Jess
Mar 13, 2017
Publisher: BlackMill Games and M2H
Developer: BlackMill Games and M2H
Review platform: Xbox One
Release date: Mar 8, 2017
Verdun is a competitive first-person shooter set in World War I. The game offers four primary modes: Frontline, Attrition, Rifle Deathmatch and Squad Defense. Due to server connection problems and lack of players, I was only able to play Frontline and Attrition, so I will focus on those modes. It’s clear the developers of Verdun cared about historical accuracy, as they attempted to replicate the era’s guns, costumes and geography. Even the loading screens are full of historical photographs and information about the various battles. Unfortunately, attention to history is about the only positive thing I can say about Verdun.

From the very start, the game is plagued with server connection issues. It took me over a day of trying just to get placed within a game of Frontline (it is much easier if you have a group of players to party with) only to face lag, poor graphics and unreliable shooting mechanics. Not only that, but the game cannot handle proper team balancing as it even prompts players to volunteer to switch teams rather than balancing them itself. In addition to that, I faced long respawn times, incomplete rendering of environments and enemy players, and high probability to get randomly booted from the server. With such an unreliable and unenjoyable multiplayer experience, I tried to play offline instead.

Offline mode is just as problematic. Computer-controlled characters ignore me, get stuck walking into corners, and seem to lack tactics. Just as in multiplayer, the controls are unwieldy, stiff and frustrating. The graphics are still poor, and the landscapes lack any kind of appealing detail. The audio is simplistic and essentially non-existent. Overall, it was a struggle to force myself to return to the game again and again. It’s clear there are interesting elements buried under the problems—squad tactics, trench strategy, and the time period, for example—but I couldn’t fully experience them.

These bugs and development problems also make the game incredibly inaccessible. Everything from the visuals to loading screens cluttered with text to poor remapping of controls makes this unnecessarily inaccessible to disabled gamers. So much would need to be fixed just to make the game reliably playable for non-disabled gamers, let alone to create a richly-accessible experience for all. I did look up reviews of the PC version, and it seems the game had more success off-console. It’s a shame that they released such a poor port for Xbox One given the positive reviews it received on Steam! I guess I now know why it was delayed on Xbox One for months.

Summary

Verdun is a perfect example of why PC games cannot just be copied to console without care and thought. Poor graphics, server connection issues, and terrible controller remapping hold this game back from being successful on console. In addition to being needlessly inaccessible, Verdun spoils the potentially interesting content it has to offer with crashes, lag, and disconnections.
Our score: 3/10

Disappointing - May have some fleeting enjoyment, but mostly fails to deliver.
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