Warhammer, as a franchise, is no stranger to the world of video games. There have been several offerings over the years, on many different platforms. With such a hot property, it is no surprise there are countless developers and publishers excited about trying their hand at the dark, lore filled universe. Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is the latest attempt to dive deep into the franchise, and the turn-based strategy concept does the IP justice in a way I did not expect.
From publisher Frontier Developments, and developer Complex Games, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is a turn-based strategy game set in the 40K universe. Focusing on the Grey Knights order, the game tasks you with taking on the forces of Chaos and coming out on top. The order is the first line of defence to stop the demon spawn from infesting the galaxy, and when your enemies are literal gods, things tend to get a little messy.
At first glance, Daemonhunters feels very similar to games like XCOM, with the gameplay utilizing an isometric presentation that keeps you just above the action, using your precious movement points to make the best of each turn you are given. Thankfully, Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters ramps up its difficulty in a way that gives enough challenge to experienced players while still letting newcomers to the genre get a taste of how everything works before reigning chaos down from on high.
The visuals and sound design in Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters are some of the best I have seen in the genre. Even with the isometric view, you can see enough of the action to have a clear look at the battlefield, the creatures you face, and the unique looks of each one of your soldiers. It is the little touches that make the game feel immersive, and making each soldier and location feel handcrafted adds to the immersion in the grimy world these warriors have to push through.
The sound design brings the battlefield to life, with each sound effect giving the chaos a sense of realism. From the metal pneumatic boot on the ground, to the gunshot hitting its target, you will be quickly pulled into the world and feel the tension your soldiers come up against as the forces of Chaos slowly try to overwhelm your small company of men.
The voice acting in Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters, on the other hand, is serviceable, but does not feel the quality seen in the other aspects of the game. For the most part, all the major characters get the job done, giving an over-the-top portrayal of the 40K universe, with hammy dialog and ridiculous lines. The minor characters just did not work as well for me, making the battlefield feel like a bad B-movie action movie villain sidekick at times, taking away from the brutal tension the rest of the game’s design manages to build.
“Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is a game that is well worth your time and effort.”
Unlike in XCOM, where you are constantly at a disadvantage to the alien menace, Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters has you playing as some of the universe’s most elite soldiers, so while the enemies you face up against can pose a challenge due to numbers, very few of the average opponents will pose much of a threat on their own.
Thankfully, this is a game that likes to mix things up, and as you go through the missions, you will face up against some very dangerous and powerful creatures and bosses that will test the mettle of even the most experienced player. While I do love cutting through the many cultists and creatures they may bring with them, facing up against a boss like monster shows how difficult the situation is for humanity, and how there is a need for genetically modified supersoldiers like the Grey Knights.
The attention to the carnage that your soldiers leave in their wake is something I did not expect when I first sat down to play Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters. As you cut through the many creatures the forces of Chaos throw at you, you will quickly see just how powerful your Grey Knights are. Whether it is from a pot-shot or a close sword strike, when you cut down one of the many attackers, the battlefield will be quickly painted with the blood and gore of the many you have struck down. This choice fits the dark universe of Warhammer 40,000 and really adds to the violence and brutality of the missions as a whole.
While the battlefield is the meat and potatoes of the experience, the fine folks at Complex Games have managed to fit a range of things to do while not directly fighting the Chaos gods. You will need to equip your soldiers with the best gear possible, and keep things upgraded from mission to mission. To do this, you will find yourself on the orbital ship known as the Baleful Edict. As you progress through the missions, you will get to give your units new gear, weapons or load outs. If you are a fan of games like XCOM it all feels very well laid out, and should be easy to jump into as you learn the games’ many systems.
I enjoyed what I saw in the preview, and now that I have had more time with Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters I was very pleased with what the game brings to the table. This is a game that feels built by fans for fans, with deep lore and nods to the many complex aspects to the 40K universe. With such a wealth of content, it was near impossible to see everything possible the game had to offer, but what I did see made me excited to dive in and take on battles differently a second time.
With fantastic visuals, well refined gameplay, and some of the more inventive turn based tactical battles I have seen in the genre, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is a game that is well worth your time and effort. While some of the game’s many aspects may be lost on newcomers to the series, there is enough to make even new players find countless hours of tactical carnage to explore. For fans of XCOM and Warhammer, Daemonhunters is a must play, filled to the brim with the space marine goodness we all know and love.