With Warhammer 40,000: Space Marines just around the corner THQ has released what is essentially a giant advertisement in the form of its latest arcade title Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team. Within moments of starting the game you’re subject to Space Marine ads on screen, the one perk being that upon completion of a mission in Kill Team you will unlock a special edition power sword for use in the upcoming Space Marine title.
Jumping straight into a mission you’ll find yourself choosing between four different classes, each with their pros and cons. Librarian has a semi-powerful rifle, but an above average melee, an all-rounder if you will much like the Techmarine but the melee and rifle power is switched. The Vanguard Veteran has an immense melee and let’s be honest looks by far the coolest, alas come the mission if anything he is by far the worst choice no matter what the occasion. The final choice is the Veteran who is the one with bazooka, at least once you achieve the relevant unlocks, Veteran along with Librarian will be the two Space Marines chosen to use more often than not. For all the Warhammer buffs out there you can even go as far as selecting your chapter, personally I like green so Salamanders it was. If you have a certain loyalty or you actually play as a chapter in the figurine game then you can match your character to whomever your allegiance lies with.
With each Space Marine comes a melee and a ranged weapon all of which can be upgraded three times once you hit certain points totals in your missions. You also have unique abilities with each Space Marine, the Veterans rate of fire turns his bolter into a rail gun, the Librarian can use a psychic bomb on his enemies, the Techmarine has an auto-turret and the Vanguard can ice skate, no sorry I mean put his afterburners on and float around. You can also unlock perks to help you in your quest through the Battle Kroozer, this can include anything from a 15% health upgrade to an elongated special ability.
The plot behind the game isn’t anything spectacular sadly. You, a Space Marine, are dropped off on the Orc Battle Kroozer and basically have to take it out from the inside. This of course involves endless waves of Orcs which you must decimate on your quest to halt the progress of the Kroozer. The story is also played out through a series of cutscenes and here lies one of the game’s biggest flaws; firstly you cannot skip the cutscenes, not even if you’ve completed the level beforehand. Secondly the animation and story are just so dull you’ll be tearing your hair out as you crush your thumb onto the start button in a vain attempt to bypass it all. The only positive in the game’s animation is that when you kill the final Orc (or Goblin) in a wave, the game does the whole Matrix slow motion effect, fire off a few rounds and you feel like Neo, all be it Neo painted bright yellow.
The control system is pretty basic and doesn’t take long to master, the left thumbstick controls the Marines movement and the right thumbstick controls your ranged weapon, add in the A button and there’s your melee. It’s a little like gauntlet or the Black Ops secret arcade game. The enemies themselves are pretty basic and generally easy to kill although the Orcs with the rifles can get quite annoying at times. Enemies will regenerate until you reach a certain point in the map, on some levels this can become a little infuriating as Orcs just keep coming and coming and coming no matter how many times you take them out.
You can of course enlist the help of a friend, but again the game lets you down something fierce when it comes to the co-op mode. Kill Team only supports local co-op, which begs the question, why did the developers not include co-op over LIVE? Even if you do manage to find a friend with a limited interest in Warhammer once you log-in you are quickly told that your friend will receive no achievements or unlocks whilst helping you battle the Orc hordes. Simply put THQ were mad to not include LIVE co-op in Kill Team and would be off their heads if they do not bother to accommodate it in Space Marines.
If you find yourself bored of the relatively short campaign then there is also a Survival mode. Think Horde in Gears, you basically have to withstand wave after wave of Orcs and you can even have your highest time entered into an online leaderboard. Although whilst having a go I noticed the current leader had somewhere close to 3,049,838,747 hours logged, a glitch maybe.
Graphically the game is nothing special; it looks like something I would download on my iPod for sixty nine pence. Kill Team would interest fans of the Warhammer series for a few hours, but even for diehard buffs, its appeal wouldn’t last much longer than that. You can see that little effort has been put into Kill Team and it is a shame as it could have been so much more enjoyable. I love the four different classes, the unlocks, the chapters even the special abilities (bar the Vanguard’s ice skating).
The idea of co-op gaming with two heroic Space Marines is also another positive to take away, but they need to make it compatible over Xbox LIVE. Kill Team from the outset looked like nothing more than a PR stunt to help boost the sales of Space Marines, it’s just worrying to think that all the time and effort that went into making Kill Team would have found better use improving the big brother Space Marine game.