Developer: M2H, Blackmill Games
Publisher: Blackmill Games, M2H
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Xbox One
Verdun (Xbox One) – Review
Before the large box office title Battlefield One took the glory of being the World War One game of the century we did not have many games portraying this war. With only a handful of titles that have walked the grounds of that event in history, Verdun was known to be one of the first real FPS games to be set in this era. It started its life on Steam Greenlight and was later released for consoles. As we already had the honor of reviewing the PC and PlayStation 4 version, it is now time to see if the Xbox One port is any different.
Verdun takes place in the trench warfare during World War One. While fighting over grounds all over Europe you will step into the shoes, or rather boots, of these soldiers. While each squad has its unique settings and abilities, it is fun to be playing as a Belgian troop on Belgian ground for example. Story wise you are treated to a large text that explains about the field with the use of actual photos on the loading screen of the trench you will be fighting over. For the rest there is an absence of a true story, this to make the gameplay a bit faster or to let your imagination run wild but it does feel like a missed opportunity.
Verdun saw the daylight first on the PC, where it had astonishing graphics even for an affordable title. When it was ported to the console however it sticks us like a thorn in the eye that this is the place where the game took a few hits below the belt. With the maps being emptier and rougher it does come to mind that the visuals are from last generation. Aside from that the game does win a few points when it comes to weapons details and costumes. What can still be an annoyance is that some weapons tend to bug out visually with magazines randomly floating in and out, this should’ve been an issue that had to be fixed already.
While the graphics might not be the ‘forte’ of Verdun, it does make up with its incredible sound. As you get the selection of various countries to fight with, each platoon has its unique voice style and uses native language. This offers a great immersion during the battles and you might learn a word or two. Artillery strikes are fearsome to hear with the sound whistling and explosions ringing around your earsto ensure you stay put or run like a little girl. But with great effort comes great responsibility and with a screeching loud sound bug that is present we would say it is best to turn your TV down for the moment until this nasty one is patched.
Verdun is a First Person Shooter that is set during the First World War. As a soldier you participate in one of four gameplay styles: Frontlines, Rifle Deathmatch, Attrition and Squad Defence. When picking your character there is in each squad a selection of four roles with each role having unique setups considering the available weapon so you do need to play your class right to ensure victory.
This game was built on a strong love towards realism and this is very noticeable in a few ways. First of all, some weapons can only be used while lying down or deployed on surfaces as these are some machine guns that are deemed too heavy to hip fire. While these are mostly the same as Battlefield One, we do understand how the gameplay is adjusted to make a game either more fluent or more realistic. Next up is the weapon jam or wrong bolting. This occurs when you are using your weapon and due to combat you do not cock the weapon right or fully push the bolt or hammer back into place. This is randomized but with the right action at the right timing this can be greatly influenced. Some weapons also take special reloading, such as clips that need to be completely emptied in order to be able to replace them or you need to unload the bullet one at the time before refilling her up. All of these rules would make a nice realistic gameplay but is hindered by the bots that are also present on the battlefield. With sometimes A.I. that does not know how to shoot or has the aim of a hawk can influence the game. The majority of this title has to be spent online and when you only have one mode that is compatible with bots (what is strange since every mode can be perfectly done with A.I.), it does makes us feel that the developers don’t like it that you play on your own. And this is perfectly fine but if you do not have the subscription payment for your console this game is a sitting duck in your collection.
A thing that made World War One unique in its own gruesome way is the fact that a lot of deadly gas was used back then. Since it was later banned it did slip away from our minds that soldiers often had to equip gasmasks. Initially breathing in the fumes will not kill you in a mere second, it will vastly blind you and leaves you harmless for a few moments until you are recovered with the mask on. While some factions have various models of the mask this does let them stand apart from it all.
The progression system in the game is one that uses two routes to become better. First of all you gain ranks as a soldier, this will unlock career points and with these you have the ability to unlock higher ranks of classes. The other route is unique per squad and per role and increases the abilities that the character has. With the higher rank on a soldier some weapons do tend to get a little upgrade in the form of an attachment or modification that is small but could make a huge difference.
Controlling the game feels rather neutral, in low combat situations you have everything under control but when the action starts it gets rather hectic and the game becomes clunky on the feel and raises stress by a bit. Is it therefore a bad point you might ask, it depends on situation and role. Some combat situations will require for fast reflexes but overall if you come prepared you will not find too many obstacles.
Verdun is a great title on its own for the PC, but its console ports do needs some polishing up and patching to become real great titles. With the bar set for WWI titles the game does suffer from a few flaws in coding and annoying bugs, but with a bit of work and maybe bot support in more offline modes Verdun could become a nice realistic portrait of the trench warfare back in the early 1900’s.