I remember the good old days of Left 4 Dead and it’s surprisingly great sequel! Others imitatedthe four player co-op formula, but never reached that high point Left 4 Dead 2 reached. Even the original developers of L4D couldn’t reclaim the magic with their tedious co-op monster hunt, Evolve. However, there was a glimmer of hope from the Warhammer franchise. It featured four players, plenty of action, and an insane amount of enemies to battle. No, it’s not Deathwing. It’s the sequel to Vermintide! Get your rat traps ready for some epic rat action in Warhammer: Vermintide 2.
Bigger, bolder and bloodier
The original game was a mixed bag for me. It had some solid gameplay elements, but lacked any compelling narrative, interesting level design, or dynamic team based gameplay. It was fine, but it could’ve been much greater. At no surprise, Vermintide won over enough fans to warrent a sequel. Fatshark have decided to follow up with an even bigger and bolder game that pushes high octane, rat horde action! It’s the stuff of nightmares and our four mighty heroes will go forth to battle evil once again.
As you might expect the story revolves around great and powerful evil returning, rats deciding to start the end of times and our heroes being the only 5 people in the merry lands of “I wouldn’t live there”. There’s some new elements thrown into the narrative this time around with the Chaos armies making an ungodly nerving appearance. While not massively original, I will give big points to the developers for actually giving us a main antagonist of sorts and a wider selection of locations to venture through. The original game was set entirely within a city that didn’t have much appeal or charm.
Now, though, we get a vast selection of locations during the day, night, underground, over-ground. One location even reminded me of Left 4 Dead 2’s corn field. I felt engaged with the diverse set of locations and stimulated by the often challenging level design. The level design still encourages relentless gauntlets, but things are evenly broken up by set pieces, bosses, different terrains and some light lateral moments. You’ll engage with the grind of run, pray you don’t die, and completing mission objectives that don’t solely rely on gathering explosive barrels (there are still moments like that, but they have more impact and spectacle here).
There’s even a neat climax to the game with a proper ending to finish off on. I personally would’ve been more enthralled at new bosses rather than an over-reliance on repeating one from the original game.
Fight the Chaos army and Skaven in style!
Players are in for a treat with five distinctive heroes to select from. All have interesting personalities with the capability to form full sentences or even produce a funny line here or there. Deathwing could’ve learned a few things from Vermintide 2. When it comes to character progression, the journey through building one’s rat hunter bad ass is substantial. There’s plenty of weapons, gear and crafting to keep you invested through the 12 campaign and more.
Admittedly, leveling up could’ve provided more abilities or special attacks as characters feel a little underwhelmed when it comes to alternative attacks. Plus, crafting can be a little tedious as resources come in mighty slow unless you play the harder difficulties. Players who enjoy playing alone will be rewarded with loot boxes (don’t worry, they’re unlocked by playing) which often offer decent surprises. To get better loot, though, you’ll need to rinse and repeat certain levels.
Sneaky like a rat
One of the biggest aspects to any game like Vermintide and Left 4 Dead is the “director” which allows control over the flow of enemies and adjusts the difficulty depending on player progression. Vermintide 2 does well to even out the difficulty as best it can with a good sense of balancing and pacing. There were never too many moments of sheer madness, where I felt completely overwhelmed to the point that the game wasn’t fun. Even on harder difficulties, the game still manages to balance things out accordingly, but just expect a few moments of nearly completing a level and seeing an swarm of rats come towards you from the exit’s direction.
Vermintide 2 is pretty much what Left 4 Dead 2 ended up being. A sequel that surpasses the original with massive improvements. While the original had some great foundations, it felt a little unrefined. Vermintide 2 is bigger, bolder and bloodier this time around with better enemy AI, a larger narrative spanning over more locations, stunning visuals, and some great aspects to character progression. Despite some issues on the other side of character progression and the “director” still having its overkill moments, this is a shining sequel. It is a game that should be picked up by those who’ve loved the L4D style of 4 player horde, and for those needing something more fulfilling than Evolve.
Disclaimer: Review code provided by publisher