QuakeCon 2014: A Preview of DOOM

lh_Doom_reveal_quakecon_preview_logoNo link bait headlines from us despite the fact that Bethesda Softworks and id Software have finally, irrevocably confirmed that Doom 4 has been canned after persisting in development hell for years. Rumors and reports have persisted over the title’s struggle to come to fruition. Sent back to the drawing board in 2011, gamers received the first taste of Doom from a quick E3 2014 trailer that was shown again as the opening of yesterday’s reveal.

From there, it was seemingly all butter. Perhaps most importantly was the explanation of the title. It’s no longer Doom 4, but Doom because id Software is looking to return the franchise to its roots, removing elements added from Doom 3 and largely disregarding features that have been added to the genre the franchise helped create. Why disregard decades of progress? Simple, because many of these features, such as hiding, stealth, ammo rationing, generally being cautious, flies in the face of Doom. The original design of Doom, more an ancestor of Gears of War, is about run-and-gun, gibbing your way through a level as you seek your next target to destroy with extreme prejudice.

After the reveal went off the air on Twitch, attendees were treated to combat and little but. It’s just combat, the art of gibbing evil demons is a fast-paced method that the Doom Reveal focused the next 20 or so minutes on. We saw a collection of 5-6 weapons in two distinct environments taking part in frenetic combat. The double-barrel shotgun was met with cheers, superseded by the return of the chainsaw and all the gorey deaths it dealt.

Oh the gore.

Nearly standing-room only.

New features:

  • Finishing moves – It’s no longer the realm of the BFG or chainsaw to mete out unrestricted carnage. All weapons open up the ability for a scripted fatality, from a headstomp to ripping the guts from a demon, when enough damage is dealt to the mob. Gunners are given a visual queue when they can perform such a move.
    Faster movement – Run-and-gun always requires the former. Doom moves into the future with your character essentially sprinting constantly – no meter here – and capable of leaping far distances and vaulting up boxes and railings to gain advantages over one’s foes.
  • Vacuum loot – No need to run all over the place scrapping for boxes. It was unsure if the demo driver was hitting a button, but the loot, including health and ammo, easily comes to the player from a short distance.
  • Intelligent, angry demons – The demons in Doom intelligently swarm the player, seemingly looking to setup kill zones or at least an area of cross fire as others get up in your face. They also spawn not all at once, but over the course of a fight.

We saw two distinct environments that hint at the story revolving in and around a massive energy station on Mars. That’s a return to the old lore in theory as we were told the entire plan would be revealed at a later date. We do know that Hell has returned to the red planet and players will have to battle the environment as well as demon hordes merged with technology. We first saw the close-quarters combat set inside the massive complex. Featuring sweaty environments, tight corridors and locked doors, the fights with small groups of mobs were fast and in your face. Juxtapose this with the next environment, the wide areas between UAC buildings. More akin to the setting of Alien, quiet, open and eerie. That is until it isn’t. These areas specialize in swarms of enemies reigning a variety of fire upon you as you make your way across the sparsely protected grounds to the next building. Trapesing railings, ducking behind crates and clutch shooting is all that one can do to survive.

There’s plenty of unknowns for Doom. It remains to be seen if the kill shots could be too powerful or distracting and upset the run-and-gun core. How the story will come together. Or if the promised competitive multiplayer will meet expectations (dedicated servers?). And yet, after years in development hell, the loss of its technical lead and a full reboot to id Tech 6, Doom, at least in the early going, appears to be classic arm-tearing fun.

1 Comment

  1. Anything would be an improvement over Doom 3. Way too much BOO! in that game.

    Doom and Doom ][ had scary bits, yes, but their only purpose was to inspire the fight or flight reflex. Often both at the same time, fight AND flight. Doom 3 forgot that. Perhaps this reboot will rediscover it.

Comments are closed.