Warhammer 40,000 Darktide Review – Incomplete Package

This Is eXputer's Warhammer 40,000 Darktide Review.

Both of the Vermintide games from Fatshark were sleeper hits that took the classic horde formulae and applied it to the Warhammer series. The second title especially received highly positive reviews across the board from both fans and critics alike. So the developers continued their support for the game with post-launch content and DLCs, which allowed it to soar to even higher heights. Now we bring you our Warhammer 40,000 Darktide review.

With this new game, Fatshark is shaking up things a bit. Vermintide was about hack-and-slash only, while Darktide augments it by adding run-and-gun to the mix. The concept is interesting, but the game fails to deliver on its name due to a lack of content and a number of technical issues at launch. Let’s get deeper into it in our review.

Story And Setting

Warhammer 40,000 Darktide Story and Setting
Story And Setting.

Chaos rules the universe, and the answer to that chaos is even more chaos. In Dartide, you step into the shoes of a prisoner who is teamed up with other rejects to storm the hive city of Tertium and take it back from hordes of heretics in the name of the Emperor. You aren’t a specialized soldier or a high-ranking captain, but an expendable reject. As such you don’t have access to high-tier weapons used by the military. The government is expecting you to fail and will immediately replace you when given the chance, therefore, you have to prove your worth to them by completing your assigned missions.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is a 4-player co-op action game, which allows you to team with your friends by sending them an invite over steam, or matchmaking up with randoms if you are daring enough and craving the thrill of an unorganized and chaotic experience. Don’t like other people getting in your way and ruining your experience? Then the developers have bot support planned on their roadmap for December, but until then, you’ll have to bear with actual human players, and that’s exactly what I did during my time with the game.

The game features a hub world known as the Morningstar, where you can alter your appearance, buy upgrades and weapons, craft new materials, or pick up new contracts. You’ll be frequently visiting this after every mission so be sure to check up on the weapons as they change hourly. Similarly, the contracts alter every week, giving you new challenges during your missions. The crafting system however is surprisingly still not finished even though the game has launched.

The story isn’t anything groundbreaking and is in fact quite forgettable, but the character dialogues are some of the high points of the experience. These dialogue lines can sometimes be hilarious and can vary with the story background of the character you choose during the character creation. The game still feels incomplete though, as there is no clear goal or end in sight, no major antagonist, and no insight as to what the heretics are even planning.

You just grind through missions, upgrade your gear, get some story sequences a few times, and rinse and repeat. The incomplete crafting system is a major question mark on the developer’s priority as the in-game microtransaction-infested cosmetic store is fully complete.

Gameplay

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Gameplay
Gameplay.

In addition to customizing your appearance, the game has four different classes to choose from, each of which offers unique abilities and a distinct playstyle. For the in-game sorcery fanatics out there, there is the Psyker, who uses powerful magic to wreak havoc on foes. Then there is the Veteran-Sharpshooter, a sharpshooter, who has old-school guns to riddle the hordes of enemies with bullets and is best suited for supporting his team from behind.

For those who prefer melee combat, we have the Zealot-Preacher, who allows for quick and fast-paced melee combat. Last, but not least, we have the Ogryn, a giant monster, who loves to smash everything in his way to splinters. Each class also comes with its own special abilities which can be used after short cooldowns. I loved how each class felt distinct and required different tactical approaches to play with, but the class variety is a step down from Vermintide 2 which had around 15 different classes at launch.

One major negative which is pertinent to mention for the sake of this Warhammer 40,000: Darktide review is that the game doesn’t carry over your progress among characters. All the XP, gear, and currency you obtain through a character are limited to that specific character only. That means you have to level up, obtain gear for, and complete quests as each new character separately, thus severely increasing the grind and wearing down the novelty of the game.

