WW1 Isonzo (Xbox Series X)
When I first saw the press shots of Isonzo I was transported back to a time I’d forgotten about, back in the mid 2000’s when we were showered with B and C tier budget WW2 shooters, things like WW2 Sniper: Call to Victory and Combat Elite: WW2 Paratroopers. These would often be developed by the same few eastern european studios with a few palette swaps here and there. However WW1 Isonzo is a multiplayer first person shooter from the studios of M2H and Blackmill Games, the third in the WW1 Game Series, after Verdun and Tannenberg. We see the tactical shooter move to the Italian front, lets venture to the Stivale and see how the game is.
We’re transported to the Alps and the Isonzo river valley, a gorgeous mountainous region of Italy, where in reality the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italian forces engaged in battles between 1915 and 1917. WW1 Isonzo is a 40 player multiplayer shooter with multiple game modes but with no real single player campaign. However bot matches are available if you’re not quite comfortable to go right online.
Being a shooter based on the first world war, combat is a bit more slower than modern counterparts, the game definitely plays a lot more of a tactical shooter as opposed to running around with an MP5 trying to spray as many people as possible. Most of the 25 in game weapons are semi-automatic, with only 4 have an automatic clip (3 Machine guns and a Sub Machine gun).
Ranking these weapons up are based around two criteria too, you’ll have to reach certain levels and then do certain challenges to get these items. It’s a bit more roundabout compared to your more modern warfare types but these reward good gameplay aswell as being generally a better player.
Character classes also dictate how you get to play the game too, there’s 6 in total. These are your usual ones too (Marksman, Assault Engineer) and then some more focused on Isonzo like the Mountaineer (Recon based, which can boost fire rate and movement speed for your team). It’s worth sticking with one throughout a game and ranking it as much as you can.
Gun play is very of the era, your guns will mostly take a cockback before you have to take a second shot unless you’re using a pistol and most shots will do real damage, where a body shot or a head shot is mostly an instant kill, if you have to get up close and personal a nice bayonet will finish the job.
Game modes are pretty standard fare, with mostly objective pointed missions. All of these are basically attack or defend game modes, with some slight variations on objectives, these are based around 3 of the offensive battles in the actual war and each of these has between 1 and 3 maps to cycle through. Like previously mentioned though, the addition of bots allow players to hone their skills before diving into the real multiplayer, or if not there’s difficulty modes to go with the bots, and you can have matches with half bots half player controlled, so you and a few buds can join up against them. Custom games however don’t add to your progression, so don’t expect to cheese your way to a higher rank against bots.
Each map has a unique feel to it, which some shooters lack, I enjoyed battling my way through the colourful streets of Gorizia, with it’s tight streets and intense battles (to be fair, all battles are really intense) due to it’s excellent map design, and the heights of Fior despite climbing a huge mountain the map is claustrophobic due to it’s tight trenches and tight bottle necks. These all look excellent too, with the “next generation” fully underway now, the visuals of Isonzo are up there with triple A standards.
I did feel like I was already way behind the curve in terms of combat, it felt most players were already miles ahead of me, so people already had quite a bit of an advantage. There also seems to be a lack of invincibility once you get back into a game, at some points I felt I was in a bit of a loop where I’d die, respawn and then die again a few times before it was just better to move to another seciton of the map. Luckily if you’re anything like me and you’ll constantly die, you’re usually able to respawn within a few seconds and get right back into the action, which is even more true if you’ve got a squad of more capable team mates.
In the greatest respect Isonzo is a real no frills shooter, everything feels how the Great War would have, with a lot of modern shooters you get sent down rabbit holes full of dlc of things that aren’t historically accurate and the two teams have absolutely nailed it. Visually it’s absolutely stunning with some great variation in the content of the maps. Tactics and communication are key in this quality shooter. There’s also at least 3 episodes of DLC due before Christmas too, so it looks like support is strong for this one.
Really good hardcore stuff, it’d be perfect with a squad.
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