Review: Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Ultimate Edition – By Sigmar’s beard!

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Warhammer Vermintide 2 is the latest entry in the coop survival title from developer Fatshark Games and a sequel to Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide, which released on PC on March 11, 2018. Having released on PS4 on December 18, 2018, here’s our review for Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – Ultimate Edition, which features all previously released DLC and plenty more to enjoy.


Pros:
+Absolutely breathtaking graphics
+Buttery smooth framerates from beginning to end
+Seemingly boundless customization and loadout options
+DLC provides countless hours of Warhammer fun including throwback DLC

Cons:
-A.I. controller friendly bots render solo-missions unplayable


Last year I was given the chance to get my hands on the long-awaited sequel to Warhammer: End Times – Vermtinide, a title which released on March 11th, 2018, and since, I’ve spent an adequate amount of time with the game. Somewhere between thirty and forty hours bouncing between PC and the PlayStation 4 versions of the game. Over that time, I’ve spent a fair share of my time also drawing comparisons between the two versions of the game.

I’d take notes on features I’d love to have seen on the PlayStation 4 version of the game while also taking note on the interactive features the Xbox One version got thanks to Mixer support. Now, here I am, my long-awaited chance to get my hands on the “Definitive Edition” of Warhammer: Vermintide 2. In the past year, a lot has also happened with the game. It has been improved upon, bugs have been fixed, and two rather amazingly crafted DLC’s had managed to get launched out the doors, expanding on the adventures we’d already taken once before.

I’ve had plenty of time to get screwed by Twitch and Mixer chats on both PC and Xbox One as they chose what interactions I would get to experience over the course of my time with the game – sadly, Twitch integration didn’t seem as proactive on PlayStation 4 as its counterparts.

But alas, here we are, a definitive – or rather Ultimate – review for Warhammer: Vermintide 2; surprisingly enough, the definitive review isn’t actually for the PC version of the game, but rather, the long-awaited PlayStation 4 version thanks to Fatshark and their PR teams being kind enough to have sent a copy over.

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The A.I. director and bots are still a group of sadistic turd burglars

As I said in my PC review for the “base” version of the game almost a year ago, I can’t help but point out that the ‘director’ is still a sadistic turd burglar that I wish would die in a fiery crash in the Alps. I’ve still had quite a few missions where this A.I. director would suddenly throw out its fair share of Stormvermin, Gas Rats, Assassin’s, and even a Pack Rat that would snatch one of us up and send us to an early grave.

Unfortunately, I’ve also had my fair share of problems when working with the bots if a player-controlled companion decided to bounce from the lobby. While seamless multiplayer seems heavily improved upon, I still can’t help but point out one major flaw: The A.I. for the bots on the good guys’ team still are as horrendous as they were almost a year ago.

I’ve still had a fair share of moments where I’d be pinned to the ground, an Assassin Rat stabbing furiously at my character, only to have Bardin the Dwarf or Sienna the Fire Mage go blowing buy without even taking a moment to help me out. Their dedication is solely to the parties leader, making them almost as useless as they were yesteryear. But that’s fine, thankfully the player base is a healthy one, filling up empty slots in a moments notice and leaving that horrific bot to be put to rest for the time being.

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But sadly, the bots do make solo play unbearably painful to suffer through

When you’re winding it all down and looking at the Ultimate Version of the game, a part of you has to begin to wonder about whether or not the solo experience is something worth undertaking. Because of this train of thought, I decided to once more see if I could rely on the A.I.’s for Sienna, Kerillian, and that dashing knight-in-the-making Kruber.

Just like before, I had my chance to rely on Sienna while she began to overheat once again due to all the firebombs she tossed about. Let me tell you, her intensity matched that of a Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare on the Shipment map when grenades are going off and players are getting K/D/A’s of 10:1. Unfortunately, this also meant Kruber has died, Bardin got tossed off a ledge and now I’m bleeding out as she runs about like a chicken with its head cut off.

Before I know it, I get to watch a Chaos Warrior rush Sienna’s way, throwing her to the ground in one swift blow before ripping her to shreds. Well, if only that were the case. All of this within the first five minutes of our quest getting underway. Unfortunately, this is how it plays out till you begin to get your character geared and their skills unlocked. Without human-controlled party members, it’s hard to see any form of progression actually happen and really emphasizes the games online-focused gameplay elements.

But don’t let me make you think you’re going to deal with bots all that much. You really won’t unless you decide to play alone.

