Sometimes the pop culture we want to love isn’t actually made for us.
Just so we’re 100% clear on our terminology for this article: The Original Doom will be called Doom, Doom (2016) will be called Doom (2016). Sorted? Cool. Oh, and one more thing: If you don’t have any idea of how important Doom was to gaming, feel free to read this article of mine first.
You know what it’s like when you have that game, the one game you can always rely on, the game you can play when you’re angry and you just need to vent?
Doom was that game for me.
Not even Doom II, because I didn’t really like the new enemies. Sure, the introduction of the double-barrelled shotgun made Doom II a game well worth playing, but I just found the map design weird, like the makers didn’t actually want you to enjoy the game.
Doom doesn’t care if you’re online. It doesn’t care if you’ve got Steam installed. Doom doesn’t ask you to sign a third-party End User License Agreement. Hell, it barely even takes any time to load it nowadays – you start playing Doom and then you play Doom and then you stop playing Doom and NOTHING about the game stops you from killing demons.
So why is Doom (2016) so – well – off-brand?
Doom (2016): Not Off To A Good Start For Me
The first time I played the demo for Doom (2016) I thought my computer had frozen or crashed. This is because it takes way too long to load, and my load indicator (that’s what those bars/circles are called, right?) was stuck on 36% for at least a minute. I left the room to grab a snack, and when I came back the game was finally loaded. Yay!
Once the demo had loaded, I didn’t last long. The combat was wildly different from Doom, and the guns didn’t feel (to me) as though they had any impact. Math-wise it was similar (one or two well-aimed shotgun blasts would kill an imp). But nothing was ever going to compare to the Doom weapons for me, so I gave Doom (2016) a free pass there.
I decided I’d buy Doom (2016) eventually.
Unfortunately for me, I was about to boycott Bethesda. This lasted for about 4 years until I realised that every other so-called ‘Triple-A Games Company’ were just as bad, just as greedy, and just as incompetent. And yes I know that Doom (2016) was made by iD Software, but it was still a Bethesda game.
So I did eventually buy Doom (2016). I have a lot of good things to say about the game, but that’s not what this article is about.
The game took even longer to load than the demo. As the Old Jungle Saying goes: ‘An action-oriented game should never take so long to load that your adrenaline wears off.’
The level design, while far superior to Doom II‘s level design, was still annoying. Why are there jumping puzzles in my Doom franchise game? Why the hell did Doom (2016) feature WAY too many of them? Doom didn’t even have a jump button! A Doomslayer should not even NEED to jump, let alone mantle multiple platforms in a row.
WHY WOULD YOU DO ME LIKE THIS, iD SOFTWARE?
I. JUST. WANT. TO. KILL. DEMONS.
Doom (2016): The Fine Art Of Being Pretentious
Many people use the word ‘pretentious’ wrong. The root word is ‘pretend’, so it basically means ‘try-hard’. It doesn’t mean ‘fancy’. For instance, I’m a pretentious writer. Not because I use fancy words, but because I’m not as good a writer as I think I am (a fact which I am fine with). This is because entertainment is built on the idea of majesty and glamour over skill and experience.
The storyline for Doom (2016) is one of the most pretentious things I’ve ever experienced. If you want me to hate the characters in your story, you need to explain or show why they’re worthy of my hatred. There’s an old saying: a story is only as good as its villain. Instead, Doom (2016) has 2 half-arsed villains.
Some robot is talking to me, telling me to do stuff. Why the hell would I care what this random moron has to say to me? Fortunately, the player soon learns to ignore him. According to the in-game collectibles, he’s actually a human in a robot body. Who cares? How the hell does that actually impact the story in any meaningful manner? The whole thing just feels like edgelord fan-fiction set in a Doom alternate universe. It’s so unimportant that I had to find it out via collectibles and not, say, via the main story.
Speaking of which…
Doom (2016): Time-wasting In All The Wrong Ways
When I say that I want to waste time playing video games, I mean that I’m aware that playing video games isn’t generally considered productive. I don’t mean that I want the game to make me waste time doing random crap.
See, in Doom (2016) there are two ways to upgrade your gear/abilities:
1. Wait until you come across them
2. Search them out
Your ability to survive later on in the game depends on your combat gear as much as your personal skill level (understanding and utilising the game mechanics etc.) so there’s an unspoken impetus on collecting as much stuff as you can.
The game does help you with map markers for the collectibles, but this game suffers from many of the same issues as Vermintide 2: The game actually seems intentionally designed to interrupt the game-flow.
So you could feasibly spend as much time searching for collectibles as you do shooting things – and that’s assuming that your ability to perform jump puzzles is top notch. Mine isn’t.
Oh and then there’s the Demon Runes, which give you different combat traits (such as letting you pick up ammo drops from farther away). You click on them and then – blammo – ANOTHER BLOODY LOADING SCREEN.
Like I said: This is not the kind of time-wasting I want from my games.
You know what game is like Doom (2016) but doesn’t waste my time searching around for Bobbleheads and looking at loading screens?
So isn’t it good that I can play that instead?
Doom (2016) Is Actually Quite Awesome – It’s Just Not For Me.
A mistake that many gamers of my generation (Gen X) make is that we often forget how tedious gaming could be back in the day.
Doom, for instance, does indeed have jumping puzzles. That’s insane because it doesn’t even have a jump button. And Doom also made you waste time running around searching for things (such as armor, health, and ammo).
Doom might have loaded quicker, but that’s because the graphics were so incredibly basic. It blew my mind when I realised that the death-state sprites (the graphics of dead enemies) always faced you. If you killed an imp you were then cursed with trying to ignore the fact that you were looking at their pixelated buttholes until you left the map.
Doom (2016), on the other hand, is amazingly immersive (if you can ignore the storyline). The graphics, sound, and combat of Doom (2016) allow it a level of player immersion that Doom can never achieve.
The combat is the only area in Doom (2016) which I think is an improvement over the original.
But guess what? Doom (2016) wasn’t made for me. It wasn’t even made for my generation. It was made for modern gamers. When looked at from that angle, it’s actually a lot like Doom.
The focus is on combat. It’s simple in its design in the sense that there’s no microtransactions. Hell, there isn’t even any DLC for it! And the jumping puzzles aren’t actually jumping puzzles as much as areas where you can jump’.
And you can just ignore the collectibles if you want, because you can replay the levels individually. The only person stopping me from ‘just killing demons’ is me.
And, just like Doom, the multiplayer is where all the fun is. I might not be impressed with the campaign but I’ve had some great fun playing multiplayer with a buddy.
While I’m sad that Doom (2016) didn’t become my favourite new game, I find myself happy that the modern generation of gamers are able to stroll around Mars and Hell, with an unobtrusive story, and experience wholesale demon slaughter for themselves.
No matter your generation, you should always have the opportunity to rip and tear.