There is no doubt that Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is one of the best co-op games in recent times. Fatshark’s flawed magnum opus is a goldmine teeming with possibilities and it’s why we gave the game an excellent 9 out of 10 in our review. But after putting in 400+ hours in the game, I grew bored with the 13 maps available in the base game. Fatshark promised that new maps would be coming in the form of DLC between April-May. That was 4 months ago. Fast forward to August and we finally got our hands on Shadows Over Bögenhafen, the very first DLC for Vermintide 2. Let’s see how it, did shall we?
Shadows Over Bögenhafen is the first DLC for Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and was released on August 28 for the PC through Steam. The Xbox One version is coming later this month.
Story & Narrative
Shadows Over Bogenhafen takes the Ubersreik Five to the once prosperous mercantile city of Bogenhafen, overrun by the malicious Skaven and chaos forces. A legendary Chaos runesword called The Blightreaper is believed to be the reason behind the chaos and corruption swallowing Bogenhafen alive. It is up to our heroes and their jagged alliance to seize the sword and achieve one small victory in this unwinnable war. How do they accomplish this feat? Oh, just by brutally murdering everything that moves in the lost city. Sometimes, you’re not even that discriminating. The story is just there to set up the new location and give you another reason to slay vermin and savages alike (not that you need any). That’s all it does and all it needs to do.
Gameplay & Mechanics
The core gameplay of Vermintide 2 remains unchanged. The player, along with three AI Bots or three other players are dropped into big maps with the primary objective of getting from point A to B alive. All five classes and their sub-classes from the base game makes a return. There’s no additional characters, weapons or enemy types in the DLC. But what Shadows Over Bogenhafen does add is two new maps; The Pit and The Blightreaper. The maps themselves are the main selling point of the DLC. Both The Pit and Blightreaper are very well designed. In fact, they rival even the best maps from the base game. Both of the levels are some of the biggest ever created for Vermintide 2. They are big, long, offers multiple paths, features wide-open areas and solid vertical level design the game much-needed. However, one can’t help but feel that it would have been a lot better to get an additional third map with the DLC.
The Pit is easily the best of the two. It starts off in the harbour area and takes the player through the market, slums and finally inside the city walls while offering lots of detour en-route. It’s as open as Athel Yenlui from the base game, but not as confusing. There are plenty of spots for ambush and choke points. Blightreaper isn’t far off in terms of level design and encourages team play more than ever, with its pitch black sewer sections and tight corridors. The disappointing aspect, however, is the finale of the said level. Apart from a DoT (damage over time) section, there’s not much going for it. Not even a final boss. It’s baffling to see Fatshark not coming up with a good boss encounter despite having a source material with over 30 years of content in their hands. The good news is that you need not purchase the DLC to play the maps themselves- a feature that is well appreciated.
The other selling point of the DLC is of course- ‘Fashiontide’. Shadows Over Bogenhafen adds new weapon illusions, skins and hats to the game. To obtain these, the players have to complete the newly added challenges and pray to RNJesus to get the desired items. You’ll burn through the map challenges pretty quick and are left with just the weekly quests as the mean to get the new cosmetics. The current weekly challenge is to complete a whopping 25 quickplay missions to get one chest. As it stands, the weekly quest isn’t worth the trouble and effort. Adding daily quests or more map challenges can solve this dilemma easily. The RNG and grinding can turn off some players, but it is what it is.
Visuals & Sound
Shadows Over Bogenhafen, just like the base game is an absolute looker. Fatshark once again nails down the atmosphere and feel of End Times. The transition of the Pit from early dusk to nightfall, fireworks going off in the distance, pitch black sewers of Blightreaper and the ruined cityscape makes you continuously press the screenshot button.
The sound design is great. The accurate audio feedback, cues and a dramatic soundtrack works wonders to immerse you in the world. However, there are still random sync issues and audio bugs that pop up here and there for no apparent reason.
Shadows Over Bogenhafen, while being somewhat of a letdown in terms of content, features two excellently designed maps that are on par, or even better than the base ones. The lack of new weapons and enemy types are disappointing, considering how much time it took to release the DLC. However, dedicated players will find the DLC worth buying especially considering the measly regional price of 349 INR. If not, you can always play the maps freely and join friends who own the DLC. Shadows over Bogenhafen is a baby step in the right direction for Vermintide 2 to reach its full potential. Let’s just hope that players won’t have to wait another six months for the next piece of DLC.