Day of Infamy Review – Teamwork Not Required

 

Day of Infamy
New World Interactive

World War II games remind me a lot of both the zombie/survival horror and fighting game genres. All three of them have undergone little or no innovation since their inceptions and have likewise have all been milked beyond their innate perceived value.

For example, fighting games were all the rage back in the 90s after the debut of Street Fighter 2. If fact, there seemed to be a new 2d fighter coming out every other day back then. Then 3d fighters hit the scene and settled into a familiar rhythm, just as their 2d forebears had. Since then, each 2d or 3d fighter has more or less stuck to the same tired formula, with small adjustments here and there. Why hasn’t anyone attempted to make a free-roaming fighter like the Bushido Blade series? It’s quite baffling.

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Likewise, zombie/survival horror games also took off in the 90s when the first Resident Evil title hit the gaming industry like a bombshell. Since then, the whole zombie craze erupted and has subsequently been ridden to death, with nothing truly novel besides offering zombies that can open their jaws up sideways, zombies that are built like tanks, etc. It’s just the same old thing over and over and over.

Which brings us to World War II games. Ever since Saving Private Ryan was released back in 1998, it seems that the gaming industry has been caught up in some sort of interdimensional vortex, like some bad Twilight Zone episode where the unfortunate protagonists are doomed to repeat the same actions over and over until the end of eternity. The industry has done its best to capture the iconic battle scenes shown in Saving Private Ryan as well as other gritty war movies of the past generation, while offering only small wrinkles within the same worn out setting, replete with well-worn clichés.

New World Interactive apparently didn’t get the memo, as they have pushed forward with their latest WWII project, Day of Infamy, come hell or high water. Day of Infamy was originally an Insurgency mod, which was itself originally a Half-life 2 mod. Day of Infamy is also the spiritual successor to 2001’s Day of Defeat, which was originally a Half-life mod (whew!). In fact, looking at the two side-by-side, Day of Infamy looks startlingly similar to its 15-year old cousin, since it uses the same old well-worn Source engine.

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You’ll find the usual cadre of WWII maps in Day of Infamy, including some of the very same ones featured in Day of Defeat, since purportedly, New World Interactive wanted to pay homage to the latter. It also features many of the WWII weapons, which I’m sure by now we’ve all grown well-accustomed to. I have to admit, there is still a soft spot in my heart for the “pow, pow, pow, ping!” sounds of the good ‘ol M1 Garand, just as I’ll never get tired of the heft and bulk of the classic Colt 1911 pistol.

Unfortunately, the weapons in Day of Infamy feel less substantial, and have more of a floaty feeling than they do in comparable games, such as Tripwire Interactive’s Red Orchestra 2, where every weapon feels weighty. The same goes for each combatant’s movement—the default movement speed in Day of Infamy is on par with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or any Call of Duty title. Similarly, you’ll find lots of folks bunny-hopping around in order to avoid enemy fire. This really negates the proper use of iron sights since people are constantly zig-zagging and hopping about at turbo-boosted speed. Combine that with the fact that Day of Infamy’s maps are also CS:GO sized, and after a while, I just found myself simply huddled in a corner, waiting in ambush for my spastically-moving adversaries, in order to get a proper shot (at their backsides). We’re talking very small maps here.

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Day of Infamy features both co-op and multiplayer, although the latter only supports up to 32 players (which fits in with the small maps). This definitely gives it a rather un-grand feel as there aren’t legions of soldiers on the battlefield at any one time. It features game modes similar to Insurgency, with the most popular being one where players must hold a point in order to call in reinforcements, if they survive long enough. This mode is literally ripped right out of Insurgency, so if you’ve played that game you’ve seen it all here before. This may make it easier for folks who played Insurgency to adapt and get into Day of Infamy more easily, but spells little in the way of innovation for all parties concerned.

Whereas in Red Orchestra 2, in my opinion one of the only examples of a WWII shooter done right, the vast majority of enemy combatants are outfitted with bolt-action rifles, most of the soldiers in Day of Infamy come equipped with either automatic SMGs or LMGs so you’ll see lots of “spray and pray” type encounters. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. There are legions of fast-twitch gamers out there these days which lap this sort of gameplay up. Indeed, these are dark days for shooter games that are of a more realistic bent. For those with shorter attention spans who want to jump into a game at their convenience, rack up a bunch of kills, brag about it incessantly, and then jump back off in order to go play some more Call of Duty or Battlefield “content,” more power to them. To its credit, Day of Infamy does offer a good selection of classes to choose from, whether you play on the Axis side or Allies.

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New World Interactive stresses that Day of Infamy is supposed to be an “immersive” experience based on “teamwork and coordination.” I found none of that. In my play throughs, on the rare occasions that I managed to find anyone with a mic, they would usually blurt out a thing or two, and then remain quite for the rest of the match. It seriously reminded me of playing a Call of Duty title where everyone just sort of runs off and does their own thing, with the overarching goal of acquiring as many individual kills as possible for bragging rights. This is not the developers fault at all, but rather it is the community that Day of Infamy has attracted thus far.

I’m not sure if New World Interactive purposefully wanted to make the graphics look old in order to make it kitschy, such as how many indie developers are doing with pixilated graphics these days, but Day of Infamy doesn’t just look last-gen, it looks last-last-gen. Perhaps they will improve the game’s visuals in the future, but as it stands, things are looking pretty rough. Comparing this to RO2 once again, whereas in that game the environments look like they were once lived-in, and the battlefields look battle-scarred and atmospheric, in Day of Infamy, everything looks comparatively sterile. Again, hopefully they’ll tighten things up as they move forward but that’s a big maybe.

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Day of Infamy is a nostalgic throwback to another era of gaming. For those attracted to fast-twitch (and fast-moving) gaming, they’ll be right at home. With small maps, small player caps, and frenetic gameplay, Day of Infamy offers a decidedly intense shooter experience, but not a very tactical one. If you’re into either the Call of Duty or Battlefield series, but without the fancy graphics, you’ll probably love Day of Infamy.

SCORE: 70%

Day of Infamy has those pixilated graphics that some people can’t seem to get enough of. Even so, they may require you to have a pretty beefy gaming PC in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming PC:

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