Thursday, August 3, 2023

DOOM - 2016 (PS4)

In my “best games of all times” list, Doom is in the top 3. Doom 3 (2004) was a disappointment – it pivoted towards the survival/horror instead of shooting fun (I actually abandoned it until I found a community mod allowing to attach a flashlight to the weapons). Then came Doom 4 (2016) or simply “Doom” (not sure why they reused the name, it´s confusing to me)

I think they nailed the basic gameplay core: Shoot demons, keep on the move to avoid damage and use your weapons and powerups as much as the ammo allows. There is a decent amount of monster variations, but maybe lacking some more bosses (they resolved some levels with above-than-average encounters reusing regular mobs)

They added some depth to combat with several upgrade layers: Weapon mods (I rarely used them tbh), character (the real deal), runes (minor improvements on actions, more or less useful depending on your playstyle). On top of those there were level challenges, which reward upgrade points. Altogether a bit confusing, if you ask me. I see a honest intention to provide combat options, but they have so many similar systems working simultaneously that it takes some time to digest. Still, you eventually get it and likely adapt your playthrough to them

I wasn´t impressed by the level design. It works as a series of combat arenas, connected with tunnels for – I presume – performance reasons. Add some basic platforming here and there, secrets and there you go. Classic Doom was a cornerstone in level architecture and graphic innovation. Doom 2016 works fine, and that´s it

So many secrets, by the way! Not surprised, it´s on Doom´s DNA (I will consider the original game the pioneer of adding secrets to levels). It´s a completionist paradise. They also made a good decision to let you know where they are in the level if you find the map. But – I think - you can´t always backtrack so you have to re-play the level anyway

Menus and UI are serviceable, but I felt a bit overloaded with info. Maybe they were designed with PC in mind. I tried a bit the multiplayer and seemed fun. Nothing you haven´t seen before, but playable and what is more important there is a decent editor you can use to create your own levels

I started playing the game, got to 30-40% and abandoned it for years. It was just now that I decided to finish it… to free up console hard drive space. All in all it was a good experience, but the story is not particularly engaging – no Doom is particularly heavy on that aspect – and the level design feels a bit repetitive. Still, when you start playing to keep moving onto another monster pack, then another… and that´s a good sign