Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate — Daemonhunters PC Review

Developed by Complex Games and published by Frontier Foundry, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters is a fast-paced turn-based tactical RPG that places players in the leadership position. Lead the Grey Knights, purge heresy in a story-driven campaign and stop the insidious plot to infect the galaxy with the Bloom.

The game perfectly combines the themes of Warhammer 40k with the turn-based tactics in the style of XCOM. But the main thing about the game is the amount of grimdark epic and overcoming chaotic adversaries.

Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters lets players experience a small piece of history of the hidden order of Grey Knights, the last line of defense against Chaos in Warhammer 40k. Each one of them is unique and super-strong, each one of them is a psyker and yet none of them have betrayed the Imperium of Man.

Astra Militarum fighters can betray, Planetary governors can betray, even Inquisitors can lose their way and betray the Imperium but not the Grey Knights. Are you ready to protect humanity? Then get your Nemesis banner and read on – this is our Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate — Daemonhunters PC review.

The Grey Knights are the long sword, the heavy hammer and the invincible shield of the Ordo Malleus, one of the Orders of the Inquisition. Their ranks are the last line of defense against the greatest enemy of the Imperium of Man – Chaos.

Grey Knights act in secret, predicting the future they can inflict a single needle strike against the weakest point of the enemy or destroy a planet that might be the source of Chaos’ revival. Only a few living souls know of their existence in the Warhammer 40k universe, those who happened to see them are subjected to death or a fate worse than death.

“One unbreakable shield against the coming darkness, one last blade forged in defiance of fate, let them be my legacy to the galaxy I conquered, and my final gift to the species I failed.”

—Inscription upon the Arcus Daemonica, attributed to the Emperor of Mankind

At the start of the game, the leader of the Grey Knights undergoes a suicidal mission to banish the Daemon Khorne, the Blood God and the old nemesis of the Grey Knight Order. After you finish the tutorial, your damaged spaceship Sinister Edict returns to Titan (Saturn’s moon and Grey Knight homeworld) for repair and reports to Grandmasters.

However, before you manage to reach your destination, the ship receives a message from Inquisitor Vakir. She reveals that the Tirtaus Sector is affected by a strange disease of clearly demonic origin that threatens the entire galaxy. Additionally, she possesses information about the Prophecy of Psykers that sacrificed their lives for the sake of transmitting it. The prophecy also tells about the plague, and acts as a reason enough for the Inquisitor to request the Order’s help.

On your journey, you will meet a cast of interesting characters:

  • Brother Ectar is a veteran Purifier that will be acting as your advisor, faithful companion and skilled strategist.
  • Dominus Lunete is an ancient Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mehanicus, responsible for tending to the needs of the ship.
  • Inquisitor Vakir, the one who identified the demonic threat even if her methods were far from standard. She will stop at nothing to root out the Bloom.
  • Vardan Kai, the Grand Master of the Grey Knights and the man whose pompous self-confidence and the ease with which he disregards opinions of others will greatly interfere with your mission. But it’s best if you experience it in the game!

The gameplay is the real gem of Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate — Daemonhunters. The turn-based tactical part has been polished to perfection, however, those who dislike X-COM and other games of the genre might find the battles too long, boring and overall slow. Each battle can last from half an hour (in the early game) to 2-3-4 hours, with careful planning of everything and anything. From outfitting your fighters, to virtually every single step with dozens of action options and ability combinations each round.

As you go through the game, you will have to repair your ship, part by part. It is up to you to decide what is more important – the flight speed or the shields or maybe the Gellar Field? Each decision, each research and construction will have its bonuses… and its consequences.

Think of it this way: if you repaired the Gellar Field, now you can fly through the Warp Storm without any harm coming to the ship and the personnel. Improved your shields – will lose much fewer Servitors or ship parts after a battle with the Chaos fleet. Build the Augmentation chamber, and you get more Servitors daily.

