I must confess, I’m always somewhat dubious about reviewing and more importantly, applying a score to an early access title, however, one must concede that owing to the current climate of early access titles and the plethora of games out there that are released ‘unfinished’ but holding the promise of improvement, it is something that will happen more and more. As far as I’m concerned, think of the scoring system for an early access title as gauge, an indication of the current status. Of course, this may be subject of change and is wholly dependent upon the improvements, or not, from the developer.
Days of War, developed by DrivenArts, is a WW2 themed first person shooter, with characteristics not too dissimilar to other titles such as Insurgency. The developers have described their team to be a “team of builders, and a team of gamers, and we only build games that we want to play”, this is a promising start to a title that promises so much, indeed, I must admit when I first witnessed the title as a greenlit project, I was extremely excited for several reasons.
First and foremost, I don’t believe there are many instances in history that stir emotion quite like WW2, the barbaric depths for which mankind is capable of delving is something that is haunting, a period of time where we observed both the best and worst that humans had to offer. Setting a title in this important period places extraordinary pressure on the developer as so many other games have attempted this, and failed; whereas, others have tried and nailed it.
On first inspection of the game, it’s clear that the developers have taken great care in the aesthetic of the maps, the weapons and the sounds. The game feels authentic, it feels right and what you’d expect from the genre. Soldiers charge into battle, 32 player servers to be precise, 16 per team looking to conquer and dominate each section of the map. The game is punishing at times, this isn’t a run and gun shooter, this isn’t COD or Doom, this is Days of War, and should you stray out of position, or your concentration lapse, then you’ll be dead in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, the more astute player will watch their teammates sprint directly into the line of fire, the bait, give it enough time and you’ll easily catch the opposition on an unfortunate reload, the prefect opportunity to grab that headshot.
The game gives you the opportunity to select whichever faction you like, German or American, there are more to follow. Within each faction, there are a number of classes available, the box standard selections to be honest, sniper, rifleman, support, explosives; each having their own strengths and weaknesses, but together, a dominant and effective team.
Games modes are somewhat sparse presently, this I suppose is expected from an early access title. The game mode Domination was available that threw together 2 teams of 16 players, and 5 domination points. The purpose of the game to dominate the areas for as long as possible, the team with the greatest number of tickets would win the game. This is a common game mode and often seen in titles such as Battlefield, and I can confirm that Days of War does it very well.
New players however may become slightly irritated though, especially those who have not been involved in titles of this nature before. There is little room for error, and should you take shots from the opponents then it is likely that you may die extremely quickly. The shots can be punishing so players ought to take their position into consideration prior to running out into the open, if you get it wrong, I highly doubt you’ll live long enough to tell the story. Teamplay is key to this game, learning the maps and if you can, playing with a group of friends will increase your chances of survival experientially. If you’re a lone gun, and attempting to take on the might of the opposition by yourself, without others to naturally watch your back, then I feel you may see the death screen far more than you’d like.
Saying that, where the game can frustrate, it does make up for in map design, the stages are well-set with good thought to areas for cover and peeking around corners. There are plenty areas to gain vantage points, to wait in the shadows for the enemy. The map design compliments the style of play extremely well, again, if you’re a fan of insurgency then you’ll enjoy this aspect of the title.
It is clear however that the developers have taken care with the look of the maps too, should you cast your eye to the official website, there is an extract of note “Maps are inspired by historical WW2 settings. Players can fight on the beaches at Omaha as part of the D-Day invasion push inland in the Normandy themed maps Carentan and Thunder, or battle for the Colmar Pocket in the snowy village of Kaysersberg. These iconic locations draw inspiration from Saving Private Ryan, the Band of Brothers TV series and other real world settings. More maps will be added in the upcoming months such as a warm and sunny Italian coastal city and a snow covered forest set near Bastogne”, I can confirm that the developers have designed the locations beautifully. The game feels like it is present within the period of WW2, hauntingly beautiful. I personally played the game on the very highest settings, the game continued to play well with a good frame rate, no drops to mention and the textures held well and looked at times, astonishing.
There are developments to be made, the developers have promised that the title will be customizable by the community, personal servers, game mode tweaks, modding capability and a map editor. I recollect from my Unreal Tournament days that the ability to modify was a great selling point for the game, the freedom to customize is always a plus point and it is clear that the developers want this game to be a game for the community, to be tinkered with by the community and to be enjoyed by the community.
Presently though, owing to this being an early release title, the content is slightly sparse and I look forward to the introduction of more game modes and seeing just what the community can also produce. Hopefully, the title will take on a good following and the servers will continue to fill. If all the above take place, then I have no doubt this title will be enjoyed by many; it is certainly an exciting prospect. Although t its current standing I would not be able to offer a score higher than 7/10, but I have no doubt this will increase as the game developers. As it stands, an excellent title with bags of promise.
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