Back at the start of August 2018, I sat down with Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – the sequel to one of 2016’s surprise success stories. Whilst I expected to have a good time, I didn’t expect it to be a game I’d be giving up days in the sun to be playing. That was exactly what it became though and now it’s time to head back to one of the year’s best co-op adventures once more with the Shadows over Bögenhafen DLC. Can it retain the high quality seen in the base game though, or should we be avoiding the Shadows in Bögenhafen?
So, the DLC takes place within the same timeframe as the events of the base game, this time though our band of heroes head back into peril in the streets of the city of Bögenhafen in an attempt to prevent ultimate destruction by retrieving a legendary Chaos Runesword – known to be the cause of the plague wiping out the population and filling the land with death.
There are two new levels brought to the adventure with this latest DLC addition, both of which take place within the murky depths of the city sewers; The Pit and the Gottenplatz District. Joining the new levels are cosmetic items such as hats and skins as well as some exciting new quests and a bunch of challenges for players to enjoy.
As for the missions themselves – which are of course the main attraction here – and it doesn’t take long to see that the high quality in detail and level design seen in the base game has been maintained. The same great gameplay we loved last time out also returns, with enemies once more plaguing in swarms, ensuring that teamwork is required should you hope to stand a chance of surviving the hordes that descend upon you.
This time around though the teamwork required is slightly different, and whilst the base game required players to put their own unique abilities together to come up with a viable survival strategy, Shadows over Bögenhafen shakes things up further still by chucking complete darkness into the mix. Both levels within the DLC take players down to the depths of Bögenhafen sewers, but it’s no well-lit place in the murky wastes of the sewer’s cold dungeon-like chambers and so as you’d expect it’s not the easiest place to navigate. What that means for you and your fellow heroes however, is that someone will need to step-up and take on the role of sewer-roaming torchbearer, whilst the remaining players take on the extra work and ensure the player carrying the torch is well protected.
Of course whoever ends up with the role of designated path-lighter can use the torch to swing at the unruly head of any oncoming enemy – whilst having a possible chance to set them, and everything around it, on fire. But with no way of utilising your class weapons without dropping the torch and plunging the passageways into darkness, you’ll effectively be a man down weapons wise, and have an extra body to protect; it’ll take pure teamwork and tactical thinking should you wish to make it to the end.
Throughout the DLC things are very much akin to that of what’s on offer in the base game. Besides the lighting issue/strategy, enemies attack in very much the same way and whilst there is the story of the Chaos Runesword to get to the end of, it still feels very much like what we’ve already experienced. A read of our full review will only tell you that isn’t a bad thing in any way, but it seems Fatshark have been clever with this one and stuck to what they’ve already done so well.
One thing that is very surprising to see however is that you don’t exactly have to own the DLC to be able to get stuck in to some of the content, as owners of the base game only can still access both new missions via the Quickplay option. Granted, you’ll lose the option of getting involved in the new challenges, quests and hands-on with some rather funky cosmetics, but at least you’ll get to see what all te fuss is about. Whilst this may keep many away from a purchase, it’s also a fantastic and rather applaudable way of keeping the player base together, avoiding the usual split that occurs with paid DLC in multiplayer games. And even though it may be possible to access the missions without a purchase, it goes without saying that the quality seen in Shadows over Bögenhafen is without a doubt worth the asking price.
It may not be entirely essential to buy the DLC, but the effort put in with quality, detail and overall design is certainly worth the cash you could easily be wasting elsewhere. With a need for strategic thinking a must and enjoyment to found throughout, the Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Shadows over Bögenhafen add-on is the perfect example of how DLC should be made – even if it is just two missions long.