by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
This weekend, I got a bit of a sneak preview of the upcoming Warhammer: Vermintide 2, due out in 2018. I have about 15 minutes of video which may or may not be uploaded, because I did have some technical difficulties in trying to record it (and some pretty bad framerates there at first). But I do have to say, so far the game is absolutely gorgeous. I only got to pick between two of the characters, Markus Kruber (Knight) and Kerillian (Shade). I tried both characters but personally, the range on Kerillian is much more my speed, with a Polearm+Crossbow combo. Her passive effect is “Murderous Prowess”, giving bonus damage when striking from behind, and her active is “Infiltrate”, which lets her stealth temporarily, setting up that beautiful passive. If you hold right click on her Crossbow it will also fire a rapid-fire set of bolts, instead of one at a time, but I’d use that sparingly.
Markus Kruber however, comes with “Sigmar’s Blessing” as a passive, which periodically restores his health when taking fatal damage. This to me, is the better of the two passives since, in this style of game, I seldom find myself behind the enemy. His active is “Valiant Charge”, which as its name suggests, sends him dashing into his enemies. The control scheme is the same, which is great for me because I played a fair bit of the original Vermintide. I do enjoy these “Left 4 Dead” style games where you survive wave after frustrating wave of enemies, but in this one, the foes are a bit more varied than the first game. But this is just a tiny portion of the game, like I said, about 10-15 minutes, up until one of the first major encounters. The one real qualm I had with Vermintide is not shown/addressed in this, and I’ll have to wait for full access to see how it goes. The only major complaint I had? The grind.
It was insane and slow, frustrating beyond measure. But the game was at least incredibly fun and painted a vivid, accurate depiction of a world being overrun by the Vermin, the Skaven. This one is no different. I’ll spare some of the details, but this demo takes place in Ussingen, where the team of players (Bardin Goreksson, Markus Kruber, Victor Saltzpyre, and Kerillian) is trying to get into the city proper. Running through the forests, passing by burning huts, the city is in dire disrepair, but they’re trying to reach the Baron for assistance. As it turns out, they wind up assisting him far more. I was glad to see non-Skaven though, as there were quite a few Chaos Army running amok trying to get their hands on both us, and any treasure they could find. Jumping down into ditches, avoiding huge gouts of fire, there was a lot visually going on in this preview.
Hype Train Status: No Brakes
One of the things that I wasn’t a big fan of in Vermintide is eventually, the scenery all just kind of ran together. Sure, it was gorgeous, but it was almost all dark, foreboding, shadowy. Which fits the setting, but I wanted something more, and Ussingen is just that. Brightly lit, a very scenic forest, followed with a village (in the daytime) that while in disrepair, was easy to see, easy to navigate. We pummeled group after group of these Chaos Warriors before of course, the Skaven appear. The Under-Empire truly does have no limits. We did battle with a couple of types of Skaven during their waves, and then the final, pivotal battle: A Spawn of Chaos! Yes, even the forces of Chaos are getting in on the act for Vermintide 2. And oh goodness, did they capture the essence of what the Spawn of Chaos looks like. Slimy, vile, packing a humongous frame, tentacles, and an inhuman, otherworldly wail that comes from its maw. However, after we bested it, another group of humans came and hacked us down. For what purpose? Are they in League? Most of the men we fought reminded me of Warriors of Chaos, so there’s probably some kind of dark plot afoot. There’s a lot going on here that I don’t know about, and I need to! The story seems to be a lot deeper, and the visuals are even more stunning than before. There are lots of elements missing yet before the actual Beta goes live for the game, but I have to say, what I’ve got my hands on so far is definitely exciting. I have yet to see the career paths for the characters, what sorts of things they can equip, what other characters/classes might be playable, but if this is any indicator, Fatshark has a hit on their hands. Fans of Fantasy Warhammer will definitely be pleased with this offering.