Create
Notifications

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters review: A brutal and unforgiving TBS that's worthy of The Emperor's blessings

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters review (Image Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters review (Image Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Matthew Wilkins

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters is absolutely brutal. It takes everything great about a Turn-Based Tactics game and mutates it with Nurlge's Poxes (in a good way). The odds of survival are slim, victory is not assured, and even the mighty Grey Knights get schooled by the forces of chaos.

Developed by Complex Games and published by Frontier Foundry, Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters is set in the unforgiving Warhammer universe. Following the death of Captain Agravain at the hands of Ere'khul, Inquisitor Vakir commandeers the Grey Knights Strike Cruiser called the Baleful Edict.

youtube-cover

The discovery of a plague known as "The Bloom'' has her concerned, and as an inquisitor, her job requires her to use any means necessary to seek out corruption and purge it. Without giving away too much, it's time to jump straight into the review.


Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters: A Grey Knight, an Inquisitor, and an Adeptus Mechanicus Dominus walk into the Strategium

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters put players in command of their very own Grey Knight Strike Cruiser: The Baleful Edict.

As the only surviving member of the Gaheris campaign, it falls upon the player to pick up the pieces and head home to the planet Titan. However, things soon take an unexpected turn as fate would have it.

The beginning of the end (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
The beginning of the end (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Inquisitor Vakir locates the Baleful Edit, boards it, and tasks the Grey Knights with helping her find the source of "The Bloom." Given her rank and position within the Ordo Malleus, she begins to ever so gently persuasively strongarm the player into doing her bidding.

Caught up between Ectars' loathing of the Inquisition and Lunete's hatred of having an inquisitor take command of the vessel, the player must now get to work combating The Bloom. After briefly initiating repairs to the warp drive, the first real combat mission begins.


Trial through combat, Slaughter through combat: The way of the Grey Knights

What makes Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters great in every way is the combat system. For those familiar with the TBS genre, figuring out how to move, take cover, shoot, and use abilities is child's play.

Since the tutorial already covers the basics, players are good to go, or so it would seem. The learning curve is more of a vertical climb, and slipping down has dire consequences. With that being said, it's time to break down the "blood 'n' guts" of what makes this one of the most unforgiving TBS games in recent times.


The first drop into the pits of corruption (The basics)

youtube-cover

The first actual 'mission' in Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters takes everything players know and tosses it out of the Baleful Edict's trash chute. Even though foes are easy-going in the initial stages, getting a clean kill is never easy. Grey Knights will take damage and wind up getting injured.

As a gamer who loves the TBS genre, I struggle to keep up with the AI. Even in normal difficulty mode, things felt unbalanced. To make matters worse, the game forces you to play aggressively, which has never been my strong point.

Now, while a defensive playstyle can be used, staying in cover and wasting a turn is not a good idea, thanks to The Warp meter. This mechanic triggers debuffs throughout the battle when it reaches maximum capacity.

Now, depending on the level of corruption, it can fill up within a few turns or take a very long time. Once at 100%, a random debuff will be bestowed upon the battlefield courtesy of Grandfather Nurgle. Nevertheless, the Grey Knights are no pushovers.


"Armored in faith, shielded by devotion and armed with purity of purpose!" (Grey Knights in-depth)

youtube-cover

Created from the gene-seed of the God Emperor, Grey Knights are endowed with devastating psychic abilities. However, players will be required to unlock them to use them on the battlefield.

For the initial few hours of gameplay, I relied heavily on the mere brute force before discovering the wonder of their psychic perks. Depending on the class, type of equipment, and other buffs, these abilities can shift the dynamics of the battlefield in an instance.

Thinning out the forces of corruption is sheer pleasure (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Thinning out the forces of corruption is sheer pleasure (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

They can shred enemy armor, blind them, purge all mutations, or make them bleed. Apart from debuffs and buffs, combat-oriented abilities allow the Knight Of Titan to lay waste to their opponents. Some can be used to thin out a large herd of lackeys, while others are primarily useful for taking out larger foes.

The Interceptor's teleport ability, for instance, allows players to traverse the Warp and emerge next to their enemies. This allows the unit to bypass terrain, lack thereof, and even dodge enemy overwatch.

Teleporting behind enemy lines can prove useful (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Teleporting behind enemy lines can prove useful (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

While this aggressive playstyle may not be everyone's cup of corruption, it does feel fresh and rewarding. The developers have genuinely been able to bring the gorely Warhammer universe to life.


