Doom Eternal Review ft. S.G.S.

Editor’s Note: The original draft and most of the content of this was written by our discord mod, S.G.S. I stepped in to help flesh out sections comparing the gameplay styles of Classic Doom versus Eternal, Resource Manangement, Enemy design, and wrote the Marauder section by myself.

Honestly, I’m nothing short of thoroughly impressed this time around. id Software took the interesting but flawed attempt at action FPS that was Doom 2016, and capitalized on the potential it had in a splendid way.

Doom 2016’s resource management was handled via glory kills for health and chainsaw use for ammo, combined with more “traditional” level design with health and ammo pickups strewn about. This felt like a clash of ideals to me. Classic Doom (and a lot of older shooters) had non-renewable resources that were limited exclusively to pickups around the map, which meant that routing through the map to acquire weapons/ammo/health/armor became an important skill to master. Classic Doom was about resource gathering and attrition, which created a chain of events across a map which had context with each other. Your options later in the level were based on what resources you found, and which you spent, earlier in the level. Various maps tune this balance differently leading to some maps starving you of resources, while others have few weapons to work with; plenty of maps even place weapons in locations that require you to deal with encounters on the way. Doom 2016, however, had a system in place that showered (heh) you with resources at a moment’s notice, which flew squarely in the face of level exploration as resource management. Combat encounters were decontextualized from one another. You even obtained weapons in a continuous fashion, meaning they were more akin to upgrades rather than resources you locate (or fail to locate) on a map. Eternal pushes this style of resource management further by adding flame belches for armor, which is another layer to manage. As such, the exploration of a level is more for progression and secrets, rather than for resources, and you don’t experience attrition over the course of the level, because infinitely respawning enemies, and infinitely refilling chainsaw/flame belch/glory kill are your source of ammo, armor, and health. Doom Eternal does not deserve to be thought of in the context of Classic Doom, it’s better to think of it as a completely different game series.

Eternal pushes ammo management further with its harsh ammo caps. It can definitely feel oppressive at first, but it punishes sloppy play heavily. You will inevitably run out of ammo all the time in the early missions, establishing the importance of the chainsaw to replenishing your ammo supply. Given the low ammo cap, the chainsaw can be viewed as a conditional reload only available when you’re close to a weak fodder enemy. Because the chainsaw regenerates fuel and fodder enemies respawn constantly, the game is really demanding that you save fodder enemies for ammo and focus instead on the large enemies. As for health and armor management, enemy attacks can deal a lot of damage to you quickly and the enemy aggression borders on absurd. If you’re not careful they can quickly tear you to shreds. Staying maxed out on health and armor on higher difficulties is fairly challenging. All of this combines to form an early gameplay loop where you’re constantly managing resources and preserving “moving resource kits”. This soon evolves into a grand cycle after obtaining a lot of weapons. At this point, you only recharge ammo every once in a while as you have a lot of available ammo distributed across your many weapons. Overall, Eternal addresses an ongoing trend with shooters – absurdly high ammo caps. Older shooters focused on resource attrition, meaning high ammo caps worked fine, because firing a bullet meant one less bullet existed in the world for you to deal damage with. Doom Eternal however has infinitely renewable ammo, much like other modern shooters, so a high ammo cap would mean no threat of ever running out of ammo as you’re continuously showered in it. Doom Eternal’s low ammo caps serve to make the core combat as interesting as possible, by forcing you to not overly rely on any one weapon. You might always be able to get more ammo, but you’ll also always be running out in the moment.

Optimizing your DPS in Doom 2016 required a lot of weapon switching routes as it was faster to shoot multiple weapons once rather than stick to the same weapon. Unfortunately, this was not capitalized on due to 2016’s fairly lackadaisical arena design and enemy combinations. It was far too easy to converge to a “workhorse” weapon that dealt with literally everything the game threw at you. The ammo caps and enemy weakpoint system makes weapon switching mandatory this time around, and I’m fairly glad that is the case. Weapon management is a relatively unexplored area of FPS design, as weapon choice was always based on levels and encounters. You either had a consistent workhorse weapon (like the Super Shotgun) or learned specific usage of specific weapons for specific encounters. But Eternal ties its weapon usage to its enemy design, far more than any other shooter I remember, making weapon management an essential skill. The notion of a main weapon really doesn’t work cleanly with Eternal, and even if it did, different people would converge to different workhorses.

