World War I games are finally find their niche in the video game industry. Perhaps EA’s Battlefield 1 brought the conflict to the masses, but developers M2H games has just released their third installment of WWI games called Isonzo (behind Verdun and Tannenberg).
It is set in rugged and rocky Italian Alps and this time the action takes us straight into the years 1915 through 1917. Isonzo is surely one of the most historically accurate war games I’ve played, ever. But historical accuracy wouldn’t really matter if the gamed sucked—fortunately it doesn’t.
In Isonzo, each team is tasked with a number of objectives it has to carry out among all twelve battles that take place in the blood-soaked Alps. I wasn’t sure I was going to be a fan of simulated trench warfare, but this game is split up into advancing (hopefully) under the cover of friendly fire and then hunkering down behind cover or in trenches.
The action in this game can be fast-paced one second while you’re clearing out a bunker and then settle into a time of respite as fighter planes swoop down low from the skies, dropping devastating bombs that explode around you. You’ll also have to avoid mortar shells that crash into nearby rocks as bullets whizz past your head at dizzying speeds.
And then there are toxic gas weapons that can also take you out. Fortunately, everyone’s equipped with gas masks, which allows them more survivability—granted they put them on in time as you fight alongside your cohorts and to push forward together to the next objective.
Isonzo’s sound design also works well to paint a perfectly cinematic war experience that unfolds around you as you behold bodies dropping from well-placed bullets (in front and beside you). There can be up to 48 human players per map, which isn’t quite up to the 64 and 100 people games we’ve seen, but it’s still pretty intense.
Some of the games featured a lot of bots, but I’ve heard this has to do with the game just being launched on Steam. If the game’s publishers get the word out about it, it’ll hopefully catch on with more people (just as the excellent modern day shooter Squad has).
One thing that stuck out about this game is that it is noticeably better looking than the previous WWI games, Verdun and Tannenberg). The environments are stunning in their natural beauty, such as rocky cliffs and idyllic alpine towns nestled in grassy hilltop valleys. These beautiful places contrast with the violence unfolding between the two teams.
Fortunately, this WWI shooter has had a lot of work done on it since its preview version that I got to play before the full release. Isonzo is a very different war experience—vastly more unique in how its battlefields are laid out. Instead of the usual flat plains we’ve all seen in other WWI games, such as Battlefield 1. It’s also much more realistic since just about everyone only gets to use bolt-action rifles, instead of everybody having automatic weapons.
In the end, if you love historical shooters, you should definitely like Isonzo. But folks who simply like slow-paced wargames mixed with moments of sheer chaos should also appreciate the sheer entertainment value of this WWI game. Isonzo is out now on Steam, so get those gaming PCs ready for action!