Something Old, Something New, Something Doom
The old-school is new again as Bethesda Software unveiled the long-awaited iteration in the classic gaming franchise Doom at the E3 Expo 2015. After taking over ID software, Bethesda scrapped production on Doom 4 and started from scratch. Renaming it just Doom, they decided to bring back what made the original so much fun. The new Doom brings back the ultra-violence with a dash of dry morbid humor. The focus has been on bringing back the classic gameplay while adding new elements and updating others.
Tech & Demo
Doom uses the new ID-Tech 6 Engine or as Marty Stratton, executive producer at ID software, joked, “ID-Tech 666, engine of the beast!” The level presented really showed off the impressive effects of the engine. Orange lava casts light across the level giving it that classic Doom feel. The monster designs are torn out of a surrealist nightmare. Each of them had a new feel but were easily recognizable. We also got to see two of the original bosses. The Mancubus, a fat cybernetic slob that fires green projectiles, and the towering Cyberdemon, A minotaur-ish master-demon that has a powerful plasma weapon for an arm, return to test your abilities. The puzzle in the level is amusing in a way only Doom can be. Stuck at a door that requires a handprint to move forward, a holographic recording showed that two marines were ambushed by a Hell Knight and dragged off to another room. Upon finding our poor comrade’s body, the player rips his arm off and uses it to gain access to the locked door. Sorry buddy but it’s going to be a closed casket funeral if there’s one at all.
The most important aspect of the new changes is in the gameplay. The original Doom had the player moving back and side-to-side to dodge the onslaught of monsters and projectiles. The ol’ circle-strafe maneuver was your most dedicated friend and ally. With the new game, the emphasis is on getting up-close and personal with your hellion interlopers. The new melee-executions allow the player to dispatch enemies in action-hero fashion. During an attack on an enemy you will see its body flash blue. This is the tell that indicates an execution is possible. The animation for these are gory and hilarious; whether it’s tearing a demon’s head open or ripping off their arms and beating them to death with it. They already have an impressive range of animations and the one for the Mancubus is a delicious reward for defeating it. The animation quality overall has improved whether it’s reloading or watching a demon’s legs continue to walk despite the missing torso.
Doom’s multi-player will be an old school arena-shooter, a stark change from the current shooter market of “realistic” shooters. Old fans will praise the choice and will give new ones the chance to try their luck at the format. The modes announced so far are Deathmatch, Domination, Clan Arena, and Freeze Tag. All of the weapons from the single-player will be in there as well several power-ups. One of which turns you into flying demon, the Revenant, rocket launchers and all. This game will be the first AAA arena shooter in a better part of a decade.
Creative Map Editing
The most surprising part of the presentation was the announcement of Doom SnapMap, an easy-to-use game editor in the vein of what StarCraft 2 offers. Instead of just a complicated map editor that the developers used, this editor has been built with the players in mind. Creating new maps looks to be as easy as snapping modules together. Changing game logic allows creators to forge totally new gameplay modes. They even showed off a player created co-op horde level. They wanted to recreate the golden age of modding that the original Doom brought about. Bethesda is creating a user-created eco-system similar to what Steam Workshop has. It is the creativity of the player base that will bring longevity to the game and it was what gave the original Doom its lasting value.
Something to Look Forward To
Instead of trying to turn Doom into Call of Duty or into something forgettable and modern, they have taken inspiration from the past and brought it into the current generation. The presentation drove home the point that the classic first-person shooter genre was back in a big way. Keeping the heart of the original beating, Doom is marching the franchise into the future.
Doom will be available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. It’s scheduled for Q2 2016.
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