Warhammer 40,000: Darktide shares a lot in common with developer Fatshark’s Vermintide series. It has a class-based system that lets players specialize, and the horde-type gameplay reminiscent of Left 4 Dead is present, peppered with multiple special enemies to keep players on their toes. Lastly, Fatshark’s attention to detail when it comes to the Warhammer world is evident in its next endeavor, as could be seen with its latest beta.


While Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide and Warhammer: Vermintide 2 were melee-focused games with a bit of ranged combat thrown in, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide differentiates itself by focusing on both mid and close-range combat. Each class has its own special arsenal to draw from when battling enemies, but the biggest point of contention is how Fatshark will balance the two types of combat. With the closed beta test that took place from October 14-16, 2022, a select few players got their answers.

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Warhammer 40,000: Darktide’s New Ranged and Classic Melee Combat

Unlike most modern first-person shooters, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide‘s gun combat is weighty, clunky, and has tons of recoil. The closest players can get to a conventional shooter is by playing the Veteran class, whose whole shtick is that they were trained to use multiple firearms. The other classes aren’t as well-versed in ranged combat as the Veteran is. The Ogryn’s Ripper Gun, for example, causes the reticle to go flying almost off-screen if the gun is fired for too long.

But the weightiness of gun combat is not a bad thing; if anything, it emphasizes the grittiness of the game world. Just like in the Vermintide series, firearms are powerful weapons that are best used for thinning hordes of enemies and special foes. In Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, guns can also be used to take out foes from behind cover and unreachable areas – places that the new ranged enemies love to camp from. Since ammo is more plentiful in this game, players can use it liberally in mid-range as well as close quarters.

First-person melee combat in Fatshark games needs little introduction. Using a mix of light and heavy attacks alongside blocks and counters, melee combat is weighty, impactful, and resistant. When combined, these elements make players feel like they are actually hitting something every time they swing their close-range weapons. Melee weapons in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide are employed whenever enemies get too close for comfort, and there are some stand-out tools like a chainsaw sword.

How Does Warhammer 40,000: Darktide’s Combat Loop Work?

Combat in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide follows a flow. For the most part, players will be dealing with tons of add enemies that run directly at them. Players can first use their ranged weapons to thin the horde before engaging the remaining adds with melee weapons, or just wait for them to get in melee range to save on ammunition. Either way, there is no guarantee that they will be able to eliminate all the enemies before hordes close the distance.

Special enemies require the employment of different tactics. Foes like the Pox Hounds and Mutants need to be dealt with from a distance so as not to render party members immobile. Mid and long-range enemies like Snipers can either be shot with ranged weapons or chased down and eliminated in melee range. As of the closed beta, the strongest special enemy is the Plague Ogryn, which serves as a mini-boss that requires all four players to focus their firepower.

Based on the beta, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide‘s combat consists of roughly 40 percent ranged combat and 60 percent melee combat. Guns are used primarily on special enemies and bosses, but ammo is plentiful enough that players can also use them to take out swaths of regular enemies. When the going gets tough, players can fall back on Fatshark’s meaty melee combat to deal with threats on a more personal level. Using melee on special enemies and bosses isn’t advised due to the amount of health they have and the damage they can dish out, but it’s better than firing an empty gun.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide releases on November 30, 2022, for PC and Xbox Series X/S.

MORE: Warhammer 40K: Darktide Promises Thousands of Voice Lines for Characters

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