Day of Infamy Review: Visceral, Punishing and Satisfying

reviews by Sean Halliday

Day of Infamy Has a Curious History…

Its original release was a World War 2 themed mod of Insurgency, which in turn was a total conversion mod of Valve’s source engine. After some time in the Early Access program, Day of Infamy’s graduated to full release happened earlier this year. Just how good can a multiplayer mod from another multiplayer mod be?

 

Rewards Cohesion and Cooperation

At the heart of the game lies an old school soul. Day of Infamy takes themes from classic team-based shooters that have mostly been lost in time. Teamwork, tactics and street smarts all form the core principles of New World Interactive’s latest release. Most modern shooters focus purely on each player’s experience, making sure they’re entertained and catered to. Day of Infamy does not care for that notion, preferring to make the player a cog in the overall war machine that is their team.

 

 

It may sound daunting, but it’s wonderfully refreshing. Split between Allied and Axis forces, players slot themselves into one of eight roles. Every single role has a place in the team, providing various services and resources that lead to success. This is where Day of Infamy grows into a much smarter multiplayer experience that rewards cohesion and cooperation.

Riflemen act as the sturdy base for any team, while Flamethrowers, Assault, Snipers, and Engineers provide more specialist services.  Support and Machinegunners are the backbones of the force, supplying suppressing fire for comrades.  Officers and Radiomen are the keys to victory, a dynamic duo that feeds off each other while bestowing their team valuable air and artillery support.

 

Know Your Role

Regardless of personal skill, every player has a place in Day of Infamy. The manner in which roles connect together to form a genuine sense of solidity is hugely impressive. Witnessing a group of strangers band together to make use of their tool set is why multiplayer videos are so enjoyable to play. Smoke grenades deployed, Officers calling in air strikes as radiomen stand by their side. The suppressing fire of the M1919 covering its team mate’s advancement. It all meshes together so fluently, becoming a natural process rather than a forced mechanic.

 

 

In a strange way, you begin to build an attachment to your role and teammates. When playing as a radioman I’d often find myself darting between cover to reach the nearest officer. Smoke Barrages called in, we’d move up the battlefield alongside our now hidden allies. I knew what my role was and how it fitted into the team, and it felt brilliant. A level of belonging and comradery shared from teammate to teammate, with a joint goal. Day of Infamy manages to forge these emotions effortlessly, resulting in some of the best multiplayer action on the market.

 

A Finely Balanced Range of Choices

Each of the eight roles can be customized in various ways. Additional grenades can be equipped, weapon attachments can be added. In some cases, different firearms can be equipped depending on the chosen role. Dictating which items can and can’t be equipped is a weight and supply systems. Each player is given a set weight they cannot exceed. Every item (bar the knife) has a weight value, forcing players to pick and choose their equipment wisely.

 

 

It’s a credit to how controlled the system is when every item has its place within the game. Showing constraint and appreciation of the game’s setting, New World Interactive has crafted a finely balanced range of choices that directly affect any given match.  There’s next to no long term progression system, and that suits the game perfectly. It’s not about you, it’s about the team. Not many modern games can boast similar feats.

 

Supplying a Refreshing Taste of Realistic

Day of Infamy preserves its roots and continues to adhere to Insurgency’s unforgiving nature. A single bullet is enough to end a player’s life most of the time. Well-placed artillery and air strikes can decimate teams. The notion of lone wolves racking up kill streaks with reckless abandon is replaced with smart play being the way forward. It’s a brutal affair, with death coming often for new players. Every bullet brings a lesson of encouragement to think before you move.

 

“The notion of lone wolves racking up kill streaks with reckless abandon is replaced with smart play…”

That unforgiving mean streak to the gameplay carries throughout the entire Day of Infamy experience. Coming under heavy fire will cause player’s vision to blur. Nearby explosions cause shell shock and confusion as the screen contorts and wobbles.  These mechanics enhance the experience, supplying a refreshing taste of realistic gameplay in a market bogged down with instant gratification.

 

Larger WWII Scope and Representation

New World Interactive have built a fair range of maps from across the battlefields of Europe. Where most games tend to focus on the American involvement in World War 2, Day of Infamy prefers to be more expansive. Players will find themselves representing the likes of Scottish, Indian and Candian divisions under the allied forces, as well as the expected American divisions.

 

 

Each of the 11 maps featured offer unique experiences thanks to the solid design and an understanding of the ebb and flow team based multiplayer entails. Whether it’s the beaches of Normandy or the cramped streets of Crete, every single map works in tandem with the game’s focus on teamwork and use of equipment. Smart machine gun placements can halt enemy advancements, forcing them to use smoke grenades and bazookas. A solid front line of rifleman utilizing high points and cover require suppressing fire and flanking to overcome.

Players are never told how to react to overcome. They naturally learn and adapt to how the enemy team is embedded into the environment. With an impressive range of maps that change up how games play out, there’s very little to complain about, but plenty to applaud.

 

Substance Over Spectacle

Running on Valve’s Source engine, Day of Infamy’s visual may be an issue for some. Up close, textures can look rather muddy. Character models and details are surprisingly decent as long as you ignore the slightly corpse-like faces. Calling the game ugly or bland would be a disservice. The environments look the part, displaying all the crumbling ruin of bombed out towns and forests.

 

 

Great detail has clearly been taken in nailing the look of the weaponry. From the wood panels of the M1 Garand to the cold metal barrel of the MG42, everything looks accurate to its real life counterpart. It goes a long way in helping immerse the player, even on an old engine like Source.

 

Audio Compliments Core Gameplay

Although overlooked by many reviews and previews, Day of Infamy’s audio is nothing short of brilliant. Artillery shells crash into the floor with an almighty thunder. Bullets whistled through the air, pinging into the environment. Grenades deafen, announcing their arrival with bellow explosions. These sounds build the atmosphere of war, convincing the player they’re in the thick of combat. But it’s not all about helping create the mood.

 

“That split second when you hear the enemy team discussing tactics from behind a wall is exhilarating.”

Audio compliments the core gameplay, allowing users to telegraph where the shot was fired from. In a clever touch, player’s using microphone to communicate can be heard by either team providing they’re close enough. Day of Infamy uses proximity-based voice chat, feeding into the game’s setting. As an added extra, eavesdropping on enemy chatter becomes a tactical advantage.

It says a lot about New World Interactive’s attention to detail when audio is more than just sound. The importance of listening becomes well known to veteran players, allowing them to become more effective within the game. That split second when you hear the enemy team discussing tactics from behind a wall is exhilarating.

 

Day of Infamy Represents Immense Value

Modern video games are going through a period of fascination with old school principles. Day of infamy does more than that, much more. With the foundations firmly built, New World Interactive has crafted a smart team based shooter that goes against the grain of modern games. It’s never about the individual, rewarding teamwork and communication in equal measure.

 

 

For under £20, Day of Infamy represents immense value. Even with some dated visuals, it’s the experiences and mechanics that keep you playing. Very few games on the modern market provide such a visceral, punishing and satisfying multiplayer offering. It may be going under the radar, but Day of Infamy stands out as one of the finest multiplayer games in years.

About the Author

Sean Halliday

Bargain bin version of Henry Rollins. Ex-Byker Grove cast member, former member of Ant & Dec

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