Day of Infamy started its life as a World War II mod for Insurgency, designed to be the spiritual successor of the original Day of Defeat mod. The project was soon picked up by Insurgency developers New World Interactive with plans to release Day of Infamy as a full game. After five months of alpha testing, Day of Infamy is now in closed beta and is on track for a Spring 2017 launch.
As the game started out its life as a mod, Day of Infamy shares a lot of similarities to Insurgency. Day of Infamy is just a hair short of being a full blown military sim. Firefights are tense, brutal affairs as realism means nobody will be tanking half a magazine of ammunition before dying. Weapons behave much like their real life counterparts. There is no ammunition counter, just a number for how many magazines with at least one bullet is in one’s possession. Combined with the fact there are no automatic reloads when a magazine runs dry, Day of Infamy’s weapon mechanics creates an incredible amount of tension during extended firefights. The game has made the click click click of an empty weapon officially worthy of my nightmares.
The game’s suppression system adds an extra layer of intensity to the firefights. Shots that land near the enemy are still helpful as bullets that zip past the player will give them a suppression penalty that causes the screen to blur and lowers their accuracy. While it is hard to properly replicate the sheer terror of hiding behind cover in an attempt to stay alive in a video game, the cover system discourages players from acting like Rambo and running out of cover for too long.
The class system starts with the standard World War II mainstays of rifleman, assault/submachine-gunner, machine gunner, and sniper. Day of Infamy also adds an engineer who specializes in opening new attack routes with dynamite, a flamethrower class designed for close quarters, an officer who can call in support from HQ, and a radioman who must radio in the officer’s support requests. I think the radio is an important key of creating Day of Infamy’s realistic environment. Voice chat can only be heard within an earshot of the speaker, so transmitting information about an attack to teammates across the map will require a radio operator with each group. The officer/radioman is a potent combo unique to Day of Infamy. Radios can help speed up capture of points and an officer within two meters of a radio can call in large smoke screens for cover, resupply points, and a variety of explosive strikes to pummel the enemy. Good use of these skills can be the turning point for any match, making soldiers toting around binoculars or a radio a high priority target.
Currently, Day of Infamy features single player practice maps, co-op, and competitive modes. A bulk of the action will be found in co-op and competitive multiplayer. Co-op pits a team of eight against waves of AI in two different modes. Stronghold is an attack mode that has players capturing points from the AI. Death is semi permanent as dead players respawn after the next points is captured. Entrenchment is Strongholds’s defensive counterpart with players respawning when a live player falls back to the next line of defense points to trigger a wave of respawns. The co-op gameplay is a lot of fun. While technically AI will always be less competent than an actual player, Day of Infamy makes up for the skill gap my throwing larger waves of enemies against the player. It is an intense experience to survive fending off a large wave of attackers on the last point of an Entrenchment map knowing there are no more respawns.
Day of Infamy’s multiplayer emphasizes objective-based gameplay. There are currently three modes available. Frontline is the game’s push and pull mode, with both teams fighting for control of the map. Liberation and Offensive are close siblings, with both pitting an attacking team against entrenched defenders. The main difference is Liberation rewards players for sneaking behind enemy lines and capturing undefended points while Offensive only opens up one objective at a time, forcing the two teams to clash in a more concentrated area. The multiplayer battles are incredibly fun and the air of unpredictability of human opponents will appeal to most players.
The maps in Day of Infamy are well designed. Day of Defeat fans will find plenty of areas that feel familiar, as many chunks of the maps are inspired by or recreate classic maps like Thunder. Those who haven’t played Day of Defeat will still recognize important locations like Bastogne that has been featured in plenty of WWII films and shows. The mpas of Day of Infamy feature a good balance of wide open spaces for snipers and riflemen to dominate and close quarter areas that are ruled by flamethrowers and submachine guns. Steam Workshop has already been implemented in Day of Infamy, so I suspect plenty of player made maps will follow once the game is launched.
Day of Infamy hits the right balance between realism and accessibility. The game features a simple control scheme that will be familiar to most FPS players, making it much easier to get into the game versus a true military sim. Additionally, a stripped down weapon mod system has been implemented into the game, maintaining a certain level of realism while giving players a little extra flexibility in class customization as they gain access to more supply points. Day of Infamy’s sound design goes a long way to increasing the level of realism in the game. The explosions and gunfire are loud enough to drown out voice chat. The sheer volume makes it difficult to coordinate with teammates while being bombarded with bombers and artillery strikes, creating an extra layer of chaos when intense battles break out.
Day of Infamy may be slightly more realistic than the Day of Defeat mod it intends to replace, but the game still packs an enjoyable WWII infantry combat experience. The game hits the right balance, making for a realistic shooter that is still accessible to the average FPS player. While New World Interactive may still be stomping out bugs and fine tuning Day of Infamy, the game is stacking up to an excellent World War II shooter in its own right.