We’ve been looking at this game for a while, and we love the aesthetic design as well as Warhammer in general. The gameplay looks really good. We’re not particularly fond of the Left 4 Dead games, primarily because we don’t like the whole “special enemy” design where certain enemies pop out of nowhere and hold you down until you die or a teammate saves you. We like the concept of tough-but-rare enemies (the gatling gunner in WH looks really interesting), and we feel it could work very well, but we think that kind of thing would be better if there was a way to escape by yourself (but still take a ton of damage). It kills the flow of the game for us personally.
That issue aside, is the game worth it? Is it too much like L4D, or is it different enough to feel like it’s own game?
It’s really both. It is definitely modeled off of L4D, with similar mechanics and enemy styles. The Gutter Runner is effectively a Hunter, the Rat Ogre serves as a Tank. And the Stormvermin Patrols somewhat serve a similar role to the Witch. While forcing players to move carefully to avoid a difficult encounter (unless they have the proper equipment). However, just like L4D, there is a reliance on teamwork and cooperation in order to survive and not simply get pinned down by special enemies. If you didn’t like Left 4 Dead, Vermintide probably isn’t different enough to attract you.
The melee focus and extremely limited ranged weapons meant it was… about as much fun as first-person melee usually is. In addition, when we started, and for the first two hours, all our attacks felt extremely weak, almost to the point of not feeling like we were having any effect at all.
It was also extremely, frustratingly hard, and not – for us at least – in a fun way. We’re fans of hard games: I’ve completed Demons’ Souls, Dark Souls, and I’ve considered buying a PS4 just for Bloodborne. But Vermintide felt unfair. Hard to put my finger on why, but the sense that you’re fighting a hedge, and someone seriously blunted your shears, is a good start.
Imagine playing Diablo 3 on a high level of Torment before level 70, so the enemies have what feel like a million hit points each. Now imagine it’s first-person so mostly what you’re staring at are a million close-to-identical humanoid rats clipping through each other. And instead of a bunch of fun abilities you have “swing sword” and “fire gun. A few times.”
It’s also extremely close to L4D in terms of monster types, to the point where it felt unoriginal to me. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing what new ideas the devs would come up with. Because I had a very good idea what ideas I’d be seeing, and I’d seen them all a lot in the past, and then I had a shotgun rather than the aforementioned blunted shears.
The visual design is great, and the levels in particular are very evocative of the Warhammer universe. The enemies are as original as a group entirely consisting of bipedal rats can be.
A lot – a lot – of people really like Vermintide, so we must have missed something. I theorised it got a lot more fun after you’d been grinding for a while. But my experience really wasn’t that positive.
It’s very similar to L4D(2) but I’d say it has a slower pace; since there is no vs-mode against other players you don’t feel like racing the clock as much. This can be a positive or a negative, depending on how much you liked the speed / pacing of the L4D games. Maybe its a bit like if Killing Floor had linear levels instead of mere horde mode maps, as well.
It features five different characters that play differently enough thanks to their diverse weapons options; ranged combat feels easily as good as L4D’s. Only because you got mostly medieval / fantasy / steam punk fire arms its less spray’n’pray.
Melee combat is far superior to L4D’s with its light ‘n heavy swings and stamina based blocks. Cracking skulls open with a warhammer feels just great.
It might lack a bit of polish in some corners and might not be very original game design wise. So this was not just made to make a quick buck. I think you can tell that a lot of dedication and love for the source material went into this. A lot of (crappy) warhammer games are flooding the market right now to cash in on the IP, but I’d say this game isn’t one of them.
I’d say the biggest flaw the game has right now is lack of level diversity. Here it can’t compete with L4D2. What Vermintide got looks good and plays perfectly fine, but it just doesn’t get close to L4D2’s large number of distinct levels and locations. Expect to play through the same handful of similar looking streets, woods and caves a lot.
If you enjoyed playing against bots in L4D or wished it was less hectic then you’re going to enjoy this very much.
If you’re just a Warhammer fan looking for a good Warhammer this will be perfect for you.