Big problems in co-op FPS Darktide aren't solved by latest patch

The main characters in Warhammer 40k Darktide standing in a row
(Image credit: Fatshark)

It is with some excitement that I present my newest acquisition to the tech-shaman. Thanks to a recent patch, my brand-spanking new sword is eligible for all sorts of tweaks, upgrades, and modifications. As a chronic RPG-liker, I love it when the numbers go up, and patch 1.4 of Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, Fatshark’s grim dark sci-fi co-op FPS promises just that. 

Before long, I’ve used the new features to customize my sword. With more than a few snazzy bonuses – it’s ready to cut through zombie hordes like a chainsaw through butter. I excitedly embark on a mission, our dropship arriving in the bowls of Hive Teritum, Darktides plague-ridden megacity. 

However, as I carve through chaos-worshipping ne’er-do-wells, I feel my joy fading. Despite mechanical changes and tweaks, the core aspects of Darktide’s ebb and flow remain unchanged. I pull out the sword when there’s a horde, switch to my gun when there are tougher enemies and use my special when I really want something to die. 

It’s entertaining, but even the well-executed gameplay mechanics have begun to feel samey after three months. A lack of variance within the character archetypes and a lackluster story have prevented Darktide from sinking its teeth into me.       

Classing up the joint

Darktide only includes four class options, one for each of the game’s main archetypes: the gunslinging Sharpshooter, the melee-specializing Zealot, the Psyker (a terrifying space wizard), and the Ogryn, a nine-foot tall slab of muscle and rage. Though the classes themselves are distinct, the options within each leave much to be desired, especially when compared to Fatshark’s previous offerings. 

Fatshark’s last game, Vermintide 2, launched with five classes, each with three sub-classes, all of which play differently. For instance: Kerellian, an elven warrior, can specialize as a Waystalker, a Handmaiden, or a Shade. The Waystalker is an archery specialist, while the Handmaiden focuses on buffs and agile melee fighting, and the shade offers a backstabbing assassin-type with access to special crossbows. 

No amount of weapon tweaking makes up for the lack of meaningful class options

Darktide conspicuously lacks these options. Each class has little internal variance, beyond a talent tree which, while allowing for subtle tweaks, does little to add to the class identity. There is little to distinguish your sharpshooter from all the other sharpshooters out there and no amount of weapon tweaking makes up for the sense of cloying sameness this generates.

Never ending story

Vermintide 2

(Image credit: Fatshark)

Vermintide 2 boasted a coherent storyline, which, when played in order, culminated in a climactic finale in the icy wastes of the frozen north. Darktide's missions are deeply atmospheric but altogether disconnected. They fit into an overarching plot, but the story goes nowhere. 

The central plot boils down to your character repeatedly running missions for the Imperium’s secret police until you’re formally allowed to join. Beyond a plotline about rooting out a traitor (which your character’s actions do not affect in any way), there’s very little going on.  

There’s little more to the game beyond the same series of predictable loops

Left for Dead 2 may feature a simple narrative about its survivors fighting through a zombie apocalypse, but the setup for each mission gives you a sense of purpose. Darktide suffers by comparison.

Darktide’s core gameplay loop and combat mechanics are excellent, but, though atmospheric, the lack of class variance or concrete storytelling ensures that there’s little more to the game beyond the same predictable loops. Patch 1.4 did add more depth to Darktide’s post-game by offering crafting and item customization, but it’s clear that the title has a long way to go before it reaches the heights of Fatshark’s previous games.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on,, and, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 

Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 

Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.