We at the Geeky Juans have our fair share of great experiences with the FPS. From the many games in the Call of Duty franchise, our first forays into Medal of Honor, the destructive goodness of Black, the groundbreaking Halo series, and even the wonderful battle royale experience that Apex Legends provides. However, when it comes to choosing what we consider one of the games that we have truly enjoyed over the past decade, we’d have to pick 2016’s DOOM as our favorite shooter.
The DOOM franchise introduced the FPS genre to the mainstream audience, which led to the development of other massive franchises in the next decades. The first Doom game was a big hit, with a gameplay loop that is both challenging and addictive, and visuals that were spectacular for their time. It was a brutal breath of fresh air at that time, giving the video game industry an extra mature edge similar to what Mortal Kombat was able to do previously. Eventually, the follow-up Doom II was released a few years later, improving upon the gameplay of the previous game, and introducing fans to the iconic Super Shotgun. Due to the popularity of the franchise during the 90s, more FPS games made under the same game engine emerged as well, like the Quake series.
The late 90s and early 2000s saw the arrival of even more FPS games. This includes Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Duke Nukem, Serious Sam, Deus Ex, System Shock, Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, and Halo. This boom in popularity eventually prompted Id Software to release Doom 3. Compared to the previous games, the third installment was more of a survival horror experience that was slower but more atmospheric. While Doom 3 was generally well-received, the increasing popularity of the FPS genre meant that the market for quality shooters have become more competitive than ever before.
With so many massive FPS franchises emerging over the past few years, it is important the next installment would help revitalize the franchise itself, along with winning over a new generation of fans along the way. The development of the next Doom game was a challenging one, with the project being constantly changed to incorporate new mechanics and themes in-line with other FPS games at that time. This is where development began to stall, struggling to find the right balance between incorporating modern technology while retaining the classic Doom identity. The struggle during this time period put the Doom franchise into development hell, which is a type of hell that no video game developer would ever want to be in.
Despite these setbacks, the project went back on track with a renewed focus that leaned towards what made the original games special. The new DOOM was introduced in E3 2014 with a short teaser that helped build up some much-needed hype. The next year, at E3 2015, another teaser, along with some gameplay footage was shown as a part of Bethesda’s impressive presentation. With gameplay that showed off its fresh new gunplay and gallery of familiar foes, the new DOOM went in with so much hype that made fans both excited that a new game in the franchise is arriving. However, there are also still people on the fence and are worried the new game might not capture the same magic.
Living up to the Name
Thankfully, the new DOOM did not disappoint, as it was able to integrate new gameplay elements while retaining much of what made the franchise so special in the first place. Along with the classic fast-paced gunplay, the integration of new mechanics added a new layer to the system and truly made you feel like the badass space marine demon slayer that you should be. Much of DOOM’s gameplay elements are defiance to established FPS tropes and mechanics, which helped create a fresh new take that the genre has needed for the past few years.
Aiming down sights has been mostly removed (only being usable as an attachment to the Assault Rifle), which helped make the run-and-gun gameplay faster and much smoother. Instead of regenerating while taking cover, health and armor pickups can only be found in certain parts of each level, or when you perform a Glory Kill to a staggered enemy. As for the Glory Kill system, this is a new mechanic that allows you to perform a finisher on stunned enemies in order to get health, armor, and ammo. This new system helped add another layer to the fast-paced combat, as it allows you to strategize during each fight and give you time to perform your next move.
The story of the game doesn’t stray far from the original, which is all about a research facility opening a portal to hell on Mars. Compared to the original games, the 2016 game had more story, as we get to know more about the Doom Slayer and why he has become such a feared figure in hell. While there is a story for you to follow while going through each level, it does not force you to listen to long expositions or sit through cutscenes, as you can skip most of these parts and jump to the action immediately.
Upon playing the game for the first time, it eventually became one of the most refreshing video game experiences of this console generation. As I kept on playing, it became clear that it was one of those games that have left a lasting impression on me. The fast-paced combat was very addictive and rewarding, the number of secrets scattered throughout each level made me play again and again, while the awesome soundtrack helped make each combat encounter more intense than ever. (I’d recommend listening to BFG Division to give you an idea of how epic the music is)
In a world where Call of Duty and Battlefield have dominated the FPS genre for more than a decade, it is always great to see a game, let alone a classic franchise, create an experience that feels fresh and unique at the same time. By the time the 8th generation of gaming comes to a close, 2016’s DOOM will be fondly remembered as one of the best shooters of its time.