Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is a co-op survival action hack’n slash game where you fight against the alliance of Chaos army and the Skaven in dark, unforgiving areas. The game was released on March 8th and since then, it has already received many positive reactions. As a huge fan of co-op survival games and an adrenaline addict, I must say that I was pretty excited about this game when it was announced. The first title was already a huge success but it was missing a couple of key features and it felt a little bit incomplete, from time to time. But now, I can easily say that Fatshark did what a development studio has to do when it comes to sequels: Improving the original!
When I first started playing the game I immediately realized that many key aspects of Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide were still there. At first, I thought that it was a cheesy way to fill the gaps of a new game. But after a couple of minutes, I suddenly felt that it was the best decision as the combat mechanics, weapons, team composition etc. were the main features of the first game which also made it unique. So, it is good to see that the main idea behind the first game was still alive. However, as we will see soon, it is not the only thing which makes this game a huge success.
Before we start, I strongly suggest checking out our Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Preview in order to have more information about the basics of the game. Other new features that has been added or improved will be indicated in this review.
Fight Against the Heretics!
The game takes place during the End Times, prophesied apocalypse of the Warhammer World. You play as heroes who are trying to fight against the unstoppable (we will see about that!) army of darkness:
“The time of mortals is ending, and the reign of Chaos draws ever closer. The Dark Gods are at last united in a singular purpose, losing their madness across the world as never before. In the Empire of Sigmar, Karl Franz’s gaze is focused on the incursion of the savage northmen, but it is not the only threat.[…]”
Yes… it is not the only threat. The first game featured the army of Skavens, the ratmen. But now, you will fight against the Chaos army. This is all we know about the story, and as you will see, we do not need more in order to enjoy this chaotic (not you Chaos Warrior) yet beautiful game.
Five Heroes Fifteen Careers
Just like in the first game, you will control five different heroes: Bardin Goreksson, Kerillian, Victor Saltzpyre, Sienna Fuegonasus, Markus Kruber. Each one of these has unique play-style and weapon combinations. And each one of these heroes have three different careers which are unlocked on 7th and 12th level. This feature makes it so that you will have fifteen different ways to play, I mean, at least fifteen…
First of all, every single career in this game has its own unique ultimate ability and passive ability. You can either focus on ranged combat or just swing your greatsword at your enemies and massacre hordes of ratmen or Chaos brutes. It only depends on what you want to do in your team. During the first hours of the game the choices you make has small (yet important) effects on your success. It is pretty easy to complete a stage with level one characters as long as everybody knows what they’re doing. However, as the difficulty level rises, you will have to be careful about what you’re doing with your character.
Let’s Talk Business
After picking your character, you will pick a difficulty and a game mode to start the game. You can either start with quick play option and delve into a random map from the levels you’ve already unlocked, or you can go ahead and pick your own adventure and start playing. The matchmaking system is pretty fast and reliable. It is one of the best ones that I’ve seen so far and you won’t have to wait too long before you start slashing your way through the enemy.
Gameplay wise, the game offers unique combat mechanics and believe me fellas, it is not as easy as it seems. You have to have good reflexes in order to survive most of the time. Combat revolves around dodging, parrying and attacking mostly. There are a few enemies that deal high damage and use powerful attacks which you should dodge instead of blocking, otherwise you take damage. Block mechanic uses a unique feature with ‘stamina shields’ which indicates how many blows you can block, how many retaliation you can do or for how long you can keep blocking blows. On the other hand, dodging is simply sliding right, left or behind in order to get away from powerful boss attacks or big waves of enemy. Both are effective defence mechanics and it is your choice to focus on one or two, depending on the situation.
Weapons and Gear
Another feature which effects your gameplay (hugely) is the weapon pool. Each hero, thus, each career has the ability to use different weapons. Some of them share the same pool but the outcome is not the same. Two handed weapons have slower attacks but more powerful blows with sometimes armor penetration and/or shield breaking. Smaller weapons have quicker swings but less damage. Some weapons have only armor penetration, but no shield breaking ability. Depending on your choice, your play-style changes drastically.
For example: the second career of Bardin, the Ironbreaker, mainly focuses on being a tank. It has a better health pool and better resistances against enemy attacks, but has limited damage options (limited but not the worst). On the other hand, the Slayer career offers a high damage – high risk play-style which forces you to be careful about your moves as you can easily get surrounded and get downed quickly. All careers combined with the weapon of choice grant you a huge variety of possibilities.