Speaking of enemies, what a work of art! This is the first FPS I’ve played in a long while that nails enemy design so perfectly. I genuinely think Eternal’s enemy roster rivals Devil Daggers’ and Doom 2’s. The roster has an enemy occupying almost every niche available and everything a player can do has a soft counter in the form of an enemy. Some enemies chase you down, some tank damage, others hang back and provide ranged support, some are flying, some act as a wall. Most types of enemies demand or reward certain skills from the player, such as Pinkies, Plasma Shield Soldiers, Archviles and Marauders reward your ability to hit them around and behind their protection. Arachnotrons, Revenants, Makyr Drones, and Mancubuses reward you for sniping off their projectile armaments. Plasma Shield Solders and Mancubi can be used as explosives against their fellow demons, if you group them together. Revenants, Doom Hunters, and Cyberdemons (called Tyrants in this game) can shoot homing missiles, demanding you dash or double jump to break lock-on. Carcasses, Doom Hunters, and Plasma Shield Soldiers can have their shields overloaded with plasma fire.

Enemies also occupy different zones in combat. Many will chase you down and only have melee attacks, such as Hell Knights, Pinkies, Whiplashes. Prowlers will even teleport after you, making them a constant threat. Other enemies are more content to sit back and assist, such as Carcasses, which block your line of sight and movement, making it difficult to move in for glory kills, or pain elementals, which summon lost souls and shoot projectiles. Others insist you get out of their personal space, such as Mancubi with the fast AOE stomp, or Marauders with their fast close range shotgun. Enemies vary in speed, from the slowly advancing Mancubi tanks, to the fast and agile prowlers, or Marauders and Pinkies, who have great horizontal movement, but are terrible at dealing with platforms. Cyber Mancubi can lay acid on the ground, flushing you out of an area.

This is further amplified by the (mostly) really competent enemy AI. They are aggressive and punish simple movement; linear movement and circle strafing can work for some enemies, but others will flank and deal with you accordingly. Even vertical movement has counters this time. I feel like the new version of Doom 2’s roster is readapted to Eternal in the best way possible. For instance, the Archvile has attacks that require dashes to avoid, powerful AoD spells that mimic the original, and absurd summoning potential. It spawns enemies around you (even superheavy ones), while it hides in corners. It can even teleport around for good measure! The Tyrant is a tanky bastard that smothers the arena with rockets, fire, and lasers that lock down whole areas. Good stuff. As for the new additions, they end up targeting the gaps left behind in the roster. We have stuff like the Whiplash which constantly harasses you and inflicts crazy knockback, and the Carcass which places shields around enemy weakpoints. The smart thing about weakpoints here is that they don’t simply eliminate enemies, instead reducing the enemies’ attacking options. Weakpoints are not the most efficient way to kill an enemy usually, just a way of reducing their threat to you. Each enemy can deal with you at multiple ranges, and it is up to your skill to decide who to deal with. This creates some of the finest enemy prioritization ever.

On top of that, enemy combinations and arenas are set up in really neat ways throughout the campaign, with some of the later missions demanding more from the player than almost every other shooter I’ve played. Add the Slayer Gates and Master Levels and we have a game whose demands rival those of older action titles (like Ninja Gaiden and God Hand) and challenge maps from FPS modding communities. It’s crazy that id Software themselves have pushed the game so far, but this is 2020 after all. I’m genuinely stoked for future Master Levels, as the current ones have revitalized the flow of their base missions. This demonstrates a remarkable understanding of arena design. Most arenas tend to be asymmetrical and have efficient vantage points for both the player and enemies. Even the more symmetrical ones tend to be constrained, testing vertical movement options more.

