Screen Rant got a hands-on preview of Fatshark’s newest installment in the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, Darktide. Here’s what’s in store for fans.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide features four-player co-op gameplay and brutal combat, embracing the violent, gory nature of the Warhammer franchise in all of its fanatical glory. Set in the Hive city of Tertium, players will become an unwilling recruit to the Inquisitor known as a Reject, going toe-to-toe with poxwalkers, hordes of corrupted zombie-like plague worshippers. Screen Rant had a chance to play Warhammer 40,000: Darktide with some of the developers at Fatshark ahead of its release.
Darktide builds upon the mechanics of previous games like Vermintide II. From abilities to cosmetics, players will be able to have free reign to create their own playstyle – and look great doing it. Customization of a character’s physical appearances and backstory brings some unique dialogue as well, making the game feel more tailor-made to a given participant.
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Screen Rant’s preview of Darktide began in the social hub, a safe zone set in the game’s hive city of Tertium, where players can socialize, party up, buy contracts and items, and customize their characters. The social hub is fairly large and spacious, allowing for some serious exploration. Heading towards the main console near the central hallway of the hub, players can set up which missions they would like to go to, with the main holographic map showing where each quest is located, alongside mission difficulty. Another notable detail is that custom characters are displayed in third-person POV in the social hub, allowing for the admiration of a highly-customized miserable warrior in all of their glory.
Each player is given a melee weapon, a ranged weapon, and a grenade at the beginning of a level. These weapons can be modified in the social hub, though the weapons used in the preview seemed to be the default ones given to each specific class. Each character is given some shield as well, needed in a game that has enemies who also have guns and other range weapons. Each of these characters have their own voice lines as well, which can be personalized in the character creator. With the sheer number of combinations in lore, backstory, and personality, there are apparently “thousands of voice lines” a player can hear throughout playing the game.
Unlike Vermintide II, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide only has four classes: the ogryn, the zealot, the psyker, and the veteran soldiers. Ogryns are massive ogre-like humans who are tanky and carry oversized weapons that can only be used by their own class. The zealot class utilizes her magical abilities and are hammer-wielding followers of Imperial faith. The psyker uses psychic power to slay their foes. Meanwhile, the chainsaw sword-wielding veteran soldiers are masters of automatic weaponry. Screen Rant got to try out the zealot and veteran soldier classes in the preview.
The Zealot class uses a two-handed thunder hammer for melee combat, bashing enemies and popping heads across the battlefield. Their special ability seen in the preview allows them to dash in any direction the player chooses. Their voice lines can be funny, with a fanatical obsession with the Emperor shining through each thought. The Zealot’s dash comes in handy, allowing them to either dash into foes, which stuns them, or get out of the way of hordes. With the wide attack of the hammer along with the dash ability, the Zealot can quickly dispatch a huge chunk of a horde and flee the scene instantly, making them great for crowd control and players who appreciate great mobility.
Screen Rant also got to briefly check out the Veteran class. These soldiers are proficient with automatic weaponry and use chain swords for gory executions in true Warhammer 40K fashion. Their special ability allows them to power up their weapon, useful for taking down major enemies. The Veteran class is full of quips related to old war stories. It should be noted that having characters of the same class can also impact conversations in game. For example, a conversation between two Veterans will be different than one between an Ogryn and a Zealot. Each character and their personality in Darktide is tailored based on what kind of lore and backstory players decide to give them, making every single interaction unique.
The combat in Darktide is what makes it truly a Warhammer 40K game. From brutal executions to hordes of zombie-like fanatics pouring in from tunnels in Tertium, there is never a dull moment. The enhanced mobility Fatshark has given players, such as dodging and sliding, allows for some fast-paced gameplay that creates intense moments. Each class has their own strengths and weakness, and they can complement one another well, encouraging diversity.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide seems to have some amazing surprises for both fans and newcomers to the series. From intense combat to free reign in customization, the next installment to the Warhammer series has a lot of tricks up its sleeve to solidify it as one of the better modern entries. There are so many unique and interesting characters creatable with customization; seeing it come to fruition in both combat and in-game conversations is satisfying and enthralling. With combat that’s smooth and fast-paced, the gory bouts with poxwalkers alone makes Warhammer 40,000: Darktide one to keep an eye on ahead of its mid-September release date.
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Warhammer 40,ooo: Darktide releases September 13, 2022 for Xbox Series X/S and PC. Screen Rant was invited to a private hands-on preview for the purpose of this article.
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