A Grey Knight Apothecary in Terminator armor, why not? (Flexibility in class system)

There are four main classes of Grey Knights in Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters. Each one is specialized and finely tuned to execute specific tasks:

1) Apothecary

Did somebody order a doctor? (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Did somebody order a doctor? (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Apothecaries are more than just battlefield medics. They are life-savers in battle and can be used both offensively and defensively. One of the abilities that makes them powerful is known as Scourging.

This ability causes bleeding status and can drain a foe of HP before they reach their destination. Although they can hold their own in battle, they tend to be rather squishy. They are best used as a support class and complete secondary objectives such as seed collection and overwatch.


2) Justicar

Delivering justice at the tip of a sword (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Delivering justice at the tip of a sword (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

The best way to describe a Justicar would be a tank. These Grey Knights pride themselves on melee combat and can hold their own against foes at close-range. Although they can use ranged weapons, the best idea is to use them up close and personal.

Once equipped with a Terminator Armor, these units can be used as a literal bulwark against the forces of chaos. One of the most useful abilities in this class is called Fortress. It works great when used in conjunction with the Aegis Shield ability.


3) Interceptor

Fast and Furious: Grey Knight edition (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Fast and Furious: Grey Knight edition (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Much like the Justicars, the Interceptor class performs well in melee combat. However, they aren't good for pitched battles. Their role in the fight is to get behind enemy lines, deal quick damage, and teleport back to safety.

While there are many abilities to choose from, Teleport Strike and Teleport, when used in conjunction, are probably best for the class. Interceptors can engage multiple targets and teleport out of danger in the same turn.


4) Purgator

Today's special: Purged Daemons (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Today's special: Purged Daemons (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

When it comes to bringing the pain from afar and to the masses, Purgators have no equal. With devastating debuffs such as Sanctified Kill Zone and Scatter Shot ability, groups of enemies melt under a hail of gunfire.

They provide heavy fire support and are extremely useful for crowd control. In tough situations, they can also be used to whittle down larger foes and soften them up for a death blow.

My walking bullet sponge (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
My walking bullet sponge (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Even though each class has its own unique perk, they can be used alternately as the player sees fit. For example, my main Justicar is a bullet sponge in my playthrough. He's equipped with Terminator armor, a Daemon Hammer, and is primarily used as a beefy meatshield.

Despite being melee-oriented, using his wrist-mounted Storm Bolter, he can be used to deal considerable amounts of damage at range. This provides a balanced approach to combat and allows the player to make solid yet flexible tactical decisions. This is the same for all Grey Knights in-game.

Storm Bolters are deadly at close-range (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Storm Bolters are deadly at close-range (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

While they may have fixed roles, the class system is very forgiving and allows players to mix-and-match, tactics, and strategies as they see fit. If a player desires, they can even send a full squad of Apothecaries into battle (spoiler alert, they won't survive).


Grey Knights give it their 100% every time (Combat system)

What really felt amazing about the combat system in Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters is the lack of percentage-based attacks. There's nothing more frustrating than failing a 95% attack chance at point-blank range.

Instead, attack damage relies on several reasonable factors. This includes and is not limited to buffs/debuffs, half/full cover, range of the attack when using guns, armor count, and of course, weapon type itself.

If players were to take a little time out from the bloodbath, they'd find a tiny exclamation mark on top of their Grey Knights and enemies. This provides them with a rundown of exactly what the unit is capable of and how best to counterattack it.

Always a 100% chance! (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Always a 100% chance! (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

This is refreshing as it removes any uncertainty from strategic gameplay and planning. Furthermore, given that the Knights are the Emperor's finest, it would make sense to never miss a shot or melee attack.

The last thing players want is not being able to land a killing blow due to a failed chance percentage. Aside from a brilliant combat system, the special action system is another feather in the developer's cap.

Once an opponent has been stunned, depending on the situation, players can outright kill them to earn 1AP for the entire squad, disable their main weapon, and even shred their armor. This is particularly useful when dealing with enemies that are bullet sponges.


Free AP? Yes, please, Inquisitor! (Action points explained)

Remember how I mentioned that an aggressive approach to combat is a good thing? Here's why it works splendidly in Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters.

