers in the video said "This is really not a game about hiding behind cover, cowering and taking a couple potshots at the enemy. This is about striding into the middle of the battle, being surrounded by Orks at all times and just killing." Which just sounds strange, because I remember taking cover a lot while playing the Dawn of War games. Cover was a big part of tactical movement in those, and to have him dismiss it entirely here seems kinda odd. Was this guy around when they developed those RTSs? Kind of a schizophrenic design philosophy here. Don't get me wrong, I understand the idea that Space Marines are fearless warriors and aren't afraid to leap into combat, but ... just using cover doesn't necessarily imply cowardice.

The other thing I was a little worried about were the sync kills. It seems fairly obvious that they're importing the sync kills over from the Dawn of War games, and while they do look nasty and cinematic and satisfying, in general... hack and slash action fans and third person shooter fans don't really like having control taken away from them during combat, which is an unfortunate side effect of sync kills. A lot of people even complained about the loss of control in Dawn of War, and that was an RTS where individual unit control is de-emphasized. With third person action and shooter games, control over the character is paramount. But then I read some articles and learned that these sync kills are manually triggered by the player, and now I feel at ease. Giving the player control over when they want to relinquish control, that works, that'll placate everyone I think.

One thing I'm hoping to see, and which I don't believe they've shown, is customizable weaponry and armor. That would be the one element that would put this game over the top for me personally, just over the moon with delight. Because in DoW2, we got to upgrade our squad leaders with loot, which were better weapons and armor pieces. With a closer, more intimate affair like Space Marine, I'd want to take that experience and magnify it by allowing you to customize specific pieces of your weapon. Instead of swapping out your regular bolter for a jewel encrusted bolter in DoW2, Space Marine should allow you to swap out the iron sights of your bolter for perhaps a scope, attach a better muzzle compensator, maybe add a laser sight, or get bigger magazines to increase bolter capacity, switch out regular bolter rounds for specialized rounds... just stuff like that. Ya know, kinda like the customization of weaponry in Crysis games, only it'd be between missions instead of on-the-fly. Just going from Dawn of War 2 to this game, you'd expect that sort of evolution in the design philosophy of upgrading the character.