PC gamers have seen the Doom series expand and evolve for over 20 years, with the original Doom being released on MS-DOS in 1993.
It was a thrill to run down stone corridors and explore rooms while slaying the hordes of hell. Watching Doomguy’s face slowly bloody and become frantic as he took more damage made the player’s heart race. Packed with weapons, powerups, and plenty of demons to kill, Doom became a favorite among PC gamers and revolutionized PC first person shooters. The franchise locked in its fans and iD Software continues to iterate the series true to Doom… for the most part.
Fast forward to 2004 and the release of Doom 3.
iD Software teamed up with Activision and gave players a mediocre horror shooter that became repetitive after two or three hours of gameplay. There was too much of a focus on the horror aspect. Yes, Doom is about the hordes of hell coming to conquer Earth and the lone space marine that can stop it. Although that sounds like the concept for a horror series, it was played for the visceral slaughter of endless demons. It was about saving Earth, not jumping at demons around corners and behind curtains. Activision took Doom 3 and changed the genre, therefore changing the entire game. Activision forgot that the point of Doom was to save everyone from the demons of hell, not just the protagonist. The graphics were great, the gameplay was average, and the story didn't grab players as well as previous installments.
Now we have a new release of Doom in 2016.
The online beta looks like we are going to see another arena FPS, which hasn't been done well since the days of Quake and Unreal Tournament. When FPS gamers think back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s, they remember playing Quake or Counter Strike. But, as the industry has changed, so have the titles. There was a shift from arena first person shooters towards today’s all encompassing Call of Duty series. Quake 3 Arena’s gameplay was known for being quick, explosive, and gave the player the ability to jump all over the map in a moment's notice. During the rise of the modern FPS, we saw arena shooters fade from the limelight. The release of the Doom beta shows that iD Software is going back to the arena format. Gamers young and old will be able to experience bloody slaughter, together, again.
Bethesda’s involvement with iD is looking to be a better combination than Activision’s.
Bethesda is known for making action-RPG’s like the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series. Their participation will be interesting to see as they tend to create story driven titles. The beta was only online multiplayer so we have yet to see the story line, but nonetheless I am excited. The official trailer shows a return to the original Doom, the Space Marine fighting the hordes of hell to close the gateway and save Earth.
In the Beta the shotgun, lightning weapons, assault rifle, and rocket launcher were available for the initial slaughter. The addition of a Revenant monster that you can turn into provided more challenge and brought much more risk to the match. The Gauss Cannon seems to be the new BFG. Loaded with 5 powerful shots that can instantly kill any normal player, it’s a game-changer when the other team holds the Revenant. With the official release we will see a collection of new weapons, grenades, and monsters to turn into. Along with additional game modes and unlocks not yet announced.
From gameplay videos, Doom appears to be returning to its roots. Players will see a Doom that will feel like an action FPS shooter rather than horror survival game. Horror survival works for many titles, but didn’t work for Doom. You are a single Marine trapped on Mars, stopping the hordes of Hell from taking over Earth. The Marine isn't surviving to save himself, he is surviving so he can fight off all of the demons and protect innocents. While Doom holds a sense of fear and rushing adrenaline, it's not the same as a horror survival game where the only goal is to survive. Doom is about being brave. The protagonist is surrounded by evil and darkness - fighting against the fear of dying, surviving to save the Earth. Hopefully, new Doom will bring the arena FPS genre back from the brink and bring players back to the fight against the hordes of hell.