As far as the mission variety is concerned, there are a few types available such as Strikes, assassinations, etc., but they are unfortunately not varied enough. Completing missions and contracts increase your ‘trust level’, and progressing through trust levels allows you access to more story sequences, weapons, gear, and Feats, which are class-specific upgrades. There are 30 levels, and you unlock a new Feat slot every fifth level. Each Feat Level then allows you to choose from 3 different Feats, which can be swapped out after every mission, so you can test different playstyles.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Veteran Sharpshooter Feat Tree
Veteran Sharpshooter Feats.

Each class can contribute significantly to a match, so it’s ideal to go on a mission with a squad of different classes. Darktide is a game that favors cooperative play over everything else, and it actually penalizes you for striking out on your own and leaving your team behind. There are certain bonuses that can only be obtained by sticking next to your team, such as shield regeneration. Also, the enemies usually rush you in hordes, which can prove to be too much for an individual player.

Overall, the combat feels fantastic and the moment-to-moment gameplay feels tight, just like in the Vermintide games. Never have I had more fun dissecting my enemies in the most brutal ways possible. Moments when your team is surrounded by a multitude of enemies create a huge adrenaline rush, and these are the moments where the game truly shines. Unfortunately, the mission and map variety is not varied enough to keep the gameplay from getting repetitive.

Visuals And Performance

Visuals
Visuals.

The art style of the game is the best the Warhammer 40,000 series has seen to date. No title before has managed to nail the setting and the atmosphere of the universe better than this.

From small narrow corridors to large multilayered gothic halls, the visual aspects of the game never disappoints. The serene moments between action sequences allow you to fully absorb and appreciate the graphics and the art style of the title, and the developers left no stone unturned in the character designs either.

Although the maps are a sight to behold, they aren’t populated with enough places to explore though. Sure there are some rare crafting components that can be found in some sections of the maps, but the title needs to provide better exploration rewards. Most players will just rush through the maps, completing objectives, and fail to behold the marvelous sights this game has to offer. 

Performance was the main hurdle that delayed our Warhammer 40,000: Darktide review because while the game mostly maintained a steady FPS, my experience isn’t universal. Many players reported terrible framerates even though their hardware was more than capable of running the game at maximum settings. I also experienced a lot of crashes and frequent disconnections which really soured the experience. Some people have even reported not being able to play with their friends due to some error. Even though, the game has been in beta for quite some time, launching the game without ironing out the issues is highly unacceptable.

Verdict

Verdict
Verdict.

Like its predecessors, this is clearly a live-service game. But unlike its predecessors, the lack of content here is disappointing. The combat and visuals feel better than ever, but the game falls short in other departments. For a franchise that has such complex lore, the story had limitless possibilities, but the developers failed to capitalize on it and as of right now it feels incomplete. The classes too, although fun to play, simply don’t have enough variety compared to their predecessors.

Performance-wise, the game fails to even classify as release-ready with so many disconnections and crashing issues, especially when the game has been in beta for quite some time. And why the game launched with an incomplete crafting system is completely beyond me.

I do have high hopes for it though, especially if the developer’s commitment to their previous titles is anything to go by. But should unfinished premium products really be excused? It will be quite some time before I can put this on the same mantle as Vermintide 2.

This has been our Warhammer 40,000 Darktide Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.

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Warhammer 40,000 Darktide Review
Overall
2.5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Like its predecessors, this is clearly a live-service game. But unlike its predecessors, the lack of content here is disappointing. The combat and visuals feel better than ever, but the game falls short in other departments. For a franchise that has such complex lore, the story had limitless possibilities, but the developers failed to capitalize on it and as of right now it feels incomplete.

Pros

  • Fluid Combat
  • Beautiful Art Style

Cons

  • Incomplete Crafting System
  • Limited Classes
  • Repetitive Missions
  • Boring Story
  • Technical Problems

Huzaifah Durrani


As an RPG fanatic, Huzaifah is probably Immersed in yet another playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas or Elden Ring. He will also help you complete game quests, and stay familiar with the latest game releases.

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