Friday, July 15, 2016

Don't stop, shoot more

Let's get this perfunctory praise out of the way: Doom is the best shooter that I have played in a long, long time.......when it is being a shooter and not actively sabotaging its own pacing.

The action is perfect: fast, smooth, hectic but never out of control as long as you are paying attention, and just a little too easy on Hurt Me Plenty. I should have started out on the next difficulty level as I seldom used the chainsaw and only once pulled out the BFG in a moment of panic. But when I needed it, it was right there. One button away, a pull of the trigger, and everything in front of me was dead.

The weapons were familiar and each had their use. I preferred the standard shotgun to the super variant as you never know when launching a grenade will be required. The plasma rifle was for revenants, the assault rifle was for heavy soldiers, the chain gun was for mancubi and cacodemons. The rocket launcher was a last resort mostly because I rarely needed it and the rail gun was in the wrong game entirely. Maybe it snuck in with the sound for quad-damage that was ripped from Quake.

It was always obvious when an encounter was coming up but that never made it less exciting. Monsters would appears in waves, not always in the same places, and I would kill them. Sounds simple, and it is, but it worked. It worked well and I wish there was much more of it as I would run out of things to kill long before I ran out of things to pick up in the level and that is where the problems begin.

Doom now has some very basic RPG elements and I do not think it needed them. Collectibles are scattered all over the maps but there was not enough action in said maps to keep the wandering interesting. Anything would have been better than empty rooms with hidden power ups, even monster closets. Instead I *gasp* got bored.

This got much better in the later levels when there was more to shoot and less to collect. Three wimpy boss battles later, it ended. Seriously, this version of the cyberdemon was a wuss. At least the spider mastermind put up something resembling a fight, but even that was nothing compared earlier battles filled with hell knights backed by cyber-manucbi.

I absolutely loved most of this game, the parts of the game that were actually Doom, not parts of other games bolted on to Doom because someone thought it was not a deep enough experience. It's not supposed to be deep, it is supposed to be about shooting demons by the truckload. Maybe the expansion, and you know there will be one, will trim the fat.


Did anyone else notice that there was another installed of Telltale's The Walking Dead?

Yeah, neither did I until I was hurting for something to play a few weeks ago. It's a short season, only three episodes, centering around Michonne, a character from either the television show or the comic book (or both). It took its sweet time getting anywhere but there is a stomach dropping moment and the beginning of episode three that rivals anything Season 1 managed. Even though I knew that there was no avoided (as these games are more about the illusion of choice than actual choice) it still got me.

I felt bad for something I had done in the game and that never happens.

From a technical standpoint, Michonne runs better than anything else Telltale has put out which is certainly a step in the right direction. It also integrates the prompts for button presses in quick time events right into the action. Instead of a giant, bland A on the screen it swoops in from the side, following the path of Michonne's machete as she beheads another zombie.

It is still just a quick time event, once of many, but at least it looks more interesting.


And that third game I was going to make fun of? Didn't start it yet. Couldn't work up the courage to do so.

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