Days of War is a fun throwback to early-2000s WWII shooters

I can't quite get a read on Days of War, which came out of Early Access a few weeks ago, because the US servers are mostly empty whenever I'm on. That's the danger of releasing a multiplayer-only game today—it's so hard to pull people away from all of the other multiplayer games they could be playing—but at least there are bots to kill, and they're pretty fun to kill. They do a great job of standing still or running directly toward players so that we can plunk them full of M1 Garand holes.

Days of War obviously takes some inspiration from Day of Defeat, the Half-Life mod turned standalone series, and it also reminds me of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. (At this point, I think it's time to stop using the "day of" naming convention. With Day of Infamy as well, we have enough.)

In the one currently available mode, teams spawn at opposite sides of simple maps and run toward capture points, which are typically placed in open areas accessible through alleys and hallways, sometimes with overlooks for sniping. At least when playing against bots, it's easy to hide at the side of a hallway waiting for enemies to jog in front of me, or to hang back and stare at a choke point until a body appears in my sights. Pushing a point through multiple entryways is theoretically the right move, but I don't know that I'd call Days of War tactical even when that works out. It's about shooting first.

As expected of a shooter that aims to replicate the WWII games of the early 2000s, it takes no more than one to three hits to kill depending on the gun. The rifles are laser-accurate down the sights, and quite accurate from the hip at close range. The automatic weapons are also easy to spray in close quarters, with the exception of the heavy machine guns, which have hilariously powerful recoil when not mounted (see the gif above).

The basic Allied rifle is the M1 Garand with its ping, of course, while the German riflemen wield bolt-action one-hit-kill K98s. You've also got your scoped Springfields, your BARs, your MP40s, your Mosin-Nagants, and so on—the Americans, British, Germans, and Soviets are all involved and over 60 weapons are available. The animations meet the minimum requirement of existing, but aren't anything special—guns vibrate like you'd expect, and a meaty hand inserts clips with unnatural speed.

Everything is fast in Days of War: sprinting, time-to-kill, respawns, and wins. In the one available mode, capturing all the control points instantly wins a round, so if the other team is goofing off (or is mainly bots), you can sneak onto the final point and win a round a minute after it started, as seen in the gif below.

Days of War does not deliver on all of its promises just yet. The old trailer depicting a dramatic Omaha Beach landing isn't something you can play. That map is planned for the upcoming Detonation mode, and a third mode, Groundwar, also remains locked for now.

There are currently some nice accouterments to go with the one mode, though: There's a separate dedicated server executable, as well as a map editor that can be obtained via the Epic Launcher (it requires Unreal Engine 4.20).

The developer will be running a free weekend at some point in the coming weeks, and I'll be sure to point it out when it happens.  Driven Arts intends to have the Detonation and Groundwar maps ready by then, and more modes plus a trial period could make a big difference for Days of War. 

For now, Days of War is fun, but like so many low-population multiplayer games, it's hard to recommend unless its fortunes change. It's got potential, though, and I've been jumping in now and then to enjoy the nostalgia, even though most of my opponents just stand and stare at me before I shoot them. Poor bots. They do their best.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.