In a universe overrun with monsters, daemons, and heretics, you're going to need some serious firepower.
The Space Marines are designed to be the pinnacle of human evolution. They are living weapons of war built to serve the immortal god-emperor of mankind. They are also superstitious, genocidal maniacs who would see humankind stand alone in a dead universe. The game Space Marine, developed by Relic Entertainment (Dawn of War II), puts a handful of these immortal warriors to work defending a planet overrun by Orks and the legions of Chaos. It also switches genres from Relic's traditional real-time strategy setup to a third-person shooter. After spending a few hours besting the enemies of man, we're ready to give you a rundown on the weapons you'll encounter in the game.
Bolter: Space Marine is all about seamlessly switching between ranged and melee weapons, so when a pack of Orks descended upon us, the bolter was the first thing we reached for. As the backbone of the Imperium, this weapon is pretty straightforward, with a high rate of fire and decent damage against lightly armored targets. And to give you an idea of how lethal the 41st millennium is, the standard-issue bolter fires miniature rockets that burrow into and explode inside their targets.
Chainsword: Inevitably we would be overwhelmed and forced to switch to something more personal. All melee weapons in the game have two types of attacks: quick hits and stuns. Depending on the weapon, quick hits can be linked together up to four times. If you mix in a stun attack, the combo ends with a powerful blow that can stun nearby foes. And each stun attack is different depending on how many quick hits you land beforehand.
Heavy Bolter: The Imperial Guard, true heroes of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, would deploy heavy bolter turrets along the edge of their fortifications. These weapons are basically supercharged versions of the bolter with a set amount of ammunition. And if we were attacked from behind, we could tear this weapon off its platform and haul it around the battlefield for some killing on the go.
Stalker Pattern Bolter: In a game about mowing down endless waves of enemies, we didn't think a sniper rifle would see much use. However, it proved invaluable at taking out single, priority targets--specifically the Orks who stood way in the back and fired rockets down on top of us.
Power Axe: This double-headed hand axe felt like a more-powerful version of the chainsword. It struck fast and could damage some of the heavily armored foes that the chainsword couldn't. This is especially important since killing an enemy in melee is the primary way to heal your character in Space Marine. Once an enemy is stunned, you can use the grapple button to finish it off in a variety of gruesome ways and regain a large amount of health.
Lascannon: Lascannons were designed to blow a hole through a tank, which means they can liquefy Ork body parts pretty quickly. Instead of using traditional ammo, these long-range weapons run off an internal battery pack that takes time to recharge between each shot.
Plasma Pistol: This weapon, along with its big brother, the plasma gun, fires two types of shots. The first is a rapid-fire bolt of plasma that gradually builds up the weapon's internal temperature. You then have to vent the weapon or risk overheating it. The second is a charged shot that fires a plasma grenade that explodes after sticking to a target. The charged shot also instantly overheats the weapon, so you have to wait a few moments before firing it again.
Meltagun: It's a shotgun.
Thunder Hammer: The monstrous, two-handed thunder hammer is the king of melee weapons in Space Marine. When equipped, the weapon restricts your remaining arsenal to a pistol and the bolter. But it more than makes up for this limitation with its powerful area-of-effect attacks. Not even the thick-skinned bloodletter daemons can weather its blows for long.
Adeptus Mechanicus Vengeance Launcher: This grenade launcher fires sticky grenades that can all be detonated at once with the press of a button. We could use this weapon to take out large groups of lesser enemies at once or stick all the grenades to one larger foe and blast it to bits. If only we could use it in conjunction with the thunder hammer, then we'd be ready for anything.
Jump Pack: While the jump pack is not technically a weapon, we felt it deserved an honorable mention for giving our character a special dive attack when flying through the air. Like the thunder hammer, the jump pack restricts your inventory when you equip it, but it lets you fly into the air or quickly jet around at ground level. Diving down onto enemies deals a powerful area-of-effect blast that both damages and stuns certain targets.
Your total arsenal in Space Marine can include a pistol, bolter, two other ranged weapons, and one melee weapon. We also ran across the plasma cannon, the storm bolter, frag grenades, and an iron halo, but we'll let you discover the quirks of those items yourself. Sadly, some of the iconic melee weapons, such as the power sword and the power fist, didn't make an appearance during our time in the single-player game. However, after looking closely at the recent multiplayer trailer, we think at least one of this pair will make an appearance in the game. Space Marine will be released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC this September.