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Day of Defeat Review
developer: Valve Software
PII 450, 64MB RAM, 16MB Video Card, 735MB HD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: May 06, 03 (released)
|» All About Day of Defeat on ActionTrip|
In a very bold effort to compete with a massive flood of World War II based first-person shooters, Valve Software decided to mold a full retail version out of the popular Half-life mod, Day of Defeat. The game entered a field of tough competition that consists of titles like Battlefield 1942, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Trotting behind all these visually superior multiplayer achievements, Day of Defeat relies on Valve's widely utilized Half-life engine, the same technology that launched one of the most highly regarded titles in multiplayer gaming - Counter-Strike. Notably, Valve did not make any conceptual changes to the celebrated mod. Rather, they simply refreshed it with nifty extra content, like new modes of play, 10 new maps, all new character models, and such. The game was also supplemented with numerous visual improvements, which you may read about later on in the review... In any case, gamers will be happy to know that DoD has been transformed into a fine standalone product, hence you won't need to waste any money on a copy of Half-life.
That's our target men!
Read, aim, fire!
So, the big question stands: Does the game have what it takes to fit into the world of contemporary multiplayer gaming? Let's find out shall we...
DoD allows players to enjoy intense multiplayer matches through many re-created WWII environments, some of which are new, while others are historical. The game throws you smack in the middle of Western Europe during the year of 1944, offering you a choice to play along side British, American (Allied), or German troops. To make one thing absolutely clear, DoD only puts players in multiplayer matches - there are no AI-controlled bots for single-player. The game is class-based, which means you'll be able to choose from a wide array of units, like snipers, infantry, machine-gunners, riflemen, and sergeants. In spite of what many of you may think, this game does posses distinct gameplay novelties which can stand up to the likes of other contending multiplayer games we know nowadays. Although matches in DoD do not feature any vehicles, gamers can expect to get involved in realistic World War II infantry combat. The environments are a bit confined - not as spacious as those we're used to seeing in Battlefield 1942. This is actually a positive aspect, as it allows players to become acquainted with all the nooks and crannies of each map, and it moves the focus of gameplay on to team-based action rather than figuring out how to get from point A to point B. As a result, the gameplay is more dynamic and a lot more exciting than in other multiplayer titles.
The true virtue of Day of Defeat is the enhanced sense of realism, thanks to which the game derives from superficial multiplayer gameplay tendencies. Using weapons, for example, means taking on certain limitations. For example, if you're a machine-gunner and you have to work with a huge mother of a firearm, in real life combat, it's virtually impossible to handle large and heavy machine-guns with accuracy when you're on the move - therefore you can forget about shooting, running, and jumping at the same time with such a huge weapon in your hands (again, the accent is on realism, even though you Quake and CS players might strongly disagree). The only way you can achieve a proper firing precision is by going prone and setting your machine-gun down on a bipod... after that, there's just one thing left to do: let her rip!
Class-based gameplay instills a more tactical approach to achieving objectives, and forces players to rely on each other, instead of sprinting off into mindless Rambo-style action. For instance, you can organize snipers to sweep the area from great distances, machine-gunners to offer suppressing fire, and send infantry and riflemen into the fray. Regrettably, classes would've been even better if the developers took the time to incorporate special skills into the picture, which would in turn put further emphasis on team-based gameplay. Rather than using skills, players are classified by the weapons they're carrying - a gesture that keeps the matches simple and straightforward, but still makes you feel the absence of greater gameplay depth. Just so you don't get any wrong ideas, all the weapons were incorporated into the game with great care. They are diverse, faithful to their real-life counterparts, easy to handle, and, above all, well-balanced. Day of Defeat weaponry features several assorted weapons, such as the SS knife, M1 Garand, Thompson SMG, M1 Carbine, Mauser Karbiner 98K sniper rifle, MG34 machinegun, and so on. All in all, quite a satisfying range for all FPS enthusiasts.
Keep this area secure, I gotta take a leak.
I have a special surprise for you my friend.
To be honest, we expected to encounter more modes of play other than the two basic modes offered - Territorial Control and Capture/Destroy the Objective(s). Territorial Control is pretty much self-explanatory; it takes players through a standard Capture the Flag mode, during which you can pick up flags or simply control an area by hanging in the vicinity of the flag. Although this mode can be very fun and challenging to play, it exhibits no apparent innovations in terms of gameplay, and can become increasingly repetitive and dull after a number of matches. Capture/Destroy the Objective(s), on the other hand, increases the game's replay value. In this particular mode players can engage in combat and cooperate to complete various tasks - destroying an 88mm flak cannon, capturing a fuel truck, wiping out tanks, etc. So, generally, there's a commendable variation both in terms of missions and maps. The retail version of DoD contains 15 reasonably diverse maps, which are as follows: DoD_Anzio, DoD_Avalanche, DoD_Caen, DoD_Charlie, DoD_Chemille, DoD_Donner, DoD_Flash, DoD_Forest, DoD_Glider, DoD_Jagd, DoD_Kalt, DoD_Kraftstoff, DoD_Merderet, DoD_Vicenza, DoD_Zalec. Experienced DoD players and modders will surely recognize some of these maps. The developers at Valve made each and every map a reasonable challenge for players, so if you decide to stick with the old DoD mod you'll pass up a great opportunity for some good clean multiplayer fun. All the maps were well-thought out, allowing players to use numerous paths to complete their specified objectives, plus they all contain hundreds of corners, nooks, and crannies which are ideal for surprise attacks.
On the technical side, we haven't observed any flaws that might significantly jeopardize the gameplay. On occasion though, we did experience a few lag issues, but we feel this can easily be addressed with a regular patch. As far as visuals are concerned, Day of Defeat could've used a more advanced graphics engine than the dated Half-life engine. The geometry of the game is way too rigid and therefore quite dated, making some of the in-game environments look very uninviting. Textures require additional work and they simply cry out for more detail, certain settings feature poor and very dreary color palettes, and in all honestly, the game deserves a far more meticulous and up-to-date technology to power it.
Still, not all things are complete throw-aways. The models and skins are very convincing and there are a few nice details in the scenery on some of the maps. Luckily, a good deal of effort was invested into the sound design, which sort of fills in for some of the visual throwbacks. Ambient noises, gunfire, and explosions were all demonstrated with high quality sounds that are worthy of competing multiplayer titles of today. Plus, players have the option of using voice communication if they should so desire.
Well, there you have it kids. For the record, it's really hard to deny the fact that we experienced good clean multiplayer fun in Day of Defeat. And, even with those minor lag issues and outdated graphics, we honestly recommend the game to both hardcore DoD modders and genre newbies. We cannot shake off the feeling though, that the Day of Defeat could greatly benefit from additional character class elements. This would increase the game's addictiveness and make it more appealing as a retail product.
8.2 Very Good
Elegant team-based gameplay. Cool weapons. Easy to get into. The Half-life engine ensures smoothness and functionality. Overall sound quality;
Dated texture outline and simplistic visual presentation of certain environments. Only two gameplay modes are on offer.
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