Day of Defeat: Source
I’ve always found it hard to review a mod of some game. Especially when it is widespread and has a close community. Originated from a free modification to Half-Life in 2001, the earlier Day of Defeat has evolved into a successful World War 2 shooter
Valve noticed its success, and decided – in spite of the many disappointed – to buy out the mod. Multiple levels were flushed without second thoughts on Valve’s behalf, and the classes were shuffled pretty heavily. Apart from the free download through Steam for those who owned Half-Life, Day of Defeat was now also available as a stand-alone game.
With the arrival of Half-Life 2, a Source version of DoD had been announced, but it wasn’t until last September that it became available. I present to you Day of Defeat: Source.
In DoD: Source, you fight either as a quarrelsome allied soldier, or an axis sturmtruppe. The goal is to capture and hold as many strategic points (shown as flags) during a twenty-minutes long round. When all points are captured, you’re in for a short period of invincibility before the map resets.
Those who have previous experiences with the game immediately notice that the ‘old’ levels have received a huge revamp. Next to the rich and detailed textures, the game now also supports High Dynamic Range lighting (HDR), a technique that allows for the light to be rendered in a very realistic way. This is noticeable by the overexposure of the outdoor environment when leaving a small dark room. This obstructs the sight of players and thus influences the gameplay in a unique way.
With only just six maps available for this mod, it still feels like we’re somehow missing a piece of the fun. Don’t take me wrong however; the levels offer a *lot* of gameplay, and not two levels look or play the same way, but I just wonder if one or two extra levels wouldn’t elevate the experience even further.
Also, expect some changes to the equipment of the different infantry types. As a Pantzerfaust, you now carry a (semi-)automatic rifle next to the usual anti-tank missiles. Those are great for blowing tanks up; if only there were any in-game. Fortunately, they haven’t touched the recoil system, which still distinguishes Day of Defeat from the other mods. If you’re new to Day of Defeat, this will definitely be a big obstacle for you to overcome.
I don’t think many words are needed to describe the power of the graphical engine, because just like with Half-Life 2, the graphics really look amazing! Same thing about the sound, because hearing those subdued machine guns in the distance ‘kicks ass’. The whole however sounds a bit too empty, which explains the lower grades it gets.
All together now: “But why isn’t this game the best mod ever made?” Easy question for me to answer: the game offers too few maps, is hard to learn and comes no longer free.