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Warhammer: Vermintide 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Developer: Fatshark
Release Date: March 8, 2018

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Warhammer: Vermintide 2'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on Feb. 26, 2018 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

In Warhammer: Vermintide 2 it's time for players to return to the first-person co-op experience with intense melee action.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 kind of flew under my radar of anticipated releases this year. The original Vermintide was no slouch and combined the world of Warhammer with the gameplay of Left 4 Dead. However, it became something of a gear grind, which didn't lend itself to a lot of playthroughs. Clearly, Vermintide 2 learned from the previous game and looks to add plenty of progression hooks while also sticking to what made the original so much fun.

The underlying premise hasn't changed much. The same five heroes are back from the first game, and the rat-like Skaven still threatens the lands of man. However, the armies of Chaos have formed a dark pact with the Skaven and have thrown their abominations and warriors into the fray. This means that there are new classes of enemies to fight in addition to new Skaven foes.

The heroes have also evolved their effort to fight these armies. Each of the five heroes has three careers; they start with one, and you unlock the other two as you level up the hero. These careers have active and passive abilities, which allow you to customize their playstyle to your liking. Each career also has a talent tree, with three possible options unlocking every five levels, further allowing you to tailor your hero.

Each of the heroes also gets new weapons. In just a short time with the Witch Hunter, I unlocked a falchion and ax in addition to his starting rapier, each with distinct characteristics. For example, the ax is slower but hits harder, and the animation of swinging an axe has a guttural violence to it. Connecting with a swing lodges your ax into a foe before you wrench it back. I haven't had this much fun with a melee weapon in a long time.

Gear is still prevalent in the game, with weapons that are specific to each hero and trinkets that can be shared among all of the heroes. Rare ones can also add stats, and different types change how your character attacks. Just as before, you can collect loot dice, grimoires and tomes to boost the quality of chest you get after completing a map. However, this time, you don't see what items you might get; it's all randomized, based on the quality of the chest you get.

Parties can be up to four players, and bots can substitute in place of a player. For an optimal experience, you don't really want to have more than one bot in your party. Thankfully, it's easy to get a group together, either based on how far you are in the story (with a slightly longer queue time) or a quick play of any map that throws together a party of four. Voice chat is built into the game, and the community is helpful in victory and in defeat.

The new enemies that you'll face will certainly make you experience both sides of that coin. Bosses like the rat ogre have new moves, and new bosses have also joined the fray. There are new mid-tier enemies, such as shield Skaven that can block attacks from the front but are just as vulnerable as regular Skaven from the sides and rear. This further emphasizes positioning and coordination with the team, and it's made more important by the fact that enemies can come from more directions. In most cases, the maps are wide open, in both the paths players can take as well as the direction from which enemy forces can invade.

It all comes together in the Warhammer: Vermintide 2 beta for a glorious time. I've stood atop a hill while dozens of Skaven clamored toward the party, and I've run toward a map exit as tons of Chaos warriors were trying to intercept me. I've had more "Holy crap, that was cool!" moments in the beta of Vermintide 2 than I did while playing the original game. Considering how good the first game was, you can imagine what that does for my patience in waiting for the sequel.

Previewed on: Intel i7 4790k, 16 GB RAM, NVidia GTX 970

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