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Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters Review

For the Emperor!

Nick Shively Posted:
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After a successful launch in 2022 on Steam, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters made its way to consoles last month. Now, you can pursue the demons of chaos with the illustrious Grey Knights on PC, Xbox, or PlayStation. If you’ve ever wanted to try XCOM with a side of Space Marines, now is your chance!

Blood for the Blood God

Almost ironically, the first mission of Chaos Gate has your squad of Grey Knights facing off against a massive Bloodthirster. However, we soon find out that the main focus of the game will be hunting down agents of Nurgle (Lord of Decay) and not Khorne the Blood God.

Shortly after the tutorial mission, your ship the Baleful Edict will be commandeered by a wayward inquisitor looking to investigate a mysterious message she received. Shortly after, you’ll discover that a new plague is being spread in your current sector and your job is to stop it at all costs.

One of my favorite things about Chaos Gate is how cinematic everything about it feels without things becoming overly cheesy. The voice acting is solid, the cutscenes are nicely rendered, and the dialogue fits universe almost perfectly. However, even outside of the story elements, there are clever uses of camera angles and animations that make simple acts like throwing a grenade or busting down some doors feel impactful. These little acts make your little squad of Grey Knights feel that much more powerful, even in the most routine missions.

Warhammer 40K Daemonhunters

As the Emperor Protects, So Must We

The majority of your time in Chaos Gate will be spent on ground combat, turn-based tactical RPG missions spread throughout the galaxy. The gameplay is quite similar to other turn-based tactical games, such as XCOM. You’ll start off with a squad of 4 Grey Knights that each gain 3 Action Points per turn.

Action Points are used to do nearly everything in the game including moving, healing, attacking or using special abilities. After each round of combat, or when an enemy force is completely eliminated, action points are restored to full. Additionally, Grey Knights start off with a set amount of Willpower each mission that are required to use some of the more powerful abilities that don’t replenish until the next mission.

Initially, there are 4 classes available that specialize in certain roles, but each knight is more than capable of handling itself in ranged or melee combat. The Justicar is the tankier of the classes with a stronger Aegis Shield and the option to equip Terminator Armor right away. The Apothecary focuses on healing and providing powerful buffs. The Purgator can utilize heavy ranged weapon while the Interceptor is strongest in melee and has access to a personal teleporter.

Later on, advanced classes will be unlocked including the Purifier, Librarian, Chaplain, and Paladin. The Purifier is tuned for using fire weapons, which are great against hordes of enemies. The Chaplain can provide global buffs to your entire squad while the Librarian has access to powerful magic abilities. Finally, the Paladin is a tank that can withstand a lot of punishment and has an affinity for stunning the enemy.

Warhammer 40K Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters

While it can be initially fun just to loadout your power powerful Grey Knights with the best equipment, Chaos Gate really shines when building synergies. For example, the Justicar can provide a +3AP buff to an ally, which can make a teleporting Interceptor that much more terrifying in melee. If you would prefer to stunlock the enemy, the Apothecary, Chaplain, and Paladin can combine buffs to stun, execute, then replenish AP to rinse and repeat as needed.

For the most part, missions will have you carrying out a set of similar objectives. Eliminate Bloom carriers, kill a couple Bloomspawn, shutdown a Noctilith Crown, or kill some big bad boss. Typically, this will have you moving around 3 to 5 objective points per map.

Other things that you can do, besides tactical missions, include upgrading and outfitting your Grey Knights, researching buffs and strategems (powerful one-time per mission effects), and upgrading your ship, which can increase your experience received or decrease recovery times. However, most of this is just to supplement the tactical missions.

Only in Death Does Duty End

One of my biggest issues with Chaos Gate is how repetitive everything in the game can quickly become. For the most part, you’ll be playing with 4 Grey Knights per mission and occasionally Vakir will join you. While there are some nuances to the individual classes, there’s still a general feel of sameness.

Imagine having to play a hundred Warhammer 40k matches where your only options are a squad of Terminators, Interceptors, Purgators, and/or Paladins. Sure, they have some different abilities but it’s going to feel stale really quickly.

Warhammer 40K Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters

There aren’t a lot of variety in the weapons either, especially in the earlier portions of Chaos Gate. Most of your knights will want to take a melee weapons, which initially have similar stats and damage, and this prevents them from bringing anything besides a Storm Bolter. Eventually this will open up with higher tier equipment and upgrades, but that mostly solidifies the role each knight fulfills instead of providing more diversity in gameplay.

The other major source of repetition is with the enemy selection. Throughout Chaos Gate, you’ll only be fighting the forces of Nurgle. In the early game, this means hordes of Cultists, Poxwalkers, and Plague Marines. Later on, they throw in some Plague Bearers, Blightlord Terminators, Blight Haulers, and Hellbrutes. Outside of a few unique bosses, that’s all the game will be throwing at you throughout a very long campaign. It would have been nice to see something else sprinkled in like some Orks or Aeldari.

Another issue is the brutal learning curve, even on easier difficulties. Some of the missions ramp up rather quickly and an early level 5 difficult mission can be absolutely terrifying. Combine that with a small roster that stays injured for a significant amount of time and it’s possible to lose multiple Grey Knights earlier than you would like. This eases up a bit once you’ve got fully unlocked knights and a larger roster, but you definitely need to put some thought into building your squads.

Although both are turn-based strategy games, Chaos Gate is also quite a bit different from Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader. Unlike Rogue Trader, you aren’t walking around your ship or the planets in Chaos Gate. So if you want lets exploration or RPG aspects and more action then Chaos Gate is likely the better fit.

Full Disclosure: A copy of this product was provided by PR for the purposes of this review. Reviewed on PlayStation 5.

8.0 Great
Pros
  • Solid strategic combat
  • Excellent use of Warhammer aesthetics
  • Story and cinematic combat elements are done well
Cons
  • Repetition in both missions and enemy choices
  • Early missions can be brutally difficult


Nick_Shively

Nick Shively