Warhammer: Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters continues the tradition that every Warhammer title must have at least three titles. Warhammer: Chaos Gate is more than XCOM featuring space marines. This is a long, difficult and sometimes frustrating battle against the evil minions of Nurgle. It features a constantly evolving strategic map and intense turn-based tactical battles. It crosses the line between satisfying challenge and frustration at times. There is a lot of reinforcement swarms, as well as some wickedly designed failure spirals. You know what they have to say about the dark and gloomy 41st Millennium.
There have been so many 40K games over the past decade that I can’t help but laugh at the idea of a new one. Even though I am a long-time fan, it is hard to believe there are still so many. Daemonhunters was a great game, and I’m glad it is. It’s probably the best since 2009 Dawn of War II. The Grey Knights are a unique chapter of Space Marines that is deadly and only recruits from people with psychic abilities. This epic action-horror epic centers on this terrifying, horror-filled adventure. The combat system is built around these guys, and I can see that the developers did their research.
Each Knight has a willpower reserve that can be used to improve their weapon damage or heal their comrades. However, using them can come at a cost as it builds up a Warp Meter. This is because psychics in 40K are more likely to be noticed by Immaterium daemons. This makes it difficult to make turn-to-turn decisions. Filling the meter can lead to additional enemy reinforcements, or even a plague for your entire team. Sometimes it is better to rely upon good old lead and steel than use Jedi mind tricks or risk the perils associated with the warp.
Sometimes, it is better to rely upon good old lead and steel than on Jedi mind tricks. “
It was amazing to me how many ways you could construct a turn using the simple tools of my Knights. The major difference between XCOM and XCOM is the lack of a die roll to hit. You can cause the damage if it is within your line of sight and within range of your weapon. Cover and distance reduce damage from ranged attacks. A helpful overlay in the UI lets you see how much damage each enemy could do from a given location before you make your move. While there is some reward in the randomness of things like critical hits and other ranged attacks, your well-thought out plan won’t be ruined by someone missing a 95 percent shot at point-blank distance.
As your Knights levels up, you gain greater tactical control and unlock new abilities that allow for deadly synergy. A stun bar is available to most enemies. Once filled, it allows them to execute a brutal melee attack. Just like Gears Tactics gives your entire squad an additional action point. This encouraged me to consider every outcome and organize the destruction of my enemies as if I were composing a lethal sonata. It’s so satisfying to make a difficult situation into a one-sided slaughter by following a carefully planned order of operations.It is incredibly satisfying to make a difficult situation into a one-sided slaughter. “
It can be frustrating, however, when Daemonhunters seem to have a favorite trick of spawning 50 enemy reinforcements right over you in the middle a pitched battle. It’s not a huge exaggeration. My ability to multitask was being tested on so many missions that suddenly, by the Emperor’s shriveled ball, there were MORE. Normal missions have a finite number of reinforcements that you can spawn. They’re infinite in the Chaos Gate missions, my least favorite. When I couldn’t keep up with the new horrors that were spawning, my consumables ran out, and my willpower was exhausted, I felt like my intelligence and tenacity didn’t matter. I was being repeatedly kicked and pushed into the mud.
Daemonhunters can be brutal. Although I managed to finish Normal, I had to restart the game twice. The second time was after I had already completed a third of the story. But I don’t think anyone would be able to resist the temptation to go to Easy until they have mastered the system. You might find yourself struggling to keep the crusade running for many hours, especially if you fail the first few missions. From a balance perspective, the hardest part of the game is at its beginning. You have four Knights and a severely damaged ship. You begin at the top, but it gradually descends and levels off as you build your roster. Your vessel is repaired and you get more powerful gear to improve your survival.Although there are many moving parts, they are carefully introduced at a steady pace. “
I was not only kept on my silver-clad feet by the threats from planetbound. The campaign map, which is constantly changing, tracks your progress in fighting The Bloom, a deadly plague that you must study and defeat before it overtakes the sector. Although there are many moving parts, they are carefully introduced in a gradual manner as the story progresses. You only have one strain to track at the beginning. There are five different strains by the end. It’s over if they open five before Nurgle can stop his machinations. These moving parts work together well and force you into difficult decisions every step of the way.
The story is exciting, detailed, and filled with unexpected twists. It was just what I needed when I felt I was getting too comfortable in my routine. The Baleful Edict’s main cast is memorable and interesting. They play off each other’s conflicting personalities to great effect. Robyn Addison’s Inquisitor Vakir is a great example of excellent voice acting. Complex Games is the best game studio to capture Warhammer 40K’s essence over the years.
It’s great, right down to the customizable knights and moody battle maps. It does so at least most of the time. Some bugs are still distracting, but they can be entertaining. Although I am not a daemonologist I do not believe Great Unclean Ones should have transparent torsos. Plaguebearers don’t usually wiggle into the sky, take one stride, and then slide back through thin air to avoid obstacles. Even shots that I was told were valid by the UI would sometimes get blocked by terrain features. This can be annoying, but it is rare. The technical aspect is still a work in progress.
The sound design is excellent. It includes the overwrought combat barks of Grey Knights, the satisfying zaps of psychic smite, and the magnificent explosions from a fuel silo. The soundtrack is dark and ominous, but Daemonhunters lacks dynamic music. It’s the same backing track that you have been listening to for hours, layered underneath something that should be punctuated with its own instrumental flair.
The majority of my time spent with Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters was spent imagining how I could turn the tide of a seemingly impossible fight with my trusted squad of veteran, psychic-space paladins. I had a lot of fun putting together the right moves in the right order and having a blast doing it. It tried to pile on more enemies than it could handle, which made me feel frustrated and exasperated. I wished it had come up with better and more interesting ways to challenge my skills. The campaign’s complex and sometimes harsh nature is heightened by the charming, gothic bridge officers, who are a delight to watch, and a story that never stops adding new twists to your plans. This is one of the most XCOM-likes you’ll find. Daemonhunters, if there was a hall for 40K games that truly understood the setting and did something exciting and thematically relevant with it, would be it.
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