I do love history. Most specifically, I like learning about World War II. This has apparently transgressed into my gaming life and I'm often drawn towards World War II themed shooters. In comes Days of War, a shooter currently in early access available on Steam for £19.99 in the United Kingdom and $24.99 in America. So put on your helmet, grab your rifle and slap on your boots. It's time to head to World War II.
Or it would be, if the game had managed to simulate World War II and the overall feeling correctly. While I do commend the developers for being active, something I really appreciate. There are constant updates to the game so it's great to see that the project hasn't been abandoned just yet. There have been two updates to improve the game in the past few weeks at my time of writing. However, it just doesn't feel like this product should be sold at all right now. Still, why do I feel this way? What could have provoked me so much to the point of being angered by an Early Access Steam game. Well, you'll have to read on and find out now wont you?
You would think a World War II related game would be a great place for a story of some proportion, right? You've got Nazis, America, heroes and villains, D-Day and all of these battles that are ripe for the picking to make a great storyline. Well, unfortunately, there isn't a storyline, hell, there isn't even a single player campaign. I have no earthly clue whether or not a single player campaign will be released at some point, nor do I know if there will be a multiplayer campaign of some description. What I do know is that I don't know and nobody really knows whether or not there will be a campaign. Currently, at the time I'm writing this, there isn't any sign of one. It'd be very easy to tack on such a thing. Stick some AI enemies around, some AI squadmates and just create a singleplayer gamemode of what we already have.
For whatever reason, I actually had troubles even before booting the game. Well, not before, but during actually. I launched the game on Steam and left to make myself a cup of tea, as I'm British and that's all we ever drink, God save the Queen. Anyways, when I returned to my laptop, cup of "hot British brew" in hand, I was shocked to see the game hadn't loaded and dropped my tea. This is obviously an overstatement. What I really did was sat around for five minutes until the game could manage to load. The first time I tried to load the game it took too long and I ended up resetting my laptop to see if that would help. Turns out it did to some extent.
The problem with Early Access games is that not many people are playing your game. In some rare cases such as DayZ, the player base will be fairly active and you should have no problem finding a stable server to play with a variety of different people on. Not this game, as when searching for a server I wasn't able to find a single British server, let alone a populated server. I did luck out and joined a French server (which happened to be running a D-Day map, which made me feel rather awkward and if you know your history you'll know why) which actually just turned out to be a load of British people anyways. So who knows, maybe that's something that needs fixing, less dedicated servers, rather than more.
What I also found odd was that there are only two game-types right now. More than likely, more will be added in the future, but right now you've got the choice of Domination or Detonation. I think those were the two choices anyway. Basically there isn't a traditional Team Deathmatch option and I was rather confused as to why. Surely that'd go a long way with the average shooter fan, right? It can't be too hard to make a Team Deathmatch mode for an Early Access game either, so I don't see why it should be lacking from a shooter of all things.
One thing I noticed is that there is literally no sign of a single-player campaign. Now I mentioned this earlier in the article but I feel as if I should mention it twice to really drive the point home. If you aren't connected to the internet then you can't play this game. If you haven't got a good internet connection then you're basically useless at playing this.
There are some positives to this game surprisingly. Ever played Call of Duty 3? Well, the load-out system is basically similar to that wherein you pick through seven or so classes. Actually, it is rather similar to Call of Duty 3 now that I think about it. Very similar indeed. So similar to the point where it's actually using the same weapons per class and so on. Now I'm not saying this game copied Call of Duty 3, mainly because I genuinely doubt it would, but it's still an interesting portion of the game that I noticed. Also, I didn't say I didn't like the copying of previous World War II games, it was a welcoming sight to see similar weapons in this game. Although, even though the weapons are quite fun, that doesn't stop them being unbalanced to all hell. Everyone just used the sniper rifle or, in my case, the shotgun. Now the shotgun acted as its own sniper rifle judging by the range of the bloody thing, so I suppose everything works out for me in the long run. On top of this, there isn't any recoil on any of the guns. It allows you to take really precise shots from about fifty feet away with a shotgun and that just isn't fun for anyone. Apart from me, I had a whale of a time. And by whale of a time, I mean I found the few sparse moments of fun this game provided vaguely enjoyable.