As for what the player can do, your toolkit in Eternal is remarkably potent. Of course we have the dash and jump serving as the base for the movement kit, but adding the meat hook on the SSG, the Ballista boost, and air control rune gives us a very robust core for movement. There’s also the inertia and differences in how vertical/horizontal momentum are imparted by these options. As such, this core is capable of dealing with everything the game throws at you (and it throws a lot). Even then, new movement tech has been discovered (we have dash-jumping, bunnyhopping, superjumping, and mid-air circle strafing) further adding more options. The weapons in Eternal ultimately thread a fine line between accommodating workhorses and encouraging diversity. It’s also pretty great that almost every ammo type is shared across two weapons and that choices between the types is non-obvious. Each enemy can be dealt with an “optimal” method, but Eternal offers flexibility as you unlock more weapons, shifting even the weak point system to a non-essential, but still useful, part of your toolkit. Finally the equipment launcher offers some nice support tools, allowing you to flame belch/frag grenade/ice bomb while using another weapon.

All of the above combines to form a frenetic FPS with a lot of complexity and depth. One way to summarize this is by comparing it directly with stylish action games like Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. You unlock more and more tools as you play, and the game throws more and more at you to compensate. Eternal also partially resolves a few issues with the action game formula, such as difficulty unlocks and encounter design. You have all the difficulties unlocked at the start and so you can start progression at any difficulty rather than patiently grind out lower ones. And as mentioned before, Eternal nails both enemy design and encounter design, effectively combining the best aspects of stylish action and FPS philosophy.

Now enough adulation. Here’s a list of issues with the game, that either I noticed or were brought to my attention by others:

1. UI and HUD: Important cooldowns and resource counts were huddled away in corners, and for a hectic game that relies so heavily on them it does become annoying to take your eyes away just to be aware of your own resources. One tip I received was observing them during glory kill animations, which does work but is certainly not ideal. There’s also the fact that ammo caps are important in this game, so being aware of all ammo capacities would be very useful. There are only 4 primary ammo types in this game, so something could’ve been bodged into place (the weapon wheel really isn’t ideal for the pace you can play this game at). Maybe placing the resource generators (chainsaw, flame belch, blood punch, ) near the center or the sides of the screen could have worked?

2. Extreme tutorialization: I’m in two minds about this. I’m glad that we get the introductions out of the way so Eternal can throw more interesting stuff at you faster, but I definitely sympathize with the sense of discovering stuff yourself (you can disable tutorials if you really want this back). But the weird situation with Eternal is that it conveys the weakpoints as the only way to deal with enemies, which is definitely not the case. I’ve heard someone refer to Eternal’s issue as “overtutorialization”. Doom Eternal’s tutorial popups give the impression that enemies are supposed to be fought by targeting their weakpoints, giving the false impression that Doom Eternal is about hard counters. IF YOU THINK THIS GAME IS ABOUT TARGETINING WEAKPOINTS, YOU ARE NOT PLAYING THE GAME AS WELL AS YOU COULD BE. TARGETING WEAKPOINTS IS AN OPTION, NOT A NECESSITY.

They explain a lot of information on the systems of Doom Eternal, but not much about strategy or theory, and the systems of Doom Eternal are weak points, glory kills, flame breath, chainsaw, and the specific features of certain guns, which can lead people to thinking that only some guns are good against some enemies, instead of thinking more robustly relative to their current situation. Prying off an enemy’s turrets might be helpful for surviving an encounter, but there’s always a faster way to kill an enemy outright, and glory kills are nearly always slower and less efficient. Chainsaw might regenerate and be the most immediate means of restoring your ammo, but arenas are stocked such that you can beat them with just the ammo provided if you’re efficient, even on nightmare difficulty (In the Ultra-Nightmare 100% speedrun, it’s very common to see runners hang onto chainsaw fuel for multiple fights to kill a heavy demon later on, and even at 1 fuel pip, they rarely need to use it, because they’re so efficient with found ammo in arenas).

Doom Eternal also fails to communicate some more subtle systems, such as that most light enemies will respawn indefinitely over the course of a fight, and fights are really about taking down the heavy enemies, which leads people to being wasteful with ammo/health and needing to rely on the chainsaw and glory kill to recharge. Doom Eternal simultaneously explains too much, but fails to teach the right lessons, but it’s difficult to fix, because a lot of the game is easy to miss for players lacking intuition and observation skills.

3. Opening: The opening few levels are sluggish. You really don’t have too many tools at the start of the game, so it does feel rather restricted compared to what follows. This is where I also sympathize with the “forced playstyle” complaints due to the flood of tutorials. This game really does not put its best foot forward. It only really opens up after Mission 3.

