Genre: First-Person Shooter
Publisher: M2H, Blackmill Games
Developer: M2H, Blackmill Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Modes: Multiplayer Only
Verdun, one of the bloodiest battles of The Great War and an appropriate name for the most realistic WW1 shooter out today. It was my housemate Brok that first introduced me to it, the game was curiously released in the shadow of Battlefield 1 yes even a year before it came out there was a lot of talk about the new Battlefield game would be going to the World War 1 front. When I first saw game known as Verdun I realized that this was actually a much more realistic first person shooter then Battlefield will ever be and decided to give it a go.
Verdun is set in the midst of the First World War and as the
title says specifically the western front from 1914 to 1918, it features many
of the famous battlegrounds of the time including Battle of Champagne, The Meuse-Argonne Offensive and Fort
Douaumont itself. The game has a heavy squad focus rewarding you for
teamwork and especially rewarding players who play in the same squad regularly,
it features Realistic World War 1 gameplay: Authentic weaponry with realistic
bullet physics, skill based weapon handling, gore, poisonous gas with a
claustrophobic gas mask experience, realistic gore and artillery barrages. The
“Frontlines” game mode is true trench warfare that forces you to attack or defend in tandem with the enemy.
Each side fights over a turn-based frontline map that consists of multiple
sectors that can be captured by either side. Staying true to the
typical attrition warfare of that time, both sides attack and
counter-attack each other in turn, so you will be forced to defend each
captured sector of trenches. The goal is to capture the enemy‘s HQ sector in
order to win the game.
|The treacherous Front lines|
|The trenches of Argonne, I think I had HDR on at that point.|
|The Game mode screen with the map of the western front|
|A basic display of how the Frontlines mode works, one side attacks, the other defends and the rest is hotsory :D|
Verdun seems to focus a lot on Squads which are based on historical units such as the British Tommies and the German Stoßtrupp, the squad levelling system is quite confusing as you can only level up the type of squad you are in. So for example the Canadians are an Assault type squad therefore have more assault type weapons and the officers can launch gas attacks at the enemy whereas the French Chasseur Alpins are a Recon type squad with sniper rifles and espionage abilities and officers have the recon plane ability. Additionally to this the squads have Abilities and Progression trees which are sort of like a tech tree in a game like Age of Empires, as you level up you gain additional abilities such as better sprint time, reload times, spawn times, weapon efficiency etc and also the officer abilities are upgraded from more lethal types of gas to bigger artillery rounds. Playing the same type of squad regularly with the same people is the best way to level your squad abilities but sadly if you play on your own this is almost impossible as there are 7 types of squads and you’re always playing with different people.
|The Squad Ability Tree|
|Picking your squad Specialisation|
Playing as an Officer and Machinegunner on Artois with my friends Brok (Ya Gramps) and Tyler (The Barron) towards the end we encounter mustard gas unfortuantely.
The fighting in this game true to real life is brutal, almost every rifle and machinegun in the game can kill a player with one shot to the chest or head, so everyone is running around with the itchiest trigger fingers ever. A split second could be the difference between you seeing and shooting your opponent to them doing the same and damn is it alternately gratifiying and infuriating if you make the shot or fall face first into the mud and fall you will, successfully getting a bullet into someone while they run through the dirt and watching their body slump onto the ground is one of the most satisfying sights ever in contrast to the Battlefield series where you have to riddle them with bullets or get a headshot before they go down. What makes things worse is that all of the colours blend into each other with the gritty realistic scheme and environment and the character models look very similar so often you don’t know it’s an enemy until it’s too late especially when you are changing factions with different uniforms all of the time so thank god for friendly fire being off as more than once I’ve fired at a random shadow in the darkness then realizing it was a teammate. Some of the best moments I’ve had are as the machinegunner and racking up lots of kills with the rapid fire.
I try out sharpshooting on the Picardie map, I swear I had a scope on but the movie oddly doesn't show it.
The environment and setting of Verdun are all top-notch, all the locations have that gritty WW1 feel and the attention to detail is incredible. I actually only realized after a while that I had the gore turned off by default, and when I turned it on boy was there a change, there were body parts being blown off and soldiers screaming and writhing on the ground and oh that was more like it. The various historical maps looked great too, from the barren trench laden Argonne to the heavily wooden Aisne. Some of my favourites included Vosges which was set in a sparse rocky pinewood forest and Champagne which was the only night map and prime example of heavily entrenched forces, with that map you had two choices, run through the deep trenches as they wind around or risk running along the top where there is a high chance of being shot or getting tangled in the barbed wire and boy is there a lot of it. Flanders is probably one of the hardest maps to move forward as it’s caked in mud and water and there is barely any cover. Moving through these environments feels great and you really feel like you are part of something compared with other FPS games where you are in a team but it’s still every man for himself.
Playing the night map 'Champagne' with my friend Brok, there were only a few players in this game.
The graphics in Verdun are very crisp and realistic looking, there is so much detail in the player models and the maps, the trees the branches the leaves the rough terrain, everything is modelled true to the era, I can run the game at ultra setting with no problem so it’s very optimized as well, even when it’s raining. I play everything on Ultra but leave off the fancy features such as “High dynamic range” “Depth of Field” “Ambient Occlusion” and all that stuff that’s supposed to make the game look better but just downs your FPS, High Dynamic range actually look pretty cool but it makes the sky to bright and the dark bits too dark, I still leave anti-aliasing on though I know have a 1440p monitor now. The sounds are good, rifle shots sound great and so do the explosions and the whistles from the officers, there isn’t really any music apart from the excellent authentic tunes coming from the radio In the menu screen and the squad intro music when you join a squad depending on which type of army you are in .
If you were to ask me which game I enjoy better between
Verdun and Battlefield 1 it’d be a hard choice, Battlefield 1 has many more features
and classes and of course vehicles but that’s not what this game is about, It
would be nice to be able to be a medic in the game though. Of course BF1 is a
bit arcade or generic FPS and has arguably been the same game since Battlefield
3 just with a different skin. Verdun you can tell has been made specifically to
be as accurate as possible to the trench warfare of WW1, the kills are so much
more satisfying then BF1 and you congratulate yourself on each one. Playing
Verdun with friends is great especially if you play regularly, there is enough
content in there including maps, weapons and classes to keep you busy for a
while. Verdun is the best modern WW1 game out there that I know of and fills a
void that is missing from Battlefield 1 which glosses over trench warfare in its
entirety and If you’re a fan of first person shooters at all then you should
give it a go at least once. When I’m sick of all the constant explosions and
planes and tanks rumbling all over the place I know where to go to
|I try out Sniping in the Wooded Vosges map|
Verdun official trailer
I’m happy in my hole.