It’s 1944. you are tasked with undertaking a mission behind enemy lines which, if successful, could turn the tide of World War 2 in the favour of the Allied powers and send Hitler packing back to Germany. It’s familiar, for sure, but now it’s in VR, and that makes Days of Heroes: D-Day stand out.
Five years after the start of World War II, the Third Reich continued their occupation of Europe. Allied forces decide to open a so-called “second front” in Western Europe to turn the tides of war. Operation Overlord – the biggest landing operation in history – is about to start and you take a first person role in ensuring its success in two different viewpoints.
The first — as an airborne trooper — has you land within France under the cover of night, the second — as an allied infantry trooper — storming the beaches of Normandy as part of one of the most famous offensives in military history on D-Day.
Days Of Heroes: D-Day kicks off initially immersing players back at the military base to ensure players get the hand of their roles. A few short tutorials later and players can reliably navigate the terrain, equip and utilise a number of items (including first aid kits and lighters), toss grenades and also fire and stow weapons of various sorts.
A general barks out orders from some sort of omnipotent position in the sky in comic-like text panels and other soldiers man each station you come to; looking mostly uncomfortable due to the goofy cartoon like style used to represent much of Days of Heroes: D-Day‘s world. It’s bright, it’s colourful and presents a light hearted take on a particularly dark time in human history.
It changes quickly as, entering the first level, you open your eyes in the cargo bay of a heavy troop transport plane flying in the night toward Normandy. Flak explodes outside periodically as the fuselage rattles through the sky. The other soldiers look worried, or constipated (I’ll go with worried) as the light changes to green and you are escorted to the door and out into the fresh, French evening air. The parachute opens and you can see the start of a major offensive all around you as allied planes empty their load all over the French countryside.
Lighthearted in training, Days of Heroes: D-Day starts to take a more serious turn as we enter the forest. Each level is a small-medium encapsulated map with set objectives and enemies littering the area. You are not alone though as your fellow soldiers try to move forward through the level with you whilst you lay waste to half of the German national male 20-40 demographic.
Most levels are straight forward in design and mission but it doesn’t really matter as the gunplay is fairly good. Sometimes density feels like a problem as it’s reported that thousands of soldiers stormed the beach at the Omaha landing. Advancing toward the beachhead with thousands of bullets incoming but only six allied soldiers for support felt a little awkward.
Speaking of awkward, the game premise and controls are fairly well designed and implemented but quality control on text needs some work. Spelling mistakes, missing words and poor grammar is almost laughable when you see it on screen but it somehow adds to the clunky, daft comedy expressions on the soldiers faces as you encounter them.
Gunplay is good and leaves players with several options at any time to best suit their skills or the situation. Wielding a pistol, an M1 Garand rifle, a Thompson submachine gun and a sniper rifle was easy and although one could pick fault with the unlimited ammo pouch on your soldiers belt you will realise that, although Days of Heroes can be very accurate, you can’t be without practice.
The standard challenge with VR presents itself when playing any sort of accurate gun simulation. The high aiming position has been drilled into players since early Call of Duty taught you to aim down the sites but try it here and you will hit your headset with your controllers. It’s possible for a goofy — arms straight, down the sights — position but it takes some getting used to. Unlimited ammo lends itself to a more friendly “spray and pray” approach as it’s easy to get a feel for firing from the hip with the tracer rounds.
Notwithstanding the really poor translation for onscreen text and the invincible six man army; Days of Heroes: D-Day is a fun, lighthearted take on the WW2 shooter that really shouldn’t be compared to the recent Medal of Honor VR. Best played with an audience it’s unintentionally funny but hides some well implemented mechanics and some interesting level designs for a budget price.
Days of Heroes: D-Day is available on PC.