Genre: Online FPS
Developer: Valve Software
Release Date: May 6, 2003
Buy 'DAY OF DEFEAT': PC
When Half-Life hit the shelves in '98, it was hailed as being the First-person-shooter genre's lifesaver. It breathed life into a stale genre, and is to this day considered one of the best PC games by many. It continues to thrive not only because of its compelling adventure, but because of it's easy-to-develop-for multiplayer engine. There are tons of mods available, and some have even been picked up and made available as standalone games, such as Counter-Strike. Day of Defeat is the latest to use the Half-Life engine for multiplayer gaming, and it's just as good as ever.
Some might say "Bah! This game looks like crap." And it's true that, graphically, Day of Defeat doesn't hold a candle to more recent games. After all, it is using the technology introduced back in 1998. But considering this, it actually looks pretty decent, and oftentimes is much more detailed than Half-Life itself. This supposedly weak engine is not such a bad thing. It not only means that basically anyone with a PC from the past five years can run the game fairly well, but also, people on slower connections don't have their PC bogged down with graphics problems.
First off, I need to say that I have a 56k connection. I've experienced lag with lots of online games, from the fairly good Team Fortress Classic, to the reasonably slow Quake III and Counter-Strike, to the nearly unplayable Deus Ex. You wouldn't believe the look on my face when I first started up a game of Day of Defeat. Not only was my gun firing almost immediately after clicking the mouse button, I was actually scoring kills and earning points within minutes. I could compete with the people on broadband, which is pretty freaking amazing (and speaking of - those guys generally had pings of less than 20).
Now that I'm done praising the amazing connection speeds, I'll tell you some more about the game. Anyone who's played an online game should be in pretty familiar territory. There are two main game types. The first, and the majority you'll be seeing, is a simple yet deep game of holding five command points. Each command point is represented by a flag, and there are usually one close to each base and a few in the center of the stage. Some flags can be captured by simply touching them, but others require two or more people to stand by them while they are gradually changed to represent your team. Once one team has all five points captured, they win. The other game type, which seems to be less popular, has one side trying to complete certain objectives while the other tries to prevent that from happening. You might have to do things like blow up tanks or capture a fuel truck. But if you can't do it in a certain amount of time, the either team wins. Both modes of play are pretty darn fun and addictive.
The game takes place during World War II. You'll have the choice of picking between the Axis and the Allies (and on a few maps, the British). When you join a game, you must join the team with fewer players. This helps keep things fair. You'll then choose a class, based on your weapon of choice. There's a wonderful assortment of guns, from rifles, submachine guns (tommy guns!), sniper rifles, and even powerful machine guns that need to be set on a tripod for any degree of accuracy. Each weapon has a stat breakdown, with varying degrees of power, range, accuracy, and so on. There are also handy weapons like knives and grenades, too.
There are a number of nifty innovations in Day of Defeat. Most notably, there's the stamina bar. This bar drops when you perform certain actions, such as jumping, preventing you from using cheap tactics like you can in some other online games. Sprinting is a new feature that also drains the meter - when holding in the sprint key, your weapon drops to your side, but you can run very quickly. There's also a handy onscreen map that shows your teammate's positions and the locations of key points, as well as outlining the map.
And what maps. These are some of the best level designs I have ever seen in an online game. There's a wide range of scenery, from city streets to tarnished warzones and brushy forests. Each is loaded with tons of hidden passageways and sniping opportunities. There always seems to be more than one way to get where you want to go. Though it can be overwhelming when first playing on a map, you'll soon learn how to get around, and you'll feel like a real pro when you show this game to your buddies.
Topping off this immersive experience is the sound. When you're not in the midst of stunning gunfire or explosions, you're communicating with your team. There are about thirty pre-set voice commands that anyone can use, but the real fun is talking into your microphone and having someone talk back. It may not be the first time this has appeared in a game, but it works extremely well in a game such as this. There is nothing like you going "Let's go get the flag!" to the guy next to you, then each jumping out of a window 30 feet above the ground and trying to hold the flag (where you almost get shot if it weren't for his hasty "Watch out! To your right!").
Day of Defeat may be using some pretty old technology here, but it uses it to it's advantage, making it very accessible and very lag-free. The game is incredibly immersive and addictive, and promotes team-work like nothing else. I have had so many memorable moments and have met some great people. Now go out and buy it - and excuse me while I go play some more.
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