How Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate — Daemonhunters Rebuilds the Tactics Genre around Space Marines

It’s no secret that, like RPGs, modern strategy games have their roots in the table. And if there’s a war game that could truly be called a genre-defining one, it would have to be Warhammer 40,000. That’s why it’s almost poetic that Warhammer 40,000: Gate of Chaos – Demon Hunters is seeing so many comparisons with XCOM.

In a way, it’s like we’ve come full circle.

Space Marines, Inquisitors and The Warp: a brief primer

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

Set in the gloomy darkness of the distant future, Gate of Chaos – Demons hunters puts you in charge of a squadron of Gray Knights, one of Space Marine’s most memorable chapters.

Most Space Marines are super soldiers created from genetically modified demigods known as Primarchs. These Primarchs, in turn, were created from the DNA of the God Emperor of Man – the most powerful human being that ever lived, now little more than a living corpse. The Gray Knights break the mold in a few ways:

  • They don’t have Primarch. His genes derive directly from the Emperor himself.
  • Officially, the Chapter does not exist. All but a select few believe them to be a myth.
  • They embrace The Warp’s powers, but somehow none of them have been corrupted by him.
  • They do not follow the principles and doctrines described in the Codex Astartes.
  • They almost exclusively hunt daemons, working as part of the Inquisition to do so.

The Warp is an alternate dimension composed entirely of psychic energy and home to the terrifyingly powerful Gods of Chaos. These malevolent extradimensional entities are a perpetual corrupting influence over sentient life and are responsible for creating daemons.

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters Gray Knight Squadron

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

The Inquisition, in turn, is functionally an intergalactic intelligence agency. Its people, known as the Inquisitors, are equal parts secret agent and secret police. They spend their lives hunting down anything they deem a threat to the Imperium of Man – what constitutes a ‘threat’ can range from a demonic incursion to a settler with the wrong opinion.

Yes, the inquisitors are not exactly cool people. Unfortunately, they are also one of the highest authorities in the Empire, and even Space Marines must obey their command. When they say skipping, the only non-heretic response is obedience.

It is one of those agents that initiates the narrative of Gate of Chaos – Demons hunters.

In the wrong place at the right time

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters Inquisitor Vakir

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

After a successful mission, you were promoted to acting commander of your ship, The Baleful Edict. Repairs to return to headquarters were almost complete. Then an unexpected visitor appeared.

Inquisitor Vakir.

You now have new orders. Although supplies are running low and The Baleful Edict is in desperate need of repairs, Vakir has directed you to the nearby Tyrtaeus sector. There, a new threat is brewing, a supernatural plague known as Bloom, which is already consuming entire worlds.

you who are fans of Warhammer 40,000 probably already see where this is going. Nurgle, the Chaos God of disease and decay, has designed a powerful new weapon. And if you don’t stop here, there’s no telling how far it might spread – or how much damage it will do.

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Ranged AOE Daemon Hunters

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

Even for a well-stocked squadron of Gray Knights, this would not be an easy task. To help Bloom spread and ensure he can continue infecting and mutating, Plaguefather has deployed his own forces. You’ll have to deal with everything from vile Plague Marines to towering Greater Daemons, eventually facing off against Nurgle’s greatest champion: Primal of the Guard of Death, Mortarion.

The odds are stacked against you and your Gray Knights, and victory is far from guaranteed. But this is nothing new. This is your war to fight, just as you’ve fought countless times before.

you are the hammer

Gate of Chaos - Demon Hunters The Evil Edict

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

Calling The Evil Edict a ship is like calling Australia an island. The colossal ship is made up of equal parts laboratory, arsenal and war room. It will serve as your base of operations for the entirety of Chaos Gate – Demon Hunters.

The Strategy contains the war room and the ship’s barracks. The first is where you will monitor and direct your efforts to contain the Nurgle plague. The latter, meanwhile, is where you’ll customize each of your Gray Knights, managing their cosmetics, gear, and upgrades.

At the beginning, you’ll have four core classes to choose from, each with its huge talent tree:

  • Justicars are your tanks, front-line warriors who charge fearlessly into the fray.
  • Interceptors are all about speed and mobility, and they can teleport across the map during combat missions.
  • Purgers are devastating heavy weapon specialists.
  • Apothecaries provide healing and support for your battle brethren.

