Days of War review – passion can’t substitute for quality

Making a spiritual successor to Day of Defeat: Source is certainly a bold move. The game was dropped by Valve not long after its 2006 release, and, while it never hit the popularity of Counter-Strike or Team Fortress Classic, it’s since enjoyed something of a cult status with a dedicated community still playing.

For developer Driven Arts to look at that and think, “Yeah, we can carry this torch” is commendable, but the result, Days of War, just doesn’t match its inspiration.

Like Day of Defeat, Days of War is a close-quarters multiplayer WW2 shooter. Maps are often wind-ing and crowded, full of ambush spots and sneaky sniper vantage points rather than big, sprawling spaces.

Each team fights across these blasted-out maps to capture control points in an endless tug of war. The player classes are almost identical to Day of Defeat as well, letting you pick between various loadouts such as snipers, riflemen, a fully-automatic assault class, and rocket launchers.

For all I’m about to say regarding Days of War, its map design is simply excellent. Each one is burst-ing with detail and character, while also feeling decently balanced. They each have a great mix of blind corners, alternate paths, and slightly more open, sniper-friendly areas.

There’s also some variation in which armies get to fight it out in each map, with the Russian, British, and American armies all getting a few shots in at the Axis. It’s always nice to see a WW2 game look at the various fronts of conflict, rather than getting hung up on a specific locale.

The bots are about as intelligent as a rationed tin of spam.

It’s a shame that attention to detail doesn’t also extend to its moment-to-moment play. Lacking any sort of punch, shooting feels floaty and bland, more like playing with papier mâché than beefy guns. The grenades are particularly awful, giving off little more than a wisp of smoke and only killing anybody unlucky enough to be sat right on top of them.

Capturing points is almost instant, meaning winning is less the hard-earned victories of Day of De-feat and more of a sprint to see which team can run in a circle around the map first. Like the shoot-ing, it comes off as being weirdly disconnected from the presentation – an afterthought once all the work had been put into the maps themselves.

Most importantly, the game’s absolutely dead online. Playing a few days after launch, at peak hours, I was dropped into a match filled with some of the worst AI-driven bots I’ve ever seen in a game. My record so far is seeing four real players in a 16-player match.

This inactivity is probably due to the game’s shaky time in Early Access (it was removed from sale and went MIA for many months before returning), and it could be improved with some major work from Driven Arts, but right now it’s an absolute ghost town.

Multiplayer games come and go every day, but Days of War hurts. It hurts because there’s a clear amount of passion and love put into its stages and environments, but a shiny lick of paint doesn’t make for a worthwhile successor to a cult classic. I would kill for more Day of Defeat, but Days of War just isn’t what we need.

Verdict: 49%

An online ghost town with flimsy shooting, there are much better WW2 shooters out there.

Genre: Multiplayer FPS
Format: PC (tested) / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One
Developer: Driven Arts
Publisher: Graffiti Games
Price: £19.49
Release: Out now (PC), TBC (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

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