A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine is an exceptionally violent third-person shooter that relishes in depicting bloody, gory combat. The player’s titular soldier takes down multiple green-skinned aliens with every swing of his chainsword, and is often covered from head to toe with the blood of his foes. The marines are fighting for a noble cause -- to save humanity -- but they clearly enjoy the violent acts they commit. Note that this game can be played online with other players and supports open online communication, a feature that Common Sense Media does not recommend for pre-teens.
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What's it about?
Based on the tabletop miniature war game that has been a part of modern gaming culture for nearly a quarter of a century, WARHAMMER 40,000: SPACE MARINE is a third-person shooter that lets players take on the role of a meaty, sci-fi super-soldier battling an army of lime-skinned, Cockney-accented aliens known as “orks.” Powerful ranged weapons make it easy to take on baddies from a distance, but eventually the enemy’s sheer numbers will force players to draw their chainswords and energy-infused axes to do battle at close range, sending multiple orks flying with each swing. Once players have worked through the campaign, competitive play awaits in a pair of online modes that allow players to level up their avatars and earn experience points, perks, and custom armor.
Is it any good?
There’s not much wrong with Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, but there’s also not a lot that’s fresh or original. Fans of other third-person sci-fi shooters, such as games in Gears of War series, will find Space Marine familiar, even though it eschews any sort of strategic covering system in favor of simple, head-on battles. Most levels are composed of simple, linear routes leading through wide corridors that give our hero plenty of room to get down and dirty with his chainsword. It’s fun for a while, but tedium eventually sets in.
It’s worth adding that Space Marine isn’t just a love letter to longtime fans who have always wanted to see the franchise’s action from a battlefield-level perspective, but also an accessible point of entry for players new to the dauntingly epic Warhammer universe. Still, it just doesn’t do much to innovate or stand out in the crowded third-person genre. It’s completely competent, but far from exceptional.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. How do you feel after playing violent games? Do you think they have any impact on how you think or act while engaged in activities in the real world? Do games with fantasy violence directed at non-humans have less of an impact on how you feel than those that depict gritty, realistic violence toward people?
Families can also discuss online play. How do you protect yourself from online predators? What would you do if you encountered someone suspicious while playing a game online?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.