I have been a fan of tactical strategy games since I first installed XCOM from a magazine cover disk way back in the 90s. It is a genre that gives you all the tools needed to overcome your enemy, needing just patience, and a good sense of the environment to come out victorious. It is what makes the tabletop game of Warhammer so exciting, and it is this experience that Frontier Foundry have managed to boil down for Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters.
It is nearly impossible to break down all the lore and complexities of the Warhammer 40K universe in a few short paragraphs. But for the sake of this preview, Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters has you tasked with commanding a squad of Ultramarines known as the Grey Knights, as they work to stop an infestation of the Bloom, a cosmic plague that is capable of rotting everything in existence.
Armed with faith, and some rather powerful weaponry, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters takes you through missions that will have you facing the forces of Chaos head on, with each choice you make meaning either victory or the inevitable death of everything you know. It is the ideal setting for the Warhammer concept and the developers take the lore of the game to heart and deliver an experience that feels fantastic for the genre.
In the nearly two-hour demo, the team took us remotely through a range of different missions, giving a taste of combat, how the loadout will work, and finally, what boss fights in the game will play out like. While not everything was as finished as it will be when it is finally in fans hands, what I did see gave me a clear idea of why the game will excite fans worldwide.
The missions of Chaos Gate felt rooted deep in the lore of Warhammer 40,000, while still being accessible enough for someone new to the franchise to pick up and enjoy. As I said earlier, there is a lot of story to this section of the Warhammer universe, and it would be nearly impossible to give everything up front and have it at all enjoyable. But the team Frontier Foundry gives just enough to make it interesting, and slowly pace out the story with in-game dialog and cut scenes, to let new players feel a part of the universe quickly.
The missions are also well organized and, from the demo I played, feel diverse enough to never feel stagnant. Going from defined churches to industrial plans, Chaos Gate keeps things interesting and constantly provides new environmental challenges that add to the strategy of the game. I found the placement of destructible elements added to the tactical nature of the game, making each potential shot one step closer to victory when the odds are stacked against it.
“Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters has me excited to see more”
The movement and weapons felt very faithful to the tabletop games, giving some real choices when going into battle. With a limited amount of movement, and each potential shot meaning the difference between victory and defeat, the type of guns and how they are used in the squad is incredibly important. If given the time, I would spend hours perfecting the squad, so each member of the team compliments each other. Sadly, for the demo session, I did not have this luxury, but even tackling how I command the units allowed me to see how each different weapon or ability could take on the different enemies the game has to offer.
Chaos Gate also managed to keep things looking visually striking, with the games various locations, monsters and units feeling true to the source material, but also just striking in the level of detail that was on display. Warhammer is filled to the brim with ideas that would look amazing in a game, and the team used what they selected well to create a tense, visually stunning landscape of destruction.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect was the boss fight we got to take part in at the end of the demo. Facing off against Aeger the Benevolent, a towering Great Unclean One tasked with spreading the Poxus strain of the Bloom, was as daunting as it was interesting. The staggering level of detail they deliver to the models makes each one of the creatures moves seem grotesque and mesmerizing. Even how the boss fight utilized Nurglings to add to the challenge was visually exciting and something I have not seen done often in this sort of experience.
While it was a short demo, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters has me excited to see more. Launching May 5th, there is still a bit of time before it finally hits shelves, but from what I have seen, the team have crafted something unique and interesting. The tactical nature of the game means fans of XCOM will feel right at home here, and the dedication to bringing the world of Warhammer 40K to life makes it a visual treat for fans or newcomers to the series. It is hard to say how the final game will fair, but if it is anything like the slice I managed to play, I, for one, am eager to experience more of what Chaos Gate has to offer.