George Hopkins gives us some of his first hands-on impressions from his time at PC Gamer Weekender, including everything Warhammer
Warharmmer: Vermitude 2
Over the last few years, the good folks at Warhammer have invested heavily in developing their brand through video games. One of these attempts came in the form of the 2015 release Warhammer: End Times-Vermitude, and at PC Gamer Weekender, I got the chance to play a demo of it’s sequel – Warhammer: Vermitude 2.
In many respects, the upcoming title does not seem to differ much from its predecessor. It’s still a first-person action game which focuses on the fast paced slaying of hordes of different enemies. Similarly, it still provides a multitude of different characters who have different weapons and playstyles. Many have compared it to the Left 4 Dead series, and when I sat down to play the demo, this similarity was the first thing that struck me. For many, this resemblance makes it derivative and unoriginal, however, I found that its emulation of Valve’s fan favourite helped create exciting combat. If you enjoyed battering and dismembering of enemies at speed in 2008, then you will again in 2018.
At one point I dodged an enemy , turned, and fired a primitive shotgun towards him. When this missed, I was forced to charge with my sword raised and all doubts put to one side. Clearly, there is enough variety here which, if coupled with intelligent level-design and AI, could provide some repeatedly exciting gameplay. The only concern I went away with was that it lacked any difficulty-based tension; I played it on both normal and hard, and in both instances death was never a real possibility. Of course this was just a demo, so this easiness may be warranted to ensure that potential customers aren’t immediately put off.
This game has a lot of promise, and if the final product can tie it all together with a decent narrative and an incentivising leveling structure, it will be well worth picking up.
Total War: Warhammer 2
Another avenue which Warhammer have pursued is the RTS genre, doing so by giving Total War developer’s Creative Assembly the reigns to their franchise. I am Total War fan, however, I have skipped the last two installments (Total War: Warhammer and Total War: Warhammer 2) due to a lack of connection to their source material. After playing the recently released Total Warhammer 2, I now realise that I’m missing out: it’s the same great recipe of battle mechanics, map control and city management which led me to plough hundreds of hours into the series over the years.
The alterations which have been made appear to have refined this recipe rather than alter it significantly. Graphically, it looked a lot sharper than the older games, allowing you to zoom in on units in the midst of action without immediately recoiling at the low number of pixels. The fantasy setting has also allowed a greater range of unit types, diversifying strategies and play styles.
Total War: Warhammer 2, for instance, adds a new race, the High Elves, whose armies are composed of small numbers of elite fighters. The Lizard Men, on the other hand, use a combination of magic and dinosaurs to obliterate their enemy.
As good as this game is, my main takeaway was that the folks at creative assembly need to make a Lord of the Rings iteration. Commanding Ents and Oliphants, withstanding the charges of Orc hordes, and countering with charges from the Riders of Rohan. That’s the dream.