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Review: After a Long Vermintide 2 Hiatus, the Grail Knight Brought Me Back

Screenshot: Vermintide 2

For years I’ve been playing video games with friends—it’s always been our way of hanging out across the thousands of miles that separate us. For a long time, Vermintide 2 was our go-to game. Its specific brand of first person melee combat is incredibly satisfying, and its progression system and character variety had us trying teams of different compositions as we fought our way through to Legendary difficulty and beyond. It’s truly some of my most cherished times in video game memory, and when the Winds of Magic expansion released, I thought it would help keep Vermintide 2 fresh for us. It did the opposite, and after playing a few matches post Winds of Magic, we abandoned the game.

It’s a shame, because there really hasn’t been a game that has come along to fill the gaping hole the Vermintide 2 has left. But with the recent career option for Kruber, some new life was breathed into the game. Sure, we missed the free Drachenfels maps, and every other major update that Vermintide 2 has had including the introduction of ‘seasons’ which brought new cosmetics, and even new weather variations. So now you can play those old favorites with whipping wind and other visual effects that change things just enough to keep it interesting.

Screenshot: Vermintide 2

But the real story is the Grail Knight. Markus Kruber–mercenary, ranger, armored foot soldier and beer lover now has the opportunity to add Grail Knight to his list of career options. And oh boy, is that Grail Knight pretty damn fun.

The Grail Knight is tanky. With a shield, he can block warpfire thrower flames—something super handy, especially since he doesn’t have the ability to use a ranged weapon. I was miffed about his lack of ranged weapon until I discovered that the sword and shield he has access to is great. By default it has a ridiculous amount of stamina to block and shove—and with it equipped, the Grail Knight is probably the best blocker and shover in the game. No small distinction when you have to fight large groups of ravenous rats, and beast men with their chaos companions.

But the Grail Knight isn’t just tanky. He can dish out a ton of damage too, and use that shove to clean up his staggered foes. And his Blessed Blade special with the Virtue of Audacity talent is probably the best single target damager in the game. It doesn’t take the double hit that Virtue of Audacity has to make the Blessed Blade special overpowered, though. Even the crowd sweeping version of that can take out several Chaos knights standing shoulder-to-shoulder. I feel there could be a nerf incoming, but for now the Grail Knight is quite formidable.

Screenshot: Vermintide 2

The Grail Knight also receives blessings from the Lady of the Lake. Yeah, it sounds weird, but these blessings are given after small quests are completed. These include getting tomes and grimoires or killing a certain number of enemies. Once the condition is met, Kruber gets a potion, or other buff. There’s also a talent that gives Kruber a repeatable quest to get a strength potion after a set number of kills. He never runs short of potions. And even if he’s holding a grimoire, those potions don’t go to waste—he spawns them where he stands, instead of them appearing in his inventory.

Grail Knight also releases with a whole list of cosmetic DLC to change his look up. But most of these cosmetic items aren’t available unless you get them in-game, even after you purchase them. It rubs me the wrong way to pay for the chance to farm for an item. It feels like it defeats the purpose of paying for it in the first place—but I digress. These cosmetic items are pretty attractive, but at twice the price of the Grail Knight career option, you really have to want to support the developer to pay out for these. Which, I’m always willing to do if they’re doing stuff I like.

Screenshot: Vermintide 2

There is always the concern about the Grail Knight being imbalanced. I can definitely see that argument, and your mileage may vary. He’s definitely a very strong character, but he’s not without his weaknesses. Namely, his inability to use ranged weapons puts him at a disadvantage against some specials, but the Bretonnian Sword and Shield he can wield feels a little too good for both damage and defense, while the Blessed Blade takes huge chunks out of bosses.

Since Winds of Magic, Vermintide 2 has course corrected quite a bit. I’m not sure if it’s just my nostalgia for the game talking, but the Grail Knight certainly has convinced me to get back into Vermintide 2.

The Grail Knight career path is now available for Vermintide 2.

 

 

 

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