By Dennis "CallMeBackdraft" Aspers on May 4, 2015
Welcome to the front soldier. It might not be as comfortable as what you are accustomed to at home but fear not, we will be home by Christmas...
That was what the commanding officer told us over a year ago. Yet here we are, still in the trenches on a field in Flanders, surrounded by dirt, mud, barbed wire and a whole bunch of enemies.
We have stepped into the world of Verdun, the new game made by the M2H Game Studio and Blackmill Games. The setting is the First World War, something we haven't seen in a long time. Even though the war is an old one, the game is really refreshing. Instead of futuristic guns firing 300 rounds per minute, Verdun features almost no full-auto weapons, radar, drones or kill streaks whatsoever. On the contrary; it generates a perpetual fear of sticking your head out of the trench you are currently residing in, especially because of the fact that it doesn't take ten+ bullets to meet your maker. Verdun comes with a huge reality check; one well placed rifle round to your chest and you will be pushing up the daisies (if there were any left on the fields of Flanders, that is).
We have seen a lot of FPS games come and go over the past few years, but none of these games bring you the challenge Verdun does. One simple mistake is enough to kill you and this makes it really hard, usually even impossible, to get away from the current battle alive.
When you die you don't get a personal respawn counter. Instead the respawning happens in waves, usually 15 seconds apart. This is done so the opponents can gain momentum in recovering lost ground, move forward on to the next trench and claim the new trench as their own. Of course this also works the other way around when you are able to strike at the heart of an opposing team's company. The teams in this game are pretty large; 16 vs 16 players and every side has been split up into four squads of four soldiers, each soldier with its own role on the field.
The weaponry you can use is unlocked by using Campaign points, which in turn are earned by leveling up. So you will have to keep killing, advancing on enemy trenches or retreating when your side's momentum is gone because your team suffered to many losses in a short time span.
All in all Verdun is, as we've mentioned earlier, really refreshing. With the new mechanics it brings to the FPS genre, the claustrophobic fighting in the trenches in the hopes of not getting killed by one stray bullet. Another feature the developers have incorporated in the game is the use of poisonous gas. This is dropped onto the battlefield in regular intervals, necessitating you to use a gas-mask. And while using this mask will save you from the gas-attack, it narrows your field of view considerably, making it harder to accurately pick out enemy positions.
In the past decade, the FPS genre has been flooded with games that feature futuristic themes, all with their own specific challenges. But we have not seen anything like Verdun before, so if you are up for the challenge then sign up and join us on the front lines. We will have your back, just as long as you are on our side that is...