I used to be trying ahead to the discharge of Warhammer 40,000: Darktide from the second it was introduced. I’ve performed over 100 hours of Vermintide, and Vermintide 2, so I knew I may depend on developer Fatshark to ship a compelling motion recreation.
However when Darktide got here out on the finish of November, 2022, the motion was strong, however every thing round it felt unfinished, lacking, or frustratingly misguided. Efficiency on PC wanted massive optimisations, particularly in CPU-utilisation. In-game itemisation was paper-thin, as soon as you set sufficient hours into the sport to get to some extent the place you wanted good loot.
Then there was the bizarrely aggressive monetisation. Darktide had fallen into the widespread lure of prioritising paid cosmetics and launching with an in-game retailer – in such a method that it gave gamers the ick – particularly since giant elements of the sport clearly wanted a number of work.
All of that irked me, however the one factor I simply couldn’t recover from was the dearth of cross-play. Most of my Vermintide buddies purchased the sport on Steam, whereas I opted for the Sport Move model. The 2 couldn’t play with one another, regardless of each being on PC.
Whereas Fatshark has come a great distance in creating on-line techniques that assist solo gamers discover teams (including devoted servers, and making a extra social expertise by means of the hub world), the studio’s video games shine when performed with buddies, not simply different gamers.
All of these issues mixed merely drove me away from Darktide. I do know that’s been the case for others, too. Even on the finish of September, as I write this, Darktide remains to be sitting at a Combined person evaluation score on Steam, which is true for each latest opinions, in addition to almost all 62,000 of them.
Then there was the Xbox model, which was initially alleged to launch day-and-date with PC, however ended up being pushed again again and again, to the purpose that it began to by no means come up in common communication from the builders. It wasn’t till Fatshark formally introduced a launch date for the Xbox model final month that hope was restored.
However it’s not simply the October 4 launch of the Xbox Sequence X/S model that’s value celebrating – this additionally marks a recent launch for Darktide on all platforms.
The Xbox model arrives with Patch 13, which works dwell on PC the identical day. Patch 13 is a serious milestone for Darktide. I used to be invited by Fatshark to play an early construct of the sport working Patch 13, and acquired to pattern every thing it has to supply. The brief model: that is simply on the extent of Cyberpunk 2077’s Patch 2.0.
Patch 13 adjustments the category recreation fully, including new variations for each class. Class range has all the time been one thing the Vermintide video games have been good at, however the way in which Darktide implements this basic design is Fatshark’s finest. Every class now has a fully-fledged, multi-branch expertise tree, which felt surprisingly unrestrictive.
You’ll be able to rigidly comply with a linear path and create a extra customary subclass, or you might as a substitute elect to spend your factors on the talents and passives you care about. Resetting your nodes is as straightforward as urgent a button; no forex or uncommon supplies to fret about. The very best half is which you can save loadouts, collectively along with your chosen weapons to create a coherent builds.
That is significantly helpful for lessons just like the Veteran, which excels at utilizing firearms, however the previous class system would railroad you to spec right into a sure route. Certainly, after simply two hours of gameplay, I managed to pattern methods of enjoying the Veteran I by no means thought doable.
Even past the very thrilling class rework, PC gamers who deserted the sport (or by no means picked it up) have a way more feature-rich, and higher optimised model ready for them. All of the work that went into the Xbox port means the PC model goes to be extra performant. This isn’t a magic bullet; count on framerate drops when giant hoards are on display screen, but when the final time you performed Darktide was when it got here out, you’re going to really feel an actual distinction.
Whereas I used to be not capable of play the sport on Xbox, Fatshark confirmed that Sequence X will provide two modes: one targets 60fps at 1440p, and the opposite sticks to 30fps at 4K. Sequence S is proscribed to 1080p at 30fps for now, however the developer informed me it’s not ruling out a extra aggressive decision that targets 60fps down the road.
The very best half about all that is that gamers on all platforms get to be on the identical web page, and everybody can play collectively. Future content material launches will probably be launched concurrently throughout PC and Xbox, which actually drives residence how a lot of a brand new starting that is for Darktide.
I’m usually cautious of rewarding firms for fixing their video games months/years later. However you’ll be able to solely choose issues as they’re as we speak. The Darktide of late 2023 is a recreation that helps cross-play on all platforms, runs higher, provides deeper loot, new methods to play, extra content material – and the massive one: a massively revamped class system that teases infinite experimentation by itself.
The present model of Darktide is a straightforward advice, and anybody with Sport Move (particularly Xbox gamers who’d been ready very patiently for it) ought to completely obtain it and provides it a strive. It’s the proper evolution of Vermintide 2, and a enjoyable recreation in its personal proper.