As of lately the big named First Person Shooters (FPS) have been going toward the more modern and even futuristic war approach. Among these there have been few FPSs that have gone back to the traditional style World War I & II environments and Verdun is one of those very few, going back to the First World War (1914-1918) and the sort of more barebones style fighting. Recent series like Call of Duty, Tom Clancy titles, and Battlefield have favored perks and weapon attachments and what I feel like can be very unbalanced gunplay. Verdun on the other hand brings back that classic gun vs gun battle fighting that you felt in some very early shooters but now on current gen level of quality. Verdun brings the elements of what made the First World War such a game changer in how modern wars are fought with the invention of better machine guns, trench warfare and modern military equipment.
Verdun’s play style is what really sets it apart from the other newer shooters that are out on the marketplace. It’s the sort of old style shooting where it’s your gun vs your enemies gun. No increased perks for your gun to shoot through walls or extra health. Simplicity that is not overcomplicated by garbage in my opinion. Verdun is almost nostalgic for me, flashing me back to Medal of Honor Frontlines for the PS2, one of the first shooters that got me into this genre of gaming. You can play as any of the nations that fought in WW1. Along with this Verdun has a huge armory of weapons in game that vary from pistols, rifles, light machine guns, tear gas, cannons and mortars. So, there is a lot to choose from in the ways of how to eliminate your enemies.
The actual play style is set up just like how it was in WW1 with trench warfare tactics being a focus. You must charge and fight to secure an enemy location. Once captured you must defend that newly captured area against the enemy retaliation. If you’ve defended the enemy retaliation you then can charge forward to the new location, but if you can’t defend that location and fail you will lose the newly captured area and will be forced to fall back. There are several obstacles that are present on the battlefield that double as cover and decoration. Some of the obstacles include tank traps and barbwire that can kill you if you get caught up on it. They incorporate bomb blasts impacts on the battlefield that you can use for cover when storming the oncoming enemy. All the trenches are very elaborate and are fairly balanced between both sides. Each team is comprised of 4 squads. The squads are made up of four members which are composed of a bomber, gunner, rifleman, and a NCO officer. Each member of the squad is equipped with distinctive styles of weapons to fit the squad. The best gameplay is when you and your squad members work together. There are some excellent features that were on the PC version that carried over to the console versions such as the quick commands menu on the D pad. This feature is very helpful for pointing out enemy positions or telling squad members where to go. For the actual multiplayer game modes, there are only four game modes, which are Frontlines, Rifle Deathmatch, Attrition, and Squad Defense. Frontlines is the featured mode with the trench warfare style fighting. Rifle Deathmatch is simply free for all. Attrition is the equivalent of team based deathmatch. Finally, Squad Defense is wave based fighting like a Horde mode on Gears of War.
Verdun is a very great game but there are some things that stood out to me. First is when the game first lunched it was extremely hard to get into a game (could possibly be my connection isn’t the greatest) but later was able to get into games but there have only been roughly less than 300 players in Frontlines and even less in the other game modes. With lower number players in the other modes I couldn’t find games in these modes, so I can’t really speak on how the other multiplayer modes are. Frontlines is a great game mode and I think more FPS should incorporate some type of mode like this although when you push forward and capture another point, as you’re defending your new point against and enemy attack, you can’t move forward and keep pushing up. The map turns the next area red and warns you that you’re going “out of bounds” and will be killed if you keep moving forward. I think this is to help prevent spawn killing but in my opinion the charging and movement to the next enemy position is what trench warfare is, but it’s just a small issue and I think they did it to prevent spawn killing. Then there come the gameplay issues. One that was sort of annoying for me is the sprint feature, which is as accustomed the left analog stick pressed in and up to run in the direction. When you release the stick you still want to move forward but your sprint will still be engaged, which can be hassle when you run into cover and try to scoot up but keep running and then are spotted. The game starts out with a basic seven slide tutorial that explains points of the game which helps you understand more but it doesn’t explain the important parts like how to unlock new guns or how to make squad orders and what not. That part isn’t a big deal but it was annoying to play the first games with only a pistol. My complaints are very minimal for what the good outweighs the negatives.
Overall, Verdun is a higher-grade FPS and should be looked as a reinvention or even a revalidation of the genre. Too many new shooters, at least on consoles, are wrapped up in too much extra add-ons, perks, and attachments. Where Verdun takes the simplicity of gun versus gun combat and makes it highly competitive and requiring much more skill. Your health regenerates after a short time eliminating the extra medic or medic bags needed to heal in other FPS and the weapon system where you earn new weapons based on how well you do is how you should be rewarded for FPS. I can’t stress how great of a game this is and really wish more would buy and play so I can check out the other modes.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 9/10
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