First Impressions of Day of Infamy [Early Access]

Title: Day of Infamy

Developer: New World Interactive

Publisher: New World Interactive

Released For: PC (Windows 7) , Mac OS X (10.7)

Reviewing: PC (Windows 10)

DRM Versions Available

Released On: Jul 28, 2016

MSRP: $19.99 Steam Link

Copy provided by developer or publisher

 

After nearly a month without uploading a review, dealing with personal matters, I finally have a chance to write about my initial impressions on ‘Day of Infamy’. Being a rather large fan of World War 2 shooters, I’ve played some of the best (and the worst) World War 2 games out there. Some I loathed, some I enjoyed, but the vast majority simply felt ‘meh’. does Day of Infamy hold up to the years of already existing World War 2 shooters on the market, or will it burn like an atom bomb baby? That joke is probably a lost cause, but it’s already sorta there, and I don’t feel like taking it out.

Released officially in 2014, Insurgency hit the storm on Steam by the unknown developer ‘New World Interactive’. Since then, it’s had more than 50,000 reviews on steam, it’s been bundled several times, and has gone on to have over 3,000,000 owners (question the legitimacy of Steam Spy how you wish) and could probably best be classified as the best ‘realistic’ version of modern shooters. Complete with quick thinking, tight tactics, and a lack of bullet-sponge enemies, something I wish games with difficulty scaling would take notes from. So, where does someone like New World Interactive go from there? Well they go backwards of course! Entering the World War 2 scene, Day of Infamy features the same quick thinking, tight combat and brutal, brutal deaths that Insurgency had, but with a new coat of paint, mostly in blood.

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Day of Infamy really is a multiplayer shooter at heart. Sure, it has a mode with only bots (an added plus for those good old Star Wars Battlefront 2 days) , but it’s at heart multiplayer focused. The game has seven maps (with 12 more being tested as of this article’s publication), two different modes, and three different game types. On the offline side, the maps are divided up into campaigns, where you’ll essentially play that map with game mode selected against bots. While not particularly difficult, the AI will present the average hobo with a water gun a reasonable challenge, though how many improvements they’ve made compared to Insurgency could be put into question, as some of the things AI did in Insurgency are still being done by the bots in Day of Infamy, or they’re trading bugs. However, most of the time involving bots was rather fun, and while the map selection currently isn’t particularly great, it is ‘enough’ [I’ll regret writing that later I’m sure] for me.

Once you’re done playing with bots, it’s time to join the brave dimwits who venture out and play the online mode. The online mode mostly consists of the same modes and maps as the offline mode. Once in a game, you choose which squad (side) you want to be on, choose your class you want (which can be edited and improved as time progresses in game), and then you’re off to get brutally killed again and again and again.

The combat itself is very reminiscent of Insurgency and it’s combat style. However, there are some key differences. Some of these key differences include the more ‘floaty, jumpy’ play style of Insurgency. Sure, it’s ‘more realistic’ than say, the Modern Warfare franchise, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold it’s share of similarities. Day of Infamy on the other hand, while still keeping the tactical and more ‘realistic’ [another word I’ll probably regret using some day] feels far slower than Insurgency, and maps are either very large, or very small, with no real in between [yet]. Because of this, combat in Day of Infamy is more focused on checking your corners, whereas as Insurgency always felt like a big battle of ‘who’s the best sniper’, even in it’s smaller maps.

Day of Infamy on the other hand loses a lot of that with (in my opinion) better overall map design and layout. No more big, open spaced maps that are nothing more than sniper fests, rather tight, closed corridors and open streets filled with cover. The maps are better designed, and better to look at visually. They don’t look technically ‘better’ than Insurgency, but from an art and gameplay direction they do. However, that improvement comes with a disappointment, which is the inconsistent level design. All too often you’ll come across rooms that look gorgeous, only to find other rooms or sections that look like they were assembled by a half-blind chimp in a lunch break. I couldn’t find anyone (at all) to play the cooperative modes, but I did play all the multiplayer modes, which really do feel the same. Don’t get me wrong, they’re different in ever so slight ways, but they’re all essentially variations of ‘capture the point’ modes in games, with all the maps having between three and five points to capture. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible, though I wish there were more ‘unique’ game modes on offer, something I’d expect to see later on when new maps become available. The game also features workshop support, but in order to actually get to play the maps, you have to enter console commands, so I hope that Steam Workshop support is improved. However, the gameplay at it’s core is still fun, and matches can last a good 30 minutes if teams are fairly balanced. The gun selection is also quite nice, and my wonderful M1 Garand is still as wonderful as ever. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have it’s own share of issues, but they’re issues I can [mostly] live with. The game even has guts, gore, and exploding cover that just patched in if that peaks the interest of anyone. What I can’t live with however, is the lack of players.

