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  GAMES WORKSHOP'S WARHAMMER
is brought to full action and animation in this STEAM driven adventure game published by FATSHARK and powered by AUTO-DESK STINGRAY

On this page there are two opinions on the game, mine and that of one of Games Gazette Online's Assisant Editor's, Jodie. I have printed Jo's notes in colour to distinguish them from my plain old black & white.

I believe that the cumbersomeness of the loading and the slowness of the reaction to the mouse button and keys is down to the fact that this is still in Beta test mode. If it isn't I really do need a new PC. The screen burst into life with the Games Workshop logo and the Fatshark breaking the glass before it went totally black and a small (about the size of a ten pence piece) icon appeared, lower right, featuring the Vermintide symbol; the screen remained black for some time as the loading continued.

Eventually I was presented with a screen asking me to set the Gamma for the best (and creepiest) visuals. Then up came the five characters from which you choose your hero for the game. If you are a regular Warhammer player you will no doubt recognise these characters and their Race and Class. I wouldn't be surprised if their names are already down in Warhammer Lore as well; these being - Victor Saltzpyre the Witch Hunter; Kerillian the Wayeatcher; Bardin Goreksson, Dwarf Ranger; Sienna Fuegonasus a Bright Wizard and Markus Kruber the Empire Soldier. 

These are your choices, you select one from their looks, names and skills (Class), you cannot do anything else; no naming, skill adjustment, hair or eye colour, height or weight, nothing at all.

I'll hand you over to Jodie now and then continue myself a littl;e further down the page.

1) I don’t like the character choices for a few reasons. There are only 5 classes to choose from, and you can't choose gender or race as they've already been assigned (male, human Witchhunter and female Elf Waywatcher (hunter) for example. Also you cannot name them or customize them in any way.

2) Playing multiplayer - after choosing your character, you can either join a game or create a new one. If you wish to join a game already in progress, the whole "choosing a class" becomes a moot point. After waiting what feels like forever in the first place, it turns out you can only join as a character the other players haven't chosen - meaning you get the leftovers.

If you create your own game however, you can choose any of the 6 to play and enter the game with 3 NPC's (You don't get to choose who you take with you though).

3) The graphics for the game (though gritty) are beautiful. The movements of the characters and the depth of the scenery are awe inspiring. It can be hell on your pc though, if you don't have a top of the line machine. 

The game is set for 1st person mode (which I have to be honest, I'm not very good at!)

Unfortunately, the movement of your character and the camera, is clunky - it seemed (for me) I could only set my mouse for spinning round unbelievably fast, or having the turning speed of a large barge. 

4) The combat is something I have never liked in any game. All you have to do is manage to get the cursor over your adversary (a feat in itself) and hammer the mouse button over and over repeatedly until your foe or foes are dead - fighting several enemies at a time is rather easy.

As much as I didn't like the mechanics of combat, the look of it is fantastic. The avatars react to the location of where the hit lands as well as being knocked back.

It really is a beautiful game and I understand its only in its beta phase, so everything I've said could all be fixed before its release. If it stays as it is though, I can't see it competing with the other similar games that are currently available on the market.

 

The game is designed to be played in multi-player mode and once you have chosen your character you are sent to the screen where you can select to join a game or create a game. As I was playing for the review I wanted to be able to roam off on my own but there was no actual button for single player mode. However, after accidentally joining a game and then leaving it and similarly accidentally starting a game, I continually hit keys and pressed mouse buttons until my character was thrust into the game on his (I chose Witch Hunter) own. 

Text on the screen tells me what I have to do and occasionally an arrow pops up to direct me, but this didn't always seem to be there when I required it and I couldn't locate a mini map that would stay onscreen like a compass. Within a few minutes of running around checking where I was I went into a building and found a table where an icon hovered over it requesting that I accept a mission. In this room I also encountered, for the first time, a glowing chest in which player character assistance is likely to be found. I also discovered here that not every treasure chest has goodies for every character, in fact many of them are special for each character (arrows for the Waywatcher archer for example). Other chests, I found later, have healing or strength potions etc which are for all characters.

  

When playing solo you will see the forms (basically glowing outlines) of three characters who appear to be inside or behind a building. If you decide to go see these outlines (and I suggest that you do) then you will find they are three of the characters that you chose your hero from and better still they immdiately join your group. You have no control over them though as they are independent adventurers and that's how they act throughout. They do sort of stay together as a group but they also check out routes and rooms on their own as they go. They will join in and help you if you get into trouble and they will help each other in the same way. If they get into a major fight they will yell for help. If they, or you, die, they, or you, will resurrect but it isn't instant.

Combat is well handled in a role-play game manner. Characters can get hit with awesome weapons, or teeth, claws, swords or whatever and they react as you would expect, with the exception that it takes more than a single strike to kill you/them. When you strike with your sword, for example, you can lop off arms, legs, heads, depending on where you strike, and magic can take out groups of enemies in one hit or target single adversaries and arrows fly as fast and effectively as if they were being fired by Robin Hood or Legolas.

  

Visually the game is stunning. If you thought Warhammer tabletop games with miniatures and Games Workshop buildings look good then imagine a whole world in the same wonderful 3D where the miniatures move and act of their own accord. Complete a Mission, gain your rewards and move on to the next mission, just like a Warhammer mini's game but with much better miniatures (coloured better than I could ever paint my mini's).

WARHAMMER VERMINTIDE: The END of TIMES is already well on its way to being the action game of the year, at least visually. I imagine the completed version will be virtually the same as this but a little faster and more fluent. I can't see where much else can be improved.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015