I wish I could get all four players to focus their attacks...
You’ll gain experience points for enemy kills and completing challenges. These simple tasks usually involve acquiring certain amount of headshots or kills in a set period of time. The XP will gradually raise your level, which unlocks new classes, armor perks, and weapons. You will not, however, unlock weapon upgrades, which are essential to becoming an efficient killing machine. You’ll have to venture into the versus mode to earn these weapon perks.
For example, I normally play as a Devastator class and I use the Heavy Bolter Expertise and Coolant perks. To unlock these I had to get 50 kills with the weapon in multiplayer, as well 30 killstreaks. You can expect to spend a lot of time in versus mode if you want to get the most out of your weapons. Luckily for me, I was already at level 36 (of 41) from my multiplayer exploits, and proficient with several weapons.
Both of the Exterminatus levels, “Hab Center Assault” and “Kalkys Facility Escape” involve 20 waves of enemies and four arenas. After five waves you move on to the next arena. These stages are basically reworked maps from the single player and multiplayer campaigns. You’ll have two flavors of setting: desert brown and factory browner.
As I played through Exterminatus I was presented with some truly baffling design decisions. Unlike the multiplayer game, you CANNOT change your class when you’re waiting to respawn. If you show up to the fight and everyone else has their Devastator dress on, you know your team is screwed. You’ll have to wait until the whole team has been defeated before you can change classes. In a game mode with changing objectives, this is downright unforgivable.
One guy gets killed while another guy watches. The other two players are probably gathering ammo.
Your team has a shared set of limited lives in Exterminatus, and you’ll receive an extra life for every 5000 points your team scores. This isn’t so bad, until you realize that you’ll be playing with people who have never touched the multiplayer. I hate to blast novice players, but damn newbies suck up all the extra lives. And don’t even get me started on playing with randoms; the great unwashed, un-mic'd masses who play as the Assault class and still take ammo drops! What the hell are you doing? I’m watching you play! You’re using a Chainsword and haven't fired your bolt pistol once!
All of this leads to the inevitable defeat, forcing you to attempt the arena all over again. You aren’t sent back to the beginning of the whole match, but if your team is defeated at level 20, you’ll have to start over at level 16. And if you choose to restart, you’ll lose any XP you’ve gained since you first entered the arena. It’s better to quit and start all over again, BUT, if you quit in the middle of a match, you’ll lose your XP as well. The only way to collect XP is to finish an arena, or quit after the whole team has been defeated. And if you get disconnected, you’re screwed. As with the multiplayer, there are serious issues with lag. Enemies slide across the arena floor and disappear at times. This is a huge issue on the Space Marine forums, and I'm not afforded the space to delve into it here.
One final gripe about Exterminatus: capture points. Certain waves involve the capture of specific areas of the map. You have a set time to claim these points, and you do this by simply staying in the area. Unlike the other challenges, if you fail this task, it’s game over. These objectives are almost impossible to complete with un-mic’d players. Since you need to retreat from battle to regenerate health, the whole idea of holding your ground goes against the way the game is played.
Don’t worry, it’s not all a crap sandwich. Exterminatus is quite fun with a mic’d team, and it’s a blast with friends. If you can coordinate strategies and class choices before a match your chances for success are greatly increased. Four Space Marines working together is an awesome sight to behold. It’s too bad this rarely happens. The potential for greatness is there, but like the game itself, it misses the mark on a few key features. 40k fans will still love it.
The Co-Op Experience: The online only survival mode is called Exterminatus, putting a squad of four Space Marines against Orks and other baddies in a violent score based fight to the death. There are three classes to choose from: the Tactical Marine, Devastator or Assault Marine and players will be able to utilize weapons and perks available to those classes from both co-op and multiplayer versus modes.
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