As DOOM has kicked off E3 2015, I’m already hearing complaints that it doesn’t look like 1990’s DOOM. They’re right. It doesn’t, but it still looks like it could be an excellent shooter based on what we’ve seen and id Software’s recent history.
Having played through a bunch of early shooters recently, including DOOM, I can say the kinds of first person shooters we got back then are pretty much nonexistent today. I’ve been looking all over for a shooter with modern graphics that also captures the speed and level design of old. So far all I’ve been able to subsist on are more DOOM maps, Duke Nukem maps, and more extensive mods like DemonSteele. Even what I played of the new Shadow Warrior is very different form the 1997 original. The new DOOM footage looks much slower than the old school games and has maybe half as many enemies on screen at any given time.
We have games which claim to be a rebellion against the Call of Duty formula with its corridors and cover-based fighting. These games like Bulletstorm, Hard Reset, and the new Shadow Warrior offer more weapon variety than whatever real soldiers are shooting today, more enemy variety than just guys with guns, and generally more “game-like” elements to cut loose and diversity the experience. Even these games however feel slower and more linear than DOOM II or Duke Nukem 3D. I’m not putting that against them, I’m just saying they’re their own thing. RAGE and Wolfenstein: The New Order are a little bit closer to what I and probably others have been missing, and that’s what has me optimistic about the new DOOM.
RAGE proved id could still design a really great shooter. Again, that game isn’t old school DOOM, but it has a very similar rhythm to its combat which is finely polished and feels great to control. The dance you perform with each group of enemies is reminiscent of 90’s shooters even if the overall package has a lot of modernism. Simply put, it feels visceral in its own way. New Order, which I hear got some help from id during development, feels like a continuation of this with a lot of fun weapons and interesting level design. New Order in particular felt like a game that struck a great balance between remembering the past of first person shooters while also understanding what works well from more modern games. This is why I believe in the 2016 DOOM.
In the frankly generous amount of footage we got on Bethesda’s press conference stage, we’ve already seen some good level design with a promising amount of verticality, a large variety of enemies, a large variety of cool weapons, and an overall combat rhythm that looks like the two previous shooters to come out of the studios within Bethesda Game Studios. If New Order was RAGE 1.5, this is possibly RAGE 2 in practice. Okay, maybe you really do want a true sequel to DOOM II and not another RAGE, but that doesn’t mean 2016 DOOM is going to be a bad game or that the series needs to retire.
Shouldn’t even DOOM be able to evolve and change over the course of 20 years? Even 3D Mario is allowed to lose some of the speed and rules of the 2D games.
- If you think the footage was too violent, it’s DOOM, man. To be honest I played DOOM for the first time in 2012 was was still surprised at how violent that game is even after 20 years. Plus, violent gameplay shows better in trailers. Nobody yet has really figured out how to make an exciting trailer for an adventure game or a simulation game.
- I’m sure cars and guns are going to dominate E3. If you want something different, wait for the Nintendo and PC conferences.
- USGamer’s Jeremy Parish makes some great points about E3 and today’s world here: http://t.co/2oagZsPbDD
- Cool story on a Native American-themed game. http://t.co/9kyMb1wKJY
- If you’re still curious about the first Witcher game, this image might help: http://t.co/M9M2rIIXGU The first game’s biggest flaw is it doesn’t really get started until the second quest zone.
- There are still new campaigns for old school Thief coming out in 2015. http://t.co/WpBU2uxjqT