BY TYLER REYNOLDS
There are few longer running tabletop games and even less with as much lore as the Warhammer series. Debuting in 1983 it gradually took over the imaginations and strategic minds of millions. With more than 30 years of storytelling, it’s natural that the property has been adapted to nearly every kind of medium, even video games.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is the sequel to 2015’s game of the same name. Taking place soon after the events of the last update in the original game, the five previous heroes continue to fight back against the ratmen of the Skaven army, as well as the Rotblood clan from the Warriors of Chaos who they have aligned with.
Much like the original, Vermintide 2 puts players into teams of four and tasks them to complete objectives on a map while fighting off hordes of Skaven and Rotbloods. The game greatly emphasizes teamwork, as it is a necessity to stick together to survive. Even one player who gets caught off-guard away from the team can spell doom for everyone.
Players can pick from the five heroes from the first game that all have specific roles and abilities such as knocking down a horde of enemies to let teams deal with them more easily, or dealing massive damage to single foe. Each hero can be levelled up to unlock new careers that all have unique perk trees to let players play their characters anyway that they want. Each character also has a set of specific melee and ranged weapons that are exclusive to them alone to add greater customizability.
Vermintide’s core gameplay revolves around switching between melee and ranged combat to deal with threats as quickly as possible. Melee weapons also let players block incoming damage and the ability to push enemies back as long as their stamina bars aren’t depleted. Combat feels incredibly satisfying and challenging. There’s a flow to learning when to attack and when to block and dodge and every successful attack sends rats, men, and demons flying backward.
In addition to the basic hordes of ratmen and Rotbloods encountered, each clan has many different variations of vermin to slaughter and each one needing different strategies to defeat. For example, some enemies are covered in armour and can only be damaged with charged attacks or direct blows to the head.
Each faction also has special enemy types that will spawn in from time to time to attack any straggling party members. Some enemies such as the returning Rattling Gunner and the Warpfire Thrower will harass players from afar, while the Gutter Runners will stalk from the shadows before pouncing on players.
A great improvement from the original game is the new loot system. In the original, players rolled dice at the end of a completed match that would determine the gear players would receive. The problem was that sometimes players would receive weapons for characters they didn’t play so they’d miss out on getting things that they wanted. Now players receive a loot chest at the end of a completed game that can be upgraded by finding collectibles in the same level. These can be opened on any character and only contains weapons for the character that is currently being played.
Vermintide 2 greatly punishes mistakes, especially on higher difficulties, which gives every enemy higher health while also decreasing the amount of supplies that can be found. While most of it feels like a genuine challenge, sometimes the game will spawn a boss monster or a special enemy in an area that makes it near impossible to get by or to avoid taking damage.
The servers are currently Peer2Peer making some lobbies unstable and players can be disconnected, which kick everyone out of the game and will need to wait for the new host to be chosen before going back in. However the developer; Fatshark has addressed this and is currently working on dedicated serves to be launched in the near future.
Vermintide 2 is a fantastic sequel that builds off the original and adds more to variety and enhances the quality of life of the game. With more downloadable content and constant tweaks in the week after its release its hard not to recommend.