Warhammer: The End Times Vermintide originally launched for PCs on October 23, 2015. Now, a year later, it’s getting ported to the PS4 with the game’s DLC packed in from day one. With that tid bit out of the way let’s get to the review at hand.
Essentially this is a Left 4 Dead style game, but instead of fighting hordes of zombies there’s an evil race of creepy anthropomorphic rats known as the Skaven. It takes place in the Warhammer universe, which to me, was a surprise since I thought everything within this world was set in the future with Space Marines and Orcs, but that’s just because I’ve only played Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine back in 2011. That has nothing to do with this review really, but I thought it was an interesting point to clarify. I am only one man trying to cover a sea of video games after all.
Anyway the game takes place in the city of Ubersreik where five travelers have come together to stop the Skaven horde: Bardin, Kerillian, Victor, Sienna, and Markus. They each have a melee and ranged weapon, which consumes ammo, except for Sienna who wields a fire staff. There are axes, swords, hammers, guns, and bows that all operate differently with some being fast, but weak and others strong, but slow. For example, Markus’ default hammer smashes a good area of enemies, but takes awhile to swing.
Melee weapons can be charged for strong attacks, items found throughout levels can be selected via the D-Pad such as a healing potion, and certain heroes have skills as well. Most characters can defend, but Bardin’s shield will hold out longer, Sienna can summon a circle of flame, but needs time to recharge, Victor can whip out another gun, Kerillian can zoom in with her bow, and Markus can use melee with his gun. However, the only hero that feels like they have a true perk is Sienna with her flame ring. Ultimately they kind of all play the same albeit with minute alterations and comes down to aesthetic differences when choosing who to play, which is fine, but disappointing as it doesn’t give the characters enough variety.
In the campaign you can group up with three other players be it random, or a customization match through a handful of levels. These missions include protecting a Wizard’s library to helping out a caravan from monsters. All in all it involves four people whaling on hordes of disgusting rats who give zombies a run for their money, as they’re faster and more intelligent. They go down pretty easily, but when you’re surrounded it can be tricky. I often found myself, even with others, outmatched by the waves of Skaven as Vermintide emphasizes melee weapons rather than ranged. There’s definitely a balancing issue at times.
Be that as it may I never found myself frustrated. To me the fun isn’t completing the game in a single, linear fashion, but like any good multiplayer match in say Battlefield, my enjoyment came from hoping online with some strangers and destroying as much vermin as possible for quick sessions. That said the process did become old fast even with the RPG elements. Whether a mission ends in success, or failure, you still get experience. Once leveled, it’ll grant bonuses to the bar hub, such as unlocking a forge for weapon customization, or creating new slots for accessories. Levels are spread throughout all characters and the only thing that is locked to a certain hero is loot, which is acquired through random dice games rewarded from success. It gave Vermintide a good progression loop, but not enough to elongate my playtime.
Warhammer: The End Times Vermintide is a satisfying Left 4 Dead experience bringing with it some great ideas to the table. The gameplay is solid, connections are fast, and the banter between charcters is cheesy yet charming. It lacks polish and a craving to stay with it for a prolonged amount of time, but sometimes fun doesn’t have to last forever in order to merit a good game. And that’s all there really is to it.
Review Score: 3/5 Stars