Day of Defeat: Source, Valve’s Answer to the Call of Duty Juggernaut

Day of Defeat was one of the most popular mods available for the original Half-Life and seemed to ride that wave of success that titles like Medal of Honor were responsible for. Fast foward to the present day and the Half-Life series still remains one of the most popular PC titles available for someone with a semi-decent PC.

Day of Defeat seems to tread on familiar territory, allowing players to play as the Wehrmacht or U.S. Army in Western Europe after the Invasion of Normandy. Seems like we’ve all been down this road before right? You’d be correct in assuming so, however the game is missing the Commonwealth forces from the United Kingdom and I do so love my Enfield rifle. Something to wish for in future updates I suppose. Let’s get down to the real meat of it though.

When it comes to multiplayer games, I search for one thing and one thing alone: gameplay. Naturally if you’re shelling out money to play something online without a single player portion, it has to be fun at least. Day of Defeat makes up for lack of single player support for our broadband impaired friends by carrying itself on the strength of it’s gameplay. There’s really only two gameplay modes, one where the Axis destroys Allied armor and AA emplacements and one where zones are occupied for a certain amount of time.

The game is still fairly new, and Valve does deliver in the form of updates as they’ve been exhibiting in their release of the Source engine’s newer features like HDR, so hopefully we’ll see fresher substance in the months to come. In spite of that, for the time being it’s just fine. I’ve logged ten hours easily into both modes and it’s fun each time.

Whether I’m saddling up behind sandbags defending a capture point with my trusty Garand or sneaking up the side of the train yard with my Kar 98K sniper rifle, it feels exciting. Popping off that shot and hoping, just hoping that the fella you’re aiming at isn’t faster on the draw than you gets the blood pumping. Gameplay is ace if you don’t mind round based combat focusing on objectives with respawning. Sort of like a faster Enemy Territory for those looking for a comparison.

Graphically the game is gorgeous, bearing the mark of the flexible Source engine isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The detail is absolutely breathtaking, watching a grenade kick up dust and break nearby objects still amazes me everytime I see it. Character models are exceptionally done and the world view allows you see the mouths moving when they give vocal commands and the removal of magazines from weapons before the soldiers jam a fresh one in.

Dust and blood spray out with each pull of the trigger as realistically as I can imagine. The jarring from explosions and the disoriented player view after a grenade detonates provides a similar experience for the player, and having a rocket whiz by and being left deaf with just a high pitched squeal certainly will shock one to move out of the way next time. The game looks good people.

Sounds aren’t as tongue in cheek as the Wolfenstein series. Vocal commands are given in English and German. The ambience of firearms and explosions are made by the players and gives the impression of being in a warzone. Each weapon sounds different which is a believably good thing. The MP40 sounds much different compared to the Thompson subgun and the crazy sound of the MG42 sounds much faster than the Browning machinegun. Visuals aren’t worth much if the sound accompanying them isn’t equally immersive. Luckily for Valve they hit all the cylinders and just started rolling.

If you’re looking for a shooter to pioneer the already bloated World War II shooter genre, Day of Defeat: Source isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking for something that isn’t hyper realistic and is just plain fun for twenty dollars you’d be hardpressed not to get DOD:S. It makes a perfect companion to that copy of Counter-Strike Source you should already have.

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