4. Platforming: The platforming is weirdly utilized. I don’t have an issue with the idea of platforming in shooters. It’s just that Eternal uses it as the connecting tissue between areas rather than part of the arenas themselves. I would’ve liked to see a few gimmick areas using platforming more; at most you get a monkey bar here and there. There’s a secret encounter that does this, and it’s pretty cute. I wish there were more like it, even as secret encounters. Also the walls for climbing can be difficult to identify against other surfaces and tend to be tucked away in corners, making it less obvious how to progress. There are many invisible walls, blocking apparently accessible areas, which can make hunting for secrets even more confusing.. There’s also the purple goop, which disables your ability to jump and dash, and forces you to walk at a slow crawl. There isn’t really a purpose to this goop, and some sections force you through it.. The goop can sometimes be avoided with good dashing, but it’s a weird addition. There is an arena early on that does use this, but I don’t think it works particularly well due to fewer movement options available. If you fall, you have to sluggishly walk out. Thankfully the goop is rare.

5. Marauders: These guys are poor additions to the roster. Attempting to actively kill a Marauder means focusing on the marauder, near exclusively, and waiting with the right weapon in hand. Marauders block all shots directly at them with their shield, but if you stand at mid-range, they will sometimes flash their eyes green, and charge at you. If hit with a burst fire weapon, like a shotgun or ballista, while they’re charging the Marauder will be stunned briefly, letting you hit them with whatever. This is the only consistent way to deal damage to marauders (admittedly, there are tricks that let you redirect his shield, hitting him from 2 sides at once).

What this means is that fighting Marauders normally means you need to stand mostly still, in his mid-range charge zone, and watch for whether he charges or shoots a projectile, while holding a burst fire weapon, so you can’t really fight marauders unless you commit to killing just the marauder and ignoring the other enemies. Realistically, this makes it so marauders are like a ranged add to whatever fight they appear in until the other enemies are cleared out and you can focus fire them. Of course, a bunch of strategies exist to cheese Marauders, but all of them involve following a strict set of instructions (fire 1 BFG to distract him, fire another directly at him; parry, then switch-cancel between super shotgun and ballista for a quick kill; lock-on rockets, fire a frost grenade behind him to redirect the shield, unload all your rockets on him). Marauders don’t create interesting decisions like the other demons do, because they demand such specific solutions. Rather than fulfilling a unique role in combat, they’re more of a minigame unto themselves.

The obvious solution to fix Marauders is to let their shields get popped, like plasma shield soldiers, but that means they no longer occupy a unique strategic role from plasma shield soldiers. The more subtle answer is to disable the Marauder’s shield at mid to close range, letting them only shield from afar (which also gives better feedback of when you’re at the proper range). This means marauders can be freely engaged, like other enemies, but only up close, so they’re still a ranged add in most situations, you still need to approach them, but you don’t need to play a high-focus minigame with them to deal damage. Of course, this removes the parry thing the team was going for, with managing the ranges. The solution to that is to give the Marauder super armor that can only be broken with a parry (and a little extra defense when they’re not being parried, to help incentivise going for the parry specifically. Maybe 50% extra). So now Marauders have a unique role in combat, but don’t demand you follow a specific solution or focus on them to the exclusion of other enemies.

6. Enemy Silhouettes: Fodder silhouettes are not ideal. This is especially noticeable when you face the Prowler, which kinda looks like a mix between the Imp and Gargoyle, but is actually a heavy. Their slightly larger size and purple color really isn’t enough, but I guess you can get used to it. The different basic zombie types take different amounts of damage, but they look samey. It also seems that setting up glory kills with the Shotgun on them is inconsistent, but you could always use the Heavy Cannon for finer increments of damage.

7. Unlock Systems and RPG Mechanics: They really went hard on this one. The Rune system is forgivable as it tries to encourage diversity of playstyles. Unlocking weapon mods is cool as you get more tools to use, and the weapon masteries are mostly worth the effort, but the upgrades in the middle feel like busywork. The Praetor Suit and Sentinel Crystal systems feel like entirely filler to me. Although by the end of the game you do unlock everything, it would have been nice to have most of these at the start.

