Warhammer 40000 Darktide is the latest game in the ‘tide’ series from developer Fatshark. This game centers around a legion of conscripted prisoners given the honor to serve the Empire through service. If by service, you mean charging headlong into glorious battle against a cult of corrupted humans. It’s only just the beginning.
A little while ago, Fatshark announced that they are gradually releasing Darktide over a two-week span. This involved a multistage Pre-order Beta starting on November 17 and ending on release day, November 30. This preview will focus primarily on the pre-order beta experience. A full review of the game will come out once the game fully releases. Gunplay and melee feel great so far though.
The first week of the beta was a messy affair full of disconnects and graphical adjustments. But we knew what signed up for. I wanted to have a feel for the game’s weapons, A.I. director, and general feel while doing missions. And all I can say is that after watching many streams and videos from the October closed beta, just spectating the action does not compare to the thrill of actually playing the game under lasgun fire.
It had 4 changing missions across 4 zones. The objectives for those mission range from collecting data to killing a high-value target. It was pretty limiting but we were still learning the ropes and it was nice not to be overwhelmed right off the bat. I’d imagine this is going to be the experience going forward for all new Operatives. Much like we don’t have access to all the weapons in the game until we’ve built up enough trust.
Now that we’re in the second week, the Forge and Metalfab 36 have been to the mission pool along, with their unique location-based objectives. Also, modifiers that affect horde and special enemy spawn probabilities have been added to the game. While I do like that more locations have been added to the mission pool, I don’t quite feel like changing spawn rates changed anything to the way I’ve usually played. To me, it felt like I was doing any other difficulty 3 or 4 mission. Even without the modifiers, those missions had specials spawning very frequently.
After playing more than 24 hours in the beta, here are some of the takeaways.
The game soft-launching the way it did was the best decision for the game long term. It shows that the team was confident in their product and that the only things that really needed to be worked on are connectivity and server strain.
I can clearly see that the developers have learned a lot from their time working on Vermintide 1 and 2. It still remains to be seen if they’ll hit it out of the park or swing and miss. But I’m confident that they’ll find some way to make it all work out.
As I previously mentioned, I was prepared to go into this beta fully expecting to crash at least half the time. What I didn’t expect, however, was that I would be crashing a lot of times. I was getting disconnected for all sorts of reasons. A few hours later though, my connection was solid for the whole session. Well, better it happened then and not on launch day.
My graphic settings were all over the place during the first 4 days of the beta. I sort of gave up by the 5th day and reduced everything to medium. I’ll restore my preferred setting after launch day and see how it goes. But for now, it’ll have to do for sanity’s sake.
If you’ve played Vermintide at all, you’ll find some similarities within the gameplay. It’s a lot more complicated this around. But more than that, I didn’t see a hint of loot boxes. I’m actually starting to like carefully choosing my weapons through a curated list of randomized weapons. And the way weapons become customizable later on, it’s a lot better than tossing everything I don’t like into a furnace.
Now that I know what to expect next week, I have every reason to look forward to the full launch of the game. And now that Fatshark has announced that there will be seasons on top of further story content, I believe I’ll be staying with this game for the foreseeable future.
Is this worth buying during the pre-order beta? Not really. If you’re looking for a consistent experience with manageable connection issues, you’ll probably want to wait for the official launch. But if you really can’t wait any longer, then, by all means, take a dive into the deep end.
I think more companies need to take a look at how Fatshark did this beta. If they had launched this game in the state that it was when the pre-order beta began, this would have been a disaster. There would have no excuse for the constant connection issues and ever-changing visual quality.
I can’t wait to go in-depth with the game in my full review.
Check out this overview trailer from developer Fatshark where they showcase all the things you can expect in Warhammer 40000 Darktide on and after launch day.