Warhammer: Vermintide 2 brings a whole host of more Skaven and Chaos to annihilate along with a series of changes to improve on the original game, for starters a shorter name. The big question is though, has this game managed to capture the fun of the original in the latest edition?
This game sees you and up to 3 other players or bots make their way through a series of acts. Each with their own set of levels and end game boss to take on. In total there are 13 missions to throw yourself at. You can play through on different difficulty levels depending on your hero level. This is where the grind comes in as higher-level equipment unlocks as you play on harder difficulties.
There are 5 heroes to pick from once you get through the opening level. As you level each hero you unlock 3 variations. As you might have come to expect each character has a skill tree that is specific to that hero to progress and makes them better in certain situations. Each has their main combat weapon whether that is a two-handed sword, a battle axe or lighter blades. Everyone also has a ranged secondary weapon such as a bow or rifle to allow for different approaches to combat.
I found that Sienna Fuegonasus who is the Battle Wizard offered the most variation when approaching combat. They have a unique ranged attack that fires balls of fire at enemies but at the same time builds up a heat bar that can kill you if you ignore it. Later on, you gain access to staffs that have a sniper like fire laser which is just plane cool. However, I found myself going back to the Dwarven Bardin Goreksson whose hammer cleared through enemies beautifully.
In the early stages of the game it does feel like you are getting the same equipment over and over, well to be honest you are. The only difference is one has power 76 and the other 84. It can feel like you hit the top of a power level pretty quickly as you play through the opening levels. All loot is random and awarded at the end of a level, so you have no way of effecting what you get. It took some of the excitement out of the rewards after a level but once you found the gear you liked most was salvaged for crafting.
Visually the game is really nice. Yes, the story is about a dark enemy trying to bring chaos into the world but each of the levels is bright and well designed. Each of the acts has a clear path to take throughout but it opens up at sections to give a more open world feel. The story will take you through Skaven caves, pillaged villages and chaos infested forests. There were no framerate issues even with hordes of enemies on the screen.
The game keeps its fun hack and slash approach to combat. Each hit you land on an enemy with your weapon has a real ‘thud’ feeling to it. Scattering enemies across your screen using a blunt hammer or decapitating charging Skaven with a two-handed sword makes the combat feel and sound amazing. I never tired of it! Overall, I loved each of the combat encounters even when it seemed like you were being overwhelmed a few heavy swings cleared out enemies in a wonderful way.
You also have the opportunity to craft and upgrade items through breaking up the gear you collect from missions. There are collectables in each level that will upgrade the loot boxes you get at the end. You will find a book of challenges to complete such as completing act one or defeating a certain end boss on a set difficulty. There will be daily and weekly challenges all of which reward loot at the end. This meant there were plenty of ways to break up the grind of just playing through a level and increased the content.
The combat in this game is extremely fun. I enjoyed hacking through each of the levels and taking on the challenge of the harder difficulties when I needed to. The 4-player co-op is fantastic when you get 3 other real players and you work together to clear through the levels. The random loot can get boring quickly as you will get the same weapon over and over, but you just have to salvage it for crafting materials and move on. However, even with that, I would fully recommend giving this game a go.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*