Warhammer 40,000 Darktide Hands-on Preview: Shoot And Smash

At first blush, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide appears to be very similar to previous games created by its developer, Fatshark. The gists of Darktide, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide, and Warhammer: Vermintide 2 are pretty much the same. All three games are cooperative multiplayer titles in which teams of four players take on Left 4 Dead-style objective-based missions and crush their way through hordes of enemies. And like its predecessors, Darktide makes great use of Fatshark’s approach to first-person melee combat, giving you ample opportunities to smash skulls with giant hammers and huge knives.

Where Darktide steps away from the Vermintide games is with the more sci-fi-oriented Warhammer 40k setting, which adds a few spins–most prominently, a greater prevalence of guns. Coming into Fatshark’s Warhammer games for the first time with a hands-on preview of about 30 minutes of Darktide, it was immediately clear how the game stands out from other cooperative multiplayer offerings like it. Mixing guns and melee play creates a variety of new and interesting combat scenarios for Darktide, where you have to simultaneously think about clearing out enemies, controlling the battlefield, and covering your teammates from sneaky, approaching threats.

In Darktide, you carry both a big melee weapon and a gun, and having the two types of weapons creates a distinct feel in the gameplay–you’re facing both hordes of zombie-like enemies wielding melee weapons, and soldiers with guns of their own. The mix of the two kinds of enemies means you need a mix of long-range and close-range tactics to deal with them, and the teamwork to match.

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