[REVIEW] Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide
By Dan Spence on November 6th 2015
Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide is a 4-player co-op game set in the Warhammer universe and developed by Fatshark. The game sees players working together to complete a number of missions set across various areas of Ubersreik, a town infested with insidious Skaven rat-men.
Vermintide will draw very obvious comparisons with Valve’s Left 4 Dead series due to its similar setup, but it has a number of features that really set it apart. These include: a heavy focus on melee combat, the introduction of multiple character classes and loot/equipment.
Vermintide is a game that is heavily focused on melee combat. Each character does have access to ranged weapons but limited ammunition ensures that you’ll more often than not find yourself falling back on your close-ranged options. Each melee weapon is capable of performing both standard attacks and a more powerful charged attack. Enemies can be dismembered in a variety of ways and the game also has a blood spatter system to ensure that when your gruesomely dispatched victims bleed, they do it properly.
Throughout missions players can expect to be assaulted by a veritable legion of rat-men, not to mention a variety of Skaven special units: rattling gunners, gutter runner assassins, poison wind globadiers, and the fearsome rat-ogre to name just a few. It’s lucky then, that our heroes can defend themselves through a combination of blocking, pushing and dodging.
Vermintide features 5 playable classes, these include: Empire soldier, Bright Wizard, Dwarven Ranger, Elven Archer & the Witch hunter.
Markus Kruber, Empire Soldier: a grizzled and war-weary veteran of the Imperial army. The Empire Soldier excels at quickly dispatching multiple enemies at once. This is due in no small part to his starting equipment which includes an explosive blunderbuss and a deadly war hammer.
Sienna Fuegonasus, Bright Wizard: a wisecracking lady-mage with a penchant for fire and explosions. The Bright Wizard’s starting equipment includes a sword and a magical staff capable of launching fireballs (which can also be charged for a more powerful attack). The downside to the Bright Wizard’s high-powered offence is that it can cause her to catch fire if the magical flames are not properly vented.
Bardin Goreksson, Dwarven Ranger: a battle-hardened dwarf that’s prepared for any situation. The Dwarven Ranger’s starting equipment allows him to tank with an axe and shield combo, but he also has surprisingly good ranged capabilities when wielding his precise crossbow.
Kerillian, Elven Waywatcher: a nimble elf and ranged combat specialist, all rolled into one. This elf initially comes equipped with a bow that’s both quick-firing and very accurate, making for one of the best ranged attackers in the game. The Waywatcher also wields a pair of daggers for melee combat.
Victor Saltzpyre, Witch Hunter: a quick combatant, dedicated to his holy order. The Witch Hunter begins the game with a swift rapier and lethal pistols. Not to mention Victor’s ability to shoot while engaging in melee combat.
Vermintide’s classes all serve to add some much-needed variety to the classic Left 4 Dead formula as well as increased replayability, which for a game that involves regularly repeating the same handful of missions is a welcome addition.
At the end of each successful mission players are rewarded with the chance to acquire new equipment (close-ranged weapons, long-ranged weapons, headgear, trinkets), this involves rolling several dice. Gear is divided into several categories based on rarity (white/common, green/uncommon, blue/rare, orange/exotic and red/mythic); the better your dice roll, the better category of equipment you receive. Specific pieces of equipment are all randomly awarded, however. Your dice roll ONLY determines the quality of your equipment, not which piece of equipment you receive or for which class.
Vermintide provides players with an interesting way to tip the scales of the loot system in their favour. Littered throughout the game’s missions are a number of “tomes” and “grimoires”. Tomes provide players with an extra loot die (called a “tome die”) at the end of the mission; the downside to this is that tomes occupy a player’s healing item slot when collected. Grimoires give players a 100% chance to acquire better equipment at the end of the level, to compensate for this the grimoire occupies the player’s item slot and reduces the maximum HP of every party member by 33%; this effect stacks for every grimoire that the party collects. Grimoires are a double-edged sword: they may provide the party with great rewards, but their effects can make the game much more difficult.
Vermintide is a lot of fun. Hacking your way through the Skaven hordes can provide hours of entertainment especially as you chase after better and better equipment. The additions of character classes, gear and grimoires never let the game become repetitive and pushes players into that “one more go” mentality. It’s not an easy game by any means, hearing the sudden roar of a rat-ogre or the chanting of a stormvermin patrol can easily mean a game over if the players aren’t properly prepared and splitting up the party is tantamount to suicide.
Considering the level of quality that Vermintide brings to the table, it’s unfortunate that my experience with it was definitely less than perfect. My time with the game has been plagued with constant crashes, to the point where I can only play 2 levels at most before the game inevitably stops working. Even when playing the game on it’s lowest settings, I receive a diverse array of different error messages and crash reports. This is a regrettable problem that mars an otherwise great game, however to developer Fatshark’s credit they have released a number of patches since Vermintide’s official release.
Overall, Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide (god, that’s a long name) is a fun game that builds on the classic Left 4 Dead formula in a way that makes it feel fresh and exciting. Hopefully Fatshark can find a way to solve the game’s problems to make Vermintide even better.
Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide is RECOMMENDED
PC version played for purposes of review.
Warhammer The End Times: Vermintide is available for £22.99 on Steam. Vermintide is also coming to PS4 and Xbox One in early 2016.
Posted on November 6, 2015, in PC Games, PS4 Games, Reviews, Xbox One Games and tagged Fatshark, Game Reviews, games, Games Workshop, gaming, PC Games, PS4 games, Vermintide, video game reviews, video games, Warhammer, Warhammer The End Times, Warhammer The End Times: Vermintide, Xbox One games. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.