Other than the main weapons, you also have the ranged weapons. These weapons also have different ways of being effective and, just like your main weapon, they have their own positive and negative sides. Other than these two, you also have jewelery slots which also gives you some power and different buffs.
Loot and Crafting
These main features of the game are fairly easy to understand. After a couple of hours, you will get used to it and start trying out different variations. Another feature, which is pretty important if you ask me, is the loot and crafting systems. Whenever you gain a level or complete a mission, you get a ‘loot-box’ which offers you items, weapons or cosmetic skins. These loot-boxes are only available via game-play so you can just take a deep breath and relax.
The quality of the loot-boxes you get from mission completion are based on your team’s performance. By that, I mean the special items you gather. There are three tomes and two grimoires lying around in each map. If you get all of them and find a couple of Loot Dices, your loot-box will be improved, provided that you successfully complete the mission. These boxes give you three different items that you can either use or scrap them in the crafting menu to get crafting materials. The only problem with the loot-boxes is that they are completely RNG based and sometimes they can be frustrating. Getting the same item over and over again is not something everybody enjoys. However, the fact that they are free and doesn’t let people to become overpowered soon makes me happy
The crafting system is pretty simple and pretty satisfactory if you ask me. You get materials from scrapping items that you find in loot-boxes and you can either craft or upgrade a weapon/artifact with them. There are no schematics or recipes that you have to hunt down… we don’t need them in order to split our enemies in half anyways.
Difficulties and Game Modes
Vermintide 2 offers a way to improve the challenge with difficulty choices and Heroic Deeds. Each difficulty has its own loot-box (Recruit has Strongbox, Veteran has Coffer for instance). These boxes come with an item power limit and it forces you to try other difficulties in order to improve your character. After gaining a couple of level and getting a better gear, you can go ahead and try the same levels you have tried before and see if you are able to overcome the challenges.
In order to play the game, you will need a team. You can play with bots but it is not suggested for higher difficulties. You can start the game by choosing the Quick Play button or Custom Game button. The first option finds a random map and a team for you whereas the latter lets you pick your own adventure.
Heroic Deeds is a unique feature and it offers unique modifiers and an extra loot-box. I haven’t had the chance to try one yet but they look pretty interesting if you ask me. I can’t wait to try one of them soon as they offer a completely different experience. Here is an example for you guys:
Visuals and Sounds
The gameplay and the main mechanics of the game are pretty good, ok. But what about the technical stuff? To be honest, I was expecting something pretty high-end when I first saw the screenshots. However, this game really surprised me by its performance. The game visuals are just beautiful… I have tested it on both low and extreme graphic options and I can easily say that both looked gorgeous. The game itself doesn’t require a fantastic rig in order to work properly and the fact that it can also offer a pretty good looking game regardless of the graphics options is a huge plus.
Level design, animations, lighting, shadow effects and all the other visuals are fantastic. Although I should say that I have encountered a couple of animation glitches and bugs but none of them were game breaking and they can be fixed easily in the future.
Sound effects are just on the point. Voice acting is amazing and you really feel like ‘fighting’ alongside others even if you play with bots, thanks to the interaction between characters. Moreover, the fact that every character has a different opinion about each other just makes the experience much better.
Music is captivating but sometimes repetitive, unfortunately. However, when you hear the war-horn or a bell ringing before your enemies start rushing at you, you start feeling excited as hell. And when the music starts… oh boy. The unique style of music goes just perfectly with the atmosphere and it just keeps you in the mood of killing stuff. If they can add a couple more soundtracks, it could be much, much better.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is a really good example of how a good co-op survival game should be done. It offers a unique taste with unique mechanics and characters. The gameplay is absolutely captivating. Beautiful graphics and the exciting music makes you lose the track of time. If you like an action filled survival game with unique atmosphere and combat mechanics, this is your game. It can be a little repetitive from time to time, but the future of this game is bright. And I am pretty sure that it will keep us awake for many, many nights to come!
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is available now on Steam for $29.99.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 was reviewed using a Steam key provided by the publisher.
- Unique and non-linear combat system
- Variety of hero careers
- Easy to learn, hard to master game mechanics
- Beautiful graphics
- Captivating sound effects and musics
- Gameplay can become repetitive after some time
- A couple of glitches and bugs
- Loot system needs improvements