Warhammer 40K: Darktide Review – Flawed But Oozing Potential

Warhammer, Warhammer never changes.

Warhammer 40K: Darktide on PC

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Fatshark studios, the creator of the latest Warhammer fantasy coop experience, is a unique game development team best known for their fresh take on the renowned Left for Dead style of coop gameplay. Warhammer Vermintide, both 1 & 2, are truly great games, and the second may even be considered a masterpiece. However, does its newest title, Warhammer 40k: Darktide, live up to its predecessors?

Warhammer 40k: Darktide is a game about prisoners rising to save the city of Tertium from hordes of foes enslaved against their will for a minor offense. From the beginning of your servitude, you will go mission to mission endlessly until you are no longer useful to the Emperor.

It’s a dark and straightforward story, but well done with a bitter undertone; may I remind you, Warhammer 40k has a tale of an ork that goes back in time to duplicate his favorite weapon and eliminates himself from existence. Simple, grim, and enjoyable stories are what Warhammer is best at.

A display of a custom character in Warhammer 40k: Darktide.
Image Source: Fatshark Studios

When it comes to character creation, the player is responsible for creating their own story, which is a big change from past games, and it honestly feels really well done. The decisions you make from your class, your backstory, and your personality choices change how you interact with actual players in the match and how your character interacts through the story.

The gameplay, although very familiar, feels great at times and strange at others, as the vast majority of your combat is melee– which is unfortunate and weird considering the nature of 40k with ships the size of planets and weapons that shatter entire buildings. However, if you intentionally pick the Veteran Sharpshooter, the game’s main shoot-em class, you will spend most of your time in melee, oddly enough.

The limited ammo and tight corners that are provided requires you to spam your sword endlessly, and while the first few impacts are a novelty, it gets old fast. Warhammer 40k: Darktide really feels like it is missing more love in the firepower department or attention to detail in the melee combat, as it currently fails to commit to either in any substantial or fun way. The major problem with this is that it leads to all four classes feeling very similar.

While four classes that are available, the Veteran Sharpshooter, the Zealot Preacher, the Psyker, and the Ogryn, are fun, none besides the Psyker, with its electricity and force attacks, feel unique enough to warrant being a different class. That’s not necessarily to say the gameplay is unenjoyable, but the feeling of spamming a hammer, shovel, or axe feels the same among all classes.

And while classes do receive special abilities and perks differentiate the classes a bit, the special abilities are so limited when active that you often forget you even have them. In addition, they recharge as quickly as they disappear, making them feel like they lack a lot of value. It can certainly be argued that the hectic endgame combat is fun with a group of people, but single-player-only participants are going to notice the issues pretty quickly.

What most levels atmosphere feels like.
Image Source: Fatshark via Twinfinite

Additionally, while the graphics are phenomenal, every level feels the same, with most maps boasting a dark, factory look, making levels feel nearly identical. Performance issues are also rampant, as it’s hard to even get through a cutscene or a level without crashing. Crashes are unexplainable and happen at loading screens, cutscenes, and even mid-gameplay.

Unless you have one of the latest Nvidia 40 series graphic cards, you won’t be able to run raytracing and should just generally expect the game to struggle overall in the frame rate department. It has to be mentioned, at least briefly, these are real and current issues. While the game will likely be patched to help with some of these issues in the near future, its current state is pretty poor, especially if you’re a real stickler for that kind of stuff.

Warhammer 40k: Darktide is an enjoyable game but a shallow one, featuring a great formula that is, unfortunately, overridden with stability issues and a lack of content. Despite these shortcomings, the game is still a lot of fun with friends or random people alike, and its problems will likely be addressed quickly.

Warhammer 40k: Darktide is definitely worth buying if you love the franchise, but even then, just barely at the moment, due to being hollow and unstable. Here is to hoping they can fix it up so that it can be considered equal or better to Vermintide 2.

Warhammer 40k: Darktiode
Warhammer 40k: Darktide is an enjoyable game, but a shallow one. It is a fun game with a great formula overridden with stability issues and a lack of content.
  • Great lighting and detailed textures.
  • Fun team based game with necessary roles at higher difficulty, incentivizing teamwork through the health and ammo mechanics.
  • Atmosphere is solid.
  • Major performance and stability issues.
  • Lack of content: needs more missions, map variety, and gunplay.
  • Melee spam is overwhelming.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PC, Xbox.

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Zack Hermenau
A freelance writer with a passion for creating content on live service first-person shooters and Esports. Convinced Dota 2 changes too much for its own good.