Aim small, miss small (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Aim small, miss small (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

To balance things out with the aggressive playstyle, the moment an enemy is discovered, the round is essentially reset. All AP (action points) used are restored, and players are given another turn in the same round.

This feature is beneficial as it allows players to advance rapidly and start a fight in the first round of the mission. Furthermore, it gives them a first-mover advantage in the battle as they can position their Grey Knights according to how the enemies are placed.

While this wasn't important during the first few missions, by the time I had crossed day 100, this became vital to survival itself. Using the free AP can be the difference between Grey Knights finishing a mission with light wounds or being critically injured.


WP, to use or not to use? (Will Power explained)

To truly make players feel as if the odds are stacked against them, the developers cleverly integrated WP (Will Power) into the Warp Meter. Given that psychic abilities utilize the Warp to work, this makes them a double-edged Nemesis Force Weapon.

Be wary of the Warp Meter (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Be wary of the Warp Meter (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Every time a Grey Knight uses an ability that requires WP, the Warp Meter increases. Thus, before using the special abilities that require WP, players must ask themselves if it's needed. Furthermore, since WP doesn't regenerate on its own and has to be farmed via kills, this makes storing it a smart decision unless required.

I found that keeping WP in reserve for the end stages of the mission works best. Alternatively, using them sparingly depending on the situation also works relatively well.


Let's stand at the edge of the map; what could go wrong? (Environmental elements and maps)

When the developers stated that the environment plays an important role in combat, they were not lying. If your Grey Knights are badly positioned, things will not go well. Furthermore, since the cover can be shot and broken, relying on it for the long term will not work either.

Nevertheless, this can work in favor of players as well. They can destroy cover to reach targets behind them and even use the environment to deal damage to the agents of chaos. Statues can be kicked over, power cells can be blown up, and well-placed grenades can fling enemies off the map.

Use a statue to kill a few Daemons? Why not (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Use a statue to kill a few Daemons? Why not (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Coming back to the map itself, every mission feels different. The map will vary significantly based on the planet upon which the mission is based. Some offer a lot of cover, while others force players to take a long way to gain a tactical upper hand. Understanding the layout of the land is crucial to success.


Free boosts on the battlefield? Don't mind if I do! (Research and Stratagem)

Although the forces of chaos have home advances in most missions, Grey Knights go in prepared. If players invest enough in their research, they'll be able to provide some passive perks for their units in combat.

For instance, a basic research option called Tides of Escalation provides one WP to all units every time the Warp Meter maxes out. This can be very useful depending on the build that players are using. It also saves them the trouble of having to farm WP via kills.

Remember to research supplementary perks as well (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Remember to research supplementary perks as well (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

In addition to research, thanks to Inquisitor Vakir, players gain access to the Strategium. Here, they can choose some boosts and buffs for every mission.

These include and are not limited to extra AP, the ability to teleport Grey Knights around the battlefield, and HP buffs. Although each Stratagem card can only be used once per battle, it can be a life-saver in the right situations.

Research these as soon as possible! They are life-savers (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Research these as soon as possible! They are life-savers (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

The Baleful Edict and the chaos waste of space

After Inquisitor Vakir commandeers The Baleful Edict to combat "The Bloom," the journey to Titan gets postponed indefinitely. Such being the case, repairing the strike cruiser throughout the campaign has become vital to success. Here's where the fun and dread for some players truly begins.

Hello Inquisitor...we meet again (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Hello Inquisitor...we meet again (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Apart from prompting players to repair the Plasma Reactor, the game provides no hints about what to repair next. They are given absolute freedom to choose and understand for themselves what to prioritize.

Since reaching systems to fulfill missions in time is of the essence, my primary focus was repairing the engines. However, past day 300, I realized that I'm still limited to eight Grey Knights since I didn't bother upgrading the Barracks.

Even the mighty Grey Knights need time to heal (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Even the mighty Grey Knights need time to heal (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

With light injuries being sustained on every mission, my fighting force is now on the verge of collapse. That's okay, as my Grey Knight's remains can safely be stored in Stasis Chambers if they fall in battle. This freedom to build as players see fit truly feels like a breath of fresh air.

Moving on from the building aspect, players can do a lot more on the Star Map. Aside from monitoring planets and using the Attune Prognosticar to keep corruption to a minimum, analyzing the battlefield is of the utmost importance.

