We’re almost at the halfway point for my best of list, and today’s game marks the first AAA game mentioned here, and the first time that this company has made it onto my list.
Doom is a master class of elements and design that should not work together, but manages to elevate the FPS genre while still honoring the classic games.
From the first moment that you cock your shotgun, to running through Hell fighting demons, Doom’s pacing, aesthetics and design all fit like a glove. Instead of relying on a generic silent protagonist, ID Software creates a character who says a lot without uttering one word.
The glory kill system quickly moves from being a gimmick to an excellent piece of game design. By forcing the players to remain aggressive to recover health and ammo, ID creates a very satisfying game to play. This is something that is hard to write down in words, but the thrill of rushing through crowds of enemies to recover is amazing. Doom’s gameplay may be a simple feedback loop, but it’s a fantastically designed loop.
The level design marks the first time in a while that a FPS has gone for massive environments. The secrets make a return and are tied to the game’s progression system; rewarding players for exploring the levels.
While the game gives the impression of being very simple to make, but there is craftsmanship at work to get to that point. The quality of Doom’s design is one of those elements that should be brought up when teaching game design to students.
Getting the aesthetics, gameplay loop, pace and level design all on the same wavelength is difficult no matter who the designer is. The only issue that I have with Doom is that it does become repetitive over time; much in the same way as eating nothing but dessert.
If you’re a fan of FPS, then you really owe it to yourself to see one of the best examples of the genre released in some time.
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