Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is a first-person cooperative adventure survival game. It takes the Left 4 Dead type gameplay and adds RPG elements. While killing rat humanoids might seem funny, you’ll soon realize this game is no joke. There’s as much excellence in this game as there is blood and gore. With so many options, you’ll feel compelled to continue playing. It is jam-packed to the brim with content and a fair progression system. Best of all there is no need to purchase the loot boxes. Though if there was, you’d be throwing money at your TV.
Here’s what I liked:
Graphics/Atmosphere— Everything is beautiful, specifically as an Xbox Enhanced game. The environments are gorgeous and breathtaking. The various stages offer something new every time. You get to traverse dark caverns, fields, towns, and snowy mountains. There are so many different things to look at and admire. The characters themselves look good, but there was a definite attention to detail with the world you’re surviving in. Lighting is also top quality. The markers and highlights in the HUD are nondistracting and tell you everything you need to know. Sounds are used for ques for elite and special enemies. Deep horns will let you know there are hordes of enemies coming. The voice acting is done well, which just adds even more likability. Everything is wrapped up into a deep experience most games cannot match.
Leveling and Progression — Each character has their own levels and weapon sets. As you level up, you will unlock higher power and better weapons and gear. The progression seems just right. Everything gets better as you play and is paced perfectly. You can salvage things you don’t want and try crafting better ones. It keeps the game from getting dull, and the higher you get the better chances you have to survive the higher difficulties. It’s an addicting system and makes you want to keep playing. Having different classes for each character is also awesome, meaning there are a total of 15 different styles of characters you can play as. You can easily get lost in hours upon hours of content that is provided. Randomized stats and chests will keep you begging for more.
Gameplay — Games often borrow the ideas and formulas of others. In this case, we have Left 4 Dead as the inspiration and Fatshark absolutely nailed capturing the essence of that game and innovating on it. Online co-op of up to four players can battle swarms of enemies. There are weak one hit kill enemies, but periodically random special and elites that will appear and create chaos. Literally, there are some enemies called Chaos Warriors. The weapons in the game consist of melee and long range. If a team member has an assassin jump on them, you must quickly shoot or attack it to save your otherwise doomed friend. You must work as a team to survive. The five characters all offer their own skills and strengths. It’s balanced quite well and no character feels like a bad pick. The controls feel flawless and the battle flows smoothly. Everything runs very well, even with hordes of enemies piling in to murder you. If a teammate is killed, they will spawn tied up further into the level, meaning they are never truly out for the count. All around, many great choices were made and the game feels spectacular.
Teamwork — The heart of this type of genre is pure teamwork. Joining with friends and playing can be a blast! No friends? No problem! Quickplay will set you with randoms, and they’re almost always great people who need you just as much as you need them. The community seems friendly and welcoming. You feel helpful when killing enemies that have incapacitated your allies. It’s a much-needed experience in the gaming world. You can also have bots in your matches if not enough people have joined you. Overall, the experience with working as a team is a beloved one. However, you can get voted on to be kicked from the match if you’re not doing your part or are constantly venturing off on your own. You gain no experience if you’re kicked! So be a good teammate!
Enemy Types — There are many different enemies you will be battling. From rats and undead to elite chaos warriors and special enemies that can instantly down you. You must approach many of these enemies differently. There is a lot of great variation, and a lot of it is randomized. Some of the most fun you will have is when slaying the harder enemies. Minibosses can create havoc and potentially kill everyone quickly if you don’t work together to bring the monsters down. The bosses are well thought out and creative. There are ques you get when certain enemies are around, like the whispering of the Brightstormer. You’ll hear the whispers and be frantically searching for him before he conjures his spells. Your team will call out specials and you know you must target them before dealing with lesser enemies. The bosses aren’t in all levels, and when they appear, they have a nice arena usually to fight them in.
Crafting — There is a crafting tab you can use. At first, it may seem daunting, but you can get the hang of it pretty quickly. You can salvage items and create random ones. There’s a lot you can do in the menu, giving you plenty of out of combat fun. Of course, it’s all about RNG, but you get enough materials to feel comfortable throwing them in and taking your chances. Just be careful not to salvage the wrong items, there is no getting them back!
Post Game Statistics — After you complete a mission, you get to see the statistics. It lets you know how each team member has contributed (or not contributed) to the battle. You can get a sense of pride when your stats are circled in green. It’s gives that last little touch to feeling accomplished afterward. This can also help you decide if you want to stay with your current team, or leave them and search for someone else. It’s a very simple yet practical feature. It is unfortunate you can’t look at your overall statistics for each character for your entire career. However, you can see some simple overall stats in the game’s hub from the Xbox menu.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Join in Progress — While join in progress is great, Vermintide 2 is too slow with it. If you have a bot for example or someone leaves, the person joining can take a ton of time to spawn into the game. Joining a group in the dark mine level can be a horrible experience. The team has been moving while you have been joining for 30 seconds or more. You spawn in pitch black darkness with no way to reach your team. It can be really confusing. Other times, a join in progress could actually get your entire team killed. There was a time when a bot was our dwarf tank, and we were struggling against a horde of enemies in a summoning pit. Because someone joined, the bot just simply vanished. We were soon overrun completely and the player who spawned was too far away to revive or stop the summoning from happening. Sometimes you’ll spawn facing a random wall while enemies are behind you! Not really sure how they can fix this, but its a problem.
No Objective Trail — The stages in Vermintide 2 can seem giant. There will be markers to the next objective, but no clear path on how to get there unless you’ve played the level several times and have memorized the path. There will be times you will be running in and out of areas only to realize you have gone the wrong way and are blocked off. Teammates will suddenly be running farther away from you as you struggle to find your way. This becomes frustrating, especially when you’re playing the stages for the first few times. Especially with how commonplace a simple highlighted path has become in gaming.
Potions– There are a few different potions you can pick up while you play. They give small boosts to speed, regeneration of career skill and damage output. They don’t last long, and it doesn’t feel like they really add too much to the gameplay (unless playing on the highest difficulty). The health potions are of course useful. The stat boosting ones could use a little bit longer duration to make picking them up feel important. Otherwise, you’re just highlighting them for other players to feel like you’re useful and generous.
Vermintide 2 is simply outstanding. The graphics and gameplay are top notch. Team work is vital and actually one of the best parts of the game. You will constantly have something to work towards to, and the fun doesn’t seem to cease as you play. There is little left to desire and few negatives. The occasional glitches and bad join in progress can be overlooked, as they happen on fairly rare occasions. Vermintide 2 is easily worth your time and money to play. People have long awaited another Left 4 Dead, but Vermintide will fill its shoes nicely. While Vermintide 2 isn’t considered an AAA game, it sure feels like one.
Score: Must Buy
Warhammer Vermintide 2 was published and developed by Fatshark on Xbox One. It was released on July 11, 2018, for $29.99. A copy was obtained free through Xbox Game Pass.