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While my lateness to the party isn’t excusable, it’s in many ways, better. For multiplayer or multiplayer-focused games, it’s far better to take a look at a game later down it’s life, both to see if improvements are being made, and if the community has stayed around, and both statements hold even more true for things like Early Access. The lack of players compared to something like Insurgency is a real issue for me. Sure, it’s a dedicated 200ish people, but it’s still 200ish people, and a multiplayer game, regardless of what development stage it’s at, is at the very least concerning with such a low number of active players when it’s only been out a few months. Insurgency was already in a bundle by this point, encouraging players to buy the bundle and ‘hey, might as well activate this to’ feeling. However, Day of Infamy’s only real sale has been for $14.99, and compared to Insurgency with an active community, it’s hard to truly look at Day of Infamy without some kind of move (like being put in a bundle) from PR giving it the kick it needs. On top of this, Insurgency’s $9.99 while Day of Infamy, with a lower player base and in Early Access is $19.99. The fact of the matter is that due to the price, the developer is essentially fighting themselves, and competing against their own product. Sure, Day of Infamy is improved and certainly has some things going for it, but the list of things going for it also consists of the same things going for Insurgency, coupled with the fact that Insurgency is cheaper and has more daily players, which would make me question the game’s lifespan as a whole.

Visually, the game looks ‘okay’. It’s certainly not the terrible looking, but the improvements made from Insurgency and it’s visuals are hard-pressed to find. It doesn’t look worse, and the maps certainly look better, but it’s still using the same engine as Insurgency, and it looks like it.

Audio wise, it sounds on par with Insurgency, with fairly vocal bots and a fair amount of voice tracks that cycle through, though you will start to hear repeating tracks an hour in. This can be a good or bad thing, but I’ll side towards neutral. Sound effects are also nice and crisp, helping to really bring that WW2 feel to the game. You hear that Bethesda? These people have the budget of a college student on ramen noodles and still manage to have more recorded lines than your stupid settlers do. No settler #196, I wasn’t glad to help you fend off the raiders.

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As for the controls, they work fine. Nothing truly surprising besides controller support, and it plays just how it should. As for the settings, it’s what you’ve come to expect, even with a nice FOV slider *stares at Bethesda*. You know Bethesda, maybe these guys should just make the next Fallout game. At least they can put in an FOV slider. Digression aside, the game also plays fine, averaging 75ish frames a second, and a fairly constant 75ish frames per second at that. An issue we did run into was if we ran the game in fullscreen and edited any of the settings or tried to quit the game, my monitors would just turn black, even though the game was closed. This happened regardless what monitor configuration I was running, forcing me to restart the computer. So you know, that’d be nice to see fixed. Besides that, the game is mostly solid, and I’m sitting here honestly wondering why they felt the need to enter this into Steam Early Access. In fact, minus the lack of players, these issues seem all too common to the issues I also had in Insurgency.

I’m never really sure how to conclude these articles, since they’re not reviews, so I guess I’ll conclude this by saying that I enjoyed Day of Infamy, though it’s arguable improvements over its counterpart game leave me in question of where it’s development will lead, and if they take my advice and attempt to be more proactive when it comes to sales and bundles in order to gain more players. Some other improvements (besides simply additions and bug fixing) would be better inclusion of Steam Workshop support, a better variety of game modes, and adding another faction like the Russians wouldn’t go amiss either.

 

Video Version of This Review:

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