Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide: Karak Azgaraz (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 01.04.2017

Review for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide: Karak Azgaraz on PlayStation 4

The usual way to deal with a vermin problem would be to get a cat, maybe obtain some rat poison, and throw down a few traps - or, in a worst case scenario, call in an exterminator. In the Warhammer universe, these actions would attract hoots of derision - and rightfully so, as it makes far more sense to just tool up, head out with a few heavily armed buddies, and wade into the throng with blades flailing and firearms blasting. The fact that Warhammer rats (or Skaven, as they're known around these parts) are the same size as the average surly teenager, prone to scurrying around in dense, heavily armed packs and will casually utilise gas grenades and 'Ratling' guns to finish off what their razor sharp teeth started, probably doesn't help matters. There just isn't a cat big enough. The first Vermintide DLC pack, Karak Azgaraz, takes the fight out of the streets of Ubersreik and into the snowy wilderness of the Grey Mountains in a bid to help out the Dwarves who are seemingly the next targets in the Skaven's bid for Old World domination.

First up, Khazin Kro takes our battle weary quartet straight into the heart of the Dwarven stronghold on a mission to warn its inhabitants (aka the Dwarves) that the Skaven are planning an imminent attack on their domain. Unfortunately, upon arriving at their destination, it soon becomes apparent that those lousy bipedal rodents have beaten them to it and have already made their presence felt, as evidenced by the trail of dead bodies littered throughout the oppressively grey, labyrinthine halls. The objective switches to a hunt for survivors, a task made ever so slightly tougher by the swarms of heavily armed Skaven that are still patrolling the corridors fuelled on bloodlust and discarded Dwarf garbage.

Screenshot for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide: Karak Azgaraz on PlayStation 4

Upon hitting the generously equipped brewery, a disembodied Yorkshire accent calls out to the rat catchers informing them that if they don't release the pressure from the huge brewing tanks in a timely manner then the room will blow. This sets off a timed event that involves the loosening of valves to prevent an explosive ending, while simultaneously fighting off waves of angry Skaven in a steamy (not the sexy variety), low visibility environment. It's touch and go, but the gang manages to save their own skins, as well as the Dwarves' future supply of grog, but there is an urgent need to seal up the three tunnels the Skaven are using to gain entry to Khazin Kro. Timed explosives… get to work.

Upon leaving Khazin Kro, the gang is made aware that they need to seize the Cursed Rune that's being guarded by the Skaven up on the Grey Mountains. Why? Who knows, but it's Warhammer, so a Rune was bound to pop up sooner or later, and the chances that it would be cursed were probably sitting at around a 74% probability. This is the largest area of the three included in this expansion, and it flits between vast, expansive, snowy wilderness, broken up by choke points where the Skaven lie in wait to ambush unwitting adventurers.

Screenshot for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide: Karak Azgaraz on PlayStation 4

After a fairly fraught climb up to the summit of the mountain via a treacherous, meandering path, the sealed chamber containing the Cursed Rune is stumbled upon, cracked open, and its defiled bounty snatched by one of the gang. If only the story ended here. This act of liberation is the catalyst for what can only be described as Verm-a-geddon, as wave upon wave of enraged Skaven attack the Rune Rescue Squad in a bid to prevent their escape with the stolen contraband. Eventually, the collapse of a ramp provides an escape to the Handler's waiting stagecoach/escape vehicle that's parked around the corner, raising two fairly pertinent questions. How did he get that stagecoach up to the top of the mountain, and why didn't he just give them a lift up there in the first instance? It would've saved everybody so much trouble.

Screenshot for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide: Karak Azgaraz on PlayStation 4

Chain of Fire concludes this new trilogy of levels and sees the gang hit upon the idea of lighting a beacon in an elevated spot to warn of the impending rat attack, despite the fact that the Skaven have no doubt already sent shockwaves through the Dwarf community with their antics in Khazin Kro. It's another snowy trudge that wends its way through rocky inclines, frosted woods, and even an ice cave, until suddenly hitting a major stumbling block in the form of a fairly steep ravine that halts progress at the seemingly abandoned trading post. Luckily, there is a drawbridge that, when lowered, will enable safe traversal across. Unluckily, it happens to conform to video game cliché number 43 and descends at a phenomenally slow pace, is prone to jamming, and naturally provides the Skaven with the perfect opportunity to mount a ferocious attack.

Once the bridge finally lands and the awaiting horde is violently despatched, the hilltop beacon is within sight and is only a treacherous mountain path and minor leap of faith away. It's time for the last stand, as the beacon can only be ignited by standing on a very slow charging pressure plate that cuts off as soon as weight is removed from it. Of course, this makes the poor sap stood on the plate a magnet for gas grenades, as well as frequent charges from emboldened rats trying to put out the flames. After a fairly hectic showdown culminates in a lit beacon, an explosion reveals an escape tunnel, which sees the gang once more ride off into the sunset leaving the twitching corpses of their furry foes behind them.

Screenshot for Warhammer: The End Times - Vermintide: Karak Azgaraz on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Much like Vermintide's main campaign, Karak Azgaraz sports a fairly thin narrative with a structure focussed on encouraging repeat visits, which makes it perfect for those wanting to farm for new gear courtesy of the recent Quest and Contracts update. Fat Shark has provided a solid excuse for lapsed rat catchers to jump back into the Warhammer universe and release that residual pent-up rodent rage. There's a flagon of Dwarven grog in it for you.

Developer

Fatshark

Publisher

Fatshark AB

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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