Chaos Wastes incorporates the rogue-lite genre superbly into Warhammer: Vermintide 2 | Hands-on preview
The barbaric co-op multiplayer Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is action at its finest. Heading into the fantasy world of Warhammer as one of the heroes of Ubersreik is cool on its own. However, when that includes waves of monsters and buckets of gore, everyone’s in for a good time. The upcoming free DLC offers a slightly different approach to what has come before. Chaos Wastes is a rogue-lite adventure that gets the genre right, all while maintaining the slaughterhouse fantasy fun that’s made the game so popular. We were given hands-on with the new DLC, and the fact its free is insane.
Entering the Chaos Wastes is easy. Just head through the door in the hub area and the new environments are ready to explore. What makes the mode enjoyable is just how well it weaves the rogue-lite elements into it. Jewellery, Charms, and Trinkets are worthless in the Chaos Wastes. Instead, each location will offer Altars where you can spend a currency called Pilgrim Coins. They can be collected from downed bosses and supply chests. Once stockpiled, they can be spent on different Altars for improvements to gear and skills. Warrior Altars allow the tempering of weapons; Hunter Altars provide swaps for a more powerful weapon; and Seers Altars offer boons to your character, such as an improvement to your movement speed.
Chaos Wastes: Risk and reward
These features give heroes the tools needed to continue fighting through the Chaos Wastes. As well as the Altars, boons and miracles are dished out for finishing the levels, and finding Chests of Trials also provide buffs to fighters. Think of Cursed Chests in Diablo 3. Once activated, these chests spawn a boss followed by a horde. All you really need to do is defeat the boss, but it’s impossible to pick something with tens of Skaven’s still swarming around. Once the area is cleared, a special enhancement (Rare, Exotic, or Legendary) can be selected as your prize. These can range from an increase of health received when using a healing vial, to firing lightning from my weapon on a critical hit.
Every one of the 15 new locations are unique because they’re different on every playthrough. Procedurally generated areas filled with different threats, varying Altars, and new paths to explore. Sometimes these will include seldom hordes to fight against. Other times they won’t stop coming and working together becomes integral to survival. One of the greatest things about Vermintide 2 is the combat.. What Chaos Wastes does is push players to the limits the further they get. All improvements and boons can be lost once death comes knocking, and heading all the way back to the beginning is the only option.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Certain areas are cursed by the ruler of the location, meaning enemies can come at you a lot faster. There can also be more Elites and generally a bigger presence of beasts. Whilst some areas are tough to fight through, the rewards are greater. This is where the teamwork comes into play. Deciding on the right course of action before entering every area becomes a familiar method of playing, but success is an almighty feeling in the Chaos Wastes. Along the journey, Shrines can be visited which allow parties to purchase shared miracles that provide bonuses to all players, such as an increase of Pilgrim Coins or an increase in chance of an Elite or Special dropping pickups.
The Chaos Wastes plays exactly as it should. Incredible combat, fantastic implementation of the rogue-lite genre, and plenty of diversity in its environments. What makes it that much better is just how good it looks. The new locations are very different. You may be in a snowy mountain range filled with abandoned and dilapidated ship hulls, or a mine that plummets deep underground. There’re ravaged villages, rank sewers, and so much more. The range of enemies is insane. Hordes of Beastmen and Skavers are bad enough, but when they’re wearing armour or firing nitrous flames at you, the challenge to defeat them completely changes. Fat Shark has really pushed the boat out on this update.
Chaos Wastes: A perfect package
Warmhammer: Vermintide 2 has received a healthy injection of change whilst managing to keep hold of the action fans have grown to love. Chaos Wastes uses the rogue-lite genre in familiar and different ways, with a great use of boon and miracles to boost abilities with each playthrough. Having the Altars provides a risk and reward system that’ll have players pondering whether or not to spend Pilgrim Coins is a neat dynamic. All in all, Chaos Wastes is a fine addition to an already excellent title.