The corruption does not stop spreading (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
The corruption does not stop spreading (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Although missions spawn in random locations from time to time, traveling to the center of the Star Map after every mission is essential. If the Baleful Edict is not an ideal part of the galaxy, players may lose out on completing missions as they are time-bound. While, at times, this may seem unfair, nobody said that the 40K universe was easygoing.


Voice acting, music, and customization

For a game as dark as Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters, the voice acting truly shines a light on the cinematic experience. From time to time, when players have to intervene in the Strategium, seeing the character converse in dialogs offers some respite between missions.

Furthermore, players will even be able to engage in dialog with all three of the main characters aboard the Baleful Edict. However, this is where I found the voice acting lacking, not in quality but quantity.

Where did your voice go? (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Where did your voice go? (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

In most private conservations with the characters, only a few lines are ever spoken. The rest have to be read out by the players themselves. The voice actors did a brilliant job, so this felt rather odd. I'm still trying to understand why this was executed, as it took away a lot from the game. I genuinely wish the characters had more spoken lines.

Moving on to music, while it fits right into the game and is fantastic, there's not a lot to it. Perhaps a bit more variation would feel nice, but there's nothing much to complain about for the most part.

So many headgears to choose from! (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
So many headgears to choose from! (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

However, when it came to customization of the Grey Knights, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. The options are vast, starting with the unit's surname to the type of voice they have.

Players can choose between different head types and ornamental decorations on the armor, among other accessories. This truly makes each Grey Knight feel personal.


Performance

Smooth sailing all the way! (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Smooth sailing all the way! (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters was provided by Complex Games and played on the system with the following configuration:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
  • GPU: RTX 2060 6GB
  • RAM: 16GB

For the duration of the playthrough, it was smooth sailing all the way. I noticed zero lag or performance issues. Although the game did freeze once or twice, it was likely an anomaly.


In conclusion

To say that Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters is a great TBS game would be an understatement. The game takes everything great that a traditional TBS offers and blesses it with the Emperor's Divine Light.

Pox Walkers galore! (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Pox Walkers galore! (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

As a fanboy of the TBS and RTS genre, Chaos Gate truly felt amazing. It has so much to offer and grants players a truly awe-inspired insight into the world of 40K. But it's not all blessings and divine chants.

While the game has a lot to offer, it fails to provide a helping hand. Players are left to the mercy of the cruel 40K universe. Even though it fits perfectly into the setting, this may dissuade newbies from the genre and stop them from having a wholesome gaming experience.

Another major issue is that the odds are never in favor of the Grey Knight. No matter how many upgrades are unlocked, tactical maneuvers executed perfectly, or enemies smote, things rarely work out well. When players reach the mid-game, completing a mission without wounded units becomes a fading dream.

May the odds be never in your favor (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
May the odds be never in your favor (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

If a miasmic debuff doesn't injure a unit, then a Pox Walker will. Even the most powerful weapons fall short of providing victory in battle. While some of the mishaps can be blamed on poor tactical decisions, even when things are perfectly lined up, the world of Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters smacks players in the face with a rotting corpse.

To give some perspective on this, during a mid-game mission, to eliminate seed carriers, I had to contend with the following: Warp Meter that charged at 25% per turn, four patrol squads, two seed carrier squads, two reinforcements, and of course more reinforcements that were sent in to protect the seed carriers.

After a certain point, it begins to feel excessive. In the grand scheme of things, this works with the franchise's theme. However, facing down so many enemies during a single mission can become exhausting and not to mention frustrating.

Flying through a Warp Storm is never a good idea (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)
Flying through a Warp Storm is never a good idea (Image via Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters)

Furthermore, how players can lose a campaign are staggering. They can run out of units to use for missions, have the Baleful Edict be destroyed in a warp storm, or just spiral into a freefall due to poor decisions early in the game. Thankfully, there are numerous save slots for players to utilize.

Keeping the unfairness and other shortcomings aside, Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters offers much. With overlapping dynamic layers, freedom of choice and consequences, brutal combat, and an excellent story-driven campaign, this TBS stands tall in the world of video games.


Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters review (Image via Sportskeeda)
Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters review (Image via Sportskeeda)

Reviewed On: PC (Code provided by Frontier Foundry)

Platform: Windows PC

Developer: Complex Games

Publisher: Frontier Foundry

Release: May 5, 2022


Edited by Yasho Amonkar

Comments

Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...