Warhammer is one of the things that may divide opinion. But with Vermintide, they are doing something both strangely familiar and brilliantly original. Here in this Warhammer End Times Vermintide Review you’ll see my thoughts on what is a great game, that could have been excellent.
The premise is very straightforward. The world you inhabit is threatened by vermin the size of men, some bigger, and what you are charged with is stemming the vermintide!
See my thoughts below and let me know in the Disqus comments at the bottom what your thoughts are on the game.
Of GIANT Mice and Men
The game is a first person melee/shooter, where you pick one of five classes to combat waves of vermin. As you slowly progress through the varying missions to an objective, which generally is a set piece where a LOT of vermin will charge you.
Sound like Left 4 Dead? Well, with the exception of the classes, it pretty much is. Not that this is a bad thing.
The enemies come in a variety of styles to give challenge where the standard vermin are little more than cannon fodder.
Each class has access to different weapons, and therefore gives you a different role in combat. I picked my character (they have names, but for the benefit of this review I refer to him as ‘heavy’) the heavy of the group, you start with a large hammer and a musket, the hammer can be swapped for a sword and shield.
This is true of the initial load out of each character, each character gets 2 melee weapons to select from, but one standardised fire arm (or bow, staff, whichever).
Some things will throw you off a little in the initial part of the game. For example, the bow you get in one characters load out doesn’t require the shoot button to be held. Additionally, the melee weapons can be used for blocking, regardless, and you have a block meter.
This makes for crowded areas to be interesting.
There’s a rat in the kitchen
The maps tend to be a mix of corridors and open sections. Meaning that with communication and forward planning, dealing with enemies as a team can be fun and relatively straightforward (when in a corridor) and surrounding larger enemies can be fun in external areas.
But herein lays the biggest issue I had with this game. This game is a multiplayer co-op driven outing. It has a heavy focus on teamwork, and a heavier still focus on sharing the limited healing supplies and strategise.
Unfortunately, as many of us will know, working together in an online game where kill counts and such are in place. Many gamers simply won’t take a place in a team, and whilst this isn’t the developers fault, if makes it difficult to grind multiple levels.
I was paired with three random players, and ran through the prologue level. In this section I had very little in the way of issues. Although no one wanted to talk and strategise, people did, largely, stay close enough that I never felt overwhelmed, and was able to help my pals. Then in the lobby two of the three quit out, and myself and the one sole player left in my group got two new random players.
From here, it all went bad!
No communication, no teamwork, a super frustrating round. Surely incentivising team play would encourage a community to work together?
It’s a good idea to play this game with people you know rather than randoms. You can, as I did, play with bots too if you are struggling.
Gnaw way this is going to end well
Bots are ok, the AI isn’t hopeless, but it begins to feel lonely. It irritated me that the guy who ran ahead as a dwarf kept nicking all the good potions and bombs. But I would still rather that than play with bots and have procedural behaviour.
On element that is missing is the option to play local co-op, with zero split-screen options. You’d think with the amount of games being criticised for the distinct lack of ‘couch co-op’ that people who want to guarantee sales would proceed to make it happen.
But no, it’s not present here.
Leader of the Rats
The game is fun, the combat brutal and easy to pick up. The character classes make balancing a game easy enough, and the most critical I can be is more a dig at the players online, rather than the game itself.
The lack of split-screen is a nuisance but not a deal breaker, and overall I have had a lot of fun hitting giant rats with a bow, some spells, and a massive hammer.
If you are going to pick this game up, and I would suggest you give it serious consideration, find a bunch of pals who liked L4D or Dead Island. All purchase a copy each and get into it together as a group.
Otherwise the standoffish nature of random folks online could tarnish your opinion of a game that is very good indeed. This certainly has all the makings of a cult favourite amoung gamers and is one for you and friends to really enjoy together.