Version tested: PC
Genre: FPS Action
Official Site: Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide
Release Date: 10-23-15
Also available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Warhammer: End Times –Vermintide, perhaps ranks as one of the most unnecessarily long names for a game I have come across has finally come out of Steam Early Access after languishing there for the past few months. The game mechanics will be instantly recognisable as the similarities to Left for Dead 2 are uncanny, in a nutshell, travel from one location to another with three other players while fighting a horde of Skaven rat men. The publisher, Fatshark who you may know from War of the Roses, or Escape Dead Island have gotten their hands on one of the best intellectual properties out there, Warhammer.
You can play as any one of five characters from the Warhammer World in Vermintide, all from the ‘order’ side of the lore, the Witch Hunter, Bright Wizard, Dwarven Ranger, the Wood Elf Waywatcher and the Empire Soldier. All classes have different playstyles, and different weapons, in the case of the Bright Wizard, who has no need for ammunition (obviously), instead overheats, and then explodes, which is probably more lore accurate than some players might appreciate.
What Vermintide certainly has going for it is the setting and lore which comes from the Games Workshop world, a horde of Skaven descending upon an Empire city, Ubersreik, in this case, has been a classic idea in the Warhammer universe since the release of the tabletop game Mordheim.
Unfortunately, the game is currently plagued by bugs and feels like it is still in Early Access, random crashing and graphics glitches seem to be the most prevalent, the Steam forums are littered with dozens of similar bug reports.
There is currently only one mode to Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide, unfortunately for it, I have to compare it to Left for Dead 2, which has multiple modes, over a huge variety of maps. There is no vs mode in Vermintide, part of the reason why Left for Dead 2 was so successful was because you could become the monster. Unfortunately there is also little difference between Left For Dead’s special monster types and Vermintide’s the Rat Ogre is the tank, the Gutter Runner is the hunter, the pack master is the smoker and so on.
There is no persistent plot, maps lead on from one another, however, there is no storytelling done, I failed to connect to any of the characters and the tiny snippets of conversation between the party members are trivial. I would like to have gotten more of a grasp of why the Skaven had chosen to strike in this city of all the other cities in the Empire first.
Thankfully motion blur can be turned off and the field of view can be adjusted, when playing the Vermintide I found myself getting a headache and feeling dizzy, this was because the motion blur was turned on by default and the default field of view of 65 degrees, which for PC players it is terrible. The game also has controller support on the PC and bindable key options.
After each mission there is a dice roll to determine the loot you gain, the item is random and is dependent on a roll of several dice, the more dice you have, the higher the chance that you will get a better item, however, it is entirely possible to get the maximize amount of dice and fail all of them, leaving you with junk for the effort. Items gained in missions can be fused together to create an entirely new weapon, which of course, is random, you can also upgrade items and break them down for components which are used in upgrading your items.
All characters in Vermintide have a normal attack, a heavy attack, a block function and a ranged attack, the heavy attack becomes very useful against armoured opponents and hoards with two handed weapons sweeping anything in front of them.
I found Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide to be an enjoyable game overall, the cooperative Left for Dead 2 style gameplay is still a viable genre in itself, however, it fails to differ itself enough from the Left for Dead series, I might as well have been playing Left for Dead with a skin pack. I feel that the developers overlooked a lot of details before releasing the game, leading to a buggy release, which for me almost defeats the purpose of the Early Access scheme.
The maps are enjoyable and varied, the setting is fantastic especially when in the Skaven tunnels or the city’s ally’s. The first person perspective has been done well for a melee based game, I felt that it could have been to the game’s detriment, however, getting up close and personal is a rewarding experience. I recommend playing this game with a group of friends, it’s the way it should be played, the enemies are not terrifying, but enemies like the Rat Ogre can require a special effort to take down as a team.
From London in the United Kingdom.
Games and technology journalist.
PC / IOS / Xbox 360 / Nintendo 3DS