Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters not only has the longest title of any game I’ve ever played, but it was also a real surprise when I played it earlier this year. The XCOM-like turn-based tactics game seemingly appeared out of nowhere and plunged you into the heart of the Gray Knights’ war against Nurgle. Duty Eternal’s DLC expands on that already long name, but makes some worthwhile additions to the base game in the process.
The stars of Duty Eternal are the Venerable Dreadnoughts. Gray Knights entombed in heavy mechs after their death, kept alive by a life support system that doubles as two-legged artillery, you’ll quickly make room for a Dreadnought in your strike team. First, you need to investigate the Technophage plague and recover some Archeotech for Tech-Priest Lunette to study.
This is where the difficulty starts to increase. You can start the DLC missions midway through a game or after you’ve finished, and they’ll test you either way. The Plague Marines outnumber the Poxwalkers and the new bosses test your tactical sense more than any other part of the game. However, adding a Dreadnought to your team is not equivalent to an easy mode.
Mechanical monstrosities may look overpowered, but your enemies have plenty of counters for your new toys. Technophage Elite is specifically designed to take down robots, and their armor-piercing gear pierces armor with ease, making them an instant threat to your Dreadnought, their protective Techmarine, and the horde of Servitors you’ve brought on your mission. There are ways to counterattack, of course, but don’t think that just because you have a Dreadnought on your side, you’ll be running through the levels and sending Papa Nurgle packing.
Dreadnoughts and Techmarines can be upgraded similar to regular Gray Knights. There are varied and interesting upgrades for each one, and seven different weapons available for the big guy. I particularly liked the flamethrower, but you can really shape the Dreadnought to fit your playstyle and squad. The Techmarine also has access to battle servers, which keep your Dread in the fight and offer a real threat of their own.
It is at this point that I must add a small disclaimer: I am a techie. Back when I played the board game, my favorite Space Marine chapter was Iron Hands, and I would often list all the Dreadnoughts with as many converted mechs as I could muster. I then turned my hand towards a force of the Dark Mechanicus. What I’m saying is that this expansion was pretty much made for me. Put a Dreadnought in anything and I’ll take a look at it, whether it’s a dating sim or a devious escape room in Siberia. Put it in a game I already enjoyed, and I’ll start a new save to experience it all over again, this time with attitude. By ‘attitude’ I mean Dreadnoughts, if that wasn’t obvious.
I won’t spoil the new gribblies or walk them through quests, but Duty Eternal takes Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters to the next level. There are more systems to interact with, more (and varied) missions to undertake, more units to unlock, and more enemies to face. Unlike the demons you slice through with such ease, it never feels bloated, even when played alongside an existing save rather than after completing the initial campaign. Duty Eternal is a worthwhile and iterative expansion for Daemonhunters, and if you liked the base game it’s hard to imagine you won’t love it.