DoomCover

Let’s all calm down about Doom

Everybody needs to calm down about doom.

Look, the new Doom is a great shooter, I enjoyed it almost start to finish, but it’s quickly gaining the admiration and praise of a charismatic cult leader.  The kind we awkwardly pretend we never liked after realizing the con.


The thing is, Doom really only has its combat going for it.   One could argue that’s all you want from a Doom game, but such satisfaction with the status quo is the antithesis to truly classic games.

Others have argued that story isn’t important; even the game itself hangs a lampshade on its disinterest (the protagonist actively ignores the exposition and direction of others), but such pleased self – detriment isn’t a satisfactory replacement for a lazy plot that is a carbon copy of Doom 3.  

Characters are complete one dimensional placeholders, with zero ability to form any sort of empathetic connection.  One is literally a robot.

DOOMOP


Doomguy is characterized as having no interest in the affairs of other characters.  You probably saw trailers where Doomguy discards a communication monitor (on which Optimus Prime is trying to say something) and later smashes delicate machinery when begged not to.

That’s it, by the way – in terms of his characterization.  Aside from how he viciously kills demons there is little else to note about Doomguy other than what was shown in the advertisements.

And that delicate machinery for which Doom guy had so little regard?  That was technology powering all of humanity into the future – so as far as I can tell, by destroying these, Doomguy damaged humans far more than the demons ever managed.

But ‘It’s Doom!’ you say, ‘Story never mattered, It’s meant to be that way’.

And the game suffers for its obsession with it’s own legacy.  The combat started wearing thin as the game kept going for about 3-4 hours after all weapons were obtained and all enemies encountered.  This might not have felt so tedious if I had anything to drive me forward, but  I cared nothing for the story nor it’s characters.  It became combat for combat’s sake and I was wishing the next mini-arena was the last.

revenant

The original Doom(s) got away with this because the level design was mind bogglingly clever, engaging and varied with some disturbing horror, there was always something new in every level.  New Doom has very samey arenas with a fraction of the staying power.

I completed the campaign more out of ‘just getting to the end’ rather than any desire to see a conclusion (which – spolier, was utter shit).

Imagine how amazing New Doom would have been if it HAD interesting characters and story on top of the intense combat.  The current focus seems to be on excusing the quality of everything else as opposed to demanding it.

I understand that Doom is very much a jump in and not think game, but you can somewhat solve a crap story with more depth to the actual world

And I’m not counting written or audio diary entries that you gather (the absolute laziest way to flesh out the world and plot), which is right up there with pointing to extended universe to fill in the gaps.

Diary entry

I’m talking about stuff you choose to ignore, or stop and absorb.  Things that catch your interest as opposed to slamming a page of text into your face, or a voice over in your ears.  One player might not notice nor care, while the others will want to take the time to absorb the environment, while not having to disconnect through menus.

And what happened to the disturbing horror atmosphere?  New Doom has a lot of gore, but nothing as unsettling as the atmosphere in the original Dooms (or even Doom 3).

Combat/Fighting is definitely the game’s strongest point, and for the most part is able to carry the game.  The sound, music, feedback of weapons and shear visceral intensity was a refreshing alternative to most other shooters

However, I reached a point where I started noticing holes in the mechanics.  You could be surrounded by enemies, but as long as you move you’re fairly safe – even on the higher difficulty levels.

The game announces this tactic on loading screens ( that staying still will get you killed) but in reality – that’s ALL that will get you killed.

Enemies have terrible aim and zero subtlety to their attacks – intentionally of course,  otherwise you wouldn’t stand a chance.  But as long as I circled the arena I pretty much couldn’t be touched.  This was on the hardest available difficulty on my first play through.  I died more to falling off ledges than to enemies.

Having said that…

Wolfenstein The New Order is superior in almost every way.

All my complaints are solved by the New Order.  Interesting characters, world, enemies, story line and motivating plot.  The environments are spectacular and varied, whereas Dooms environments were mainly industrial warehouses and barren lava planes.

TNOMonitor


Arguably the combat in Doom is faster paced, but TNO’s combat was still satisfying and appropriate to it’s world (you are fighting tactical humans/machines).  The environments were far more varied, allowing for more situational combat.

Then why complain Derek?  Play Woflenstein then,  asshat.

The reason I worry about new Doom’s success is because Bethesda have a habit lately of jumping onto band wagons – in a ‘this is what the kids want’ kind of way, and they may start cannibalizing their own ISPs.

Fallout 4 jumped onto the crafting gimmick (which was the worst part of the game).  The new Quake looks to be jumping onto the Hero Shooter bandwagon.  The Elder Scrolls turned into an MMO that nobody wanted and Prey looks to be turning into a sci-fi Silent Hill/PT.

The last thing I want Bethesda to interfere with is Wolfenstein – let the rumored sequel be it’s own thing and not absorb Dooms ‘micro-area’ shooter style, or it’s ironic (yet sill detrimental) lack of characters or engaging story.  Many people including myself loved The New Order and a sequel will sell like hotcakes without having to implement all this crap.  Save that for a new Doom 2.

TNODeathshead

I realise that the developers are different between these games (ID for Doom, MachineGames for The New Order) but daddy Bethesda may want to satisfy shareholders by pushing the latest successful formula even though it is the least appropriate for the current iteration of Wolfenstein.

If your reading this Bethesda (I’m sure you’re one of my 4 readers) please avoid infecting the new Wolfenstein with the new Doom.  Doom is riding high now, but I’m willing to bet it will be forgotten a lot quicker than Wolfenstein the New Order.  It’s too much of a one trick pony.

And for the love of B.J, keep crafting out of all of them.