I spent the majority of my time with this game on the D-Day map. While it was a really small map it did grow on me, especially because of the surprisingly fast respawn times. Most of the time, if you're shot dead you're back on your feet within the same few seconds. But, the fast respawn times are probably because of the unbalanced gameplay. No matter where you are or what team you're apart of, you're going to be shot at and not know where the bullets are coming from. Usually in shooters you'll have some recognition of at least which way you're being shot at. Not with this game, you're dead before you can even find out where the enemy is. Most traditional shooters have a mark that comes on your screen like you've had a jar of jam thrown at you, but the only way you know you're getting shot at in this game is if you've respawned at one end of the map.
Speaking of the maps, they're considerably small. Mind, this may have just been the one map I was one, but for the most part this map was extremely small. You could probably run from one side of the map to the other in about forty seconds. And if you think about it, you're constantly running from one side of the map to the other. This gets even worse when you realise how many players there are per map. You might always be in conflict, but about 50% of your time will be respawning.
What really irked me was that I genuinely had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. Apparently I was supposed to be blowing up a number of things around the map and the enemies had to defend those. There was really no way of knowing this, mainly because there are no icons or signals as to where these items are, and the images provided to show us this are literally tiny, much like the text on the menu of the game. Still, with very vague objectives I found the game very difficult to enjoy, mainly because it's difficult to work as a team with random people.
As a bonus, I better point out what happens when you try swimming. You'll fall to your death. I tried swimming out a bit to get around the back of the boats and I ended up just falling down to my death. I really do hope that's just apart of the early game because I'm pretty sure those who fought at D-Day didn't fall to their deaths when trying to swim around the boat. And I may as well throw it in here because I don't know where else it's going to go, the blood textures were atrocious. That's such a small detail, but if I were Tarantino I'd be annoyed more than I already am.
Graphics and sound
If you're worried about the graphics and sound in this game then don't be. There's an absolute abundance of things that you can change within the options menu. Honestly it's quite overwhelming to look at, but still, you can customise the game to your liking in as many ways as possible.
The interface for this game was bloody awkward. What I didn't understand was why the main menu was just a still image. Now this may have been a problem on my end, but for some reason none of the fire effects in the background actually move anywhere. There's no recognition that you've highlighted a button, usually in games a sound will play, but not in this scenario. Regardless, it's such a small thing that I'm not actually going to go into too much detail on the subject as a whole.
What I will talk about though is the fact that you currently have to apply on the forums or something to use the create-a-map feature. I'm not too sure why this is, but I'm guessing that it's because it's still in the works. But, to that, I argue that the entire game itself is currently under construction. People have paid £19.99 for this game, the least you can do is give them a decent map or two to play around on. Speaking of the map variety, well, there aren't many. Every server I played on for the duration of time I played this game was the exact same map. I'm sick of D-Day now, I never want to watch Saving Private Ryan again after this. Yeah, a variety of maps would go a long way with this game as it seems that most servers stick to what they know, and that is apparently the American invasion of France.
Actually, before I go on, I was going to apply for the maps. But I didn't. Do you want to know why? I couldn't see the email because the font and text was too small. This was a problem I had throughout the game. Vital information such as the time limit and emails were in a font literally nobody would be able to read. It really made playing the game difficult. I'd be about to plant a bomb and then a screen would come up saying "Victory" and then the other teams name. Because no matter what side you're on, "Victory" appears regardless. I thought this rather strange and confusing and it can't be that difficult to add a "Defeat" screen into the game.
Still, well done if you actually get to this screen. The loading screens in this game are dreadfully long and I was sat around for a good few minutes. I get it, the game is big(ish), but it shouldn't take so long to load up such a small map. Hell, if it had taken any longer I would've thought the game had frozen.
From what you've read, you can probably tell I'm not a fan of this game. It's not for everyone or anyone for that matter and I do suppose it's a shame, I really wanted to like this game. Regardless of that, the game is currently in Early Access. I can never faithfully recommend a game in Early Access. It doesn't matter if if the game is just okay or if it prints money, I can never recommend it. There's always the problem that the developers could give up, just like what happened with DayZ. What I noticed is that the game tries to be a blend of older Call of Duty games and also Team Fortress 2 in the form of a class system and so on.
Regardless of what you think of this game as a whole, keep in mind that there are much better World War Two shooters out there that have a much more active fan base. Hell, I'm pretty sure Call of Duty 2 and 3 have more active communities than this game right now.
Furthermore, Early Access means the game isn't finished. You're getting access to a game that is in the early stages of development. In a few months time, this review could be obsolete, but right now, this is your best guide to thinking about this game. It's unfinished and unpolished, and that's okay because it's in early access. But for £19.99? Think again.