Day of Defeat
Few mods have had such an impact with the online Half-Life gaming community as Day Of Defeat. Old favourites Counter-Strike and TFC spring to mind of course, but despite their avid following (CS in particular) they're getting a bit long in the tooth. Even Counter-Strike can now be modded with the Fusion pack weaponry addons, so it must be getting on a bit.
So, putting these beloved but slightly geriatric mods to one side for a moment, what's so great about the upstart World War Il-themed DoD? Well, this is one mod that it has been a real pleasure to watch. Starting from humble beginnings as did Counter-Strike, the first public releases of the class-based Day Of Defeat were fun but they didn't really grab you by the nuts, figuratively speaking. The maps were OK but not awe-inspiring, the character models and animation slightly wooden. The gameplay was almost run-of-the-mill deathmatch with Allied and Axis soldier skins. The whole mod just didn't quite gel. It was neat, but... not quite a star.
Later, as the development team beavered away at DoD 2.0, the plan all came together. The detail levels shot up, the mod developed an immersive and imposing atmosphere all of its own which began to rival the best around, and background noises became an intrinsic part of the game instead of something that just happened. Then voice support appeared and online server numbers improved so much that getting a good game was never a problem. Now Day Of Defeat was coming of age. We'd always thought that it was destined for great things and here was the proof. "Sod Wolfenstein a few voices cried. "We're off to play Day Of Defeat instead".
Now version 3.0 is upon us. New features include objectivebased gameplay, the ability to mix one-life-per-round and respawning teams, new spectator modes, more maps and yet more atmosphere (as if that's possible - the D-Day map is only missing scratch-and-sniff cordite and burning flesh smells to make it almost as harrowing as actually being there). It's truly impressive. There are of course other WWII mods but none can offer the sheer class of Day of Defeat and it's up to the likes of Return to Castle Wolfenstein (sort of) and the excellent Medal of Honor to offer it any real opposition. These, though, are full-priced games and you expect satisfaction for your money. DoD of course is free (install from our disc and even a download charge can't come back to haunt you) and in some ways offers an even better online experience than its expensive competitors. Ninety-nine per cent of mods aren't a commercial enterprise, but a labour of love, and DoD shows that sort of devotion by the bucketful. It's a top-class shooter and an absolute essential. Try it now!
Download Day of Defeat
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
The WWII - themed game invasion doesn't seem to be slowing down, with a fresh wave of titles arriving on the shores of Blighty very soon, including Call of Duty, Mortyr 2 and The Great Escape. However, Day Of Defeat is different, as many of you out there in PC land will have already got your FPS gun smoking by downloading the superb - and free - home-brewed WWII multiplayer mod for Hatf-Ufe.
Now, developer Valve has signed a 'multi-title' distribution deal with Activision, and the first game to be released is a full commercial version of Day Of Defeat. 'We're still deep rooted in realism and sticking to how things work," said Morello, "but at the same time we've included and added stuff that makes Day Of Defeat a lot easier to play and enjoy."
Dey Of Defeat is a team-based WWII-themed multiplayer game for up to 32 players, where you can join the Allied or Axis powers in one of many roles, such as a sniper or heavy gunner, and take part in campaigns over nine new maps. Each power has different classes of sokfier, so the new British team (yep, we're involved for the first time) varies a great deal from the Americans and Germans. Players have to capture flagged areas of the map, and the first team to hold them all at the same time wins the game - rather like the Domination games in UT or Quake III.
We spent several hours embroiled in a series of battles set over a wide-variety of levels, all with multiple access points to each flag, making camping virtually impossible. An easy-to-read map in the top right hand of the screen showed us where our nearby team-mates were, and an excellent voice-communications system made teamwork far simpler than in most other online shooters.
"All the player models, particle, weather and weapon effects have been updated for this version," continued Morello. "We've also added a 'Death Cam' - previously when you were killed, the screen just went black. Now we show who shot you, and where they were. Plus, we also have a larger map so you can see the position of snipers, meaning there'll be more communication between players."
As with the Day Of Defeat mod, the army fatigues, weapons and vehicles have been modelled to resemble their real-life WWII counterparts. The sound effects are superb as well, with bullets whizzing and ricocheting round the levels in the frenetic battles, while the voices for each side were highly authentic too. So does Morello and his development team, built from passionate coders who met online, believe that the commercial version of Day Of Defeat will appeal to PC gamers who are currently more attracted to Counter-Strike? "That's what we're hoping to see," answered Morello. "We're confident that when there's a box on the shelf we'll be much more visible to people, rather than before when you had to really know about it, or know someone who knew about it."
Not too long ago, there was this little game called Half-Life that revolutionized first-person shooters. Shortly after its release, an online modifier called Counter-Strike further revolutionized online shooters ' so much so that to this day, it's almost impossible to go into internet cafes without seeing a kiosk setup for Counter-Strike. In a similar vein comes Day of Defeat, another popular Half-Life mod that's hit the big time.
Multiplayer modes are tacked onto just about every shooter these days, but those games don't come together quite as well as DoD. Maps are, for the most part, well done. Instead of big open fields like in Battlefield 1942, maps are tight and constricted. Since maps are narrow, taking cover behind the many objects scattered throughout is absolutely necessary, especially since there are plenty of vantage points for snipers. Gamers running around in open fire Rambo-style will surely be mowed down in a heartbeat, but teams that work together and actually think about how they approach things will undoubtedly succeed. Needless to say, DoD is more methodical than most FPSs and that's what makes it such a satisfying experience. Games with an emphasis on fast-paced action are a lot of fun, no doubt, but it takes a game like DoD with its thoughtful approach towards online shooters, to really make an impression.
DoD is based off a tweaked Half-Life engine that was considered advanced a short time ago, but is noticeably outdated now. To exemplify, think of your favorite shooter from the late 1990's era. Remember the fragging goodness of Quake, the revolutionary Half-Life'then remember the blocky and simplistic environments, the blurry and pixilated textures, and the unrealistic effects. That's DoD in a nutshell. That's not to say everything looks bad, but it pales in comparison to current shooters. Regardless, Day of Defeat still does a nice job of creating a believable World War II environment, as there's plenty of detail in maps. Additionally, since DoD doesn't exactly push modern rigs to the limit, it can run on older machines just fine.
Another of DoD's strong points is the audio. Not only does it further immerse you into the WWII setting, but it's also integral to teamwork. Possibly the main draw is the availability of voice communication which allows on-the-fly communication. And on top of that, there are several hot key commands/warnings that can be issued to teammates. All of the commands are done with realistic, accent-filled voices for each respective team, further lending to the WWII setting.
While DoD is a solid package all around, it's still hard to confidently recommend. Those with Half-Life and the time to download all of the mod files can essentially have DoD for free. Granted, there are a few additions in the retail version, but nothing that's worth thirty bucks. However, for those without Half-Life or the motivation to download the hefty mod files, Day of Defeat is a worthwhile contender for your time.