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The DLC makes it worth all-the-while – yes, even progression

When it comes to DLC and its pacing, Fatshark is one of those teams that does it right. We’re all pretty familiar with Bogenhafen one way or another, but we’re also very familiar with Ubersreik as well. Both DLCs, Shadows over Bogenhafen and Back to Ubersreik deliver a special amount of content for one to enjoy.

For fans looking to gear up, have even more reasons to jump into the game and even see just how far The End Times have come, don’t have a lot to fret about as Fatshark has ensured that both DLCs would feature a handful of missions for one to enjoy. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – Shadows of Bogenhafen comes with two levels to enjoy, but also a few daily and challenge chests that can be earned by simply playing the game. Not a bad deal, again, for those looking to gear up their characters.

Shadow of Bogenhafen delivers both “The Pit” and “The Blightreaper” to the table, both emphasizing upon their reliance of intricately designed map layouts for the player to explore. The Pit, as odd as it sounds, is a near-perfect introduction to one of Warhammer Fantasy’s most-written about coastal villages, where the mission draws to a climactic end as players fight through way through a warehouse fire, constantly being assaulted by Chaos and Skaven both from every side and angle; even to the very end.

Secondly comes “The Blightreaper” a torchlit fight through underground tunnels through the end times themselves, one where players work against both the Chaos and the Skaven in order to obtain a magical sword, one that could potentially bring this war to an end. Oddly enough, both aren’t copy and pasted variations from core game levels but rather; they are ones that are uniquely designed as well-thought-out missions to be experienced. Ones that bring forth their own unique designs, layouts, and even threats that players will experience.

Then you have what felt like a tried-and-true DLC with Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – Back to Ubersreik, the second DLC that came bundled in this “Definitive Edition” – rather Ultimate Edition – of the game. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 was improved upon with the daring return of some of Warhammer: Vermintide – The End Times‘ most iconic missions players could experience including the Garden of Morr, Machines of War, and The Horn of Magnus. Each having been updated with brand new visuals and even the inclusion of Vermintide 2‘s newest foes.

For those of you wondering, there is a story behind these missions and it all has to do with your newest guest, Olyesa. Why might this be? She wants to guide you through these missions, guiding to find three mysterious Ubersreik Runes which have appeared in each of these three newest levels, and they all come with their very own challenges to complete. But don’t worry, there’s other challenges, secrets, and things to be had as you bash, burn, and blast your way through each of those missions. There is a plethora of things to do and enjoy along the way.

For those wondering if these missions can be completed easily – don’t expect it to be so. Even with 30+ hours into Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Ultimate Edition (something not presented in the first day of review progression screenshots), I’m still bashing my way through thousands of foes, hammering each one to the ground while attempting to perform precision blocks in the Horn of Magnus, fighting a missing gargoyle head in the Garden of Morr and I’ve yet to even consider what the Engines of War challenge actually is (I could Google it, but where’s the fun in that?).

The coolest thing about it all? There’s a hidden level in Back to Ubersreik that’ll be unlocked when you find and collect them all.

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Weapons, weapons, weapons galore, enough to make one dwarf adore them all

Surprisingly enough, thanks to the entirety of the DLC being available, one can’t be disappointed by any means. Back to Ubersreik DLC comes with an entirely new arsenal of weapons for fans to find and unlock. You’ll even find a healthy amount of new things to experience such as weapon illusions, and weapon combos that can be used with characters they weren’t previously available for. This includes a new axe for Kerillian, a crow bill for Sienna, and even dual-wield hammers for our hairy dwarven friend Bardin.

It brings forth the ability for players to truly master their characters, to understand what they can do in every situation. Tack that on top of our previous experiences ranging from difficult bosses to Twitch and Mixer integrated interactions, and there’s a lot to be had between DLC, the loot, and encounters you will experience across all the missions available, but that also makes us begin to wonder. How well does Warhammer: Vermintide 2 actually play on PlayStation 4? After all, it did come out quite a bit later than both the Xbox One and PC versions of the game.

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Performance is pretty damn impressive

Now, when I first got my hands on Warhammer: Vermintide 2, I was sitting at a $2 thousand-plus dollar gaming PC made for two things in mind: streaming and reviewing games on the highest settings outside of the 4K resolution spectrum. Now, with that in mind, I’ve also had a chance to sit down with both the PC version and Xbox One X enhanced versions of the games, both offering some of the best visuals I’d seen in a game to date.

