Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters puts you in control of mankind’s greatest warriors, the Gray Knights. These Space Marines are armed to the teeth with weapons capable of slicing, dicing, exploding, roasting and much more against the scum they are used against. We got a chance to command a squad of four in three missions in Complex Games’ upcoming tactical RPG, and in three missions we were treated to meaty tactical gameplay featuring a squad of four Gray Knights against ferocious creatures and even one of the title’s creature bosses .
Familiar mechanics in a brutal universe
The worlds of Warhammer 40,000 are not known as bright futuristic visions where humanity peacefully shares control of the galaxy with aliens. It’s an often grotesque projection of what a far-off future might be like if we just focused on building weapons and conquering other worlds. Space Marines are almost a sci-fi version of the British Empire in many ways, such as how the Emperor controls all touchpoints of the Empire and has the final say in every decision, which is why their worlds are steeped in war and death. Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters stays true to the setting and manages to translate it well into the tactical RPG genre.
You control each member of your Gray Knights squad individually and command them with set actions that cost one of their three action points per turn. Cover is important to avoid shooting at the enemy mid-turn, but you also need to think about possible attacks, ambushes, and where you want to move forward a few turns to avoid taking damage. While you can attempt to smash your way through your foes with confidence, for the safety of your Gray Knights, you’ll quickly find that they can’t take the punishment that comes with being left out in the open.
Gray Knights come in a variety of classes that specialize in healing, attacking, or creating opportunities and defending. You have to make the best of your skills to win a mission, because enemies don’t forgive any missteps. Very often, they actually have abilities that allow them to capitalize on your mistakes, which means you have to weigh every move carefully.
What sets this game apart from other tactical RPGs is the Warhammer universe itself. Your Gray Knights use gear that has been assembled and painted by fans of the characters for decades. While some mechanics like Overwatch have been carried over from other tactical games, you won’t find the lances or rifles used by these Space Marines anywhere else. This gives the game a satisfyingly unique, metallic flavor. Everything looks and sounds raw and you can almost feel the pain of your enemies as your Gray Knights slice or shoot them to bits.
Great care has been taken to complement the tactical gameplay with cinematic moments that zoom in and highlight the actions of your hulking Space Marines. Shots can remove heads or explode bodies into a pile of limbs. When you’re up close, tactical cameras are triggered to help you see where to hit and what the impact of that hit will be, adding another layer of tactics to an already incredibly complex game. However, with all the augments and abilities that Gray Knights have, this complexity makes perfect sense.
Victory through planning
In both of the main missions that we had to play, we had to move through aggressive groups of enemies in order to take out specific targets. In the first, we searched for the source of Bloom, a galaxy-spanning plague that overwhelms planets faster than the Gray Knights can detect it on them. Enemies crowded our path, including organic tanks that unleashed devastating missiles if we didn’t keep our Gray Knights out of line of fire.
The only way we made it to our destination through this mission was through forward planning. We killed the smaller enemies around the tank while getting two Gray Knights into a flanking position. Then, when we were ready, we reloaded all weapons and teleported a soldier behind the enemy to kill them without them ever seeing our attack coming.
The second main mission that we tried and failed to complete involved a boss. An impure formed from the flower, this colossal green creature could spawn tiny creatures called Nurglings from its gut, in addition to larger humanoid enemies. We had to move around the map, taking out the Nurgling spawners on the edge while fending off an attack from the boss and those mutated humanoids. The problem was, any melee attack or shot that didn’t kill the humanoids mutated them and made them stronger. This changed the way we thought about combat, forcing the humanoids between Gray Knights so we could make sure we killed them. Meanwhile, the boss kept closing in, hurling an unlucky Gray Knight halfway across the map.
To put a stop to these powerful foes, Gray Knights can use the environment to their advantage. Teleporting is one option for surprising an enemy, but you can also let your Space Marines zoom through doors as part of their standard movement. Almost every time they do this, a small cutscene will play showing them stepping through the wall or door before letting them fire at the enemies behind.
Environmental degradation can also be used to your advantage. Pillars and other objects can be destroyed to deal devastating damage to enemies, and you are in control of how that destruction happens. This adds another layer of strategy to each battle, allowing you to consider the placement of your troops based not only on available defenses and their abilities, but also on what they could be using around them to aid them in battle.
Preparation and storytelling
Before each mission we must look at the Baleful Edict. This is the ship that forms the base of operations for all players. Here you can chat with the other characters in the story, upgrade your facilities to help you in future missions, and choose which path you want to take through the story. It’s very similar to the base of operations you use in Xcom: Enemy Unknown, giving you some breathing room and planning space between each attack.
We spent a little time talking to the characters of the Baleful Edict and were amazed by the lore, the acting and the sheer amount of story to be uncovered. There are branching dialogue options that provide meaningful context to your missions and the Bloom, all connected to the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Everything has been carefully curated to conform to established lore, meaning fans of the characters will find something to delve into with Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters.
Customization of your Gray Knights is a central part of your routine on each mission. Understanding what you might be facing and equipping your Space Marines to deal with it feels good. Mistakes in the field feel like they’re your fault for putting your knights in danger or not giving them the right gear for the mission.
The team saved the most exciting strategy Gray Knights have available for last. Exterminatus is a powerful biosphere-wiping bomb, used only on a planet as a last resort when the Emperor deems it utterly untenable. We’re not sure if using Exterminatus as part of your multi-planet campaign will be possible, but based on the Bloom’s enemies we’ve fought we wouldn’t be surprised.
Any fan of the characters will find more than enough meat to bite into when Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters launches on May 5th, including multiple storylines to uncover through conversations with characters and decisions that shape the course change directly in your campaign.
Based on our time with the game, we’ve found a deep respect for Warhammer 40,000’s lore that brings the universe to life. Hardcore fans who have read each book will enjoy the level of detail, but the game is still accessible to newbies as everything from the ranks of the Space Marines to Bloom and planets you explore is all explained in great detail .
https://www.gamepur.com/features/warhammer-40000-chaos-gate-daemonhunters-is-a-new-class-of-tactical-rpg-preview Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is a new class of tactical RPG – Preview