Day of Infamy Review: Not Their Finest Hour
As a fan of New World Interactive's Insurgency and a fan of previous World War II shooters, I was quite excited to see this developer's take on the genre with Day of Infamy, a multiplayer tactical FPS. But one initial release and two major patches later, I still feel as if Day of Infamy left early access to quickly.
New World Interactive began development of Day of Infamy as a free modification for Insurgency back in early 2016. By mid-July, they had released a closed alpha -- followed by approval for Early Access on July 28th. It hit Steam's service shortly before Christmas, the game was considered finished and fully released just a few short months later in March 2017.
Much of the gameplay in Day of Infamy is drawn directly from Insurgency, and features two primary modes: Standard Multiplayer that pits players against each other, and a Cooperative Mode against AI. The United States Army, The Commonwealth (including Scottish, Australian, Canadian, British, and Indian forces) and the German Wehrmacht are all playable factions. Each faction has unlockable units that actually saw combat in WW2, such as the American 101st Airborne, the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, or the 1st Fallschirmjäger. Once unlocked, these units are purely cosmetic -- but certainly help keep things interesting for at least a little bit, especially if you know your WW2 history.
With nine playable classes ranging from Officer or Radioman to Machine gunner, Day of Infamy includes a fair amount of unique equipment to select from.
An Immersive Cooperative Experience
We'll start off simple with the cooperative mode. New World Interactive has made some improvements to the systems in this game over its previous title -- including better AI, different objectives, and multiple game modes. In this revamped cooperative mode, up to eight players are pitted against hordes of AI with selectable difficulty, in game modes like Entrenchment defense maps, Stronghold assaults, or fast-paced Raids.
These cooperative modes can be just as challenging as going against other players in many situations. And in my opinion, this is where the game shines brightest. It's extremely fun to experience with friends, it's immersive if you let it be, and doesn't suffer from the more detrimental effects that plague PvP multiplayer.
And when I say these modes are immersive, I mean it. It's utterly horrifying to have your squad stacked up and ready to enter a building, when suddenly a flame thrower spurts hot death all over everyone. In some co-op matches, I've screamed out loud before frantically trying to duel with bayonets, as bullets flew around me and into my friends.
My biggest complaint with cooperative mode, however, is that not every map in the game has all three modes available. For example, you can assault Saint Lo as the Allies in Stronghold mode, yet there is no Entrenchment mode equivalent for defending that same map.
On a lateral note, the maps available are fixed to certain attackers and defenders. The Wehrmact will always attack Crete, while the US/Commonwealth will always defend. There's no way to switch these roles for more entertainment, even though I can't imagine this is would have been a hard feature for the developer to implement. This issue is a holdover from New World's cooperative modes in previous games. It's a shame because it feels like a missed opportunity. Who wouldn't want to reenact D-Day with the Wehrmact storming Dog Red, and the US Army defending from the bunkers?
Less Impressive Multiplayer
The standard multiplayer in Day of Infamy is where my enjoyment of the game begins to wane for several reasons. There are seven game modes in the standard multiplayer -- Offensive, Frontline, Liberation, Invasion, Firefight, Sabotage, and Intel. The first four modes are featured on a standard "Battles" list, while the final three are listed as "special assignments".
Unfortunately in my experience, finding a full game for special assignments seems nigh impossible with the hours I keep. Thus I only got a little experience with the "true" multiplayer, as finding a game with people in it in one of these special modes was very difficult. The game's current population is averaging around 600-700. This is obviously rather low, and so it causes issues when you want to find games -- especially if you're in regions like Australia.
But it's not just the difficulty finding a good multiplayer match that made this multiplayer experience underwhelming. When I did manage to get into a game, other issues made themselves apparent.
Complaint 1 of 3: Poor Balance
Some weapons are utterly useless against a player with a standard reaction time. Certain weapons are seemingly so slow you don't need to be in a showdown against gunslinger Doc Holiday to die -- Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh would be enough to end you. This problem doesn't really exist in co-op, where most weapons against the AI can be used well enough (though not perfectly).
Complaint Number 2 of 3: Sub-par Pacing
The action in Day of Infamy seems far less fast-paced than Insurgency. Even on an attacking team, it unfortunately seems as if the design on many maps forces players to take up the same positions repeatedly -- causing a lot of matches to slow down considerably.
This is understandable in an era with bolt action rifles, and emplaced machine guns, but choke points on certain maps require absolute team unity and effort to get past before your time runs out. More often than not however, this unity just isn't there -- even if you're trying to organize the team as the Officer.
Final Complaint: Limited Maps
There are only 13 maps -- yes only 13 maps -- to choose from, two of which were only added a couple weeks beforehand. Although this complaint isn't universal to the standard multiplayer, it's usually exacerbated by the same maps being voted for repeatedly, causing many lobbies to grow very stale. Some maps, such as Dunkirk and Bréville, are so small they don't generally last very long anyway. And other maps, like Ortona, are rarely ever voted for at all.
This is hardly a surprise, though, when the disparity in map quality is so obvious. Many of the maps are well constructed, including Crete and Dog Red. But others are poorly vetted -- like Rhineland and Comacchio, which seem to have issues with invisible walls and strange clipping on body models.
A Few Miscellaneous Issues
Day of Infamy does a lot of things right. Many weapons feel and sound very powerful -- and the sound direction in general is extremely well done. It's strange how bad other weapons feel in contrast when the majority of them are so satisfying to use. The BAR and Lewis gun, for example, feel strange to move around and fire. But the Thompson 45 and Ithaca shotgun feel fantastic.
Another technical issue myself and many others have noticed are that achievements rarely seem to unlock or even progress properly. Having been affected by this myself, I somehow managed to unlock an achievement for getting 50 head shots at the same time I got one for getting 10 head shots.
This doesn't ruin anything by any means, but the issue of bugged achievements still plagues the game and hasn't been formerly acknowledged yet.
Overall, Day of Infamy is a solid shooter best enjoyed with friends against the highly fleshed out AI. The multiplayer mode is far less engaging, especially given how the lower player population also hurts players ability to find a game unless they live within the United States or Europe.
The inconsistency of this game's content leads me to believe that its development in Early Access could have been extended at least two months before seeing a full release. It's left me slightly disappointed, and I feel as if New World Interactive could have learned more from its previous venture to create a better WW2 experience in this title.