'Verdun' Is Beating 'Battlefield 1' to WWI Carnage

More trenches, less horse death.

On August 31, players will be able to get their hands on a small slice of Battlefield 1 when the beta for EA DICE’s World War I multiplayer goes live for a few days, after which it will go dark again until October 21.

Fortunately, for those who can barely contain their Battlefield desire, EA’s game isn’t the only WWI shooter on the market. The honor of first actually goes to Verdun, a long circulating arena combat game that pits players against one another on the famed trenches of the horrifying conflict.

Having grown up among the harsh criticisms of Steam’s Early Access, Verdun was released in April, 2015. While the initial reviews were unenthusiastic, in the year since, the developers have worked overtime to enhance the gameplay experience, and the result has been largely successful, at least according the to the latest reviews on Steam.

On August 30, Verdun is being released for both the PS4 and the Xbox One, and gamers will have a more-than-worthy title to fill their time until Battlefield 1 arrives.

The Battle of Verdun

Fought in 1916, the German assault on the French-held Verdun is still considered one of the most vicious battles in modern history. Nearly 800,000 people lost their lives in what turned from a surprise attack into a ten month siege. It’s from this grueling affair that Verdun draws inspiration, putting players in the shoes of an anonymous infantry grunt thrust into one of the most terrifying situations on Earth.

Imagine constant bombardments exploding over your head as you and a handful of soldiers run frantically through a maze of trenches that aren’t much wider than your shoulders. All of a sudden, the ground starts to slope upwards, the walls of the trench fall away and you’re in the middle of an open field staring at a line of well-secured enemy soldiers, their weapons poised and open for business. Your only hope of survival is to run into that gaping maw and pray you come out the other side.

If that’s the sensation you’re looking for from Battlefield 1, then Verdun has got you covered.

Keep Your Expectations Appropriate

First and foremost, don’t go into Verdun expecting the same level of spectacle you’d see in DICE’s triple-A title. In other words, don’t go into Verdun expecting gruesome horse murder, the ability to drive a tank or pilot a plane, or really anything approaching the following level of jaw-dropping awesome:

If you take a good look at Verdun’s home page, you might notice that words like “realistic” and “authentic” are sprinkled freely around the page. The weapons you’ll play with are modeled on the ones soldiers actually took into battle. The emphasis is on recreating the sensation of actually fighting in World War I. Meanwhile, DICE’s no less altruistic approach in Battlefield 1 is something more akin to finding out what happens when you crash a bi-wing into a tank.

In Verdun, the clashes are gritty, close-quarters affairs that explode in small pockets all over the map. Gas is used liberally, grenades explode unpredictably, and the next time you turn a corner you could end up with a bullet to the head. There’s a down-to-earth immediacy to the gameplay that’s core to enjoying the experience.

Think of it as “Battlefield Light”

When we can finally get a taste of Battlefield 1’s medieval warfare with modern weapons on August 31, the expectation is that — in addition to the spectacle — we’ll also get a good dose of the claustrophobic adrenaline rush that’s featured in Verdun.

In fact, it’s likely that most Battlefield 1 players will spend a lot more time cringing in trenches than they will at the stick of a fighter jet. If you’re planning on diving into EA’s battle, it’s a sensation you’ll want to get used to. Once you’ve had your way with DICE’s beta, and while you’re waiting for the proper release of Battlefield 1, Verdun may be just the title to keep your bloodlust satiated.
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