Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide on PC – The DVDfever Review

vermintide

Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide is out now on PC via Steam and comes from Fatshark, a small Indie Developer who have been around for a few years. Their previous work includes titles such as Hamilton’s Great Adventure, Lead and Gold, Escape Dead Island, War of the Roses (also Vikings) and Krater.

“Vermintide”, as I’ll abbreviate it to from now on, has been in early access on Steam for a little while now but I had been holding off until an official release. Set in the classic fantasy Warhammer universe of sword and sorcery. I haven’t played any proper Warhammer since the ’90s when me and a group of friends sat around a table with character sheets and a game master was there with his books and scenarios. From what I understand of The End Times there is a cataclysmic set of events which started with a twin tailed comet, this is an indication of the start where the human old world will be destroyed by the armies of Chaos.

Vermintide is set in these turbulent times, the Skaven (rat people) have risen from the depths and it is up to you and 3 other adventurers to take up arms and stop them in their tracks.

The gameplay itself is very similar to the Left 4 Dead and Painkiller series of games in execution. Each level is a large confined area and you are given a set of objectives you must complete before moving onto the next level. As an example on the first level you will start at the docks working your way through the town streets, into what can be best described as an arena, here you have to place 3 explosive barrels at a large door to blow it open and continue on through the level to sound the alarm that the Skaven are attacking. Each of the 13 levels are different locations ranging from the more open city streets to the claustrophobic sewers, each with different objectives shuttling forever forward.

During your run through the levels the Skaven (many different variants) literally swarm at you in the same way your common rats would. With the variants you have your standard run at you and hit, heavier ones that have rattling guns (no its not a typo!!), ones that give off poisonous clouds, heavily armoured and a few rather large ones that like to just pound you into the ground (imagine a Rancor from Star Wars : Return of the Jedi that looks like a rat). Here is where you have to stick with your team mates, stray to far and you will find yourself overwhelmed quickly with sheer numbers bearing down on you. Thankfully if you do fall a team mate can revive you provided they can get to you in a reasonable amount of time.


Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide – PC – Walkthrough – Part 1: Horn of Magnus – PartiallyRoyal


There are 5 different characters to choose from, each class has its own unique weapons, feel and play style. There is the Witch Hunter who uses a sabre and his secondary weapon is pistols, you have a Bright Wizard who harnesses fire, primary weapon is maces and flaming swords as well as her ranged attacks, Dwarf Ranger who is small and stout and uses axe and shield, this is backed up with a crossbow, Waywatcher who is an elven assassin/ranger type using twin blades and bow for ranged and finally the Empire Soldier who uses heavier swords and shotgun type weapons as secondary. Each character levels up individually unlocking better weapons that can be equipped, so the Bright Wizard starts out with a standard type mace but eventually gets the flaming sword I mentioned and so on. These characters are all very different with strengths and weaknesses so a successful team has to work together to overcome the Skaven.

Visually the game scales well across different systems, I managed to run this in 1920×1080 with the Extreme preset and I was getting a steady locked 30 frames-per-second throughout the various levels (I believe it could well be locked at this). This is running on an AMD Phenom 2 965 Black Edition (running at stock 3.4), 8Gb System Ram and a Sapphire Radeon R9 380 Nitro with 4Gb Vram. The city itself is very much what you would expect from a fantasy game, cobbled streets, rising stone walls, torch lit alleys, wooden houses and so on (kind of reminds me of the first 2 Thief games from the late ’90s). The playable characters and Skaven all look excellent with great animation, the effects and lighting on the various spells and environments are fitting to the world. I did find that when in the tavern at the start there is a bad stutter, feels like you are moving one square at a time like the Atari ST classic Dungeon Master, however, once in game with other players or computer controlled characters this doesn’t happen.

Sound is great, the characters interact with one another with cries for help and making witty remarks. VOIP is available if you have a microphone when playing with human players making things a little easier to coordinate. Other than that you have the usual clatters and bangs from swords, rattling guns (just had to mention that again!) and numerous squeaks and grunts from enemies.


Conclusion

It makes a change getting a co-op game that doesn’t revolve around Zombies, I can honestly say, for me anyhow, that Zombies are starting to feel stale (no pun intended). I tuned out of The Walking Dead halfway through Season 4 and ‘Zombies mode’ on Call of Duty has yet to be given any serious time, same can be said for Left 4 Dead and Sniper Elite Zombie Army. More co-op is always good though instead of the usual competitive multiplayer that every game now seems to have.

Sound and visuals all do what they are meant to and play can be addictive once you get used to it. I would recommend starting out on Easy to get to grips with the mechanics and learn the locations as there are a lot of hidden corners with supplies and ammo etc. You can use either mouse & keyboard or an Xbox controller to play this game, both control schemes working nicely.

So what is there to gripe about, I have found that if you are a new player that ends up in a team with skilled players they can rush you through a level so stick with them or you could end up kicked by the host or have a bit of not so constructive criticism put your way. You can if you so wish set the game to private on the level select screen and you will be given 3 of the characters available controlled by the computer. These characters follow you around and will watch your back helping you if you get pinned and so on, they work as they should, personally I would recommend Private/Solo play when first starting out so you can explore a bit and learn the levels.

Unfortunately even if you want to play a Private/Solo game you have to be connected to the internet, as a test I set Steam to Offline Mode and the game would not launch at all saying I needed to be online. I have also had crashes when something has gone wrong with my connection to the servers, unfortunately you will lose any progress/experience you make and it kicks you back to the startup screen. This is a new release so can be put down to teething problems.

Overall, if you like co op games like Left 4 Dead & Sniper Elite Zombie Army and arena-type games like Painkiller then this game should be right up your alley.

Thanks to those Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage.

Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide is out now on Steam, where the regular version is £22.99 as I type, with the Collectors Edition being slightly more at £33.99, but it also comes with the following goodies:

  • Ubersreik Map – A high resolution digital copy of the Ubersreik Map, detailing the town and its treacherous streets.
  • Vermintide Wallpapers – High resolution wallpapers to decorate your screen and prepare you for the battles to come.
  • Behind the Scenes Pack – This pack contains documents, concepts and footage stretching back to the beginning of Vermintide’s development.


Important info:

  • Publisher: Bandai Namco
  • Players: single player; 4-player co-op via Steam – Online connection required at all times

GRAPHICS
SOUND
GAMEPLAY
ENJOYMENT
8
8
7.5
7.5
OVERALL 8


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