Preview: Darktide’s Closed Beta Leaves Us Wanting More

I’m a huge Warhammer: Vermintide 2 fan. It’s a game I’ve played almost weekly since its Early Access release. While my group and I have cooled on it a bit since the Bela’kor update messed with the balance of the Chaos Wastes game mode, it wasn’t something to worry about since Darktide was on the near horizon. Well, I finally got a chance to play Darktide myself, and let me say: the wait has been worth it. 

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is an upcoming first person four player co-op game, and a bit of a spiritual successor to Fatshark’s Vermintide games. Set in the Grim Dark future of the 40k universe, Darktide isn’t just Vermintide 2 in space–but it still brings that same great weapon feel as you fight off the forces of Chaos through the darkened, rusted corridors of Tertium’s underbelly. If you’re not familiar with Warhammer 40,000, its bleak techno fascist future, that’s okay, all you need to know is that the Emperor’s will is indomitable, and as prisoner “rejects” you’re in no place to refuse. You’ll be thrust into the bowels of the hive city Tertium in search of the source of the encroaching Chaos, fighting a dark tide of Chaos corrupted enemies along the way.

One of the things that made Vermintide 2 so enduringly fun was its fantastic melee combat, and Darktide doesn’t disappoint. Enemies in Darktide feel a bit more formidable than those in Vermintide 2, however, and ranged enemies pose a constant threat, where they would mostly just be a nuisance or occasional danger in Vermintide 2. Ranged combat feels great, however, and the inclusion of genuine ranged threats really does a lot to make Darktide standout from Vermintide 2

While Vermintide 2 had five premade characters, Darktide has you create your own unique character with their own backstory selected from an arrangement of backstories. While I’ll definitely miss having established characters to play as, being able to create your own character with their own backstory is an equitable trade-off. 

At launch, there will only be 4 classes, with new classes being promised every quarter. But for those (like me) who have been waiting on Sienna’s final career in Vermintide 2, this might not be the most welcome news. Still, the four classes that were available during the Beta were fun and varied–but I don’t think it’ll be enough for a full release. Despite Darktide not officially launching into Early Access, it sort of feels like it is. Not only that, but Fatshark is undecided whether it will charge for new classes–and with a game that has a Premium Currency, that’s a little bit of a bummer. However, new game modes, areas, and missions are promised to remain free according to a statement Fatshark released on Friday.

As a longtime Vermintide fan, I’m definitely excited for Darktide. If you’re at all interested in Left 4 Dead style co-op games, Fatshark has the formula figured out. I can’t wait until Warhammer 40,000 releases next month. After the fun we had in the beta, it’s going to be a long wait.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide will be available on November 30th.

A set of Beta keys was provided to us for this preview. 

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Antal Bokor

Antal is video game advocate, retro game collector, and video game historian. He is also a small streamer, occasional podcast guest, and writer.