Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide (Console) Review

Console ports of PC games have always had a rocky reception, and Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide is no exception. No one knows how or why, but whenever a PC game is ported to a console, it doesn’t fare well. Much like the recent Mount & Blade: Warband port.

Not too long ago, Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide graced us PC users with its presence. An FPS co-op shooter set in the fantasy world of Warhammer. This specific story tells us of the rise of the Skavens and takes place in and around Ubersreik, a human bastion. You will take to the streets and the underground to defeat a dark enemy, the Skavens, rat-like men who thrive in massive hordes to take down their enemies. These Skavens use Ubersreik as their playground, climbing over roofs to pounce on you from above.

Vermintide relates heavily to another FPS co-op game, Valve’s Left 4 Dead, except it swaps a zombie apocalypse for rats. The Warhammer universe is a perfect setting for such a game. Dark Gothic-like streets and architecture, dark and narrow winding streets, crumbling monuments, and a terrifying and beautiful night sky all bring the setting to life. Warhammer has always been about its hero-like classes, and Vermintide is no exception. You take the role of 1 of 5 heroes, all of whom have different and unique play styles. Bright Wizards bring fire, lots of fire (shoot huge fireballs at your enemies but take care not to overdo it, or you will explode). The Elf-like Assassin is nimble and agile with a bow. The Witch Hunter uses witty remarks and two pistols to back those remarks up. The jolly Dwarf has his precious axe and shield. And, of course, the Human Warrior with his claymore and blunderbuss. As you explore Ubersreik, they all interact with each other much like the characters in L4D, but none seem to quite have a connection, perhaps multi-race groups in Warhammer don’t get along?

Skavens on their own don’t really pose a real threat though, a simple swipe of your sword can dispose of your enemy. It’s not until later when your screen is covered in rats that you realise they are menacing. Much like the hordes of zombies from L4D, they are triggered by a horn to let you know when these pests are coming, and when they do it can look visually amazing, they come from all directions above and below. All this in mind a well coordinated group can dispatch these enemies easily, and the only change in the difficulty is more rats, less health, and scarcer resources and ammunition.

Vermintide, much like L4D, employs special enemy classes to add additional challenges to the gameplay. Much like L4D, there is the Assassin Skaven class which tries to ambush a party member who decides to stray too far away from the group. Then there is the Gas Rat. These are much like the Spitters in L4D, they throw bombs that explode into a green, toxic gas cloud. The Rattling-Gunner chooses a party member and uses a massive Gatling gun to pin that member down until someone in your party dispatches of them. Then there’s the massive Tank Rat. We all know who this guy is and the usual change in music and T-Rex like ground shake that comes with it.

Where Vermintide changes from L4D for the better is the included loot and crafting system. At the end of a mission you are rewarded with dice (a pun to the tabletop Warhammer). These dice offer you a chance at loot. As usual, loot comes in various rarities: there’s the green, blue, and purple kind. The amount of dice vary on the difficulty of the mission played and whether or not you choose to carry Grimories. These Grimories can be found throughout each mission, but beware because carrying Grimories also lowers the health pool of the entire party. You can carry tomes in your health pack slot which also add more dice to your pile at the end. All this adds to the tension at the end of a tough mission to survive even more.

My time with the console version though hasn’t been great, to say the least. Matchmaking on the console is the worst matchmaking system I have ever had the displeasure of using. The basic ‘Quickplay’ isn’t quick at all, leaving me to host a game and play with the AI. I went through multiple missions and still had not a single soul join my cause. On a game that relies heavily on 4 player co-op, it ruined the whole feel for the game, and for newcomers to Warhammer: The End Times – Vermintide it would leave a stinging feeling in your wallet if you bought it. Then there is the AI which offers nothing more than just hack and slash. They are so dumb that multiple playthroughs saw me having to restart whole missions again because one hero fell into a fire pit and couldn’t find his way back out, leaving him to roast whilst the other AI heroes kept reviving him just to die again. Frustrating to say the least.

A port of what effectively was a good game on PC has left me hating it on consoles. How peculiar. It’s a shame to see it reduced to what it is on consoles, but for future developers who think it’s a good idea to port a game, don’t.

Developer: Fatshark

Publisher: Fatshark

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: 23rd October 2015 (PC), 4th October 2016 (Console)

Score: 40%