Grizzly Gaming

Monday, January 9, 2012

WH40k Space Marine "Dreadnought" DLC: Even in death, I still serve

Relic’s “Warhammer 40k: Space Marine,” the first action/adventure 40k game offered on consoles, was not just a huge hit in my own opinion but received much critical acclaim after its release and is up for “Best Xbox 360 Action Game” in the IGN People’s Choice awards. “Space Marine” featured a short-ish single payer campaign and introduced a new character to the 40k lore, an Ultramarine named Captain Titus. Along with the campaign, “SM” also offers multiplayer, including both competitive and cooperative modes.

Though the game only shipped with two multiplayer modes – Annihilation and Seize Ground – the coop, score attack mode “Exterminatus” hit the net not too long after its initial release and a second DLC pack, “Chaos Unleased.” Well, Exterminatus was stuff that basically should’ve been included to begin with but was added later on (not to mention, free of charge for those who bought new) and “Chaos Unleased,” which includes a new Capture the Flag multiplayer mode, new skins and maps, is technically the first DLC pack. But whatever – moving on.

As 2011 was coming to a close, Relic posted the above screenshot on the “Space Marine” Facebook page with the caption, “We have a big metal surprise coming to Space Marine in January – Merry Christmas from Relic!” No other info was posted along with the screen shot (or since for that matter) so…let the wild speculation begin!

Just so everyone is on the same page, that screen shot up there shows an Ultramarine Dreadnought utterly dominating the face of a Chaos Raptor. A dreadnought, for the 40k uninitiated, is a lumbering, mechanical behemoth that houses a fallen Space Marine. Dreadnoughts have two very important functions in the Imperium of Man. They act as a mobile life-support system, keeping a broken, otherwise dead Space Marine alive for centuries to come, while at the same time being enormous death-dealing monstrosities that the Imperium can use in battle to bring vengeance to humanity’s enemies.

Now – onto the speculation. With literally no info to go on, it’s hard to say just what capacity Relic could be using a dreadnought in. Obviously, since he is decimating a Chaos Raptor, we can tell that at least the Imperium will have access to dreadnoughts. Secondly, since it is a Raptor being killed, we can tell it’s in a competitive multiplayer mode as Raptors don’t make an appearance in the single player and aren’t enemies in Exterminatus (at least not until the final, bonus round). On second thought, it could be in the new “Chaos Unleashed” Exterminatus – a mode which pits the forces of Chaos against hordes of Imperial Guard as well as Orks.

So where does this leave us – the players? First of all, it leaves me hoping that we’ll actually be getting to pilot one of the fearsome dreadnoughts. It’d be such a disappointment if, when said DLC is released, if it were only added in a support capacity – for instance, a special Exterminatus map where a Dreadnought shows up to deal justice – or if they were just an enemy.

But that couldn’t be it – the dreadnought has to be playable and that’s really all there is to it. Why would Relic even go out of its way to put something like a dreadnought in if we weren’t going to be able to use it? The answer to that riddle is they wouldn’t.

So it’s going to be playable in competitive and perhaps coop multiplayer modes. My initial reaction was this – a handicapped match (wrestling terminology) where a team of Chaos takes on an Imperial Dreadnought. It would make sense, fluff-wise, since a dreadnought can take a pretty serious pounding and has the firepower to back up its toughness. But it wouldn’t make too much sense, game-wise, cause no matter how powerful the dreadnought is, multiple people versus one dude would be pointless and not much fun (especially for the dreadnought). Perhaps they could be used in a team with dreadnought versus a team with dreadnought?

Then again, after some thinking, a dreadnought couldn’t really be featured on, well, any of the maps in “SM” to date – mostly because of its size. While there isn’t a function to get into cover, using cover to regain health is an important part of playing competitively. What I’m getting at here is, basically, the maps are designed for smaller, Space Marine, character models and a larger dreadnought wouldn’t fit. In the competitive maps, like the sewer one or the factory (it’s been a while, I don’t remember the specific names), a dreadnought would literally spend the entire time stepping on/over pieces of the environment or stuck in/on/against stuff.

Well, that kinda cuts out a lot of options, doesn’t it? So, no dreadnoughts in single player is more than likely. The single player is pretty narrative driven and throwing a dreadnought in wouldn’t make sense, either in terms of the story or in terms of how we experience the story. It probably wouldn’t be competitive multiplayer because it would either make matches too unbalanced and it probably wouldn’t fit in any of the maps. So Exterminatus seems like the only other option – except we already decided that there aren’t any Chaos Raptors in Exterminatus.

Unless, perhaps, the dreadnought is a new boss character for the “Chaos Unleashed” Exterminatus mode. Unfortunately, if this is the case, it doesn’t sound like the dreadnought would be a playable character and would be, probably one of the last, ultra-powerful foes you face before finishing Exterminatus. I’m rather saddened by this realization but after exploring the other avenues Relic could use to introduce the dreadnought, this seems like this only plausible answer. Hopefully all the rabid 40k and “SM” fans out there will get answers sometime soon.


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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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