You are currently viewing Test – Isonzo: the FPS that plunges you into the heart of the Italian-Austrian conflict – Geeko

Test – Isonzo: the FPS that plunges you into the heart of the Italian-Austrian conflict – Geeko

After Verdun and Tannenberg, the small Dutch studio BlackMill Games already gives us its third title. Isonzo is part of his “WWI” series, which makes us relive the greatest battles of the 1st World War. Direction this time the Alps, for a bloody conflict between the Italian army and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

After the excellent Tannenberg, BlackMill Games invites us to return to the front with Isonzo, a new multiplayer war game played exclusively in first person, which focuses this time on the battles waged between Italy and the Austro- Hungarian in the Alps.

Bombardments and gas attacks can do great damage…

The entire game is built around the Offense mode, in which players will join one of two factions to either protect lines of defense or attempt to carry out the offensive. A concept that is similar to that of Battlefield. The defending faction will have to maintain its positions and eliminate as many enemies as possible by reinforcing its defenses if possible. The attacking faction will have to complete several objectives: like blowing up a position or capturing an outpost, before running out of reinforcements (usually 250 men). The game takes place in several acts, until the defeat of one of the two factions.

Isonzo thus stands out from his ancestors. Verdun was more focused on a positional war. Tannenberg offered much more mobile battles on the eastern front. Isonzo mixes the two aspects with alpine fights which add a little verticality to the clashes. There are trench fights, more open play areas and above all environments that are generally much more vertical than in previous games. And it is undoubtedly at the level of its level-design that the game shines the most. Most of the levels offer to compete in idyllic alpine settings. Which may become your grave… Over the bombings, poison gas attacks and lethal charges. The front line moves throughout the game, with changes in environments that may surprise you since you go from trench warfare to urban confrontations, then in the middle of nature in some cases. The levels are also conducive to actions carried out on several fronts at the same time. The faction that takes control of the fixed machine guns and reinforcement points on its route will often be the one that wins the game. Be careful however, it is necessary to communicate well between teammates and to carry out actions on several fronts simultaneously, which is not always easy.

The battlefield evolves throughout the game.

We feel it, BlackMill now perfectly masters the formula. Isonzo’s level-design borders on excellence. Like its predecessors, Isonzo is also intended to be a historically very realistic experience, with realistic battlefields that highlight fights that really happened. If you’ve never played a game in the series, you might be surprised at first. It is true that the title can be merciless with beginners. The gameplay remains demanding. One ball is enough to put you on the ground. And since the game stages fights involving several dozen units, bombardments and artillery fire, it is not always easy to navigate when you start. The gameplay of the game is intended to be realistic: the weapons of the First World War lack precision and are slow to reload. But Isonzo is nonetheless very fun. Most weapons come with a five- or six-round magazine, which can take out a few enemies. When you run out of ammunition, however, nothing prevents you from going into close combat, with the bayonet.

The gameplay of the title remains technical.

So no battle royale, no deathmatches either, or even a real solo mode. Isonzo is a game entirely based on its Offensive mode. And that’s what makes it so charming. The entire game was based on this concept, which is taken further than in the previous installments, which represented battles on fixed maps. The great novelty in this episode is this front line which progresses and opens the doors to new game areas as soon as an objective is fulfilled. In this sense, the game is very well thought out since it offers excellent replayability with its games lasting 30 to 40 minutes and which can be replayed several times on both sides.

As in previous titles in the franchise, it is possible to take control of several classes with very different attributes from each other. From the assault unit to the engineers, who cut the barbed wire, to the snipers. Better, with the experience acquired, the player unlocks new weapons for his units, and more equipment. The player will not have to be content to rush on the battlefield since it will also be necessary to use particular attributes: to pose barbed wire, to order artillery barrages, to send mustard gas on the enemy lines. By its construction, the game is also intended to be strategic.

The alpine scenery is very pleasant.

As we said above, Isonzo is typically the kind of FPS that shows its potential over time: when you master your class well, you have improved your equipment, you master the maps and you is able to anticipate opposing strategies, preferably as a team. There is really enough to spend hours and hours on this title. And, if it is true that this third game from the studio is 10€ more expensive than its predecessor (29.99€), and that it does not necessarily offer more content at launch, the developers have already announced a roadmap game that includes new weapons, factions and maps. DLCs ​​that will mostly be free. The follow-up of the game also promises to be excellent with the promise of updates to improve the AI ​​of the bots and improve the balance of the fights. The previous games had also been entitled to an excellent follow-up from the developers.

The gas mask will often save your life.

Another advantage of the game compared to its predecessors: the introduction of crossplay which guarantees a very active community. Because casually, it was one of the main flaws of the previous part, which was quickly dead on some platforms, the fault of the absence of players in the playlists. Too often, you had to settle for facing bots in soulless games. When Isonzo came out, the servers were full to the brim with dozens of games available. A good thing.

Conversely, at launch, we noticed some bugs and crashes and above all, an AI that turned out to be much less convincing than in previous installments. If in certain situations, the bots manage correctly, they tend to stay parked in one place and do not behave very realistically in all conditions… The diversity of the maps certainly has a lot to do with it, because we feel it, they do not always adapt to the terrain.

We are preparing to launch the assault…

Another criticism that we will address to the game: the presence of only two factions. Admittedly, this is down to historical realism, but compared to other installments in the franchise, the casting is a little light. However, the developers have already promised the addition of a third faction with future free DLC.

Technically too, the game disappoints (a little). Isonzo is certainly nice overall, but the evolution compared to the previous parts remains timid and the game did not seem to us to be particularly optimized for new-gen consoles. Be careful, however, not to compare the title to the latest COD or Battlefield. Isonzo is a game that is developed by a very small team. Considering the size of the levels and the display distance, the result remains very convincing. We do not play in this title to take full eyes…

So yes, Isonzo is not a monumental slap, everything was far from perfect at launch and yes, FPS enthusiasts will probably regret being limited to a single campaign, in the heart of the Alps. That being said, the title is a real success on many levels. Blackmill has now mastered its formula perfectly, the roadmap is attractive and several flaws in the game should quickly be corrected through updates.

Conclusion

After Tannenberg, the Blackmill studio strikes once again very hard with Isonzo, a first-person war game that invites us to relive the great battles of the First World War in Italy, between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire . An unknown conflict that takes place above all in majestic settings. We feel it, the studio masters its formula much better. The main game mode, called “Offensive” offers to take part in battles which confront an attacker and a defender. The fights are extremely intense: they feature several dozen soldiers on a battlefield that is constantly changing, with bombardments, mortar fire, mustard gas… Each game lasts between 30 and 40 minutes. And very quickly we realize the incredible replayability of the title. Very strategic, the title offers extremely engaging tactical confrontations, with totally different courses from one game to another. The concept is well established, the production is meticulous and the content quite generous. At €29.99, here is an excellent multiplayer FPS to keep busy this winter with friends.

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