It has been a few years since we first became acquainted with our quintet of heroes in Ubersreik, and it's now time for Fatshark's sequel to the excellent Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide. What has Fatshark done to build on Warhammer: Vermintide 2, and is it everything we were hoping for?
The short answer is: yes. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is an improvement on its predecessor in virtually every single way. We see more of the characters we love, more depth in terms of their abilities and skills, more loot, lots of new enemies and bosses, and last but not least a new home base. The End Times (as we'll call it from now on) may have been a great replacement for the Left 4 Dead series, but this sequel really feels like the next step in the development of this wonderful concept.
The game begins with our heroes in a bit of trouble. Captured by Skaven - the rat men we slaughtered infinite hordes of in the last game - they witness the formation of an alliance between their old plagiaries and the newcomers of the game, Chaos. These northerners are not as straightforward as the rats, however, as most of them are capable of absorbing a lot more damage, but with the help of some old friends the heroes succeed in escaping to their new fortress, the ruins of an old castle.
After this ordeal we encounter the game's first major difference. It's the same as last time around in the sense that you can choose which of the game's five characters you want to play as, however, this time it's a choice that carries slightly greater weight than before, as in Warhammer: Vermintide 2 you'll be levelling up individual characters, not your player profile. It's certainly not a problem to change your hero later, but being low level and without cool new weapons is a noticeable handicap, so it's best to choose the hero you really want to play as from the get-go.
Each hero's individual level is important for two reasons. Firstly, every fifth level you unlock various passive talents that you can customise, which can be anything from wearing more ammunition to dealing more damage or even just moving a bit faster. The second reason is that at levels seven and twelve you unlock the characters' second and third "career". These careers may not equal the difference a brand new character makes, as you can still use a hero's weapon regardless, but they have unique abilities, passive bonuses, and their own skill trees with talents. For example, if we look at the Elven Kerillian, you'll get her first career, Waystalker, which offers the ability to quickly get a bunch of targeting arrows and slowly regain some health. Meanwhile career number two, Handmaiden, gives you the ability to burst through a bunch of enemies and damage them, extending the distance you travel as you dodge attacks.
The different careers allow you to customise your characters according to how you want to play. If you feel that shooting from a distance isn't really your thing, for example, the dwarf Bardin's Slayer career is perfect for you since it draws you away from ranged weapons. If you prefer to stand back and pick enemies off before they even notice you, though, then the soldier Kruber's Huntsman career is probably the one for you. It's probably for the best that we stop here before we get too deep into the different abilities of all the characters, as we don't want to spoil the game for you, but we should hammer home that this sequel is way deeper than the first, and richer in content too.