To start off I love Vermintide 2. Ive put my time in and is my all time favorite game and I want nothing more than Darktide to be my next favorite game. Unfortunately it seems as if Darktide is a bit of a step back overall iteration wise. Fair warning, I am a psyker main and have 2/3 of my hours on psyker, 1/3 of my hours on zealot so my opinions may differ from
My main issue is map selection. I really enjoyed being able to choose different maps in Vermintide and had no issue playing the same maps all the time. Im really disappointed that I havent even had the chance to play some of the new maps they released. In fact ive only played the sand map once since it was shadow banned for most of the early access. The map selection screen is awesome tho. I love the visual and aesthetics of it. All youd have to do is change the nodes to each different map then you can select the difficulty. The global conditions is a great way to break up the monotony of the maps which can happen when you only have 13 total maps. Making it on a shorter rotation, maybe every 2-4 hours and only for select amount of maps would make it fun imo.
Obviously, 4 careers is not enough for Darktide as most people would say. Honestly i dont care about that yet. But to only have 4 classes and there be synergy issues and one of them just be zealot from vermintide is an issue. I play psyker and have to compete against veteran sharpshooters, the most played class, for special kills to get warp charges which make a significant impact on how much damage Im able to deal. Not only do we have to compete but with their ultimate they can kill them faster than I can. So simply put they outclass me in damage and how fast they can kill them.
When you only have 4 careers in the game you would think the synergy between said classes would be thought out more. Ogryn is the tank and theres no competition required, more tanks is good. Zealot is able to close the distance and force gunners not to shoot which helps the team but even still he feels a little out of place in a hybrid combat game.
As a psyker main I have my fair share of constructive feedback. On early access release they tried to solve the just headpop gameplay loop but limiting headpops to 2 per peril meter which didnt make it fun. Definitely felt like a band aid over the issue. I think 3 headpops per 100% meter is a good balanced amount but they need to do more damage. You pay a steep price for each pop especially when youre in a tight situation and you arent rewarded for it much. I think a reward for getting a headpop kill is beneficial, gives players another incentive. Maybe instead of a flat damage buff it lowers the charge rate for the first 2 charges then increases damage for the next 2-4 depending if you have the 6 warp charges talent chosen. Also, losing all warp charges on decay instead of one by one forces you to only headpop instead of switching between other items in your kit. If fatshark thinks losing one by one is too OP then losing two at a time is a good secondary option. I would love to be able to something other than just headpop in fights, it gets really stale really quick.
I love how scary and impactful the specials are in this game. In Vermintide they arent very threatening more like another enemy, but in darktide you see a crusher, mauler or bulwark and you poopie your pants a little bit. I love that. Forces you to respect the enemies youre fighting. Bulwarks have some issues tho. Shield vermin in V2 are really annoying to deal with but you can push block twice and you have a chance to take them down. If you dont do it right you might have to pay the cost of some health but its a fair trade. But Bulwarks are too tough to take down. You have a small window, if no one else is attacking, where you can force their shield out and attack if you arent psyker but thats it. Seems like the only thing psyker is useful for is dealing with bulwarks as you can ignore the shield. Zealot can stun grenade them too but with their extremely large health pool its hard to kill them with one grenade, which are precious resources. There needs to be more counter play for classes other than psyker and zealot stun grenade.
To put plainly, pox hounds, pox bursters are SUUUPER problematic and not in a good way. In early access the counter play to bursters was to move into them, push block, dash backwards and you wouldnt take damage. That counterplay, the only counter play seems to be taken away for some reason. I have seen it work occasionally but there shouldnt be inconsistency to disablers as they take you out of the fight in one fell swoop. Hounds on the other hand you can learn how to dodge, which is the counter play and should be the counterplay but there have been so many occasions where Ill dodge, then they 180 and jump straight at me again before you can react. Thats just bs. There was a similar issue with assassins in V2 but it wasnt nearly as consistent and they would land much further away so you could prepare for a secondary dodge if needed. Then we got mutants which path 90 degrees around a corner with an impossible timing to dodge. They already have a hard dodge to begin with which I think is fine. It took me hundreds of hours to get the assassin and hook rat counter play down in V2 which is good. Fatshark should be rewarding you for playing the game skillfully. But a mutant doing a 90 degree turn around a corner leaving no chance to dodge is not. I have been able to learn the dodge timing some on straight on engages, have even timed the dodges correctly, backed up around a corner or stair and then get trucked by said mutant. But then again it simply could be a skill issue.
Additionally, its hard to see some of the specials in the same. Mostly hounds as theyre so small and jump from hordes. In V2 assassins had a bright green dagger that was easy to see at a quick glance. Mutants are super big and LOUD so easy to see coming. Trappers almost are easy to dodge and have a noticeable weapon. Bursters have a big glowy bomb strapped to em too. Maybe put a collar on the hounds which blinks that same red, other disablers have so its easily distinguishable.
Ragers. Obviously the bersekers or plague rats or darktide and theyre scary but dont have much counter play other than shooting them before they get to you. Your dodge is just a little short to be able to distance yourself well from them if they do get close to you. With psyker you can counter play with the force sword special some but they dont have a good break in attacks to take advantage of and have the chance to deal your damage against them.
While I appreciate Darktide is focused around the team and rewards teamplay its incredibly hard to solo things. This might be due to psyker not being a solo class similar to Sienna not being a great solo class. Could also be a skill issue but overall its much harder to cluch. Doesnt feel very rewarding to go down because you dont have any counter play to an enemy type and need a teammate to deal with them.
There are a decent amount of unique weapons but then lots of weapons that you have no reason to pick. Devil Claw VII is a solid weapon but outclasses the heavy sword/messer. Force sword on psyker simply outclasses the chainsword. FS has longer reach, does more damage. Axes are all pretty similar imo. Dueling sword is very fun but the main reason to choose is the increased dodge distance but you deal less dam dam.
The staffs are all super fun tho. They all have unique secondary attacks which are all viable and built for different scenarios and there are reasons to choose each depending on what you want to use it for. Spark for the stun, Trauma for a large burst of damage, Voidstrike for horde clear. Actually flame staff kinda booty in comparison to the rest.
Running is super nice and I like the addition to the game as it allows such cooler and larger maps but overall its a downgrade from the stamina system in V2. In V2 stamina was solely reserved for blocking and push blocking but now you share that meter with running. Youll be running between engagement zones and dealing with ads and by the time you get to an actual engage youre out of stamina for block, even if it was a viable option. Simply put blocking is not worth doing in darktide. You can take two hits to your block before its dropped on most weapons. Instead the counter to everything is timing your dodge. What made V2 so fun is the option for both. There was variety in the counter play and of course its better to block some attacks and its better to dodge others but BOTH were useful.
Obviously all these comments are because I want this game to succeed and I want to love it as much as I loved V2. Its a different game and there will be some differences but there are too many issues or things that dont seem to be fully fleshed out. Some iteration is definitely needed. I havent even touched on performance of the game. Darktide definitely feels like one step forward, two steps back.
Im really excited to see what Fatshark does next and how they address the game going forward. Also if you actually read all this thanks