Deeper into the game, four advanced classes will be available:

  • Clad in slayer power armor, the Paladin is a melee powerhouse, his skill with weaponry allowing him to carve a swath through Nurgle’s armies.
  • The Chaplain utters prayers and litanies to strengthen his allies, giving them the edge they need to face the most impossible odds.
  • The Librarian is a potent psyker who can decimate a battlefield, destroying daemons with the same energies that created them.
  • The Purifier is practically the embodiment of “kill with fire”, burning Nurgle’s corruption with a mighty flamethrower.

Inside arsenal, you can unlock new weapons and war equipment for your marines. Virtually every gear present in the Gray Knights Codex can be accessed here, further expanding the endless customization options for your Marines.

Chaos Gate - Demon Hunters Librarian

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

finally, the Malleus Libris this is where you will research Bloom, developing new psychic abilities and tools to help you fight him better.

burgeoning complications

Chaos Gate - Daemon Hunters Ranged Combat

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

To say that his mission is not enviable would be putting it lightly. Purging Bloom from one world could mean he’ll grow stronger in another. That means new enemy types, additional environmental mutations, an increased chance of Warp Surges, random events with the ability to strengthen your enemies, weaken your allies, and more.

The good news is that you will never be taken by surprise. Before the start of each mission, you will be able to examine a comprehensive dossier on the planet. This details pretty much everything you need to know – enemy forces, level of corruption, the probability of a Warp Surge, and the specific strain of Bloom you’re dealing with.

You can also select extra challenges and objectives before missions, known as Glorious Deeds, for additional rewards.

It’s not just Bloom you’ll have to consider. You’ll also have to balance tensions between Vakir and his team – making a decision that upsets one may please the other, temporarily affecting the various progression systems throughout the Evil Edict. These interactions don’t change the course of the story, but they represent yet another vital element in the game’s strategy layer.

The main reason to get involved with your crew, though, is to learn more about their mission and how it fits into the wider fiction of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. To see, Chaos Gate – Demon Hunters is both a narrative work and a strategy game, with a story written by New York Times Black Library bestselling author Aaron Dembski-Bowden. Ensuring these characters felt authentic was a priority for the team at Complex Games.

in the fight

Combat is where Chaos Gate – Demon Hunters really shines. While capable from a distance, the Gray Knights are more comfortable approaching – something that is portrayed magnificently in the game. Watching a Paladin break through a wall to crush a demon into a briefcase will never fail to be awe-inspiring.

Speaking of walls, a Many of the game terrain is destructible. Want to crush a Plague Marine under a statue? You can do it.

Want to throw a crane at a group of Poxwalkers? It’s a valid strategy.

Chaos Gate – Demon Hunters It also has a precision aiming system that lets you choose how and where you will attack an enemy. Unsurprisingly, melee combat is where this system shows its teeth. Any unit in melee range of a stunned opponent can target specific weak points – hitting one point can damage you while hitting another can destroy your weaponry.

Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters Gray Knight shooting from the cover

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

The most notable thing about the game’s approach to combat, however, is that it does away with the RNG. Your units will be Never miss a shot, but they will occasionally land a critical hit. This is encouraging news for anyone who has been frustrated by the relentless randomness of titles like XCOM.

It also makes sense in the universe. The Gray Knights are the best of the best, some of the most powerful, best-trained and most disciplined soldiers mankind has ever seen. Seeing an attack breath would practically break the immersion.

Purge the plague, purge the demonic

Warhammer 40,000 Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters Gray Knight holding a hammer in the air

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

Chaos Gate – Demon Hunters It has all the ingredients of an instant classic. Cinematic, strategic combat, an excellent story and endless customization. Whether you’re a fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe or simply a fan of strategy, we think it’s safe to say this is a must-buy.

Speaking of which, if you pre-order the game on Steam or the Epic Games Store, you’ll get access to two exclusive in-game items, powerful relics straight from the holy vaults of the Gray Knights’ citadel.

  • Dominates Liber Daemonica. An ancient tome containing some of the most powerful prayers, litanies, battle rituals, and banishing words known to mankind. Bearers of this relic can send howling demons back into the warp with a single utterance.
  • Crys’yllix Daemon Hammer. The first Nemesis Daemon Hammer ever created, a centuries-old weapon used to destroy the Lord of Change Crys’yllix.

In addition, if you choose to order the Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters – Castellan Champion Edition, the legendary Castellan Garran Crowe will join your squad midway through the story. Wielding the infamous Black Blade of Antwyr, Crowe is subject to several special rules in the game. This release also includes the original soundtrack, composed by Dawn of War 2 veteran Doyle W. Donehoo.

Warhammer 40,000: Gate of Chaos – Demon Hunters will be released on May 5, 2022, on PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store. Pre-orders start at £34.99/$44.99/€44.99.

Leave a Comment