8. Weapons and Equipment Launcher: I feel the Ice Bomb and Frag Grenade could have been on different buttons, it’s otherwise fairly clunky to switch between them as they are useful as attack strings. The weapon mods are also not entirely well balanced, but new use cases are being discovered so I could be wrong on this (also this might just stem from my playstyle). I also feel the Chainsaw at two pips is fairly useless; maybe allow for heavy removal with two pips when they are in a glory-kill state? As for the superweapons, the Crucible and BFG are rather boring. The Crucible just removes 1-3 enemies and that’s it. I wish more was possible with it, and I’ve heard some ideas like a ground slam and sword lunge. The Slayer’s Testaments mod for Quake allows it to hit multiple enemies, for instance. The BFG is a decent cleanup option and it does help with quickly eliminating superheavies, but is otherwise less interesting than the other weapons. The Unmakyr is a pretty decent superweapon and it’s probably the closest to interesting as it has a large spread from afar, but is an enemy deleter up close.

9. Ripatorium and Mod Support: The Ripatorium is a neat addition and has some cool hidden encounters (Archvile that summons twin buffed Marauders, good lord), but I wish it could be customized more. Also the lack of mapping features for this game is a real downer, especially because some juicy encounters could be made with that enemy roster and maybe even some neat platforming maps. The Master Levels do compensate for this partially, but I do hope for some mod support in the future. It might even be possible as the devs say they made the tools very easy to use, but creating a modding utility is still absurdly challenging for a AAA title.

10. Miscellaneous: The story is decent, but not as subtle as 2016’s, I guess. It’s good we can skip cutscenes this time though. The bosses are decent and nothing to write home about, which is commendable for an FPS. The ending was fairly weak as well.

That’s mostly it. Some of the above border on nitpick territory, but I feel that’s reflective of how strong a game Eternal is. It’s commendable that the Doom franchise itself is targeting the FPS trends it established. People praised Doom 2016 for buckling the trend that military shooters fell into. I praise Doom Eternal for something more. It’s far more ambitious a game as it breaks decades old habits and trends, while vastly improving a unique formula. We have the indie scene and mapping communities exploring the design space of older shooters, so I’m glad that it’s a AAA title that pushes the boundary this time. The Doom franchise means many things to different people, but one thing it doesn’t have is a hard-set identity. Each Doom game excels at different aspects. Doom 1 is this fusion of horror and action. Doom 2 is a more abstract, gameplay-oriented expansion pack. Doom 64 and Doom 3 opted to explore the horror side more. Doom 2016 serves as a return to form and criticism of the direction FPS took, but wasn’t as uptight about preventing cheese and forcing interesting decisions. Doom Eternal now criticizes the foundation of the genre itself and offers its own style of play based on soft counters, fostering interesting decisions. I for one am excited to see what they do next. It’s now clear that NuDoom and Classic Doom are fundamentally different games, and that’s for the better.

Turns out Doom is Eternal after all. 10/10.

7 thoughts on “Doom Eternal Review ft. S.G.S.

  1. Felipe Tartas December 5, 2020 / 6:35 pm

    Dont like this game. I cant understand why you can score this game 10/10 and other games like Zelda BOTW and Hollow Knight just 7.5.

    This game is just use x weapon on x1 enemy on his x2 part of the body. This is horrible first person shooter design. On great fps games you have different physics and chemichal effects for every weapon. You use the weapons for the effects they produce. So, it is not like it’s not like following a table, its more I know the effect this weapon produce and for this situation seems more appropriatte and peharps to others situations too. Quake 3 do that. You can use rocket launcher for area of effect damage, but you can do too make enemies jump too! I can use the rail gun to pick two enemies that are lined straight. I can use shotgun to short distance or I can use with quad damage on various enemies medium distance. You dont have to consult the table.

    Also glory kills and chainsaw animations to recover health and ammo respectively, are the worst mechanics ever introduced in a fps. Just do fps game where all I have to do is good shooting. Make a game which weapons have really good effects, with really good moviments and that is enough. And ammo scarcity is overrated too. There are very good shoting games without ammo scarcity. If one weapon is better than other for certain situation that is enough.

