The latest Space Marine 2 gameplay overview promises 'seemingly endless waves' of Tyranids, chill hangouts on the Battle Barge

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 – Gameplay Overview Trailer - YouTube Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 – Gameplay Overview Trailer - YouTube
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I can't explain why, but I've always suspected that Space Marines, under all the power armor heavy plating, would be alright to hang out with. There's a kind of genetically-modified, ritually-weaponized "dudes rock" energy there that I can appreciate. And based on the Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 gameplay overview trailer released yesterday, it looks like I'll be able to test my theory firsthand. At last: a game that gives us a chance to see how the Emperor's biggest sons spend their downtime.

The gameplay overview kicks off with a look at Space Marine 2's campaign mode, picking up the story of protagonist Titus a century after the first game. We're shown the jungles and planet-spanning metropolises Titus and his Space Marine comrades will battle through with chainswords and bolt pistols as they fight "seemingly endless waves" of Tyranids, thanks to Saber Interactive's "unique swarm technology." It looks promising, with some nimble transitions between melee combat and third-person shooting.

But more importantly for me, we learn about the Battle Barge—one of the battleship fortresses of the Space Marines, which we'll head back to between sorties to tweak gear loadouts, choose from available missions, and "gather intel" by chatting with the lads. I'm unironically really excited to get to poke around a detailed Space Marine ship, and not just because I'm convinced that the Ultramarines are probably huge gossips. I mean, those big blue boys are the closest thing the Space Marines have to a cheerleader squad. What else are you going to do in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium where there is only war, if not chitchat? I bet they've got savage rumors about the Space Wolves.

The gameplay overview also gives us some additional glimpses of the replayability-focused Operations co-op mode and the competitive 6v6 matches of Eternal War. While there aren't many new specifics about how they'll play, the trailer details how both modes fit into the game's progression, which looks pretty elaborate compared to the first Space Marine game.

While playing either Operations or Eternal War, you'll unlock cosmetics for your bespoke Space Marine, as well as experience and "armory data" to spend on skill and gear upgrades. The six playable Space Marine classes have their own skill trees, while it looks like individual weapon types have "perk trees" of their own. Additionally, as you use a weapon, it seems like you'll unlock modified variants of that weapon archetype. A "master-crafted" auto bolt rifle shown in the video had increased accuracy compared to the default variant, but decreased magazine capacity and ammo reserves.

As for the cosmetics, we get to see a bit more of the menus for customizing your Space Marine, and it seems as granular as you'd hope. It looks like there will be plenty of individual armor components to unlock and swap around, and you'll be able to assign an overall color scheme as well as component-specific colors and heraldry. I am going to spend hours in those menus. Can't wait.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 releases on September 9, 2024.

Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.