Fatshark is no stranger to creating fun and entertaining games. They’ve developed War of the Roses, Lead and Gold, and even Krater. They’ve shown how they can blend a variety of mechanics into an enjoyable game, and Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide is no exception. I had the opportunity to jump into an early access beta of the game that gave access to three of the games 13 levels.
In a nutshell, Vermintide took everything enjoyable about Valve’s Left 4 Dead and added their own fun and innovative twist. For anyone who got tired of the repetitive feel of Left 4 Dead and its sequel, you’ll be pleased to know that Vermintide has multiple progression mechanics to keep the game constantly evolving. Your account will level up as you gain experience, unlocking a plethora of new things for all five of the playable characters. You have equipable gear that you can acquire as well including weapons, trinkets, and even hats! The gear can be upgraded, broken down, and turned into other loot. This mechanic alone makes Vermintide feel refreshing and rewarding, compared to similar games in the same genre. Gear is obtained by playing (and winning) a level. When you win, you roll some dice and your dice-roll decides what quality of item you will be rewarded with.
Now, as its name suggest, this game is centered on Warhammer lore; more specifically, ‘Warhammer Fantasy’ as opposed to ‘Warhammer 40K’. Both IP’s have their seperate fanbases, but either way I’m thrilled to have a good and enjoyable Warhammer game of any kind. The environmental immersion is definitely on par with what you’d expect from a Warhammer game. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, think Old London with sorcery and monsters. In Vermintide, those monsters happen to be none other than vermin, AKA rats. Large humanoid rats.
In its current beta environment, there are three levels to play. On release, there’s going to be 13, which is a sizable number of different levels with different objectives. The first map in the beta involves fighting through the town and triggering a horn to call for reinforcements. In the second, you’re running across a bridge to infiltrate and destroy a corrupted bell. Finally, with the third, you’re in a forest trying to destroy the vermin’s siege equipment. Throughout all three missions, the four in-game characters will banter back and forth, which feels a lot like what would happen in an actual Warhammer novel. Listening to their banter is just one of the few story-telling elements in the game. Other lore pieces come from the innkeeper who speaks to you before a mission, letting you know what the mission is.
The only fault I can attribute to Vermintide is that, as expected for a beta, the game settings still require some additional optimization. That being said, even in its current state it’s far better than other beta releases I’ve seen recently. I’m sure all the kinks and bugs will get worked out in plenty of time before the release.
I can say one thing for certain: Vermintide is a game that I plan to spend a lot of time with when its October 23, 2015 arrives. I’ve definitely marked my calendar.