    I prefer play Quake 3 with bots. I think this say all.

    Like

    • Chris Wagar December 10, 2020 / 2:02 am

      “This game is just use x weapon on x1 enemy on his x2 part of the body.”

      It’s not.

      “You use the weapons for the effects they produce.”

      If you’re good at the game, you do this in Doom Eternal. All the examples you listed exist in doom eternal as well.

      “You dont have to consult the table.”

      You don’t in doom eternal either. Weak points are an OPTIONAL strategy. They’re an interesting decision, versus other, faster, means of killing enemies. You do not have to hit weakpoints. It is not even optimal to hit weakpoints. If you played the game exclusively targeting enemy weakpoints, you played the game wrong, and less efficiently than you could have.

      “Also glory kills and chainsaw animations to recover health and ammo respectively, are the worst mechanics ever introduced in a fps.”

      Give an argument for these, not just an assertion. If your argument is that it plays a canned animation and nothing else, then you have no argument.

      Here’s a video on Ultra Nightmare speedruns:

      It describes how it’s not efficient to target weakpoints, and killing enemies via other means is actually faster.

      Anyone who comments here telling me this is a game about hitting weakpoints has a bad sense of intuition, and took the tutorial popups as gospel instead of experimenting or reasoning for themselves about strategy.

      This is one of the best FPS games ever made, with more player and enemy interaction and interesting choices than nearly anything other single player FPS game. If you don’t see how it’s a 10/10, then you’re not paying attention.

      Like

    • Chris Wagar December 10, 2020 / 2:10 am

      On top of that, THE REVIEW LITERALLY SAYS, “Doom Eternal’s tutorial popups give the impression that enemies are supposed to be fought by targeting their weakpoints, giving the false impression that Doom Eternal is about hard counters.”

      Did you skip to the score, or did you read the actual review?

      Like

  2. Felipe Tartas December 10, 2020 / 2:11 pm

    I have respect for all your posts on this blog and Yes, I read the review.

    When I am saying that weapons dont have effect on this game I am saying that physics colision system is too simple, enemies dont stagger, jump. You have a item that use fire on enemies and they dont get fire actually. You make a punch, but if the enemies arent on their flashed animation, do nothing actually. Some things dont make any sense, why some enemies that dont carry any weapon drop ammo for me? Why, if I select do kill them other way they don drop ammo and drop health instead? It is too gamey for me, the reactions are just what they programed to do on the rules of the game. I can punch a 1000 pounds block metal but cant do any damage on enemies punching and it is just useful for finalitys? There is so much arbitrary rules on this game. You learn those rules and that is all. There a lot of games with simple rules but wit a very large skill ceiling. You can kick a ball on soccer game with the same technique, like power shot. But you can shot the ball with 70, 80, 90, 100% of your power, you can kick under the ball, on the center of the ball, you can do a lot of things with the same technique. Just watch a soccer match and you can see most players trying to do the same but the effects are very different from player to player. You can also do a knuckle effect, a outside foot effect and a lot of other things. The spectrum of things you can do is large as infinite.

    You dont have anything closer to rocket jumps because of the simpliflied colision system. You are so slow, also the enemies. You simple have dash and that is all to gain speed, very digital, without any spectrum like strafe jump on Quake 3. It is like comparing slide and jump on Megaman to a momentum jump on Sonic and Mario. You see this? It is all very digital, just shufling weapons and the select ammo on your keyboard as fast as you can. A keyboard is digital, but a mouse is a analogue input. Great fps focus more on mouse than on the keyboard. What is the difficult to kill someone flying fastly on Quake 3 with a rocket jump projectile weapon? What is the difficult to kill with a lightning gun seeking the jump path on the air? I can assure to you it is harder than anything you do with a mouse on Doom Eternal.

    Did you already ask why this game dont work on multiplayer? Because on the multiplayer the physics engine, the weapon effects matters a lot and on this game is very simple on those things. You dont have the same ammo manegement on multiplayer, you play just the core of the game and the core of this game is worse then a 1996 fps game.

