Vermintide (Halloween Special 2015)
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
Three different levels of investment, a mega-fan, a casual fan, and someone who’s usually pestered by others to play these kinds of games. I’ll let you guess who is which. Dreskar and I are once again joined by Karochi. Pay-to-Play titles with 4 player rooms don’t really get us to offer up much feedback. Well… we’ll see if I add in something by Karis later.
I want to say something right from the beginning, I absolutely love the Warhammer Fantasy universe, even more then I love the 40k Universe. I find that it is a far more hope filled world, with bits of levity and celebration compared to 40k’s Grimdark everything is always awful and everyone is evil to various shades of black. Yet I also absolutely despise the very idea of the End Times, not because it is an apocalypse but because it represents Games Workshop saying screw you to those of us that loved Fantasy and are infinitely more depressed that Age of Shitmar has replaced it. I tell you all this so that when I say, I absolutely love Vermintide you can understand where I am coming from.
There are some issues still, even with the improved loot system I find it frustrating when you get gear for a class you have no intention of playing. The frame rate has incredibly noticeable hiccups on key missions, in particular wizard’s tower where the game quickly decides which special room you are going to witness for your class. The Skaven are missing some of their more terrifying armaments like Clan Skryre’s Warplock Jezzails, or the horrible Warp Lightning Cannon, and an actual bossfight against the Grey Seer, dodging bolts of warp lightning bringing his magical wards down to get damage on him before he can recast shielding would have been far more satisfying. It also would have been interesting to see a sidequest where a grey seer manages to ring a charged Screaming Bell and you have to fight through madness to stop the bell ringing and to pull out the other side with your sanity intact.
Even still I am incredibly excited about what new characters will be added, and when we can take the fight to the Chaos warbands in Kislev or snuff out the rising tide of the Vampire Counts. Yet I am already excited to be playing as my personal favorite class and characters in the Warhammer Fantasy setting, the Witch Hunter~
Now just to dream of the day a sprawling Witcher style RPG gets made where you play as a Witch Hunter in the Warhammer Fantasy Universe.
Recommended?: YES, completely and utterly yes.
This game’s great as a three-or-four player co-op game. If you have a full team of people who know what they’re doing you can get some awesomely intense high difficulty games going. However, if you’re not quite a full team you’re gonna have a bad time. Either you get stuck with some idiot who doesn’t know their ass from their elbow, a scrub who keeps taking all the health items or a brain dead bot. All completely worthless wastes of space who won’t help you at all and only serve to make the experience worse.
Now, say you get an awesome team together, you have a blast going through the earlier levels, but as you keep going you notice something. You’re still using the same weapon you started with, what’s that about? Oh yeah, the amazing loot system. When you level; the game gives you a weapon, not a weapon you’d necessarily need or want, just a weapon. When you finish a stage, you roll dice and get a weapon, not a weapon you’d necessarily need or want, just a weapon. So here I sit, with a neat collection of blue witch hunter gear but not having ever gotten a single damn axe&shield.
Recommended?: YES, if you have a group of friends to play with and you don’t mind the possibility of never getting any of the god damn gear you want.
I’ll confess something right now. I don’t really like Left 4 Dead. It’s something I played because I had friends that played, and that was it. I didn’t find it all that enjoyable. I could never tell if I was about to be attacked by a hunter until I was pinned down, or if I was about to get latched onto by a smoker until it was dragging me up the side of a building. I could never “crown” a witch. I could never spot a special to literally save my life.
I didn’t like the guns, the aiming, the relentless undead who still seemed to know how to both sprint AND serpentine. It was just never something I could really get into. In essence, the same went double for Payday 2 and in a way, even Warframe, if you count it toward games like this. Be damned if I could tell one kind of Heavy armored police officer from another, and as I said before, the aesthetic of Warframe registers in my mind like a bunch of abstract shapes trying to fuck each other against a backdrop of car crash footage.
Yet with all these problems of similar games in tow, I have NO problem understanding Vermintide, and that’s really what I appreciate most. I’m certain the appeal is there to Warhammer uber-nerds, as Dreskar’s scrip-tegy guide that became this video likely illustrates, but knowing absolutely fuck-all about the universe hasn’t hindered me from being able to recognize threats in a near instant, and react accordingly.
The learning curve is real though, as I almost gave up on my main, the Bright Wizard, and not just for the fact dice hate me and would grant me nothing but garbage for that class. There was a few matches that I found the Elf far more appealing, even if my strategy with her was “Left-Click with dual swords until everything dies.” Unfortunately I was still too willing to sacrifice my new found respect for the Waywatcher’s lawnmower ways and let Nate play as her, so I stuck it out with the Bright Wizard once again.
Once I understood the mechanic of the Bright Wizard, and what ways to best apply her skills, I became a very worthwhile part of the team, and one of the few in the group able to hold their own the longest.
Overall, this is easily my favorite game of this type. One of the few people won’t have to beg me to play alongside them as I begrudgingly accept their invitation.
Hell, this game might even have gotten me a bit more interested in the Warhammer Universe! Maybe…? No. Not really. But almost!