Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 29.03.2017

Review for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide on PC

There is no reason to hide it. Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide is meant to appeal to one specific crowd; the crowd that very much enjoys games like Left 4 Dead. Taking place before the series' soft-reboot that lead to Age of Sigmar, Vermintide takes place in the city of Ubersreik, a city besieged by a plague utilized by the rat-men beasts known as 'Skaven'. Five heroes are all that stands between the ailing city and a squeaky death.

The idea behind Vermintide is a surprisingly simplistic and effective one. Take the four-player co-op that made series like Left 4 Dead popular, mix in their own fantasy themes, two eggs, a stick of butter, be sure to mix and bake well, and out comes a fully baked game ready to sell to the masses.

Gameplay is quite simple: each player selects one of the five possible characters, a mission, and a difficulty setting, and they're off. Each level is a fairly long co-op experience filled to the brim with a variety of challenges to overcome. There are bunches of little rats that attack in massive swarms and exist to make fights seem more epic, and specialized foes with abilities like hooking and dragging players around, firing off clouds of poison gas, or pouncing on the unwary. There are also a few moments each level where the team will be forced to fight massive amounts of enemies while relying on limited supplies.

Screenshot for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide on PC

On the plus side, the gameplay is very smooth and refined, which makes playing it feel extremely pleasing. Combat is quick and well-balanced between the ranged and the melee classes, with each role having clearly defined strengths and weaknesses. Each character brings their own selection of weapons to the table, which drastically alters just how things will end up playing out. For instance, some Skaven will wear armour that makes them only weak to power attacks and abilities that can pierce. That's great for a character who picked, say, two-handed hammers, but for someone who took the daggers or is more focused on ranged combat, that can be a big problem.

This variety keeps the game interesting, as there are multiple ways to tackle each objective. As another example, in some of the levels there are both tomes and grimoires which can be picked up. Each of them occupies the medical/potion spot respectively, and if the level is completed with said items, the player's dice-pool at the end gets improved. As a result, the risk of not being able to carry around a healing-item or potion is offset by the potential reward of improved gear come the end of each level. It's a great feature that provides a lot of depth through a simple choice.

Screenshot for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide on PC

In addition, Vermintide does its best to take advantage of the lore of the Warhammer universe. While it seems unlikely that anyone not already invested in the mythos will fully grasp what is going on, even with the assistance of the codex, it's still easy to enjoy the story and setting. Additionally, the localized and personal setting more than offsets a need for full backstory.

Lastly, each character can be further customized with various pieces of gear that can be obtained to boost their stats and offer a variety of bonuses. This can be good or bad, as it's next to impossible to reliably get desired gear. The primary source of gear will come from a dice roll at the end of the level with how many successes a player rolls determining what gear is dropped, making for an extremely random system.

Screenshot for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide on PC

The primary problem with this is that, aside from picking up tomes and grimoires, there is no way to alter this roll and it is entirely possible to be too successful and end up rolling higher than the gear kind desired. Want daggers for the elf? It's three successes. Roll four? Have a fifth staff for the wizard! While unused items can thankfully be rerolled into new gear, said new gear is also randomized. This can lead to very annoying situations of classes being better equipped than the one actually being played.

Finally, the game is ultimately lacking in variety. While there are quite a few levels, the differences between said levels can end up feeling negligable and can ultimately end up to the experience feeling very repetitive. While the gameplay itself is polished, the lack of diverse challenges can prevent players from embarking on future playthroughs. Truthfully, some of Vermintide's biggest innovations become its greatest downfalls.

Screenshot for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

At the heart, the best thing about a co-op experience is just being able to sit down with a bunch of people and have fun fighting off a massive horde of monsters, and Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide scratches that itch beautifully. It's just that going beyond that is a pain. Other than recombining and upgrading gear, there's little reason to play solo, between a relatively unimportant story and the random gear drops. Vermintide shines with friends; it's a bit too dangerous to go alone, so take three!

Developer

Fatshark

Publisher

Fatshark AB

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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