    About the score. It is your opinion and I can respect. I prefer reviews without any score. Because, if you score Doom Eternal 10/10 and BOTW a 7,5/10, I simple assume you are just trying to find the same things on all games. You are just trying to find depth on every game and not every game is focused on depth. Depth is not everything on a videogame and I am not saying that games are story or something else. I am talking about gameplay. You missed the point about Zelda games. Is it Doom Eternal better than Half-Life just because reminds you Ninja Gaiden? Think about that.

    One final thing. Your first paragraphy is perfect. You understand a lot the differences on every Doom game. You really can describe the games well and dont say things like “Doom 2016 and Eternal are just the evolution of Doom classics games”, like you can see everywhere. That is something. But you have to look with more attention on games like Zelda and Hollow Knight. The goal of game designers on those games is not just do depth games. They want to deliver a experience and they do this well. Also, I can agree Doom Eternal do your think very well on your sub specific sub-genre (boomer shoter) of a sub-genre (very focused on resources manegement). But first person shooter games are not only this.

    Like

    • Chris Wagar December 11, 2020 / 12:09 pm

      Okay, That’s cool.

      Regarding your first paragraph. I’m not an immersion person. I don’t care that the game is “gamey”. I don’t care that the rules the game establishes don’t make any sort of sense in the fiction of the game. I’m GLAD it doesn’t if anything. I’m entirely in favor of arbitrary rules with no justification that make a game more fun to play. That’s pretty much the crux of this blog if anything. If you’re coming to me in order to complain that a game has rules that are inconsistent with its fiction, then I’m not going to be sympathetic. I don’t go around games asking weird questions like, “why does this wolf drop 10 US Dollars and a shotgun when I kill it?” I don’t care. I want wolves and other woodland creatures that drop manufactured commodities and priceless artifacts. I’m actively in favor of games making LESS sense from the perspective of the story, setting, lore, etc. My perspective is entirely orthogonal to this line of thinking. I’m genuinely indifferent to it. If the developers decided that something works a certain way and it works that way consistently, I’m more than fine with it, no matter how nonsensical it is with regards to the real world.

      In your example, you describe how Doom Eternal has a lot of mechanics compared to say Soccer, which has one mechanic with a lot of nuance. Both approaches are fine. One of the core parts of my depth philosophy is that both approaches are fine. 2d fighters have a lot of moves that do different things, Smash Bros has a few moves that can do a lot of different things. As long as you end up being able to do a lot of things, that’s fine.

      “You dont have anything closer to rocket jumps because of the simpliflied colision system.”
      This is nonsense. You don’t have rocket jumps because the developers didn’t decide to include rocket jumps, that’s all. It’s not the fault of “the collision system”. The developers didn’t program the game in a way that made it fundamentally incompatible with rocket jumping. A mod could probably implement rocket jumping fairly easily. Don’t make engine or programming complaints in lieu of a game design complaint.

      Would the game be more interesting if it had rocket jumping? Maybe! But for the most part, the game doesn’t emphasize vertical movement very much, and it gives you a LOT of tools for lateral movement, and enough vertical movement tools to work with the levels they designed.

      Plus it’s inaccurate to say there is nothing like rocket jumping. There is the meathook after all, which gives you powerful air strafes.

      “You see this? It is all very digital, just shufling weapons and the select ammo on your keyboard as fast as you can.”
      Cool! Fine! I’m fine with this. Fighting games are very digital too, and I love those. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this approach, as long as you end up with a large number of possible situations. There’s a lot of ways to use your weapons, a lot of ways you can move through arenas, a lot of ways you can fight and combo enemies with different attacks.

      Sure, it doesn’t have Q3 strafejumping, but while that system is very helpful for map traversal and map control, it’s not very helpful for dodging or firefights, where Unreal Tournament’s dodge system does much better, and logically having a dash as in Doom Eternal, fulfills the purpose of making fights more interesting, given that the game is about arena fights, rather than traversing a level interspersed with enemies. Having an analog movement system that is open to carryover and mutation based on your input is really cool, but having a lot of digital mechanics isn’t inherently wrong.

      Sure, there may be no individual target that’s harder to hit than in Q3, but also, that’s a multiplayer game, and you don’t need to manage crowds of enemies in it. In this game, being able to target enemies well is important. They can sometimes move fairly quickly. Do you run too slow? Yeah, a bit slow for my taste, but oh well.

