Warhammer 40K: Chaosgate – Daemonhunters console review

by on March 4, 2024

Warhammer 40,000: Chaosgate – Daemonhunters is, on the surface, another turn-based tactics XCOM-alike set in the dark grimness of the distant future where there is only war and everything from tanks to decorative toilet roll holders is bedecked in skull iconography. But while the license is prone to hopping genre bandwagons wherever possible, this particular niche is one where Games Workshop’s legendary franchise often finds the firmest ground. It’s arguably the closest genre to playing the tabletop version, and, let’s be honest, Warhammer 40K games are rarely short on creativity or effort.

Chaosgate – Daemonhunters is no different. It’s a polished, imaginative, and often brutally unforgiving TBT game that focuses on the Grey Knights chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, and casts you as the omnipresent XCOM-style Commander. Dropped into the role thanks to tragic-yet-badass circumstances not of your doing, your main objective here is to lead your remaining warriors back to Imperium Space while holding off multiple armies of Chaos. It’s not an easy job, but you’re not alone in the task.

Warhammer 40K: Chaosgate

Your Grey Knights are a tough bunch, not only trained to kill, stuff, and mount the denizens of the Warp with extreme prejudice but also well-versed in the arts of the Psyker. Using psychic abilities in a 40K game is always a natty substitute for magic, and it’s the same here, but there’s always the added danger of evoking the Warp and making everything much worse for yourself.

A standard battle scenario in Daemonhunters’ huge campaign will see you deploy with your squad of customised hard nuts, with a straightforward objective. But as you encounter enemy patrols or dug-in resistance, the game begins spinning its wheels and predicting the outcome of each move you make becomes half the challenge. See, using your squad’s Psyker abilities is effective but super dangerous. Each Marine has a “Will” meter, which determines their psychic power. But each time you use one of these abilities you run the risk of breaking your squad, summoning Chaos daemons, or sending everyone barking mad.

Warhammer 40,000: Chaosgate – Daemonhunters also delights in pushing the player into desperate situations. Even on Normal I struggled through some of the missions, as enemy reinforcements come thick and fast and always at the worst possible moments. There were times when it almost felt unfair as I clawed my way to cover, held together by my armour, only to be beset by another unexpected wave of enemies. Refreshingly, though, there’s no bullshit chance-to-hit mechanic at work. In fact, it’s one of the ways Daemonhunters swings closer to the underrated but spectacular Gears Tactics than XCOM.

Warhammer 40K: Chaosgate

If you can see or physically reach an enemy, you can deal damage. No whiffing a point blank shotgun blast against an enemy on the other side of the phone box you’re leaning on. And if you can land enough hits or use the right skills and stun an enemy, you can then use an execution skill to kill them outright. You’re squad being a bloodthirsty bunch, this also restores one Action Point to everyone, leading to some truly badass moments where one hero can turn the ride for everyone.

The opposite side of this, though, is the punishing, unforgiving tendency to outnumber you with powerful enemies. Most victories I won came at the cost of badly wounded marines, who require long periods to recover. They don’t die, though, which is refreshing. Being defeated in battle takes a marine out of action, but they all come back later, with a few new scars and some embarrassing war stories to tell about how they let some Chaos scumbag chainsaw their arm clean off. Controls have been translated pretty smoothly from mouse and keyboard to gamepad, and playing on PlayStation 5 I had no issues with the clear, informative UI nor the intuitive controls.

In between battles you’ll also be dealing with your ship’s day to day struggles, and managing a Doomsday Clock-like catastrophe known as the Bloom. It’s essentially a plague of Chaos that grows more powerful and widespread as you complete missions and progress the campaign, which will eventually spell disaster if you don’t get to safety or, better, stop it altogether. It creates an interesting difficulty dynamic that veers towards feeling imbalanced. At the beginning of the game, combat is tough because you’ve barely any men and few resources, but the ship stuff is fairly straightforward initially. As you progress and develop new gear and tactics the combat gets (very slightly – let’s not get carried away) easier. But the gradual spread of the Bloom creates multiple problems for your ship, including huge Warp storms and mutating strains of the plague.

Warhammer 40K: Chaosgate

Yet despite its steep difficulty, Warhammer 40,000: Chaosgate – Daemonhunters remains a very playable, likable, and inventive game. Graphically, it’s occasionally a bit off. Environments tend to be burned out hellscapes or else often too dark to really appreciate detail, and characters have a weird cartoonish style that’s like cell-shading but isn’t. But those are fairly minor complaints, and it plays smoothly on console with very few hiccups.

Like last year’s Rogue Trader, Chaosgate – Daemonhunters is a prime example of the Warhammer license meeting a genre it’s absolutely built for. It leans too close to mean-spirited in terms of difficulty sometimes, and the campaign is arguably a little too long (it tops out around 45 – 50 hours), but it’s an atmospheric, charismatic take on the turn-based tactics genre that feels just a little more badass than many.


Complex but intuitive combat
Solid story campaign
No chance-to-hit mechanic


Punishing difficulty
Not great looking

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Warhammer 40K: Chaosgate - Daemonhunters is a prime example of the Warhammer license meeting a genre it's absolutely built for.