When Fatshark, the team behind Vermintide, said more details on its sequel would be released on October 17th, (overnight for me, irritatingly enough) I doubt that many would have expected that to include the game itself going up for pre-order. But, there it is; Vermintide II is currently up on Steam with a 10% discount at the time of writing, and with a proper reveal trailer we can start to break it down and ruminate on what to expect from the game itself.
Some of the speculation from our previous article on the subject seems to have born fruit; most notably, the forces of Chaos – specifically Nurgle, as predicted from the first trailer’s gurgling – are stepping up proper as antagonists for the game. Though the retention of the ‘Vermintide’ name suggests the Skaven certainly will not be merely sitting on the side-lines, (they’re actually visible in the art shown at 0:54, while a weapon team is seen in the unedited gameplay at 1:11 and the stream conducted by Fatshark mentions the deadly Stormfiend Rat Ogres) it’s the Warriors of Chaos who are front and centre in the trailer.
The essential qualities of this race as highly armoured and highly skilled warriors are a stark change from the majority of the Skaven from the previous title, and indeed from the majority of the zombie hordes in the Left4Dead series the Vermintide franchise takes so much inspiration from. While monsters such as the Chaos Spawn visible at 0:41 in the trailer are likely to take on the role held by Rat Ogres in the first Vermintide, this could well be hinting at a subtle but important shift in gameplay – moving away from cutting down hordes of enemies, and closer towards a co-op action RPG taking on legitimately dangerous threats regularly.
[I guess you could say it’s the Dark Souls of Vermintide. :^)]
Further changes in Vermintide II support this supposition further. Most notably, the inclusion of 15 Hero ‘careers’ (including the Slayer class I called before, just saying) with their own passive and active abilities, as well as a more-customisable ‘hub’ and a system containing talent trees and heroic deeds – specialist quests including solo runs, boss gauntlets etcetera that act as a form of consumable upgrade, a possibly interesting feature so long as there’s enough variety in said quests – all push the ‘RPG’ idea further than simple loot acquisition did in the first game. If done right, this’ll hopefully provide Vermintide II with plenty of re-playability, with goals behind simply getting better and better gear for the sake of getting yet better gear – a criticism that many, admittedly fairly, levelled against the first game.
Even with these added RPG elements, rest assured that familiar faces from the first game are returning. Each of the five playable characters from the first Vermintide will have three career paths to chose from in Vermintide II, as well as the talent trees mentioned above; it’s a nice compromise, continuing the stories of characters the fan-base had grown fond of while offering variation and a host of options for customising favourites to fit player’s styles.
The weapon system has also been reworked, according to the Devs; not only has the way to ‘build’ weapons been altered to promote a variety of different combinations, likely tied to the Talent Tree, there are also promises of more equipment being offered and career-specific gear being easier to acquire (while still taking a fair while to get everything). It’s a small but pleasant change, and one that’ll hopefully cut down on player frustration with the loot system.
One slight point of contention however is Fatshark’s suggestion that unique armour will be available only in the collector’s edition for the game (mentioned in their stream at 59:26) It’s hardly uncommon for games these days to use such tactics, but still disappointing to see and deserves to be called out.
Vermintide II will release in Q1 2018. More details about careers and enemies will be coming in the next few weeks (as well as closed and open Betas), and for the full information about the minutia of gameplay (far too many for me to include all of them here), check out the stream Fatshark conducted alongside the game’s official reveal here.
<p>At age seven, Jordan wanted to be a paleontologist. That went well. He now fills the void by writing on all manner of mildly-interesting topics – when he finds time in between complaining how everything was better in the ‘good old days’, that is.</p>