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Doom – Why Old-School Still Works

By on June 30, 2016

DOOM_2016_OSTFor such an old franchise, Doom really is a breath of fresh air. But why is that?

There’s the old saying of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, but the problem is that inevitably that will stop evolution – which is bad. Unless you’re a shark. (Hint: Sharks have stopped evolving because they are already BAD ASS!)

But we also know that we are cyclical beings by our very nature. Trends come and go – music, fashion, and general pop culture. Y’know … stuff.

But games (as we know them now) are a relatively new medium and, with the rise of independent games and a bigger thirst for nostalgia rising, we are starting to see people going back to what games were about in the first place – fun.

Of course, FPS’s are the usual go-to when Joe Average thinks about gaming. They think Call of Duty, one of the biggest franchises in the world, and running around shooting things. Are they right? Well, yes. But gaming these days has got so bloody serious. Apart from Nintendo, which has consistently hit the same tone for it’s entire lifespan, games are taking themselves very seriously.

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It’s no bad thing. It’s great to see how gaming has developed, how it has forged out it’s own culture and is now looked upon with much more respect by the public. No longer are we teenagers in dark rooms, with sweaty palms, used tissues, stained tshirts and picking spots. We’re adults now – and we’ve brought with us into maturity that very thing which brought us so much joy – videogames.

But …

Sometimes I want to revel in being a stupid macho kick-ass beefcake with a huge gun and just spray bullets until I feel like I’ve annihilated all Brexit supporters. It’s cathartic, it’s nonsense, it’s also Doom – and I like it.

Black Ops 3 (and all the Call of Duty’s really) always have a story that makes no sense. Always. But they do try very hard to make a political thriller out of the shouting, the explosions and the people walking around in suits spouting exposition faster than you can jump around them (in the hope that you can move the boring cutscene on any quicker). Doom does have a narrative if you choose to follow it, but your real goal?

Kill everything.

With a variety of upgradeable weapons, gadgets, bonus powers and challenges as you go along, it makes each new room of monsters feel like another opportunity to vary your killing techniques as much to your heart’s content. You’ll die quite a few times, but that’s ok, because you constantly feel like you’re living on the edge. You’re killing every fucking thing in sight. There’s no stopping you. Not even Hell itself can stand in your way. Damn I love it.

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You run around manically, sometimes through portals (why not?), you shoot anything that moves and if you are able to do a ‘glory kill’ (a finishing fuck-you move), you even get some nice pickups. The ammo management is balanced perfectly, with the added bonus that if you decide to use your chainsaw to kill the enemy – you get a whole bunch of ammo in return. Berserk Mode? Forget-about-it. I’m going to rip everything apart with my bare hands because I CAN!

But what about the game itself? Well, calm down, I’m getting to it…

Graphically, it’s maybe the best thing I’ve seen Bethesda do.

(Please note: much to the Internet’s shock and dismay, and maybe due to being little princesses, they didn’t like the fact I thought the new Wolfenstein – which you can read somewhere on this site – was merely ok. Bethesda don’t turn me on? Okay?! Jeeez)

It keeps the palette from Doom 1 and 2, (rather than the lighting dynamic focus on Doom 3), and is a visual feast for you to roll around in as you slice demons apart.

The only criticisms I would say is that by the time the end of the game came, I’d had enough of just clearing out rooms of the same enemies. I knew not to use up all my ‘good’ ammo in the beginning as it would be the enemies appearing later that would really prove to be dangerous. I kept whizzing around, looking for the staggered glory kill to happen before jumping in and gaining back a slight bit of health and shield.

But the fact that you don’t have to reload, that for some guns you can just hold down ‘fire’ and that killing things is just good ol’ fun, makes it a game that really scratched an itch I didn’t know I had.

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I was able to crank it out in a few days and didn’t look back. Would I want to do the challenges again? Get all the pick-ups and secrets? Right now – no.

I have some serious games that I need to play first.

But I do think it’s quite telling of recent gaming culture that this game has appeared and been received so well. We all like the finer things in life, but sometimes we have that basic instinct of being like

I NEED TO FUCK SOMETHING UP!

And now, instead of taking it out on homeless people – I can play Doom instead.

Stupid enjoyable fun, but instantly forgettable. Not exactly a life-changer. So I’m giving it …

Rating: 7/10

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