Vermintide 2 is a significant improvement over its successor, with Fatshark proving that they have learned a lot with their first outing into the world of Warhammer Fantasy, improving the sequel in nearly every single aspect.
We now have a new enemy faction to fight in the form of the Rotblood, human-like beings who can take and deal more damage than the usual Skaven hordes, with more punishing variants to boot. Characters are more fleshed out this time around, with three classes for each one and a separate talent tree for each class. For example, Kerillian the elf can regenerate lost health as her default class, dash at enemies and inflict bleed on them with another, and deal drastically increased backstab damage with her third class.
Then you have the forge, where you can salvage weapons, upgrade them, reroll their effects or even add new effects to them. Trinkets, necklaces and charms increase your power level which in turn allows you to attempt the higher difficulty missions, but sometimes it’s better to use a lower quality one if it has a particularly good effect. Several times I acquired items that provided twice as much power but I decided to stick with the ones that granted increased movement speed and health just because it was more beneficial for my chosen character, the elf.
The addition of new bosses other than the Rat Ogre and Chieftain Krench shakes up the gameplay even more. Bile Trolls, Rat Ogres and Spawns of Chaos can show up at any time to destroy a poorly prepared party, just because the AI director is mean like that. During a late night session with friends, we were incredibly unfortunate to encounter the Spawn of Chaos halfway into our very first mission. He cornered us in a cramped attic-space, throwing us around and at one point he picked me up and slammed me into the ground, downing a teammate who happened to be next to me.
Missions are split into three acts, with 13 missions overall. At the end of each act you fight one of the Lords, a brutally challenging boss who more than often than not will frustrate you with their cheapness. Halescourge in particular caused my team the most trouble, frequently teleporting around the arena. This, alongside throwing poison waves at us that could somehow clip through the wooden posts littered around the place. Finally, he would summon hordes of minions because bosses just cannot fight on their own these days.
What is even more absurd is the scarcity of items on lower levels. For higher levels it’s understandable because the game even warns you that items are rare the higher the level, but surely item drops could be just a bit more prolific on the lowest difficulty. In the aforementioned fight with Halescourge, we had a few healing items just outside his arena but these were used within seconds because of how much damage he was dealing to us, a healing item or two within the arena itself would have made it feel more fair overall.
Your characters level up individually this time around, in place of being tied into your level as a whole. Say you want to try one of the higher difficulties but are tired of using your maxed out main character, unless you have enough materials to craft decent weapons for your underleveled character as well, then you’ll be grinding easier missions to level up. It’s a fair bit of grinding this way but at the same time it forces you to learn the other characters and just be more experienced overall.
Tomes, Grimoires, and loot dice can also be collected throughout the various levels to improve the chests awarded upon completion of a level, at the cost of a slot that could be used for a more useful item. Quickplay adds a bonus too, rewarding you for being brave enough to play with random people who more than often not barely talk and tend to run off ahead.
Vermintide 2 is an overall richer and deeper game than the first one, the inclusion of challenges also known as Heroic Deeds, and free loot boxes entice you to come back for repeat plays to get better loot, beat tougher difficulties and get even better loot. A few tweaks to make bosses just a bit more bearable and slightly higher item drops on lower difficulties and Vermintide 2 will be the perfect sequel.
- More enemy variety
- More boss types
- More weapon types
- Improves on virtually every single aspect of the original
- Stellar level design
- Certain bosses feel cheap
- Matchmaking issues
- Loot only drops upon completion, so if a host leaves then no loot