Properly thinking through repairs and research is a part of the game’s overall tactical layer. After all, the speed of flight on the System Map depends on the status of the engines and the reactor. You are given three planets where the infection breaks out. Without repairs, your ship will only reach one, maybe two if you are really lucky.

The planets that you didn’t have time to cleanse will become the sources of infection all around you. You can destroy them with Exterminatus or use Prognosticars (the greatest Psykers of the Grey Knights) to eradicate or reduce the corruption on planets. But as you get your engines and other parts of the ship repaired, you will be able to cleanse Systems more successfully.

Ship repairs is not the only problem you will have to face in the game, studying stratagems is another thing you will have to pay attention to as they are important both for the comfortable battles and the game’s plot at large.

Inquisitor Vakir will allow you to research stratagems for seeds of Chaos – a special currency you will earn through battles and challenges. Each stratagem has its own effect – increasing HP, armor and other parameters, for example. Whether or not you can acquire enough seeds is entirely up to you.

Another important part of gameplay is the Barracks, as in your actual soldiers. Your detachment is located in the Barracks and it is there that you can change their armor, weapons, uniforms and equipment. Normal armor, its Improved version or the Terminator armor with a lot of shields and that requires special talent, two-handed weapons, heavy firearms, light firearms – it can be hard to decide what to use to exterminate the enemies of Mankind. However, the Terminator armor also has its unique disadvantage: it’s impossible to jump over ravines or cliffs in it.

Every soldier can be custom painted the same way you would Warhammer 40k minis – emblems, skin color, shoulder pads (which are extremely important for the fans), you can even set the first and the last name of your fighter.

The game features a variety of classes with their own functions:

  • Justicar – the basic Tank, a frontline heavy-hitter with medium armor and medium damage
  • Apothecary – your squad’s designated medic and physician that can pull Battle Brothers even from the clutches of death itself
  • Purgator – a specialist in heavy firearms, a Purgator can unleash devastating fire on your enemies. Extremely high damage, but also extremely slow
  • Interceptor – a fast-moving skirmisher that can teleport across the battlefield to take out key enemy targets
  • Chaplain – the spiritual leader of your squad, able to maintain morale
  • Librarian – a Psyker with the strongest abilities, able to stun and destroy enemies, protect Battle Brothers and teleport across the battlefield
  • Paladin – a tankier version of the Justicar, able to crush enemies with any weapon in his hands, be it shield and sword, heavy weapons, two-handed hammer or anything else
  • Purifier – a heavy fighter that can eradicate enemies in a very quick, painful and colorful maner

Combining, leveling and properly equipping your fighters will be an interesting task. You can take two Apothecaries and survive a heavy ambush or bring forth a group of Paladins and demolish your enemy in one powerful righteous strike or have your Eradicators shoot the Chaos hordes from afar.

Each battle will prompt you to use various different tactics, adjust to the environment and use it to your advantage, think about the map features and plan your EVERY move. Proper use of location features can noticeably speed up the battle, like dropping a column to squash your enemies or blowing them into a pit with an explosion or combining your fighters’ abilities for an execution.

All of this will help you greatly increase the speed of battle, but even then they will be quite lengthy.

Each fighter has his own action points that are spent on doing virtually anything and everything: walking, shooting, attacking, using abilities, even reloading. For example, a Bolter has three rounds, so after three shots you have to reload if you want to keep attacking. There are abilities that feature a chance of automatic reloading after emptying the clip… but the fighters also have a limited number of talents that need to be acquired.

Increasing the level of your fighter will grant you 2 Talent points, and deciding where you apply them will give you a huge headache. Reloading is a necessary action for any type of firearm, be it light or heavy. At least Halberds and Swords don’t need to be reloaded and you can bring some melee pain to the adepts of Chaos.

Talents can greatly change the dynamics of battle, increasing the number of action points, ammo, providing you the mentioned chance to automatically reload your weapon, getting retaliation attack passive and much more. For example, I fell in love with the talent that allows your fighters to wear the Terminator armor. Apothecary, a healer Grey Knight, frequently saved my game and sanity. But the action points are the sword of Damocles over your head, one wrong move and the mission you spent two hours fighting for might require a restart.

