So lets start this off well and with positive notes. Having spent a fair amount of time, 370 hours, in Vermintide one and completing nearly everything, save for the very last DLC, on cataclysm I would say I very much loved the first game in all its facets. Yes through the sluggish start of if there was a wizard in the party be ready for frame rate drops, to the beautiful later times of glorious balance between hard difficulty and fun varying weapons, it was a great game and I loved it. Now I have spend a good while in Vermintide 2 and…im not having nearly as much fun. In fact I often question if this was even made by the same cast of employees at Fatshark because of so many harsh differences between the two that make no sense in terms of scaling player difficulty. I will be speaking about purely design choices, no glitches as that’s to easy to whine about.
All of this is speaking from playing primarily on Legend so all damage and such is from that standpoint.
Lets discuss but before we do lets define a very important things. Difficulty/Challenge. Difficulty and Challenge is meant to push you the player to your limits of your abilities and learn to become better to overcome a challenge. There is no ability any human can poses to beat an unavoidable obstacle. Lets be specific about what I mean. Why on earth are there unavoidable patrols? Something that was designed entirely to be an optional thing. The entire premise is right before your eyes. Here is a big squad of elite men patrolling around deliberately looking around to destroy whatever is in its path. You the player generally want to dodge and hide from said kill team and in fact they were designed to be avoided less they would just act like other enemies and come charging at you from a distance. To take that further why give them their own sound file, the marching chants and clinking of armor, if they are unavoidable in a game filled with a great deal of sound queues to let you the skilled player know exactly what is happening and roughly in what direction. When you put a huge obstacle, which is able to be slain but at great cost, in the way but tease the idea that its “Supposed” to be avoidable but place the pathing in such a way that it is ACTUALLY impossible to dodge what is the point…So first step in making this better. Change the pathing of patrols or just redesign them entirely because currently I would say anywhere from 30%-50% of the time they are simply unavoidable. Possible Solution, simply make the pathing more avoidable, not blatantly or easily avoidable but more avoidable.
Now another thing, why is it now some bosses, more namely Rat Ogre’s and Spawn’s, can spin in a full 360 degrees in a mere nano second. This simply didn’t exist in the previous game, much like my other grief with the game. The idea of agro with a boss is someone is taking some hits dodging and blocking as best as they can for a while until it does a full turn animation then that person has their skill and might tested by said boss while your team mates are free to handle the horde, a smaller gripe and comparison that didn’t exist in the previous game but that’s so small its not worth going into detail about, or do damage to the boss. Nothing about a boss doing a full instant turn mid swing says you the player must overcome having the reflex’s of well say some kind of ultra well seasoned player. By no means am I saying make bosses easier no they do lots of damage which is great! Whats not great is getting cheated out of living an instant turn, that is faster then any weapons animation to swing or block by the way, and getting bonked faster then you could possibly respond. Very simple solution, simply make it so boss’s can not turn mid swing or at the very least turn slower mid swing.
So now lets talk about Formula in terms of difficulty. In the previous game there was a formula for dictating what you may face on any given map with tomes and grimoirs in Vermintide 1. You would either fight one Rat Ogre or you would come across two Patrols. This kind of thing doesn’t exist at all in Vermintide 2 or if it does Patrols are no longer in said formula as there have been plenty of times when we would be fighting a boss and whoops a patrol happens to stumble into us and then naturally its Wipe O clock. What happened to this core idea to dictate what you would be facing in your path? Granted I feel that there is perhaps more healing items in the sequel than the previous iteration but I don’t feel that makes up for the difference as healing does not entirely mean victory. I don’t really have a solution for this issue, perhaps just classify Patrols and Boss’s as the same thing as was such the way in the previous game.
Here is a very specific and rather rare one that has happened a few times in my group. Blightstormers. Multiple of them at the same time with minimal to no cooldown in between casts. This should be fixed. All you need is two blightstormers mid horde and there is a decent chance of your just gone. No path to go mid horde, or at least a very narrow one that comes with no real other option other then to hopefully push your way to safety. A solution could be possibly add a timer to how long they go between casts or even when they teleport. Many easy solutions there as this issue is rather small and rare and even then is very simple to fix.
Now here is a big one for me. Coming from the previous game every single weapon was made viable at some point or another. For a while shields and one handed weapons were just flat out bad but then they were all buffed to a better specific purpose. Right now that is simply not the case. Off the top of my head nobody would dare use the claymore, one handed sword, or one handed Mace or any of the shields on Kruber when you simply have better tools for the jobs those weapons would or wouldn’t perform. Flat out better not opinion biased, mathematically based. Claymore? Why, the hammer not only has better weapons arcs but also had a singular top down smash and can actually pen armor pretty dang gon well. Shielded weapon for Kruber? Same thing, the Executioners sword and Hammer flat out just hit more targets for more damage with the same amount of knockback if not more. There are a great deal of weapons that fall into this category and here ill do you a favor and name each one that is simply bad and not needed. All one handed weapons minus any of them for the Wizard and Saltzspire. The Claymore for Kruber and Slatzspire. All shields as they simply don’t have any kind of real punch to them with their power attacks, which by the way in the previous game had some serious knockback and power to them. The solution to this is simply buff the weapons up to fit a specific need. Maybe tone down some of the weapons you see everyone using if need be to give people a better reason to have more variety.
I could just go into about hero power in general about how that entirely pulls away from player skill and weapon choice but that’s far to easy to nail down and talk about.
Now overall it is still a sequel to Vermintide 1 I would just argue its currently a fall from grace but its so close to matching if not being better. There is so much I love about the first and second game, example I freaking love the different classes minus the one that makes no sense lore wise at all which is Kerillian being able to switch factions between elfs on a moments notice…look I come from playing the tabletop, lore, book, and gameplay wise that makes no damn sense but I cant deny it is still very awesome and satisfying. I truly believe with these few changes this game would be so much more viable and enjoyable.