One concern I had diving into the PlayStation 4 version of the game on a PlayStation 4 Pro was whether or not the game would run with consistent frame rates even at the most demanding moments. So to test this, it was time to let all Hell break loose. To do this, I decided to go to one of the craziest of the missions that came to mind and luckily for me, I was not disappointed as my team and I barreled our way through countless Skaven and Chaos in The Pit.

But it wasn’t until late into the mission did I really feel like things got a little crazier than they would anywhere else. Between the flames, the particle effects that involve them, and my firebomb, I didn’t think things could get any crazier until a Skaven-driven horde appeared. Having the bomb go off, the ambient flames of a burning building going, and now Sienna’s fire explosions happening, I had one thing in mind: Crash the game or drop the frame rate as much as I possibly can.

To my amazement, this never happened. The game was so well designed that it sat at the solid 30fps at 1440p that it was designed to be at. Fatshark had finally proven that this was completely possible on the PlayStation 4 Pro’s hardware, while non-Pro users can expect a solid 1080p at 30fps experience with minor framerate dips here and there; something we did experience on a PlayStation 4 Slim.

To be honest, I was astonished that the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X versions could stand as equals to the PC build of the game, not sacrificing any form of visual fidelity to run side-by-side with it, even if only at 30fps while PC versions can hit 100+ fps based on the users build. Just don’t try to put this game on your graphing calculator or Smart Fridge, it won’t work, I promise.

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The End Times never looked so good – Let’s talk visual fidelity

Now, one thing you may notice in this lengthy review is the fact I’ve been quite thorough compared to previous reviews I’ve done and it’s for a rather good reason. You have to consider I’ve spent nearly a year with the PC version of the game and quite a few months with an Xbox One and Xbox One X enhanced version of the title. I’ve had my fair share of trial and error with the game, but also attempting to push the hardware to the max.

I looked for things such as Dynamic Resolution Scaling, framerate dips, performance issues, and game-breaking bugs that may prevent fans from enjoying their newly purchased game. Since December 18th, I’ve had almost a solid month with the game, squeaking out every bit of free time I had between various other projects going on in the background.

During this time, I’ve even had plenty of time to test the visuals across a plethora of display units ranging from a Samsung 4K TV to an LG and a Sharp 4K display. Surprisingly enough, even with the slightly different display capabilities, HDR settings, and a difference in refresh rates; Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is one of the most visually stunning games in the current generation.

While it’s certainly no Red Dead Redemption 2 or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – Warhammer: Vermintide 2 manages to stand out on its own. It’s a noteworthy upgrade in both graphics and visual fidelity and one that equally triumphs against Spacehulk: Deathwing at every twist and turn. This statement stands true even at some of the games most breathtaking moments that make you feel as if you’re really there in the game.

One of these moments includes the Statue of Sigmar, an effigy to the god Sigmar himself. During this very moment, the dust particles, lighting effects, shadow effects, and even granular details to the world about you come to life. As the statue builds up power, so does the intensity in what you see. Flames going everywhere, body parts flying across the room as Bardin storms into a group of Skaven while Kerillian pins a Chaos or two to a wall with her arrows.

During these moments, you won’t see a dip in resolution or in the visuals before you. Nothing muddies, nothing goes abroad as Fatshark’s design teams insured some of the best visuals you’ll see in any game of this very kind or from their studio to this very date. But that brings us to one last thing to discuss.

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All things must come to an end

When you wrap up a review, normally you want to discuss the pros, the cons, and summarize the things you wrote about prior to this very point. It’s a tried and true formula for all the reviews you’ll read no matter where you go, but this send-off won’t be one in a traditional sense. How could it be? This review has been anything but traditional.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 has come a long way since its release. Fatshark has released patch after patch to ensure the game lives up to the values they as a team hold dear to themselves. It has had numerous bugs squashed, patches out the door, and even some of the coolest features implemented to this very day.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – Ultimate Edition
Platforms: 
PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Version Reviewed: 
PlayStation 4
Developer: 
Fatshark
Publisher: 
Fatshark
Release Date: 
Available Now
Cost:
 $54.99

It’s a game that goes above and beyond to provide one of the best experiences possible. My only hope is that they continue to keep that as part of their thought process moving forward and continue offering DLC that will blow us away in the upcoming days, weeks, months, or even years.


Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.


Final Score: out of 10


About the Writer(s):

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

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