by Sean Martin
reviewed on PC
THE DARK GODS REACH OUT FOR BOGENHAFEN
Since Vermintide 2 graced our screens a little way back, fans have been waiting intently for the first significant update and the first DLC. At the end of last month, we were lucky enough to receive it; in Shadows Over Bogenhafen the Ubersreik five (I mean four) head to aforementioned Bogenhafen, a wealthy trading town on the river Bogen. Divided into two sections, the impoverish ‘pit’ and the wealthy merchant district, our heroes must undertake a mission in each of these sections, fighting ratties and north-men to uncover the source of the mysterious corruption plaguing the town. On top of these two new levels are cosmetics and a new system of trials and challenges making it easier to get loot. These challenges are both weekly and daily, but the reward for some is the Bogenhafen strongbox; a loot chest that gives you exclusively cosmetics. Speaking as a player who played 70 hours and never received a cosmetic, this was in dire need, so I’m glad of the introduction.
In the DLC for the first Vermintide, we saw very focused themes and settings. Azgaraz was Dwarves, Drachenfels was Undead and Stromdorf introduced the boss battles that are now so prevalent in Vermintide 2. But Bogenhafen seems weaker by comparison. The town is split by the river Bogen into the two sections that comprise the two separate levels, which is cool. There are also some great sections, where you have to defend a warehouse that’s burning down for example, by boarding the windows (Resident Evil 4 style). The map design is also very on point, a sprawling maze of streets that you somehow find your way through. But it might be one Reikland town too many.
We’ve played so many levels similar to this now, that I’m wondering why the boat wasn’t pushed further out. With the bridge of shadows allowing travel to almost anywhere and The Skittergate jump to Norsca in Vermintide 2, I’m not sure why we didn’t go further afield. The most redeeming feature of Bogenhafen however is the fireworks; the fact that the townspeople continue to party even when most of them are dead and rats roam the streets. It calls upon that amusing and over-memed tendency of humans in the Warhammer world, to adamantly not believe in Skaven, even when they are literally being eaten by rats.
The main subject of the DLC is good ol’ grandpapi Nurgle; you know, the guy responsible for all the weird plants, exploding buboes and troll bile. If none of that means anything to you, well then as Lohner says ‘You haven’t been paying attention have you?’ But I’m not sure this DLC feels super Nurgle-like, as there isn’t really anymore plague in these levels than there is in the main game. It also doesn’t feel like it elaborates on Nurgle as a god - the main game already had Bile Trolls, Plague Monks, Blight-Stormers, so I’m not sure we even needed any elaboration on Nurgle worshippers. I feel that Vermintide fans are simple in regards to their DLC desires; they want a strong visually themed location, with weapons and cosmetics that feel thematically appropriate and maybe a boss.
Bogenhafen doesn’t feel thematically strong to me; sure it’s fun in the way that all Vermintide 2 content is fun (because don’t get me wrong, Vermintide 2 is awesome.) But I could’ve wished for something a tad stronger, as well as more weapons and not just cosmetics. But it’ll do for now, especially the introduction of the cosmetic boxes and the challenges, which will add a good deal of re-playability. But I really urge Fatshark to go the extra distance in their next DLC (literally), take us to somewhere amazing we have never been; the Warhammer world is just chock-a-block full of such locations after all.
Dose of Re-playability
Though at the same time I can understand why they might be struggling to find fresh locations, considering that in Vermintide 2 we’ve been to: Reikland towns, Wood Elf enclaves, Dwarven mines and Skaven strongholds; we might need to go significantly farther afield to find something new. But hey, Bretonnia is just a hop, skip and a jump over the border.… On the whole though, while less strong than previous DLCs, Shadows Over Bogenhafen lends the base game a well-needed dose of re-playability and will be an enjoyable booster of content for most rat-killing fans.
Challenges add re-playability, easier access to cosmetics.
Less strong than previous DLC’s, no new weapons.