I’ve been playing a lot of Day of Defeat: Source lately. When it was released a few weeks ago, I had completely forgotten that I had already bought it as part of the silver package when I bought Half-Life 2. I never played the original Day of Defeat, and I only started playing the Source version to take a look at the nifty new HDR lighting effects, but the damn thing grabbed me and won’t let go.
I think it’s the realism that makes it so fascinating. That and the excellent map design. And the fact that the Source engine makes everything so beautiful. It’s not just the visuals, either, it’s the sounds. It doesn’t sound like other games. Gunshots echo and reverberate off the walls. Faraway sounds seem muffled by the distance, just like they should.
The best part of the game is when you’re crawling on your belly through the rubble in the middle of a town square, trying to get to the enemy flag, and you think you’re home free when suddenly you hear a whizz! and a ping! and your helmet goes rolling along the ground in front of you through the dust cloud kicked up by the bullet, and you realize that was just a lucky miss, and since your helmet rolled in front of you, the enemy is behind you, and…too late, you’re dead.
It’s brilliant. But only because it’s just a game.