Back in April of 2015 developers Blackmill Games and M2H released Verdun on PC, a game they liked to call “the first multiplayer FPS set in a realistic First World War setting”. Two years later the game has been ported over to the Xbox One for console players to try their hands at it. After jumping into the game and giving it time to sink it, it’s time to share my experiences with the game and see if a strict multiplayer, two-year old PC port holds up well enough on console.
Starting up the game you get a text-based tutorial. Explaining the four different classes and how important being in a squad is in the game. You also get shown a bit of one of the game modes, Frontlines. Aside from this mode there are 3 others to give a try. Attrition, which is a team based fire fight, Rifle Death Match is a free for all, and Squad Defense which is just your run of the mill horde mode.
After choosing what mode you want to play, you get to choose which character you want to be in your squad. You have the NCO who is the leader of the group equipped with just a pistol, calling in support and handing out orders, The Rifleman who is a sniper of the group, The Bomber is the tank with grenades, and The Gunner has access to the automatic weapons. Obviously you want a good combo for your squad, but I found myself picking either the Gunner of the Rifleman. I’ve never been much of a leader in these types of games and I wasn’t going to start fresh here.
So that’s what you get before you actually start playing the game, all very standard in the world of online shooters. I put time into each game mode and came back feeling pretty down on my experiences. Let me explain. Squad Defense unfortunately doesn’t have a local co-op mode, in the online or offline versions. After giving the offline mode a shot I made it to wave 3 and died. The mode isn’t all that demanding even for just one player mainly because the bots are incredibly stupid, but there seems to be some sort of glitch when it comes to shooting the AI bots. The hit marker sometimes doesn’t work, so you never really know when or if you’re hitting the enemy or not even at point-blank range.
Frontlines was the bigger of these modes and seeing more than 4 players was pretty great. I didn’t really have any issues at all while playing this mode and actually found myself enjoying it a bit. In both Attrition and RD it was hard to join a game that had a full lobby so the games felt pretty slow. This wasn’t entirely a bad thing though in my experience. Having a game of 3v3 felt almost exciting. Hiding in the bushes and sniping at people, wondering where the other team is lying in wait. A few times I could feel myself get nervous and shifty eyed, so this was a plus for me. It reminded me a lot of Sniper Elite 3’s multiplayer.
So the game modes are all fine and do what they need to do for the most part, but technically and graphically speaking the game has a lot of issues. I understand that they were going for a very realistic setting of WW1 trench warfare, but the game is ugly. Strict browns and little bits of green is all you will see when you look across a map. Character models look good but they really just blend in with the dull scenery so they really don’t get the chance to stand out at all. There were several times when I know I hit someone point-blank but apparently I completely missed or it just didn’t register at all. Even on AI bots the hit boxes seem wonky and incredibly stupid. I have seen other players have graphical issues in which character models are entirely white, making you stick out for everyone to see in the battlefield. Luckily I didn’t experience this at all, unless I was the one who was affected and never knew.
The game prides itself on being a super realistic WW1 experience, and they mean it. Bullets will kill you in one shot if it’s above the waist, reloading takes an amazingly long time for certain guns, and you sometimes can’t reload until the clip is entirely empty. For the realism I give Verdun a nice little nod, but not much more.
Verdun can be an almost exciting experience at times with its decently implemented Frontlines mode and Death Matches, but ultimately the game has too many technical hiccups to really stand out in the online shooter space. If you are looking for a WW1 experience I would check out Battlefield 1 instead. The player base is much larger and the game, although has it’s glitches as well, runs much better.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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