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Opinions 28 August 2023, 19:15

author: Zbigniew Woznicki

Warhammer 40K: Space Marine 2 Doesn't Reinvent the Crusade. And That's Great

The short demo of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 gave quite a lot of quality gameplay. Tearing Tyranids apart is satisfying, but the game faces a few shortcomings. Whether you consider them showsto1ppers is subjective, though.

The first thing that struck me after launching Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 was a quite poor main menu. In the first part, there were short clips showing Titus defeating orcs in the background, while in the sequel, there’s just the standard armor of one of the Primaris Space Marines. The music, on the other hand, is sisterly, which I definitely count as a plus. Perhaps on the day of release, the game will greet us in the menu with a more striking appearance.

At least that's what I hope for, especially since even the icons for difficulty settings are just placeholders for now, meaning that the developers are still working on this aspect. And it is no surprise that such minor details were overlooked. However, the transition to the game is already impressive. The prologue has a very short interlude and we are immediately transferred to the jungle, where the Imperial Guard has its last outpost defending against the Tyranids.

A sight worthy of the Empire

Visually, this title really stands out. It was of course already visible in the screenshots shown much earlier. In person, everything looks even better. The swarms of Tyranids are just waiting to attack, and when it comes to combat, one has to reckon with a much larger mass of enemies than in the first installment.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2; Saber Interactive; 2023 - Warhammer 40K: Space Marine 2 Doesn't Reinvent the Crusade. And That's Great - dokument - 2023-08-28
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2; Saber Interactive; 2023

You can feel this overwhelming effect when, together with the Guard, you have to repel successive waves of enemies. The Tyranids also have quite detailed models, although they obviously don't measure up to the Space Marines and the main character, Titus. The embellishments of the armor look excellent down to the tiniest detail. Of course, this effects wanes when you choose low or medium graphic settings.

At high and ultra, there’s simply something to feast your eyes on. The jungle and imperial structures introduce the world of Warhammer into the fortieth millennium. The beginning is not overwhelming in its monumentalism, but I suspect that later stages of the game are going to be stronger in this respect. At least that's what some of the shared screenshots seemed to disclose.

Unfortunately, there’s one aspect that has struck me quite strongly right from the start – and that’s Titus' movement. In the "first part," while running, we could feel the weight of the armor that the hero wore. His steps were heavy and it was obvious that the armor had its own weight. In "the sequel," it's completely different and Titus' movement turns out to be smoother, lighter; completely distinct from what it was before. It didn't appeal to me at all – especially since the sounds of heavy footsteps are also missing.

Titus returns, bringing the will and peace of the God Emperor

Titus is exceptionally brutal, acting in the name of the Emperor. The Tyranids were spectacularly cut down as soon as there was an opportunity to add a chain sword to my arsenal. The gameplay at its core has not changed compared to the original, which is a decade older. Space Marine 2 is once again a slasher, in which you have to chop up successive waves of enemies.

The opponents are definitely more numerous than in the original and the fight seems much more dynamic. Tyranids rarely stood still, just waiting to be killed, while it happened quite often to the orcs if the battle arena consisted of something more than a single-level platform. Titus's new companions are also doing quite well, which is related to new mechanics.

In the past, when life points dropped to zero, we died. In the sequel, when you are knocked down, the allies' priority is to help Titus. Once, though, it didn’t work for me. At the time, aliies were running around me and didn't know what to do with themselves. Obviously some kind of a bug, but it seems like nothing that couldn’t be fixed by release.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2; Saber Interactive; 2023 - Warhammer 40K: Space Marine 2 Doesn't Reinvent the Crusade. And That's Great - dokument - 2023-08-28
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2; Saber Interactive; 2023

The execution also looks different now. In the first part, it renewed life points and the shield regenerated automatically after a while. Now, executions renew shield. To regain HP, you have to use stimpacks, which you acquire along the way and, at least at the beginning of the game, you can carry just two with you. Personally, I prefer the previous system, but maybe it works better in the later stages of the game.

To fully evaluate whether it's heresy or a blessing, we still have to wait

An hour-long demo is not enough to fully evaluate the game. The enemies that were placed in my path were numerous, but these were mostly weak units and my forward charge was enough to make the clash end in a K-O. The shared demo didn't even include a boss fight, which would definitely be a good conclusion of the short gameplay and could allow you to face some kind of challenge.

From a technical point of view, I must admit that Space Marine 2 suffered strong frame rate drops when it was loading another area of the map. Even the explosions surrounding the arrival of new Tyranids didn't have the same effect on the game as entering some kind of lift that took you to the next area, from where you had to move on. And these were really significant drops. Sometimes I had the feeling that it would crash to the desktop – fortunately, this didn’t happen even once.

We still don't know the official hardware requirements of the game, but on my RX 6700 XT paired with Ryzen 3700X, I comfortably played on high details. At certain moments I experienced slight drops, but further game optimization should change that. Besides, Space Marine 2 is doing quite well visually, as it does in terms of gameplay.

The demo of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 revealed that the developers are not pushing for any revolution. This production will be a genuine continuation of the original with minor changes, but the core of the gameplay remains the same. The visuals, which are very impressive indeed, must be considered a definite leap in quality, and personally, I can't wait to explore the new chapters of Titus' crusade.

Zbigniew Woznicki | Gamepressure.com

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