Video Games

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Review in Progress

The suffocating darkness of Warhammer 40,000’s bleak future isn’t usually the place to go for a breath of fresh air, but we’ve stepped away from every session of Warhammer 40,000. Whether it’s vicious yet dark and comedic brawls, or head-bop-inducing synthwaves of his tracks that blow you away in intense firefights, this four-player co-op FPS from developer Fatshark makes me feel like an idiot more often than not. I’m grinning. Darktide is still getting updates and new content during the pre-order beta, but it’s only the poor performance issues that are tempering my excitement for his full release next week. – Cut a heretic in half with a sword.

Darktide starts out like many other wonderfully over-decorated stories in Warhammer 40,000 before it. An army of chaos-worshipping traitors poses a problem. The gigantic hive city of Tertium is home to hordes of zombie-like Poxwalkers, gun-toting preachers spewing profane gospels, and conscripted prisoners of all sizes willing to slaughter thousands. Boss monsters abound with deformities and fissure powers. As of this ongoing review, there are only six missions available in the beta, so we can’t judge the overall narrative just yet, but the cheeky Squad-member banter is pretty sharp, at least so far.

Of the four playable classes, I’ve come to adore the tank-like Ogrin Skullbreaker. This is a tall barbarian who can easily take down dozens of enemies with a single stout swipe. Darktide’s stunningly detailed melee combat consistently tests your hand-to-hand prowess, so its muscular stopping power never goes out of style. Light, Heavy, and Special Attacks can all be chained together with great results. Quickly slicing a dozen Poxwalkers into pieces, blocking one of his savvy foes from wielding his hammer from above, then shoving them away is endlessly satisfying. Even better, rushing into range of an armored foe and knocking off the shoulder pads, revealing weaknesses in the process and sprinting away before they can retaliate will almost certainly make you smile. I even had a good laugh after cutting off the poor lawn arm. Because he examined a bloody stump and then fell down like this was the Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner bit. -A moment like this on the cheek. I don’t know if Ogulin does the whole “fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee” routine on purpose, but it’s hilarious nonetheless.

Darktide’s performance issues become apparent once you get into satisfying melee combat.

Unfortunately, Darktide’s performance issues become apparent when you get into these busy, up-close interactions. Admittedly aging mine his RTX 2080 is no longer a top-of-the-line graphics card, but it’s not so old that when the body piles up the framerate drops to slideshow levels close to his level. Yes, Darktide is pretty sometimes — I quite enjoy looking up from Tertium’s seedy underbelly and admiring the gorgeously detailed superstructure above. While it’s not the kind of technical showpiece you’d expect to melt most modern PCs. Fatshark says they are well aware of the growing demand for better optimizations. patch is already in preparationfingers crossed, Darktide worked better by the time we exited the beta.

Thankfully, picking up nasty things from a distance tends to stabilize everything. , not so exhilarating. Shooting an enemy you know better than being hit by bullets unwittingly will usually cause them to hide behind something. Maintaining that barrage makes their counterattacks sloppy, typically causing projectiles to miss a few feet. It’s pretty fair, though, because it can also suppress teams. Domination has this nice risk-reward element, requiring you to find cover and regain your steady index finger, or pull out your melee weapon while blitzing at the shooter. Good thing it never gets old after piercing a mutant’s orbital bone making it nearly impossible to shoot.

Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t spend 18 hours on such a clattering limited pre-order beta, but Darktide is hard to put down. The thunderous melee combat, resourceful ranged attacks, and the very delicate balance between these two methods of killing keep me coming back even when most of the campaign isn’t over yet. With all the content unlocked and the worst performance issues resolved in preparation for the full launch, we hope Darktide continues its exciting momentum, but the final scoring review is Will do soon after release anyway.

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