Review: Vermintide 2 Welcomes the Chaos Wastes

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By Tan Montana on April 28th, 2021

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Sigmar bless this ravaged body the hard-working folks at Fatshark are at it again. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 just got a free content update with new levels, a new game mode, and loads more snarky dialogue between the always sassy Ubersreik Five (Or four when you’re playing, it doesn’t matter). Let’s chat about what’s new and what makes the base game so great.

The Chaos Wastes

15 brand new maps is a lot for a free update, especially when the total size of those maps eclipse the scale of the maps in the campaign at launch. The developers at Fatshark didn’t set out to make the expansion as large as they did, but consider the map size to be a “happy little accident”.

The Chaos Wastes expansion pushes the apocalyptic main crew into the twisted realm of the gods in search of divine aid. This, of course, involves slaughtering thousands of enemies in a relentless drive to the end of the map. The Chaos Wastes expansion isn’t just one map, though. The game plays like a roguelike with the party starting with nearly nothing and earning boons as they traverse chaos twisted locations. The maps are voted on as players carve their way to the end arena to fight at a chaos god’s whim. This gameplay variation allows players to try countless builds while experiencing new variations of maps each time.

Making Vermintide a Roguelike

The idea of playing Vermintide 2 as a Roguelike wasn’t a direction I expected Fatshark to take the game. A game about single run largescale maps with endless hordes of monsters to slay on paper just doesn’t seem to translate. I’m glad to be wrong. The sheer scale of the added maps and mixture of levels, weapons, boons, and arenas make it entirely possible. Each subsequent run was altogether different and required a changing playstyle to accommodate the RNG for that character’s build. Suffice to say, Vermintide’s new maps and game mode make for a surprisingly good roguelike experience.

Warhammer: Creating The Old World

This isn’t the first new game mode the developers have added, as they’ve kept Vermintide 2 growing with DLCs and free updates. While some of the downloadable content has been met with critique from fans because of lack of size and questionable pricing, overall, there’s a general trust in Fatshark to capture the Warhammer Fantasy experience in a visceral and addictively replayable way. 

The music is defining. Jesper Kyd’s (Assasins Creed, Hitman) soundtrack embodies not just the locations but the lore itself. The arrangements and percussion vary with every encounter and faction naturally drawing from their counterpart inspirations. I also appreciate Kyd’s dedication to diversifying instruments and altering sound design choices. The tracks deviate from the typical orchestral sounds and circles that we’ve grown comfortable and used to in our fantasy to accommodate warbling destructive reverb and effect that illustrates the perversion of the fantasy world you’re slashing, blasting, and burning your way through. It’s evident that Kyd worked in close tandem with Fatshark to create the sounds of Warhammer Fantasy.

Vermintide 2 and its constant updates paint a story of success for Fatshark, where many others independent have sadly failed with the setting. As most long-suffering Warhammer fans will tell you, the games are hit or miss at best. With the current Chaos Wastes update and a large amount of base game alone, Vermintide 2 is more than a good Warhammer game; it’s actually just a good game on its own. 

If you’re looking for first-person visceral co-op combat, fantastic setting and music, and loveable characters, then I would be hard-pressed to find a game that did it better. 

8
Impressive
Vermintide 2 is a visceral, first-person co-op experience with impressive lore, visuals, and music. Killing hordes of rats has never felt this good. If you want to see the natural successor and improvement of a Left for Dead style game, this is it.

Tan is a Tabletop RPG writer with a deep love for give-'em-a-chance indie games and music made on a ten-year-old laptop in Audacity. They drink their seltzer warm.

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