      “you play just the core of the game and the core of this game is worse then a 1996 fps game.”
      There is no game from 1996 with better weapon variety/balance, better enemy design, and better level design than this game. No other FPS game is this tight. Other FPS games may do things Doom Eternal doesn’t, but that’s okay. There is room for a range of different games in this genre.

      “Because, if you score Doom Eternal 10/10 and BOTW a 7,5/10, I simple assume you are just trying to find the same things on all games. You are just trying to find depth on every game and not every game is focused on depth. Depth is not everything […]”
      Yeah. I am trying to find depth in every game, above all other factors. I have my list of priorities on the About page. This isn’t unclear. If you don’t like my perspective on this, you’re in the wrong place. If you think my values are misplaced, you’ll have to argue better than this. My scores are in perfect alignment with my values, I’m sure you’ll agree. If you don’t like my values, then either find someone else, or give me a reason why I should care.

      “Depth is not everything on a videogame and I am not saying that games are story or something else. I am talking about gameplay.”
      Okay, you’re going to have to break that down. Because from my viewpoint: the depth is what makes gameplay good. Depth is the metric of quality for gameplay. You want to propose an alternative metric? You’ll have to flesh that out.

      “Is it Doom Eternal better than Half-Life just because reminds you Ninja Gaiden?”
      Yes. 100% yes. Easily. Doom Eternal has better enemy design, better weapon design. Better interlinking systems between weapons/enemies. Better arenas. And better movement for the purpose of firefights. Half Life is a better speedgame arguably (both are extremely strong speedgames in their own right), but taken as they’re intended, Doom Eternal is undeniably better, there’s really no contest.

      “But you have to look with more attention on games like Zelda and Hollow Knight. The goal of game designers on those games is not just do depth games. They want to deliver a experience and they do this well.”
      I’m not here for “experiences”. I don’t care about a game selling me a broader experience. I’m just looking for if the game is fun, which I define as having depth and challenge. The rest is tangential, or a bonus at best. An experience might be a unique type of depth, but I’m not looking for uniqueness, I’m looking for how fully realized something is.

      Like

  3. Santana December 14, 2020 / 5:52 am

    I may be stupid but I can’t understand how to play Doom 16 and Doom Eternal mindfully and get some sort of enjoyment. I can’t make mindful and satisfying decisions in this game because everything is so chaotic. In older Dooms it was about map and vision control where you should manage enemies and your position in a way that you can detect and response to their atacks.
    But this time everything is so fast and there is no safe spots so to be, because enemies’ movement is so ridiculous and there is no gradual map management like it was in older Doom games where you fight and gradually occupy a map making it “safe” and easing your mind on those parts of the map making the number of things you should think of less and less.

    Basically what I’m trying to say is that the new Doom games exceed the amount of things an average human can track at the same time resulting in mindless movement around, not being able to response to info overload (that’s why you often hear – “just move!” as an efficient strategy) and praying for an enemy not to be behind you when you’re not seeing him.
    That’s why I get bored by Doom 16 and Eternal after 15 minutes of playing but can play Doom 2 all day and not get bored at all. It’s all about constant switching of mindful decisions in your head which makes your brain work in a satisfying and not too overloading way.

    Maybe if you’re overmind, then you can track all enemies in new Doom games or somehow work out tactics that requires less enemy tracking, but that’s absurd to make a high-budget game targeted at high-skilled players only. Or maybe I’m just stupid and don’t get it. But I’m pretty confident in my relative position in gaming world. So that means most players wouldn’t get how to play new Dooms either, and would just be mindlessly moving around.

    Like

    • Santana December 15, 2020 / 8:37 am

      I forgot to add.
      And the enemies you actually can keep track of are not that interesting to defend/maneuver against – they either charge at you or throw a straight projectile at you (I wonder where is projectile variety? But I guess it’d make flanking off-screen enemies too strong if they had those). All this that results in non-active defense, where you just adopt the best defense-movement pattern to avoid samey attacks. Compare this to normal character action games with active block/dodge where you should defend against every attack actively, attentively and individualy.

      For me, Desync is what new Dooms try to be, but fail.

      Like

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