Game: Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide
Time Played: 5.2 Hours
Another Steam game purchased and played on the same day! This is getting to be a happy trend!
Okay. So, Vermintide. This was totally my sister’s fault.
I may have briefly heard about this game, but tuned it out because Warhammer is generally not an IP that appeals to me (despite playing and enjoying Warhammer Online). So, Friday night, my FC has finally popped World of Darkness after a long queue, and my sister calls me during the first boss fight. I tell her I’m raiding, but I contact her back right afterwards.
We hook up on chat, and she starts with a, “So have you heard about this game?”
I had not. Honestly, she hadn’t either, aside from the fact it was getting good ratings. So, for some random reason, she decided she was interested in picking up the game and was curious if I would play with her, since it’s a co-op game. I took one look at it, saw the Witch Hunter (my old class from Warhammer Online), and knew I’d be buying it.
Because we spent some time rocking the H1Z1 Halloween event on Saturday, we didn’t sit down with this game until late Sunday afternoon. We put about 5 hours into the game, though we only beat the first mission on Easy mode twice during that time. I feel like I need to play this a whole lot more before I can form a full opinion on it, but the positive thing is that I want to play it more to do so.
What Is It?
The game describes itself as:
Vermintide is an epic co-operative action combat adventure set in the End Times of the iconic Warhammer Fantasy world.
And… that’s really pretty straight and to the point. It’s a fast-paced first person “shooter” hack-n-slash action/adventure game in a RPG setting.
Now, though I own the Left 4 Dead games on Steam, they’ve remained in my backlog as “one day” play. I bring this up because just about every review I read or hear compares Vermintide to Left 4 Dead. Since I’ve never played these games, I can’t make a comparison. I can just tell you what I experienced from the game.
Vermintide is 4 player co-op where one player hosts a game and other people join via a lobby. This element reminds me of Diablo 2… but it was a very smooth and easy system to use. Sometimes, trying to host and connect with friends on a game can take up hours just to figure out (ARK, I’m looking at you), but this was not the case here. I was the one hosting, and had no problem finding my sister and inviting her to my game. The other two character slots were joined by bots, which worked well enough as far as AI characters go.
I started by playing a Witch Hunter and my sister took the Elf archer. Our first foray into the game, we took it very slowly… only to learn, the game takes nothing slowly. There is no idling around or catching your breath. Vermintide will throw waves of monsters at you if you sit in one place too long, so it’s better just to keep on moving.
It didn’t take us very long to figure out controls. The game itself is straight-forward to play, but even on easy mode, the first mission took several tries to learn and finally beat. One of our failures was due to a game-stopping bug that kept us from finishing the map even though we technically did survive and beat it. A quick stop at Google found us a work-around, which has worked just fine since. But that was still a super frustrating bug to hit at the absolute end of the very first mission.
We also decided to try out different heroes to see if any would better fit our playstyle, and that made a lot of difference. I settled on the Imperial Soldier and she picked up the Bright Wizard. Things went a bit more smoothly after that.
Each character has a ranged and melee option, as well as different weapon types to try out. These weapon types do effect everything about the way your character plays – damage, speed, number of targets, etc. So it’s good to experiment and find something that feels balanced. I’m still not 100% settled, and might try out the Dwarf, simply because he has armor penetration on all his attacks and those armored rats are a terror.
Though we played the same stage over and over, no two play throughs were ever the same. Sometimes, we’d face a troop of armored rats in certain spot, but never see them there on another play through. Sometimes we ran into the ogre rat, most of the time we didn’t. The random elements kept the maps feeling fresh and surprising for us, and continued to challenge us even after we knew what the objectives were.
At the end of the mission, you’re rewarded experience towards a level and dice to roll on loot. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the RNG of the loot rolls in this game, though I was lucky enough to upgrade my soldier’s sword, and my sister came away with a new mace for her wizard. Once I get better gear, and learn the game better, I may even venture to try out the Witch Hunter again.
The game looked great, even though it automatically set my graphics to Low when it launched. Optimization could use some work, but it still ran well enough on both of our computers. Atmosphere is exactly what you’d expect from a Warhammer game called Vermintide. The rat enemies were varied and literally came from everywhere – climbing walls, jumping out of sewers, and ninjaing from off rooftops.
The characters each have their own personalities, and it’s entertaining to hear them banter as you slash your way through unending fur and fangs. Depending on your group’s make-up, you get to hear different interactions, which I really liked.
Overall, my sister and I got knocked around by this game, but we had a lot of fun. Finishing the mission was rewarding. I can foresee us playing more in the future, especially since we suckered Syn into picking it up, too. 😄
Is this a game that I recommend? Check out some game play videos first. I think it’s a solid game, but could still use some polishing and bug fixes. If you enjoy first person shooter/slasher games, give it a look.