Editor’s note: Ryan Smith is a longtime gamer and freelance writer who lives in Raleigh, NC. A graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in business and marketing, he has written in the past for WRAL Tech Wire and GameArgus.com. He currently plays Xbox 360 and PC as well as Nintendo DS. For story ideas, tips and feedback, he can be reached via e-mail (ryannicksmith@gmail.com)

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – As a longtime fan of the Warhammer 40k Tabletop wargame, as well as the setting itself – it is incredibly intricate and well written- each time a new 40k video game is released, I have to try it out.

I have been anticipating ”Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine” ever since it was announced almost two years ago. Today, I finally get to try it, via the demo off of Steam – you can also play it on Xbox360 or Ps3-.

First let me put this issue to rest: Space Marines are not knock-offs of Halo’s Spartans, Gears of War’s COGs, nor any other video game character. Warhammer 40k has been around since 1987, and the Space Marines are the most played faction because let’s face it, 8 foot tall super warriors with redundant physiologies – i.e. multiple hearts and lungs- and massive, void capable ceramic battle plate fit with complete life support systems, wielding chainswords and massive guns … Well who wouldn’t want to play as them, or imitate them in other video games.

These soldiers are known as the Angels of Death, the harbingers of the God Emperor, the defenders of all mankind. Their foes make just about everything you have ever read about seem more like a children’s story. That is why they are awesome and that is why the world needs more video games about them, so you can live that adrenaline rush that is their entire existence.

In Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine you play as the Ultramarines, one the thousand or so chapters of Space Marines defending mankind. The Ultramarines are one of the oldest and proudest chapters, they have been around since the Horus Heresy, the civil war that divided the Space Marines, as well as the Imperium as a whole, in two. This civil war was over ten thousand years ago, so needless to say, Ultramarines are effective at killing things after 10 millennia of battle.

At your disposal you will find the bolter: the Space Marine’s chosen weapon. It fires fully automatic armor piercing explosive shells. One shot from this baby will explode the torso of an average humanoid. Unfortunately since it is in the year 40,000 and the enemies of mankind are legion and far from your average humanoid, don’t expect many 1 shot kills. However on fully automatic, enjoy as waves of enemies fall by your hands.

You will also have your chainsword. Unlike Gears of War this does not have to be prepped, hit the melee button and you immediately and savagely wade through your foes like a wolf among lambs. Change your name to Tamerlane because after you’ve had your first taste of melee combat you may as well throw down your guns because this is where this game truly shines. Melee combat is loads of fun. Most of your modern action games require tactics and multiple retreats to stay alive. In Space Marine, if you need health back, you just savagely eviscerate your enemy using an “execution” move. Simply press E for Eviscerate and your health is back.

Also you have a Stalker Pattern Bolter, a sniper version of the bolter, which fires much slower but much more powerful shells than the regular Bolter. Feeling the need for a bit more explosion? Well grenades and the Vengeance Launcher – invented for this game- a proximity mine launcher than can also stick to your enemies, should more than suffice. If all else has failed and you have run out of ammo and grenades, you will never run out of chainsword fuel, nor will your trusty sidearm – the Bolt Pistol – run out of ammo.

If the situation turns dire, enter Fury mode and nothing will survive your onslaught, as if they could in the first place. Some enemies in 40k are far bigger and badder than even a space marine and you get to encounter a few of these creatures in the demo. Nobs, the ‘officer’ type of Ork are larger and stronger than you, so Fury mode or keeping at a distance will be your best bet.

I highly recommend this demo for any action game fans, or if you have any interest in seeing this amazing Gothic sci-fi setting play out.

Around the Gaming World

Epic Games has released the Unreal Development Kit 2011 Beta, the free edition of their Unreal Engine 3.

Watch some beta footage here.

Complete with major improvements such as a movie capture system, material functions, adaptive tessellation, iCloud document saving for Apple iOS and more. Just icing on the cake for this massively popular game engine.

Download the UDK here: www.udk.com/download.

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