Although the initial reaction to the Doom announcement and footage shown at E3 was positive, sentiment has cooled a little in the weeks following the event, and, looking at the state of the franchise in recent years, the trepidation many Doom fans feel is certainly justified.
Doom 3 was a beautiful game when it was released in 2004. It was leagues beyond anything else on the market when it came to looks, but to achieve the visuals id Software had to make some rather fundamental changes to the way the game played. Rather than the long, mazelike corridors and wide arenas populated by huge hordes of demonic monsters that made up the first two Doom games, Doom 3 was instead made up on a series of small rooms (designed so that the engine didn’t have to render too much in the way of distant geometry) and only a handful of monsters at a time. Then Doom 4 was announced in 2008 but cancelled for, at the time, non-specific reasons. In a recent interview with Polygon, Pete Hines said that Doom 4 played too much like military shooters of the day and felt divorced from the actual Doom franchise.
The newly unveiled Doom looks much more like old fashioned Doom, with the mazelike corridors being obvious from the first few moments of the gameplay reveal, but, at least to our eyes the game still seems to be a bit divorced from what fans really know as Doom. Many old favourite weapons return, including the double barrelled (Super) shotgun, the plasma gun and chainsaw, but the combat didn’t come across as being as frenetic as the original Doom. Part of this comes from the fact that during the gameplay demo many encounters were with single demons and even when it gets busy no more than five or six beasties appear on screen at any one time. A lot of emphasis was also placed on the new execution moves that the Doom Trooper is capable of pulling off when in melee range of a demon. We don’t know how these attacks will be triggered as yet but they seem to be gory instagibs capable of killing most monsters. We have our fingers crossed that the reason for only having a few monsters on screen at any time at this stage of development comes down to the fact that the engine is still being optimised and the gameplay demo was rolled out for E3 and isn’t truly indicative of the final game. With Quakecon coming up (on the same day this issue hit stands as a matter of fact) we will hopefully see much more of the game in coming weeks and with luck our worries about Doom will be placated.
In a FPS marketplace dominated by tactical or military shooters, having an old-school run and gun game that puts the focus on speed and hordes of enemies will come as a real breath of fresh air.
- DEVELOPER ID SOFTWARE
- PUBLISHER BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
- DUE 2016