Disclosure ‐ The wonderful people at Fatshark provided us with review codes for Vermintide at our request, which we are truly thankful for.
Because as if you don’t wanna fight hoards of rats with your mates.
Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide is a co-operative combat adventure game from Fatshark.
For those of you who have played Left 4 Dead, it’s essentially that with a heavier focus on melee combat, loot and character progression.
For those of you who have not played Left 4 Dead (what the hell are you doing?!) it is a game where you, and three other friends, random internet strangers or bots traverse from point A to point B within the Gothic city of Ubersreik. Completing largely unique sets of objectives along the way, and receiving largely unique rewards at the end (if you’re successful).
We’re leaving this review a little late, as the game had some glaring optimization issues at launch. However, the developers were completely transparent in their awareness of these bugs, and with a majority of them being fixed, it’s time to give our thoughts.
The things that Vermintide does well, it does REALLY well. It is a fun and fast-paced action game that is awesome to play with a group of people. It rewards coordination in a way that a lot of other co-op games seem to completely ignore. It does this through the inclusion of collectible items throughout the games varying maps. These items, known as Tomes and Grimoires, allow the players to sacrifice a number of item slots (up to 3) as well as lowering their max HP in an attempt to have a higher chance at some better loot at the end of the match. It is a great way to add an extra level of high-risk/high-reward to the game for players who are used to playing with one another. However, it can get frustrating when your PUG demands a three tome run and they’re utter garbage. Curse you, Tatormeister420.
Which leads quite well into the next point, I was never the biggest L4D fan because I didn’t see the point. But Vermintide has taken that formula and made it appeal to those of us seeking progression. Through level-based unlockables in the “hub” world and loot roll system (that is literally affected by dice you find throughout the world) has made every map-completion feel good. Well, until I roll low and get nothing but a green, but hey! All’s fair in love and slaying rat men.
The character roster of both playable characters, and rat-men that you encounter is pretty expansive. Yes, some of the enemies do seem to be copy and pasted straight from Left 4 Dead, but hey, we won’t complain too much as they are pretty well designed. The playable characters cater to everyone quite well, from your ranged assassin (my personal favourite) all the way up to your stout, stubborn sword-and-board dwarf, but the character design itself doesn’t really show itself until you are in the game and the banter between these characters begins. Readers, put your hands together for whoever wrote the character’s dialogue scripts! They are fun, quirky and really aid you in finding your way around the blood-soaked city. Each character has their own personality, and relationships with each other. They will poke fun when you miss an attack, they’ll congratulate you when you make a good kill, even challenge you when you kill an enemy they had lined up. It really adds a nice level of separation between what’s going on in the world, and what’s going on in your character’s head. Just another day at the office, really.