Day of Infamy is a strategic multiplayer WW2 FPS with an emphasis on team composition, coordination, and large scale battles born out of an Insurgency mod. Insurgency itself was a mod for Half Life 2. Basically, this game is modception incarnate. It gets even more deep, as the Day of Infamy Mod was inspired by Day of Defeat, a mod for Half-Life later purchased by Valve.
This is your tactical first person shooter with some incredible WW2 themed window dressing. The game isn’t slow, however. It’s very fast-paced and hectic. The battles all involve either taking over control points or defending them from enemy soldiers, all while providing support and working together with your teammates. There are 9 classes and 10 objective based modes, though, that includes co-op and bot modes. You get a limited number of respawns, and, depending on which side you are on, you either get timed respawns, or have to run back to regroup for your team to respawn. This allows a balance in that defenders can hold the line and sacrifice lives a bit more recklessly than the offense can, forcing a coordinated, tactical effort by the offense to take a site efficiently.
This game isn’t the most beautiful game in the world, though, it definitely fits the theme and looks great. I would say the graphics are definitely more realistic than cartoonish, and the ability to remove limbs from enemies and other gore keeps the realism intact, nothing seems overkill or gratuitous for the sake of being gory. It FEELS like you’re actually playing through the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan when you’re running up that beach, and – thanks to the game’s VOIP system – it sounds like it too, as you can hear enemies AND teammates speaking when you’re up close. Well, a lot less screaming going on, but, it’s a video game. If you want to talk to your whole team, you’ll need a radio nearby.
From a design perspective, this game covers all the basics well. The levels are tried-and-true, some of them lifted directly from Day of Defeat. Level design is incredibly important in a game like this, but, one of the coolest things about it, is that it doesn’t matter if a level is unbalanced in most of the game modes – You end up switching to the other force once it’s complete, so that if you had a disadvantage the first time, you now have the advantage. This allows for much more realistic situations, such as my earlier example of the beachfront – the Germans obviously had a huge advantage, with American soldiers basically running into a blender made of bullets. This is how it feels in the game too, provided the Germans coordinate well enough and put machine guns in the nests. The usefulness of each of the classes seems fair – each class has it’s own value, though, the Officer class definitely seems to outshine the others – provided he has a radio with him. This allows him to turn the tide of the battle by calling in artillery support, smoke cover, or to bolster the team with supply crates, as well as other similar abilities. He can also use global commands to coordinate the troops, and, if they listen, the team will have a significant advantage. Provided your team uses all of these to their best ability, a tight-knit squad will almost always defeat a better equipped or trained force that isn’t working well together.
The gameplay is built around honesty. I mean that in the sense of realism. The Allies had a better standard rifle than the Germans did, and, that shows in the gameplay. The Semi-automatic with an 8 round clip M1 Garand beats the 5 round bolt action Karabiner 98k in almost every conceivable way, and the game doesn’t compensate that by lowering the damage on the Garand. Of course, I don’t want to get into an argument over which squad was better equipped, because any military enthusiast with a boner for WW2 is probably going to tell you that the doctrines were completely different, with the squad weapons supporting the riflemen in US configurations while the Germans supported the MG42 with it’s riflemen, but, needless to say, the military might of each nation is portrayed fairly. There are situations where it takes more than 1 hit to kill you, but a lot less than I imagined. The game feels right, and there’s very rarely a reason to run into open spaces because if somebody’s watching, you WILL get shot. In that sense, this game definitely has a sense of realism in it’s battles, and I would argue even more so than something such as ARMA III, where, if you get shot, you can usually just bandage yourself up and keep jogging.
Don’t expect to survive entire battles holding off the enemy by yourself, this game is successful due to it’s emphasis on teamwork and player cohesion. It’s probably the most realistic shooter I’ve played recently, as I haven’t touched a shooter since ARMA. (Hit us up for those reviews, FPS devs!) One of the coolest things in the game is that you can have bullets hitting the walls around you and it causes you to become “suppressed”, lowering your accuracy and causing your screen to blur. Now, I’ve never been shot at before, so I don’t know how accurate a portrayal it is, but, simulating a way to show my character fears for his life seems like a pretty realistic way to simulate war.
Overall, This game is really fun. I imagine it’s much easier to play with a group of coordinated guys who work together and do that kind of thing. I did a quick Google search and found one group, the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment who actually roleplays and stuff. So, if you’re into that kind of thing, check them out.
The game’s clean, it’s simple point-and-click interface will keep you shooting Germans while people say racist stuff in the chat window, you know, just your usual multiplayer tomfoolery. Speaking of, I think it’s funny when a video game gathers an audience of 12-20 year olds who are shouting about “Krauts flanking from the left” who probably don’t realize they’re being casually racist, but hey, maybe they’re just roleplayers.
The hectic battles feel tense, and even when you’re hiding behind a wall waiting for suppression/shock to wear off, you can always tell when you’ve dipped into an area you shouldn’t have gone. The game’s $20.00, and, I know principal development was easier because it’s a reconfigured Insurgency, but, the game is worth 20 bucks, easily. Am I going to get as much out of it as I did CS:GO? No, but, it’s a themed first person shooter – I’m pretty sure most FPS games won’t get that kind of gameplay out of anybody. It’s still a high quality game with a great theme, and I’ll definitely be getting 20$ value out of it.
Disclosure: We received this game for free.
Developed by: New World Interactive