[Review] Warhammer: Vermintide 2
Streaming has thrown me out of my safe space on more than one occasion, trying games I wouldn’t otherwise be interested in. Vermintide 2 is one of these games. I played it, I hated it, and I left it alone for a long time. Luckily my stream audience pushed me to give it a second chance, and I’ve been slashing in Sigmar’s name ever since. Vermintide 2 offers challenging team focused gameplay in an absolutely breathtaking Warhammer setting. While it does have some flaws, they are focused mostly around the DLC. The core gameplay is solid, and you can expect to get your money’s worth out of this game.
Full disclosure, I have received some of the DLCs from the developer to showcase and review.
Released on Steam, March 8 of 2020, Vermintide 2 offers tremendous value for it’s $29.99 MSRP. It is also available on consoles as well. You’ll get more hours (and quality) out of this than your standard $59.99 AAA game. Fatshark games is both publisher and developer, and has built a solid sequel to the original Vermintide. It is set at the end of the Warhammer fantasy universe, and continues the story after the original game. The “Ubersreik five” heroes continue to hack and slash their way through waves of not only skaven, but Chaos and Beastmen as well. The game is a solid Left 4 Dead clone, probably the best one out there. The DLCs add cosmetic items, additional maps, new character careers, and an expansion. I’ll cover these a little more in depth later, as I would recommend against some of these. I would wholeheartedly recommend the base game itself as a solid Warhammer experience. It commonly goes on sale for under $10 USD, and that is an absolute steal for what you get.
My play experience has been a little varied, but overall positive. Initially Vermintide 2 had a little bit of a rough time when it launched. I had a bug that literally turned my computer off when a certain wave of enemies spawned. They have largely ironed out all of the bugs though, and I haven’t had any problems in the past year. I’ve also gone from not being able to stay alive to 5 minutes, to being able to carry the team. Learning the game’s basics, event he minor ones like riposte in my case, make a big difference. I’ve been lucky to be able to play with some die hard players who are very passionate and willing to share their knowledge of the game. Otherwise I might not have ever picked it back up.
Vermintide 2 gameplay consists of hacking and slashing your way through endless waves of enemies. Each of the five heroes have multiple careers you can unlock, allowing incredibly varied gameplay within a single character. Ranged and melee builds for all the characters keep each class from getting stale, and satisfies the theorycrafters with plenty of talent builds to tinker with. This is a team focused game, and that requires you to stick together. There are all kinds of mechanics that punish teams for splitting up. This isn’t a game for loners. The AI bots in the game are complete garbage, and are actually liabilities the higher you go in difficulty levels. Make no mistake, this is a multiplayer focused game. While you don’t necessarily need voice chat, you will need to keep eyes on your teammates at all time. You will win, or die, based on your level of cooperation.
Progression has two parts. The first is a talent based system where you unlock a talent point every 5 levels. Your character starts with one career unlocked, and the next unlocks at level 8, and then 15. Max level is 30. The second part of progression is your gear, which you get loot box style rewards at the end of every successful match. The better your team’s performance, the better quality your loot box, and a better chance at gear. The gear system is very similar to Diablo 3, to include upgrading and crafting as well.
I really cannot praise the graphics, music, and sounds enough in this game. It is a truly gritty, end times experience with mutilated corpses everywhere, and viscera from enemies spraying in your face as you swing wildly at masses of monsters and minions. There is a dismemberment system that offers a gruesomely satisfying combat experience, lopping off arms, legs, and heads in a very realistic way. The level design is just incredible, and makes you want to go off adventuring. Occasionally you are rewarded for this with bonus XP items, little collectibles you can decorate your tavern with, or other secrets to unlock bonus levels. Vermintide 2 is a great game to explore – if you can survive long enough.
One of my favorite additions to the game is Twitch integration. This adds a unique level of difficulty to your game, as well as gives my community a chance to interact. They can offer buffs, debuffs, or sometimes they just choose the least punishing mini boss to unleash on you. I can’t get enough of it, but it certainly isn’t everyone’s favorite feature. You can of course turn it off, or modify the time between audience prompts. It’s a great feature, and I love it.
DLC for Vermintide 2 is mostly good, but also mostly expensive. While I will absolutely commend the map design in this game, I feel it’s a little much for what you get. Do pick it up, but pick it up on sale. One great feature regarding map DLC for Vermintide 2 is that only the host needs to own it. Maybe that sucks cause you’re the group leader, but in the long run it’s worth it. The more maps you have, the more re-playable this game is. The cosmetic DLC I’m not going to cover because cosmetics are always subjective. The expansion, Winds of Magic, is a big no right now. It’s not complete, and there’s nothing in it that you need right away. Level up a couple of characters to 30, than wait for a good sale on the expansion. The weaves maps are reskins, and the gameplay is the same. There will be PvP coming in the future, but it’s not here yet. Finally, Fatshark has started adding new character careers in Vermintide 2, the first being the Grail Knight for Markus Kruber. At $8.99 MSRP, it’s hard to say whether it’s worth it or not. If you LOVE the game, it’s a good deal. If you just like the game, maybe wait for sale. I enjoyed playing it myself, but then again I’m a Kruber and Bretonnia fanboy.
Fatshark has promised that even though Darktide is in the works, development on Vermintide 2 will continue. This is likely to mean more careers, more maps, and more expansion progress to come. It goes on sale for a crazy low price, the visuals will absolutely blow you away, and the DLC complements the game well, even if a bit pricey. So grab your copy today, and repel the foul tide of vermin from the Reikland! AGAIN!