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W40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters: Duty Eternal DLC impressions | Good highs, terrible lows

Published: 15:04, 26 December 2022
Complex Games
Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters Dreadnought
Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters Dreadnought

Unlike the base W40K: Chaos Gate: Daemonhunters game which saw praise from players and critics, Duty Eternal DLC polarised the fans with very good additions and some big disappointments.

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters launched on May 5, 2022, and quickly won the fans of the W40K universe, including us , over and those who have been waiting for a new XCOM or a game in a similar vein.

The reception was so great that the success convinced Frontier Developments to acquire Complex Games , the team behind one of the best 40K titles in recent years. 

With everything going so well for the game, the fans expected stellar DLC to come around but they were in for a rude awakening with Duty Eternal, which had an abundance of caveats and problems but underneath those issues, some really great additions as well.

Complex Games Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters - Venerable Dreadnaught Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters - Venerable Dreadnaught, a highlight or a weak link?

Duty Eternal's meek highlights, not the strong suit

Right off the bat, the DLC flaunts the two new classes that are coming in - the Techmarine and the Dreadnought, the latter of which is what every 40K fan drools over on a regular basis. As such, expectations for the bipedal life support that decimates enemies in its path were high but not only were they not met, they were so subverted that the last seasons of Game of Thrones suddenly don't look horrific anymore.

Neither the marketing campaign leading up to the release of the DLC nor the store page marked that the walker wouldn't be available for most missions - you can only utilise it in the new Technophage deployments that come with Duty Eternal.

This is egregious, no matter how you look at it, especially because the name of the DLC itself implies the Dreadnought is the main attraction. Eventually, a small disclaimer was added to the store page to specify the class can only be used for Technophage Outbreak but the damage was already done. 

With the elephant now out of the room, let's get to the rest of what the DLC has to offer, like the Techmarine. This one can be played in any mission but they only shine during Technophage because they can repair the Dreadnought. Complex Games nailed the symbiosis of Techmarines and Dreadnoughts but severely restricted both classes - Dreadnoughts with the aforementioned limited deployment and Techmarine with being very weak without it.

During the vanilla playthrough, I managed to find a way for each and every class to be useful even though some were several times more powerful than others.

The Techmarine, however, is hard to like because without the benefits he brings for the giant bipedal killing machine, he has to rely on three Servitors that are somewhat underwhelming. It may be enough to say a slightly intense sneeze can pop a Servitor and since we're duking it out with Nurgle's minions, there is a lot of sneezing, which diminishes the Techmarine's usefulness in combat.

Complex Games W40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters Techmarine looks much more impressive here than in the actual game

Additionally, the new missions as well as alterations to the existing ones, caused by Duty Eternal are quite difficult and bringing a Techmarine even on a regular run-of-the-mill deployment means a difficulty spike. With the already increased difficulty and the problems you can have with the new class, it will often end up a massive headache instead of a good time.

As it turns out, the weakest parts of the DLC were propped into the spotlight, which obviously resulted in a lot of negative views but having gone through the offerings, I just have to point out the strong suits.

Humble additions that carry the DLC

If you played Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters without Duty Eternal, you were probably annoyed that you could never finish all the missions that popped up on the star map or that your Grey Knights were out of commission for too long after receiving a minor scratch during a deployment. You may also have hated the fact that respeccing the Knights was so tedious and needlessly complex.

Well, all of those things were at the very least improved and in other cases straight-up fixed with Duty Eternal and the accompanying update. 

First, there is now a second ship that you can commandeer and use to resolve missions you may not be able to catch in time. This allows you to catch the mission rewards you are gunning for more reliably, even if the distance would interfere if you only had one ship. Missions with the second ship are automatically resolved so you are not playing them directly - you simply get a report afterwards. 

The benefits of the second ship are more than just hunting for rewards though, as the Knights that get deployed will level up, allowing you to have a fresh supply of high-level units whenever you need them. 

Complex Games W40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters - Second ship is the true highlight W40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters - Second ship is the true highlight

This was a major problem before where you had to decide whether to send a wounded Knight into the field or force a rookie in, increasing the difficulty immediately, which caused the Commander to be in several tight spots during the campaign. With the second ship levelling your troops in the background, the problem has been mitigated and the compositions you craft are now more reliable since you can maintain them without being forced to use rookies.

On top of all this, the free update that came with the DLC added a way to respec the Knights without having to jump through a million hoops which is more than welcome. No longer will the high-level recruits be useless because they have the wrong talents.

Technically, you don't need Duty Eternal for this but I felt it's only fair to give the devs credit where it's due - just because you don't have to pay for it doesn't mean the improvement didn't happen.

Complex Games W40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters W40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters

Is Duty Eternal worth it?

Standing at $14.99 / €14.99, Duty Eternal is a DLC that doesn't bring much to the table for new W40K: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters players. If you are indeed new to the game, it is better to play it in vanilla form first.

On the other hand, if you played the base game thoroughly, enjoyed it and are looking for new challenges, this DLC is surprisingly good on several fronts. The difficulty that stemmed from overlooked details in game design is gone and is replaced by the difficulty spike in the missions themselves where you are forced to rethink tactics all the time. The DLC becomes worth it for the refreshed challenge, benefits of the second ship and quality-of-life improvements. 

Should the actual highlights be fixed in the future, with the Techmarine being more useful on his own or Dreadnought being eligible for other missions, the DLC could grow into a high point of the game.

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