Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Anniversary Update Deep Dive

New bosses, missions, and foldable shovels have brought new, pox-riddled life to Tertium.

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Last month, as somewhat of a surprise, Fatshark launched the first part of a huge anniversary update. The Traitor Curse's second half has now released, and I've been playing the heck out of it, grinding up my Veteran now that the new talent tree has been revamped for the class. If you're a player who's not touched the game since launch, or a long-time 40K fan who hasn't yet got stuck into clearing up Tertiumm I've compiled a few of the major changes brought about in the update and what they mean.

First and most obviously, there are the two new missions, which revolve around a new zone called The Carnival. A massive slum, as outlined by the developers, the Carnival encompasses the meanest streets Tertium has to offer. Filled with plenty of businesses that would love to say out of sight of the Adeptus Arbites, corruption throughout, and an overall grim appeal make the Carnival perhaps one of the grimiest places we've visited yet, in that perfect Warhammer 40,000 grimdark way. Your eyes can't help but be drawn to the red glow of the Carnival, as you wonder what this place looked like before a bunch of Nurgle worshippers broke in and turned everyone into monsters.

While the aesthetic did take a bit of getting used to, and I still would've liked to have seen more of the Carnival before it became yet another place infected with plague, it certainly does its job of making you feel like you're somewhere else within Tertium without appearing like a district that should appear in a different Hive City or on another planet. When you go deeper into the Carnival in the second mission as well, your surroundings change from sprawling, Victorian-inspired cityscapes that make you want to slowly pan the camera around like you're in an E3 demo to tight corridors that have you trembling every time you hear the dreaded howl of a pox hound.

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In terms of the missions on offer in The Traitor Curse, I have to say I prefer the second. The first mission feels fairly standard for Darktide, having you fight through hordes before holding off countless enemies until you can be extracted at the end, whereas the second mission is a much longer affair, including a great ambush, plenty of diversity in your environments, and a part where you whack some glass containers with the most satisfying "thunk" noise I've heard all year. They're a great addition to the roster of missions, and with the inclusion of the new Karnak Twins as well, these levels are a worthy challenge no matter your preferred difficulty setting.

The Karnak Twins have not only been unleashed in these missions, but have been let loose around all of Tertium. I first encountered Rinda on a random Quick Play mission while I was levelling my Veteran and got absolutely battered by their massive sword swings. Both Rinda and Rodin can appear at any time, and they feel like better versions of Daemonhosts. You can just circumvent a daemonhost if you spot it early enough, but the Karnak Twins pop up out of nowhere, ruin your day, and disappear in a green cloud of what I hope is smoke before you've even realised what's going on. Due to them being timed encounters, they can't just ruin your run out of the blue and yet the concept of them popping up to be a new and terrifying threat now haunts the back of my mind whenever I'm travelling through Tertium.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

The addition of The Carnival and the Karnak Twins have brought more than just new levels and bosses, though. They've brought a proper narrative to Warhammer 40,000: Darktide. There is a story in the base game, but it just largely revolves around you gaining levels then meeting someone who tells you you're earning the Imperium's trust, but you've not yet earned enough. It's cyclical, without much ever happening. In The Traitor Curse, we have made the Moebian 6th feel like a real threat, with Wolfer as our primary antagonist, who has legions at his command, including super powerful troops like the Karnak Twins. In the Vox Transmissions and in the Carnival missions, we know that Inquisitor Zola has gone off on her own to try and figure out what's going on, and it's likely this narrative will be picked up in another new mission. More of this, please. If we can't have the connection to the world through the characters we play as like in Vermintide, the next best option is having NPCs that we care about being our main narrative device.

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If you don't care about story, levels, and just want more meat to your gameplay, you're in luck. The new Veteran talent tree lets you get to the fun skills quicker, although I did still feel like I was spending some points on rather pointless upgrades (basically anything that didn't have big text telling me grenades go boom). Still, it's a clear improvement from what it was, which had me avoiding a Veteran until recently. My favourite addition to the gameplay is the Stims, which give you a number of buffs and can be found in crates alongside ammo and grenades. From combat buffs to health boosts, these can be snatched for your own purposes or, if you're like me, you can jab a friend with a random speed stim to send them rushing into an enemy horde much quicker than they'd expected.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

It's hard to believe it has been a full year of Warhammer 40,000: Darktide. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster, with fans not being fully satisfied with the game when it launched, but since then we've seen talent trees, the Xbox Series X/S version, and of course this Traitor Curse update. With the focus that The Traitor Curse has on new content, I'm hoping we can see similar big updates in the future that can make Darktide the incredible package that Fatshark's previous game, Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is. Even now, though, it's clear we've come a long way in our quest to save the Imperium of this pox rot.


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Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

REVIEW. Written by Patrik Severin

Fatshark is back with the latest addition in the 'Tide' series, which takes players to a grimy and dark Hive City.

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