I never thought I would play Doom and think… “wow deep and intense at the same time!”
This game makes you feel like you can take on the world… if the world was Mars with a bunch of DEMONS on it.
I think that a lot of the way that this game feels good is the way it was designed.
OK, for those who don’t know what I’m on about. The brief summary of the doom series is portal opens on Mars, Demons spawn out of it, you’re the only guy who can do anything physical… the rest writes itself.
The most recent of the franchise confusingly named Doom… not Doom 4, just Doom drops you in as a cult is tying to sacrifice you… and failing at it.
Everything in this game is Doom to a… well actually it is or parr with the original Doom.
Firstly, the link between health and enemy, in the Original, you take the enemy out fast, they don’t shoot you so they can’t kill you, the new one takes it one step further.
In the new Doom if you shoot an enemy they react, they misfire, they flinch they react so shooting them stops them shooting back. You also get additional health and ammo for finishers and frags (blowing an alien into 1 million pieces). This is all about the offensive, with regenerating health it asks you to take cover and take your time, in this one if you charge in you’re rewarded for it reinforcing the idea that you are in charge of the situation.
Secondly, movement, this game is fast. I’m playing on the hardest difficulty with tutorials and the enemies move, they don’t just sit around to let you get a clean shot; if you get too close they lash out and dodge, they climb walls and shoot from above.
The enemies’ movement alone provides a challenge, you have to be fully aware of all your surroundings 360, 360 (horizontal and vertical) increasing the challenge and with that harder challenge comes more satisfaction.
Thirdly, enemy variety. So far, in three levels I think I’ve seen 7 different enemy types and I’m not just meaning gunner in another coloured suit; there are enemies who are slow, enemies who blow up when hit, behind shields, chargers… and each time they appear the reaction is:
They appear. They kill me. I swear. Retry. Kill me again. Retry. Succeed. (after repeating “Kill me again. Retry.” a few more times)
Each new enemy has a different tactic to deal with meaning you have to constantly think about your next move putting you into a trance like state solving it like chess at 50 mph.
Combine this, finally, with the terrain. The terrain changes things up…
SPOILERS INBOUND. SPOILERS INBOUND. SPOILERS INBOUND.SPOILERS INBOUND.SPOILERS INBOUND.
In the third level, you have to perform 4 ‘lock-down’ events. You must disable 4 nests before you can enter the Reactor which is going into Meltdown. When you disable the nest, the demons come and give you a cup of tea (if a cup of tea involves Fireballs, Plasma and Bullets).
Each location was different. The first was in a single mid-size room where shotguns and the pulse rifle were useful, another was in a claustrophobic 2 storey building when shotguns and pistols were king.
Another was an open series of catwalks where falling into lava is great for the complexion and the fourth was an L shape room with stairs leading up one end.
Finally there was a long room with two raised circular platforms with gangways down each side, an area with both confined and open areas.
You start with 3 major guns and you constantly have to switch up to use the best for each area… and the game doesn’t have to hint; open area, machine gun out, close quarters, out comes the shotgun, sniper’s perch with cannon fodder… well I don’t have a sniper rifle yet but a charge pistol shot takes them out.
The key thing about any game that really works is that it doesn’t talk down to you. Doom is tough but it gives you the tools to complete the tasks and it sets it up in a way so that you have enough time to get used to each new mechanic.
It’s also not Skinner Box either, it doesn’t have to reinforce the idea that you’re good in patronising ways, it sets up the mechanics in a way so that it tells you what to do and the type of character you’re playing and if you play it right, you end up feeling like that B***** marine and wishing to continue with him.
A game with a lesson for everyone.
This isn’t my best writing as I’m trying to build my thoughts after playing Doom for…
OK I was actually also using the snap map as well so I suppose it adds up.