I was in College when the Doom 3 leak happened, never did spend much time with the game but it was one of the early and clear examples of a trend where the added realism afforded by new hardware allowed games to be more serious and dark. A whole lot of games fell for it during the late 90s to early 2000s, as if videogames were in some adolescent period where they needed to abandon their colorful origins. I mean, in a lot of ways they were.

The cool part of DOOM is that after so many games have tried that modernization approach, it appears to follow a recent phenomenon (which I can only hope becomes more of a trend) where developers skip the tried-and-true methods of wringing an old IP for money and instead return to the roots of the game, changing it only when new techniques can further the original ideas. At the time, I remember Doom 2 being a technological marvel more than anything else but it did have a frenetic pace of the action that got lost somewhere among the cover-shooting and regenerating health.

I think it was Halo that popularized the idea of creating a simpler shooter with much less longterm economy – you didn’t really have to keep track of health between fights, and since you could only carry two weapons you were bound to keep replacing them with whatever you found ammo for. It was a brilliant way of removing the problem of players fretting over just how expensive a victory had been and how it would affect their path through the rest of the level – it allowed each encounter to be interesting and lethal in its own right. The problem with this, though, is that by allowing the players to rest to regain health, you encourage a playstyle that involves frequent lulls in the action.

Nothing wrong with that per-se, but it has been a crutch for many games – it is therefore refreshing to see DOOM flip the idea on its head and instead of rewarding the player for taking a break it rewards the player for keeping the action going. Not a lot of DOOM makes sense from a narrative standpoint but the flow of the game and the feedback from its mechanics justify it. It is a bold move to go back to the drawing board on a problem that’s already been solved, and no mean feat to pull off a completely new solution so well.

I did feel like some of the exploratory game elements introduced a bit too much of a pause in the mayhem, and the difficulty curve was uneven, but those are merely nitpicks in a confident and very good game.

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Posted on Jun 23/16 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »