Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine



Very violent sci-fi shooter deals in gory, bloody combat.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game glorifies fantasy and sci-fi combat, with seemingly unstoppable heroes battling through countless evil alien adversaries. Honor and duty are touted frequently within the narrative, but always within the context of an imperial military system.

Positive role models

Our heroes are hardened space marines unafraid of battling enemy aliens to their dying breath to benefit their comrades and the human species. They are good people, though we never hear them talk about lives outside of combat. Their existence revolves around violence and is framed by unyielding military codes.

Ease of play

Though at times quite challenging, this game will prove immediately familiar and accessible to fans of third-person shooters. The controls are highly intuitive and feel good, and simple, linear level design means it’s all but impossible to get lost while moving toward mission objectives. 


This game deals in gore, blood, and graphic violence. Players attack enemies from afar with a variety of powerful ranged weapons, then, once overcome by hordes of aliens, draw their chainswords and energy axes to carve up their inhuman foes at close range. Alien heads explode in showers of crimson, blood spatters both the ground and our heroes’ armor, and bodies litter the battlefield.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Release date:September 6, 2011
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence

This review of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old June 11, 2015

Great for warhammer fans

Violent, but you only kill orks, who have no place in the world of the emperor
What other families should know
Great role models
Adult Written byJuggernaut93 September 23, 2011

Gory Third-Person goodness.

This game is just a barrel of fun. Though gory beyond all reason, the only thing you kill are mindless aliens. No human blood shed. (Unless you count Chaos, and lets be honest, who does?) Calling Chaos "human" is a stretch of the word. More like ex-human. But in any case, quite bloody. Aliens can be beheaded, bisected, mutilated, mauled, shot, sliced, blown up, gibbed, stabbed, and burned. However, the Space Marines are not just killing these guys for the fun of it. Millions of lives are at stake. The Orks (primary alien species that you fight) spread like wildfire, killing anything and everything that they see. They are also very hardy of constitution. Serious dismemberment and massive bodily trauma is really the only way to kill them. They shrug off bullets. Chaos, on the other hand, is a much bigger deal. So big a deal, in fact, that the Imperium is willing to blow up an entire planet just to remove a Chaos cult. Chaos are the forces of the Dark Gods, horribly powerful entities that wish to enslave all life. They are served by deranged, evil mortals and daemons, which are killed in this game. The protagonists and playable characters are the noble Space Marines, who daily risk their lives to protect mankind from the horrors of the universe. They are selfless and brave. Good role models, in my opinion. In short, nothing really wrong here but violence. If you dont like your child splattering aliens, then pass on this one.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written bySaad1Khan November 22, 2014

Good enough

This game contains gore but not lots of.This game is violent but not very.CSM you should rate it 15 are you pplz gone nuts plz don't behave like esrb.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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