Available a few days on Steam, but already capable of selling over half a million copies: Warhammer: Vermintide II started in the right gear, with the furious impetus of those who have something to prove and maybe even to be forgiven for, two and a half years after the launch of the first chapter. You return to control the five heroes of Ubersreik, captured by the enemy army after the collapse of the big city but determined to regroup to free the world from the threat of the ferocious ratmen and the dark forces that accompany their advance. The tutorial of the game puts us in the shoes of the soldier Markus Kruber, in a series of sequences that will see us free our fellow adventurers while carrying out a "review" of the control system, the same as in the first episode but with the addition of a special ability that can be activated when its gauge is full. Formed again the team, the heroes find refuge in the fortress of Helmgart, where they plan a new offensive that will lead them to face the enemy within thirteen different maps.
In structural and conceptual terms, Warhammer: Vermintide II stands as the classic "more of the same", reviving the formula that worked so well with the debut chapter, clearly inspired by the mechanics of Left 4 Dead, but enriching it under some important aspects. In the first place the introduction of three specializations for each character, which are unlocked upon reaching certain levels of experience and they allow to change in a quite radical way not only the appearance but also the approach of the fighter: the aforementioned Markus Kruber starts as a Mercenary, but can also become a Hunter or a Knight on Foot; the dwarf warrior Bardin Goreksson is by default a Veteran Ranger, but can transform into an Ironbreaker or even a Slayer; the Kerillian elf starts out as a Keeper of the Paths, but can become a Handmaiden or a Shadow.
Victor Saltzpyre is a Witch Hunter Captain, but he can switch to the Bounty Hunter specialization or transform into a Zealot; finally Sienna Fuegonasus, a Warrior Magician, can become a Pyromancer or assume the Out of Control form, unleashing her own fire-related powers. Each profession boasts a different passive ability, special move and unlockable perks, but it is not certain that a more advanced class lends itself better to your style than the default one: it all depends, in fact, on the way you prefer to fight. Do you like heavy weapons or quick and light ones? Do you prefer to strike from a distance or from close range? Do you want an advantage against the bosses or a skill that allows you to hide if necessary? After a few hours of play, you will probably have an idea of what is the best solution for your character.
Another major new feature of Warhammer: Vermintide II is in the design of the scenarios: the thirteen maps available are substantially larger, more multifaceted and interesting than those of the first episode, with some truly suggestive views and an unprecedented sense of verticality, which is deployed on more than one occasion to strongly characterize certain areas of locations. Sometimes we find ourselves climbing mountains, snow-capped or not; to descend from hills in the middle of a splendid but treacherous forest; to follow the paths between the plantations of a completely open and sunny setting. The degree of interaction is also quite limited here, it is true, but the developers have seen fit to introduce a random mechanism in the generation of the hordes to make each game different.
This means that you will not have precise reference points: every time you travel the streets of a specific map, you will not know if and when you will hear the horn of the enemy forces sounding, which summons swarms of Skaven basic, armored, armed with machine guns or flamethrowers; but also warriors of Chaos of various kinds, including some huge units equipped with heavy armor, which will give you a lot of trouble especially during the first games. Added to this will be minibosses along the lines of the Left 4 Dead Tanks, belonging to four different types and also randomly recalled on the map: the Bile Trolls, huge monsters that vomit poisonous bile; the two different Rattogre, decidedly overgrown mice; and finally the Abominations of Chaos, sprawling and gruesome creatures. In short, the bestiary of the title of Fatshark has been enriched with numerous figures, to the advantage of the variety of situations and the degree of challenge, certainly not trivial and adjustable on four levels: Recruit, Veteran, Champion and Legend.
