*This post originally appeared on the MoffBadgerPlays tumblr page*
Since They Shall Not Pass went live for Premium players mid March I’ve been playing it almost nonstop. This DLC pack includes four new maps, five new primary weapons weapons and six new melee weapons, a brand new vehicle and behemoth, two operations and a brand new gamemode.
There’s one thing missing from this release that I feel was a missed opportunity. It does not include a war story for the French Army. I know this would have required more development time for this item, which would mean it would have delayed this much needed content injection for a game starting to stagnate. However, I feel that it would have made a big impact on the player if a short war story had been included. The events for this dlc happened over 100 years ago and speaking as a Brit, Verdun is only mentioned in passing because of it’s implications in the development of the bloodbath that was The Somme.
For those that don’t know, the Battle of Verdun was started by the German Empire with the express purpose of killing as many French soldiers as possible. To bleed France white, the battle was long and agonising with French soldiers defending their network of forts with dogged determination. There were near constant artillery bombardments with some sources claiming that between 40 and 60 million shells were fired. The battle proved to be the longest and one of the most bloody battles of the Western Front. Strangely Fort Douaumont was taken without a single fatality but many of the forts within the region were only taken when they’re walls literally crumbled around the defenders. Fort Vaux, which the dlc map is based on, had the inscription:
“S’ensevelir sous les ruines de fort plutot que de se rendre”
Die amid the ruins of the fort rather than surrender.
The Battle of Verdun is a classic example of the battles of attrition the Western Front became famous for. However, the Operations and Frontlines gametypes not withstanding, I do not get this feeling when I play these maps in Multiplayer. I’m usually a very aggressive player and I use the racetrack* mentality to move around the map to be an annoyance in the enemy teams side. For the most part this strategy is successful. What I would have liked to see was a small war story using the Verdun Heights or Fort Vaux maps to show the desperation of the situation from a storytelling stand point.
I do have to say that the gameplay in Fort De Vaux is fairly good at demonstrating what it would have been like fighting corridor to corridor in a French fort where the spaces were tight with enemies baring down on you but I got the same experience from Operation Metro and Locker in Battlefield 3 and 4 respectively and they did not have any context or history. They are just two armies smashing against each other in a shoebox. I feel that Verdun should have been given some more context for a modern audience than a short cutscene at the start of an Operation.
*The Racetrack mentality is where you treat the map as a track. The enemies are obstacles around the track and your job is to keep your momentum up as you barrel around the map, killing as many as you can before they catch you*