If you are looking for a game featuring hordes of enemies, satisfying combat, and meaningful progression all tied within a dark fantasy setting, few games will deliver as well as Vermintide 2 did back in 2018 when it first launched on PC.
Welcome back to the channel, I’m Vulkan and with Fatshark releasing Warhammer 40k Darktide in a few months, I wanted to step back into the brutal world that they created to see if it still holds up 4 years later.
So, let’s find out if Vermintide 2 is worth playing in 2022.
When it comes to Warhammer games, they typically have a hard time getting things right. You have Warhammer 40k Inquisitor Martyr and Chaosbane, both isometric ARPGs that didn’t do so well when they were first released.
But you do have some successes like Dawn of War and Space Marine, even Necromunda Hired Gun had some praise. But unfortunately these are pretty few and far between.
Warhammer Vermintide 2 is one of those successes. This is a game that understands what it is, what it is trying to accomplish and doesn’t stray from that, and with a Very Positive rating on Steam with over 65,000 reviews, the players seem to think so too.
So the question is: what makes Vermintide 2 so good?
Well for me, it’s quite a few things.
The main selling point for me is the combat and how well done it is. The weight of a greatsword, the thump of a crossbow, and the sizzle of a spell being cast. All of these elements tie so well together to fit the Warhammer fantasy that it creates a new standard of combat for me. I had so much fun just slaying enemies and just that kept me engaged long enough to learn the rest of the game. This is the same reason why so many people stuck with Destiny 1 when it first launched. Bungie has a way of making gunplay feel insanely good, so that kept the players around while they fixed the rest of the game.
And all this combat is done while playing through campaign missions or maps in the Chaos Wastes. These missions start off fairly slow, with groups of enemies here and there, but once you are a few minutes in things start to get really wild, really quick. The music picks up and suddenly hordes of enemies are pouring over walls and cliffs as you battle your way to objectives or defend points on the map.
Peppered within the legions of foul beasts are elites and minibosses! These were incredibly fun to play against and overcome. Elites are your special enemies that have gatling guns, place banners, or may even stun your heroes until you save them. Minibosses are a whole other level of enemy. They come with their own healthbar, affixes, and command the attention of your whole party to bring down.
When I played Vermintide 2 at launch, I remember seeing Rat Ogres, but since then they have added quite a few more – you have Chaos Spawn, Commanders, Minotaurs, and more. Each one having its own set of skills, strengths, and weaknesses.
Overall, I really looked forward to these because they added a huge wrinkle to the gameplay loop.
Lastly, I did want to mention coop. If you can play this game with friends, please do. It’s an absolute blast. Most of my memories with this game are from fun adventures with my buddies. But if you are playing solo, it’s still a fun time! Plus you get bots in your party to help out, so don’t feel like you are completely on your own.
Now that we’ve covered combat and maps, I want to shift our focus to the heroes we’ll be playing as.
In Vermintide 2, you get to play as one of 5 heroes, each with different weapons and skills to use, and as you play each one and level them up, they will unlock new careers to choose from, which is a fancy way of saying archetypes.
These new archetypes can completely change the way a hero performs. Let’s take Kerillian for example. You have her base career which is more of a classic ranger that uses a bow, but then you have a support class that wields a staff and can cause poison damage with thorns. Each one having different weapons, skills, and playstyles, but still the same base hero.
This keeps things fun and interesting because you can unlock these as you level up and it gives you something to shoot for. Now the downside here is that some of these classes are paid DLC to unlock – like the Sister of the Thorn example I just gave for Kerillian. They aren’t overly expensive at $4 each, but it’s still something to keep in mind given the fact the base game is $30 right now.
To build on those differences, each hero also has talents that unlock after you reach certain milestones. These are fairly gameplay impacting and can freely be changed depending on your mood or build.
So now that we’ve talked about the heroes, let’s talk about loot.
Gearing up in Vermintide 2 is about as standard an affair as you can get for an RPG. Each hero can equip two weapons and three accessories, these come in different rarities ranging from common to exotic, and they share an inventory. So if you have something placed on one hero, you can take it from them to equip it on another. But like I mentioned, heroes specialize in different weapons, so some careers you choose may not be able to wield certain weapons and therefore, you will need to either find or craft new ones to use.
Speaking of crafting, this is another straightforward system. You can break down any gear that you no longer need into base materials, then take these materials and craft new items. Crafting is completely RNG in terms of rarity, affixes, and effectiveness, so while you can choose the actual type of weapon you want, you are at the mercy of the RNG gods as to whether it will be an upgrade or not.
But that’s not all! You can also use crafting to reroll affixes, improve the rarity, and modify a variety of things on each item as long as you have the materials. This lets you keep an item that you really like and continue improving it to get the roll you need.
Outside of crafting any items you need, the main source of loot is from chests at the end of missions. These start off as basic wooden chests, but as you collect key items, perform certain feats, and depending on how well your party did, the chest will accumulate points and “level up” resulting in better gear. This helps give incentive to explore and collect key items during your missions rather than sprint through the map each time.
So those are all the things that Warhammer Vermintide does right, what about things that the game does wrong?
Well, there are a few glaring issues:
1. The Warhammer fantasy setting might not be for everyone. If you don't like Warhammer, you may struggle to actually get into the game since it's aesthetic is dripping in Warhammer.
2. You're going to play the same maps and layouts over and over and over again. If you have a hard time with handcrafted levels, then this game might not be for you. Now, the timings of hordes, objectives and key items are all randomized, so there is a little bit of variance there, but in terms of actual landscape and flow, those will not change.
3. Melee. Melee. Melee. This game is nearly exclusively melee and if you are someone who isn't a fan of swinging a weapon, then I'd say wait for Darktide because this game is nearly all melee all the time.
So now that we’ve recapped Vermintide 2, what does this mean for Darktide? Well. It means a lot! We know that Fatshark is a competent developer who knows how to make a good, horde-based game with nice supporting systems that seems to have a decent track record. Vermintide 1 was good, and Vermintide 2 was great. So hopefully Darktide continues that trend.
We can make some assumptions that the base gameplay loop will be roughly the same with missions, key items, loot, heroes and career paths, and lots and lots of enemies. But we’ll have to wait until september to tell.
So to answer our main question – is Vermintide 2 worth playing in 2022? The answer is a definite yes! And with the game going on sale freqently, you might even be able to get it for under $10. Oh and I should mention that this game is also available with Game Pass on Xbox.
So now I’ll turn the mic to you all, is Vermintide a game you’ve played and if so, what did you think?
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