Grizzly Gaming

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Warhammer 40k: Space Marine "Exterminatus" review - Burn the heretic! Kill the mutant! Purge the unclean!

Exterminatus, the horde-esque mode for “Warhammer 40k: Space Marine,” finally came out for the Xbox 360 on Tues. November 1. Relic stated last week it didn’t release on time because of mysterious “connection issues” the Xbox 360 version suffers from online. I’ve never experienced any problems playing online, though. Anyone who bought or has played “SM” should love this addition to the title as it adds amazingly intense, cooperative action to one of the most fun third-person action games of the year.

Exterminatus is a purely online mode for “SM.” It doesn’t add split screen but it does use the matchmaking system to find up to 3 other players to battle increasingly difficult hordes of Orks. The competitive modes already in “SM” are fun but this cooperative addition to the title really makes the overall package shine. The Orks are ferocious opponents and cleansing these new maps of the greenskin menace is so much more satisfying when done with a few Battle-Brothers. But the greatest addition is probably a subtraction. Though I’ve only played a few rounds so far, I haven’t once heard a single Ork yell “SPACE MARINES!” Making the Orks less talkative is a definite plus considering their annoying, constant cries (during the single player game) is one of the most consistent complaints I hear about the game. (It’s ridiculous to me to pan a game just because of annoying voice acting but I’ve got friends who played the demo of “SM” and maintain that it’s a terrible game. Whenever I try to get them to give me a few good reasons why they say “SM” isn’t good they just yell “SPACE MARINES!” at me. And it’s pretty hard to argue against that.)

Exterminatus comes with two scenarios – “Assault on Hab Center Andreas” and “"Escape From Kalkys Facility” – but should eventually receive a few updates. Each scenario consists of four separate areas where Space Marines wage war against a seemingly never-ending tide of Orks. Though most waves are completed by killing all enemies, some have points that must be captured (ala the game’s Seize Ground mode). Exterminatus is a great way to earn experience points, especially if you’re not into competitive modes, since the XP you earn in this mode goes towards unlocking new weapons, gear and armor. As levels progress, you’re also often offered challenges on the fly for extra XP. These usually entail killing a certain number of enemies with melee or ranged attacks in a set period of time. Health and shields regenerate, as in competitive multiplayer, rather than earning health from executions.

Fans of “WH40k” lore should really love this mode as it captures the struggles of humanity perfectly – a small number of technologically advances humans fight fierce, desperate battles against increasingly ferocious alien foes. Where humanity uses its technological superiority to earn victory, the Orks approach warfare in a different manner. Rather than use tactics or tech, Orks prefer using numbers and brute strength to defeat their enemies and Exterminatus shows of this characteristic of the greenskins perfectly.

The waves of enemies start off simply enough, throwing Gretchin and standard Slugga Boyz at you but soon enough you’ll be taking on bigger and badder Orks. Teamwork is essential to victory – especially during waves where you’re required to take and hold a point. Any loadout and weapon combination you have unlocked for the standard multiplayer is available in Exterminatus and it’s important to have a balanced team. Too many Devastators and you’ll be overrun quickly. Too many Assaults and you’ll likely wind up being scattered and overwhelmed as well. I’ve only just begun to start thinking about tailoring a few of my custom loadouts for Exterminatus and realized that I’ll often need to take a different approach to be victorious in this mode as compared to Annihilation or Seize Ground.

Exterminatus is an incredibly intense, excellent addition to “SM.” The mode should appease even the most hardcore Warhammer fans – even more so than the single player story. Fans of the Imperium and Space Marines will especially love the feeling of exterminating neverending waves of Orks with a few friends. It really feels like Relic took pains to balance the power of both Space Marines and Orks for Exterminatus, creating an extremely fun challenge for fans of “SM.”

Exterminatus is a free DLC for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 and a perfect addition to the already present multiplayer modes – making “Space Marine” an incredibly fun, competent third person shooter that you should be able to pick up fairly cheaply (considering the big-name titles it released against this season).

Note – As I was finishing this review, I saw news about more DLC for “SM” that I feel I ought to add. Coming this December, “Chaos Unleased” will add a ton of new content to “SM.” The new mode, Chaos Unleashed, will see you and three heretics, I mean Chaos Space Marines, team up to battle Ork hordes as well as the Imperial Guard. New enemies, such as the Imperial Sanctioned Psyker, will be added as well as new boss round battles. There is mention of new maps (Habs Ablaze, Station Tertius and Aquila Canyon) which will be playable across all modes – though it doesn’t specifically say which of these new maps will also be playable in Exterminatus. But wait – there’s more. “Chaos Unleashed” also adds 10 new achievements and challenges and as if that’s not enough, a new Capture the Flag mode will also be added at the same time, for free, for premium content players. “Chaos Unleashed” will cost 800 MS points ($9.99). I also just noticed that there will be a handful of new skins for sale around the same time. Unique skins for the Salamanders, Alpha Legion, Legion of the Damned and Blood Angel Chapters/War bands will be available for 240 points each ($2.99).


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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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