An experience like the one proposed by Warhammer: Vermintide II can be really exciting at first, but then it risks getting tired where no new features are introduced; which is what in many ways happened with the first episode. Fortunately the game will keep us busy for a few tens of hours just to unlock all the maps and classes; not to mention the aforementioned levels of difficulty, which bring with them an enrichment of the loot. In this regard, the questionable solution of the dice in favor of reward boxes that can become more valuable on the basis of some completion bonuses, and which contain new weapons and equipment for our character, has been fortunately set aside.
The system works well, is completely free of microtransactions and releases new items in a fairly generous way, allowing us to modify the equipment of our fighter already after the first success. On the crafting front, all unused objects can be merged, so as to obtain the raw materials necessary to build new weapons or to enhance those in our possession, with sections also dedicated to the properties of each tool and any illusions we want to apply to you. Unfortunately from this point of view the interface is a bit cumbersome and you have to do some experiments to understand how each feature works. Too bad: a simpler and more immediate approach would have represented a further arrow in the arc of Fatshark's title, especially towards those approaching the series for the first time.
In short, Warhammer: Vermintide II takes the strengths of the first episode and emphasizes them, smoothing out some edges of the original offer and enriching the structure both from a quantitative and qualitative point of view. The combat system is solid, especially when facing a single opponent, but it still tends to get a little slippery and inconsistent when a veritable tide of enemies rises in front of us. We very much appreciated some technical aspects, such as the reactions that accompany the amputations or beheadings of the Skaven or other types of hostile units, as well as some details of the protagonists, who, however, in terms of animations obey the traditional rule of online functionality compared to pleasantness.
Seen in motion, the game certainly impresses and manages to gain some personality, even if it expires in the generic on some occasions due to assets that are not exactly original and tucked in a bit randomly in the scenario. The effects are not brilliant: the fire on the ground or on the enemies is ugly, as well as the water and, above all, the rain: old-gen drifts that denote a budget clearly not at the level of the most noble productions, and which are paired with some too frequent glitches (the "mad ragdoll" effect, mainly), which we thought would be fixed after the beta. On the technical front, there are so many adjustments available, which means that the game can run on a wide range of configurations, but is slightly demanding when you set the values to the maximum.
Given the importance of sixty frames per second, in our case we opted for a resolution of 1440p with everything on ultra, aside from shadow quality and anti-aliasing (set to FXAA), achieving non-rocky but rather stable fluidity even in the most complicated situations, which for Vermintide II literally means hundreds of characters simultaneously on screen. The music is excellent, capable of enhancing every situation and starting with an engaging crescendo when the enemies are arriving, just as we found the dialogues in English, subtitled in Spanish, convincing. We played using both the mouse / keyboard combination and the Xbox 360 controller, perfectly supported in-game but not as much as regards the interface of the speakers or the crafting between one mission and another, operations that with the pad become slow and woody.
- Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K
- Scheda video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Jetstream
- Memory: 16 GB of RAM
- Operating system: Windows 10
- Processore: Intel Core i5 2300, AMD FX 4350
- Scheda video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460, AMD Radeon HD 5870
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Hard disk: 45 GB of space required
- Sistema operativo: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 a 64 bit
- Processore: Intel Core i7 3770, AMD FX 8350
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or 1060, ATI Radeon R9 series
- Memory: 8 GB of RAM
- Hard disk: 45 GB of space required
- Operating system: Windows 10 64-bit
Warhammer: Vermintide II does not revolutionize Fatshask's cooperative action experience, but enriches it in several ways, making it more varied and interesting. The introduction of specializations for each character, the many weapons available, the largest enemy bestiary, the new and suggestive maps combine to draw a picture of great solidity. Visually, substantial progress has been made, although there are less brilliant elements, but it is above all in terms of gameplay and structure that the game has something to say. Functional and fast matchmaking guarantees exciting, challenging matches, with an emphasis on collaboration between players which inevitably makes the difference between victory and defeat.
- The formula still works great
- More beautiful, wider, more varied than the first episode
- Specializations add further depth to the experience
- Combat system at times still inconsistent
- Some graphic elements subdued
- Some woodiness of the interface