Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is a wonderful example of a sequel that is every bit an improvement on the original. Vermintide was a solid game which took the Left 4 Dead formula and brought it into the Warhammer Fantasy world with an RPG class and level system. While Left 4 Dead had no differences between the characters, Vermintide felt more like a game where builds and group composition matters. Unfortunately, the original game seemed largely unpolished and maybe even a little unfinished. But, Vermintide 2 is what I’ve always wanted in the first game and more.
The most significant change is each character has three subclasses that change gameplay which allows players to really experiment with different tactics and play styles. I’ve spent most of my time in the game with the Witch Hunter. The first subclass is largely the Witch Hunter in the first game. However, his other two subclasses brings enough variation to be refreshing in a game that heavily relies on repetition and grinding. The Bounty Hunter subclass puts more emphasis on ranged attacks and finesse. On the other hand, the Zealot is focused on dealing melee damage and skating on a knife’s edge in the thick of the battle. Other subclasses also provide these melee and ranged options, and while it isn’t particularly deep, Vermintide 2 feels more varied than supposed larger, mainstream games like Destiny 2.
I actually think comparison with Destiny 2 is apt since the best part of that game are the strike missions being self-contained instances that you play with other people. The maps in Vermintide have the same feel especially since you grind through them several times for better and better gear, and then do the same levels on harder difficulties. However, I do think that the levels in Vermintide 2 are a step above the similar experience of Destiny 2. The amount of polish is remarkable here and the fidelity of the environments is top-notch. Vast amounts of Destiny 2 strikes feel more like window dressing with no discernible purpose other than to look pretty. In Vermintide 2, the maps have a real feeling of place and meaning. There are even a few places where buildings crumble and the ground shifts around. Some of the set pieces are simply wondrous. The fact that a smaller developer can produce such a high quality looking product and sell it at $29.99 is worth noting.
Besides the graphics, the levels have a great pace to them. The lulls in the action are punctuated by moments of never ending hordes of Skaven and Chaos Warriors. The special units (like L4D) strike a real sense of fear whenever they show up - sometimes in sadistic multitudes. The game is hard and gets harder, but it never feels impossible. Fatshark has done a tremendous job of fine-tuning the game where everything feels like a challenge. Sometimes a playthrough will be strangely easy, but the feeling that you are few mistakes away from disaster is always in the back of your mind.
Warhammer: Vermintide is a triple-A quality game at a budget price. Its worth twice as much as some sixty dollar titles. The classes are all great with enough variation to keep you busy for hours. The levels are smartly designed and look fabulous. If you love Left 4 Dead or the original Vermintide, this sequel is everything you want and more. Soon there will even be official mod tools and new levels. This will most likely be in the running for my top games of 2018 in December.