It’s hard to believe DOOM is almost a month old already.
It’s even harder to believe that in the same month of its release, we’ve also welcomed 2K’s Battleborn and Blizzard’s Overwatch to the world. If there’s one word I could use to describe where we are in the gaming climate right now, it’d be this one: saturated.
As quickly as I fell in love with DOOM, I fell out of it. I don’t blame the game – it’s a fun arcade shooter that more or less warrants the 4.5/5 score we gave it a few weeks ago (check out the review here). No, I blame saturation. Feeling as though you have to constantly shift from one shooter to the next prevents you from forming that close bond with a game; a bond many older gamers undoubtedly share with the original 1993 classic.
The game has beautiful art design, its interior and exterior landscapes forming the perfect playground for demon destruction. It’s infectious, from the heavy metal soundtrack (admitted – this can get fairly grating after a while) to the bouts of demonic skull snapping. It’s just as accessible as it’s spiritual master too, with simple controls supporting simplistic gameplay. You run, gun, pick up health, pick up ammo and melee kill – all the while rarely feeling the COD-generation need to aim down your weapons’ sights. You wouldn’t actually be able to anyway, it’s not in the game.
While Bethesda’s relentless, apocalyptic energy pumped through my veins for a few weeks whilst I played, I couldn’t help but wonder “what’ll be the next shooter after this?” While ultimately that question doesn’t really matter, it’s still a concern I doubt the 1993 gamers ever had to address. Perhaps I’m just frustrated; I missed DOOM on its original release (I would have been nearly a year old at the time) and therefore couldn’t wait to sample a current-generation interpretation as an adult. The single player campaign is well crafted and there are some decent multiplayer modes offering longevity for fans of the seemingly uncommon Unreal Tournament-esque arcade gameplay. Yet the unshakable grip of modern gaming, churning out title after title, means there are less players investing time in DOOM than there should be. Hell, I’m not even sure the game sold half as well as anticipated – despite a fantastic marketing campaign and launch spot. The only servers aren’t necessarily thriving – not in the same manor of the incomparable behemoth of shooters that is Call of Duty.
It’s just a disappointing time for a game like DOOM to be released – a game which Bethesda seem to have lovingly invested huge amounts of time (and money) into; a title that will undoubtedly be a flash-in-the-pan on the conveyer belt of 2016 gaming. Or perhaps I’m too pessimistic. One of my favorite British comedians recently posted this on twitter:
And when I retorted saying it had already become ‘boring’ due to the sheer volume of game traffic out there at the moment, he simply responded with:
That cheered me up. It made me think perhaps it’s less about the cynical gaming climate and more about the legacy a game like DOOM leaves behind. For a lot of people it was the first shooter they’d ever played and it paved the way for their video gaming futures. While this new iteration bares loose similarities to its spiritual predecessor, I hope it’ll have the same effect it had on Charlie Brooker – paving the way for a new bunch of young people in 2016. It could well be their first shooter, meaning more to them than I could ever imagine. Good going, DOOM.
Where do you stand on this? Are you still playing DOOM beyond the first few launch weeks? Are you a fan of the multiplayer, or is single player where you’re at? Let me know in the comments below, I’m genuinely interested to know whether or not I’m in the minority here or if anyone else is feeling the pinch.
DOOM provided by Bethesda (Xbox One)