Vermintide 2

As much as I hate to say it, I feel a bit burned by this purchase. I bought this one to play with my husband and some of our mutual friends, and after playing through each map once (and many of those that were available in the beta numerous times), I feel like the content on offer here is a bit bland and not nearly enough of it is here to sustain repeated play.

The game claims to have an AI director similar to Left 4 Dead, which is supposed to make each run a little different, but for me the core experience of playing the game doesn’t substantially alter depending on the particular composition of each wave of enemies, and the same up and down rhythms are hit in the same places each time. It all starts to blur together after a while.

This wouldn’t even necessarily be a bad thing. Ever since L4D2 burned faithful players of the original by existing, I’ve been looking for something to scratch the itch that L4D did, and Vermintide 2 comes pretty close. But it’s held back on several fronts.

Apart from the repetitive, samey-feeling combat, the addition of Nurgle-flavored Chaos to the equation doesn’t really add much, since they’re just regular dudes, or dudes in armor. They’re much less visually interesting than the Skaven, or basically any other Warhammer faction they could have chosen to fill out the ranks. If they had to go with Chaos, even Slaanesh or Khorne would have been better choices, in my opinion, though I can understand them not wanting to get an MA rating by going with Slaanesh, haha. If they were going for a decayed, corrupted Nurglish look, though, they failed. These enemies just come off as being kind of like they’re trying not to be zombies.

The game has several critical bugs, and the pathing on AI characters is really poor, leading to some very frustrating wipes that really should not have happened, such as them refusing to follow through the skittergate, leaving me and my husband to fight the boss as a duo. If it was just once or twice, I could overlook it, but the technical problems were a consistent issue. Crashes were also common enough to warrant comment.

I don’t mind a sense of progression, and the options for talent choices are well done. However, the huge emphasis placed on leveling up each character in order to have a good time is not a welcome one. Characters feel like half-implemented versions of themselves until all subclasses are unlocked, and there are many weapon choices that end up feeling samey. This isn’t always true, and most are a joy to use regardless, but a lot of the more subtle differences get lost in the chaos and carnage. Most games do a far better job of disguising the fact that you’re essentially just sitting there left clicking. But with this one, I’m routinely taken out of the experience by how little impact or feedback there is to anything I’m doing. Many of the builds and weapons feel really underpowered, on top of that.

After playing in the open beta, I was hype to see what else Vermintide 2 had to offer. But having seen it, I wish I could go back and get a refund. It makes me sad, saying that. This one had a ton of potential. I wish it had lived up to it. Maybe it’ll be better a few years from now, when the team has had time to put out more maps and get rid of the bugs and fine-tune the progression and game feel. From what I’ve heard, this was a rushed title, and it shows. I feel bad for the devs.

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