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Doom and the power of purity and confidence

Forums - Gaming Discussion - Doom and the power of purity and confidence

I didn't expect to love 2016's Doom reboot as much as I did. After a period of wild and wonderful experimentation in the 2000s, the FPS genre seemed to have settled down into a comfortable groove typified by the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield, with a focus on scripted setpieces and one-off gimmicks.

For me, what set Doom apart and made it great was its confidence in itself, and its focus on pure gameplay.

Where other modern FPS games throw in a turret/vehicle section every twenty minutes or so, as if they're terrified the player is getting bored, Doom had faith in the ability of its core combat loop to carry the experience without the need for extraneous fluff. Variety was provided in the form of new guns and demons, not a section where you control a drone that's never used again. Rather than feeling like a desperate babysitter trying to amuse you with an endless parade of new toys, it threw down the gauntlet and said "we're a game about a dude blasting demons to pulp, and that's it." And that was such a refreshing change of pace. Confidence, after all, is very sexy. Being fussed over, not so much.

It's other big hook was that it prioritized gameplay above all. It didn't constantly take control away from the player to thrust them into barely (or completely non-) interactive setpieces and long winded cut-scenes. It didn't force you to walk slowly from point A to point B for five minutes while an NPC vomits exposition all over you. Where so many modern games lose themselves in trying to be a Hollywood blockbuster, Doom embraced what it was; a video game. And video games are meant to be played, not just watched.

The whole experience felt almost like an intentionally concocted antidote to the tired formula of the 2010s FPS. In recent years, the genre had become like a pizza shop that layered so many toppings onto their pizzas that all you get in the end is a cacophony of dissonant flavours. Doom went back to basics; it was a meat lovers pizza with bacon, salami and hot sauce, and it was goddamn delicious.

This may sound strange, as Doom is an R-rated game soaked in gore and viscera, but in a lot of ways I almost feel like its Nintendo-esque in its tight focus on a central gameplay loop with minimal frills. Maybe that why it appeals to me so powerfully. Whatever the reason, I'm glad it exists, and it stands as a glorious testament that there is still room in the genre for games that don't follow the rulebook and boldly go their own way.

Bring on Doom Eternal!



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And how many current-gen shooters have you actually played? You don't own a Gaming PC, or a PS4, or an Xbox One.



My answer is simple ... I agree with this opinionated piece, but it's certain to say that people who have different philosophies on game design might not agree with it.



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AngryLittleAlchemist said:
And how many shooters have you actually played? You don't own a Gaming PC, or a PS4, or an Xbox One.

Got several friends and family members who do.



curl-6 said:
AngryLittleAlchemist said:
And how many shooters have you actually played? You don't own a Gaming PC, or a PS4, or an Xbox One.

Got several friends and family members who do.

Sounds like an excuse at best to make sweeping generalizations about a genre which are incredibly obvious and have been made several times .... 

I don't disagree entirely. DOOM fills in a niche that needed to be more represented in the industry. It's also way better than most other games in terms of campaign-content, but then again, that's not something that most modern shooters even focus on much, so the OP is a little odd given a lot of the examples don't work for multiplayer (Battlefield has never been very SP-oriented, COD cut it out, etc). 

There are many shooters which occupy a unique position in the industry. 2015-2016 in particular was a fruitful year: Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch and DOOM were all great. Rainbow Six Siege took the basic concept of Counter-Strike and Overwatch gets compared too much to to many different games (mostly because of a few copy cats as well as the fact that Valve games have an irregularly long lifespan, so even though TF2 was almost 10 years old people saw OW as a copy), but they were still unique to the industry at that time. Even before that we got Wolfenstein, which basically hit every mark DOOM did, it just arguably wasn't as good.

The circle-jerk around DOOM is really condescending. It's not that it isn't earned, it's that people have to act like it's some kind of unprecedented accomplishment in the industry. It isn't. There are a ton of interesting first person shooters both from triple-A developers and indie devs. It's just that because a few developers (343, Ubisoft, Activision, Bungie etc.) ruined the fun for many gamers that we have to reiterate constantly how great DOOM is. People who complain about the latest triple A but don't even really follow shooters can just keep saying it over and over again, because it's easy. But of course it's not true to the extent they say, there's a lot of popular games which are very confident in their playstyle. 

Again though, I'm not saying the OP is wrong, it's definitely right. DOOM is a fantastic game which has game design that is confident, and it's not comparable to too many properties in the gaming space right now.

But yeah, I know that's me just being a cynical pessimistic butt-head as usual ... 



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Yeah, Doom 2016 is pretty awesome.



curl-6 said:

I didn't expect to love 2016's Doom reboot as much as I did. After a period of wild and wonderful experimentation in the 2000s, the FPS genre seemed to have settled down into a comfortable groove typified by the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield, with a focus on scripted setpieces and one-off gimmicks.

There is a whole lot more to the FPS genre than Call of Duty and Battlefield and it kind of bugs me that so many people here try to make it seem otherwise.  I'm a fan of several FPS series and I don't even play Call of Duty or Battlefield and have no interest in either one.  They certainly do not typify the entire genre by any means.



Well said, OP. I agre completely and I am also very excited about Doom Eternal.

AngryLittleAlchemist said:

But yeah, I know that's me just being a cynical pessimistic butt-head as usual ... 

Yeah, you really can't help yourself, can you?



Gameplay > Graphics

Substance > Style

Art Direction > Realism

I got Doom on a psn black Friday sale for like €6 and loved it. It ran beautifully on my pro. I'd give it an 8.5/10 for an 8 hour fps. Won't be playing it again and wouldn't pay over €10 for an entry in the series but it served it's purpose. It's one of the 17 games I've now completed since October and I'm glad I did.



For those alluding to strong FPS games that don't resemble Call of Duty and Battlefield, I'd be interested in reading your recommendations. Titanfall 2 and Wolfenstein come to mind.