The Warhammer 40,000 universe paints a bleak picture of a dystopian future filled with brutal and unforgiving warfare on an epic scale. Warhammer 40,000: Darktide cranks up that same brutality, but on a more personal level. Being a first-person shooter, the violence is in your face and never shies away from showing just how gory it can be. Grenades blow swarms of plague zombies into meaty chunks of flesh and worms. Chainswords shred through cultists' limbs with a shower of blood. Psykers can pop a rampaging Ogryn's head like a pimple with just the power of their minds. This isn't a game for the faint of heart (or stomach). Of course, even a bit of the ol' ultraviolence doesn't amount to much if the game itself isn't fun to play. Thankfully, Darktide delivers here as well.
Even though Darktide is a first-person shooter, the "shooter" part is almost secondary. That's not to say the lead (or lasers, depending on your loadout) doesn't fly during matches, but rather that you'll likely spend more time bashing, chopping, stabbing, or otherwise relying on melee attacks more so than guns. Ammo can be limited, and thankfully the close quarters weapons have a surprisingly effective range of attack. Plus, the dark and dank environments can make it hard to even see the enemy, much less shoot them effectively, at range. Still, the controls are relatively smooth and responsive. Also, friendly fire thankfully isn't a thing, leaving you free to unload death and destruction without fear of taking out a teammate. And you'll need the help, as the squad based mechanic is core to the gameplay. It's not just about covering each other as the swarms approach. Different classes give extra bonuses to allies by simply being close to one another. This adds an extra incentive to stick together in online matches rather than running rogue. While missions are slightly varied with different end goals, you're still running through similar environments, fighting similar swarms of enemies, and generally going through the same motions. That's not to say it isn't fun, but it can get repetitive. But as far as giving players a taste of life in the Warhammer 40,000 universe? Darktide is as good as it gets.