The game is designed for a long and thoughtful playthrough. There are 4-5 fighters in your squad while the enemy might have 10 to 20 soldiers of various types. After making a move with your fighters, you will have to wait until all the enemy soldiers have their turn. Even when you accelerate the game speed, it can take a long time.

The game also frequently gives you interesting challenges such as extracting the seeds of Chaos, killing only certain enemy type, killing all enemies, getting out of battle with no serious injuries and much more. Whether you want to complete these challenges is up to you, but doing so will give you a big bonus while failing them will strike you with a significant fine. Without spoiling the finer parts of the story, the game will really take a lot of time. You will re-load your older saves, replay missions, change the team composition and try again and again.

A special place is reserved for bosses. Having reloaded 2 times and spending a total of 6 hours on the penultimate boss and about the same amount of time on the last one, I hope whoever designed them steps on a Lego. Regeneration, constant reinforcements, huge map, all of this really makes you think about the choice of difficulty. Or the choice of the game.

Shaking up teams, changing uniforms, using different Stratagems and battle tactics… Even at the Normal level of difficulty, it is hellishly long, dreary and boring. The boss summons totems in different part of the map, the one that brings down a part of the platform, others that almost make you solve a puzzle when it comes to tactics and battle strategy.

However, after going through all of this and overcoming these difficulties, there is a sincere satisfaction. You Managed, You Won, even if at great cost.

The game took an interesting approach to convey the Warhammer 40k atmosphere, even if its graphic style is a bit… strange. Reading through the books of the universe gives you a clear impression that it is extremely grimdark, meanwhile the game is very bright and colorful. However, the Gothic majesty immediately catches the eye, the gloomy huge ship, multi-leveled locations, fighter animations, even Executions of enemies in slow motion, all of this is permeated with pathos and grace.

Every animation, every zone destruction, every Execution in the game is rendered with great love and ingenuity. Every conversation is animated and scenes are beautifully choreographed. The fall of a column or a statue on the enemies of Mankind, the explosion of energy cells that throw enemies in the pits, grenade explosions or executing an enemy with Halberd – all this can be watched again and again.

Each location is an animated come-to-life miniature of the battle scene, multi-leveled and well thought-out. Dugouts, shelters, trenches, urban uplands or the jungle, everything looks alive and harshly beautiful.

Rust looks real, corroded armor and ulcers on the bodies of soldiers are spectacular, and weapons don’t look like weightless props, reflecting the developers’ competent and thoughtful approach to details. You can feel the strength of the Grey Knights’ Arms of the Aegis, everything reflects the setting’s atmosphere of gothic doom, pathos and epic overcoming of impossible odds. Even throwing a hatch at enemies, exploding a grenade or chopping off someone’s arm is done in a spectacular way.

However, the visual style of characters themselves is more akin to the one used to create Miniatures or Minis, which raises some questions. There is also a question about some proportions, especially when it comes to faces. However, after a dozen hours you get used to it ORRR you can cover the faces of your fighters with helmets. It’s also a solution, and the one I used in my playthrough.

There is a lot more to say about the game, both good and bad. Conversations with the team, reporting to the Grandmasters, random events, etc. But it’s best if you see it for yourself.

Note: the game is a verified purchase by the author.

Similar to: XCOM

Purging Heresy in Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate — Daemonhunters is a long and thoughtful process, requiring tactical thinking and attention to details.
  • Interesting story
  • Difficult challenges
  • Colorful graphics
  • A great variety of events
  • Exterminatus, oh yessssss
  • Tactics and strategy
  • I really want a continuation
  • Epic, pathos, grimdark
  • Meant for fans, you need to know the universe and terminology
  • Lacks basic introduction to the universe
  • Little variety of enemies, weapons and maps
  • Lack of usable battle tech
  • No competent description of items’ properties
  • Faces and proportions

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