Warhammer Vermintide 2 is the next instalment in the Vermintide series brought to us by Fatshark. If you haven’t already played the first game, it’s essentially a Left 4 Dead-style first person co-op game. Lay waste to the hordes of unending Skaven with a variety of weapons including giant war hammers, magic, bows, axes and revolvers.
The similarities with Valve’s Left 4 Dead don’t just end there. Vermintide 2 also utilises a form of AI director which acts to keep the action intense and interesting, in addition to providing a satisfactory amount of challenge to the gameplay experience. Alongside your common rat-like enemies and chaos soldiers you will also come up against special enemies, again another parallel to Left 4 Dead, which bring with them special attacks and an overall higher toughness. And then there are the bosses, the ultimate test of your party’s teamwork; but I won’t spoil any of that for those of you who are yet to give it a go for yourself.
But Vermintide 2 isn’t just a Left 4 Dead clone set in the fantasy world of Warhammer. One of the main features of Vermintide 2 is the ability to level up your characters which in turn allows you to assign skill points and unlock new characters or abilities. With a total of five different characters to level, each with three different variants to unlock there is plenty for you to grind as you disembowel and destroy your foes.
Moreover, as you complete missions you’ll also collect loot and gain access to new weapons. The melee combat in general is one of the most, if not the most satisfying I have ever experienced in a game; and is something which is often difficult to pull off. Whether you’re flinging a mace or making swift and decisive strikes with a spear, you’ll feel every inch of weight behind your attacks; and the audio design goes even further to supplement the melee combat. With each arrow shot from your bow and each swing of your halberd, you’ll feel every crunch as your weapons connect with your opponent’s skulls.
One of the major elements to the game is the loot system. Before you get too worried there’s no micro transactions although, unlocking new weapons and equipment is still done through a randomised loot box system. Sadly the majority of the rewards are uninteresting and common, with the same weapons being found but with upgraded stats as you progress. While finding a new weapon type to try out is a thrilling experience it does not outdo the monotony of the progression system once you find the weapon type that suits you.
In terms of the different missions you can undertake, there are at least 13 different assignments each taking place in a variety of different environments. These range from the dark cavernous caves, windswept snowy war camps, luscious forests and more. With such a wide variety of locations to do battle in you’ll be able to experience them for a number of play sessions before they become tedious. Each level is linear in nature with you battling through obstacles and completing mini-objectives such as solving puzzles or escorting a minecart. Eventually you’ll reach the finale which is unique for each mission, but as you’d expect it is intended to test your party to their limits either against a powerful boss or against amassing swarms of enemies.
The game itself is beautiful, with blood and gore flying everywhere as you chop limbs and heads from your enemies. Overall, the graphics are a marked improvement over the original Vermintide and the use of effects to portray gas and fire adds even more flavour to the aesthetic. There’s nothing more satisfying than lobbing an explosive grenade or a gunpowder barrel into an attacking group of Skaven and watching the explosion as limbs fly everywhere. You’ll find that while playing Vermintide 2 there are few weapons which aren’t fun to use. Even ranged weapons such as bows and crossbows feel as if they have impact, and the thud of an arrow taking down a Chaos soldier is just as satisfying as the melee combat.
In conclusion, Vermintide 2 is a notable improvement over the original while also keeping the same key features. The combat is the true selling point of the game and there are avenues for players of all backgrounds, whether you want to use magic, ranged or melee. Each class can be customised further by equipping different weapons or levelling up your character to allow the use of a different ‘career’ which essentially gives access to a different unique skill and passive ability. My only qualm with the game is the randomised loot system which feels like it could have been implemented in a more interesting way. Overall though, the game is immensely enjoyable and served me well in taking out some frustration on swarms of rats. Whether you’re playing with friends or joining a random lobby you’ll find it hard to not enjoy yourself in Vermintide 2.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.