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DOOM (2016) Dissonance

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I posted this in patientgaming before but it didn't get much traction or, tbh, quality discussion, so:

"DOOM returns as a brutally fun and challenging modern-day shooter experience. Relentless demons, impossibly destructive guns, and fast, fluid movement provide the foundation for intense, first-person combat" – Steam

For a title that prides itself on adrenaline-pumping gameplay, DOOM 2016 sure does like to ruin its pacing constantly.

Cutscenes

Much like the recent Borderlands games, DOOM thinks its player base wants to stand around twiddling their thumbs while a boring cutscene drags on. I think it's fair to say that people aren't going into this experience crossing their fingers for a compelling story, so it's a bit insulting that id Software thought it wasn't worth including a cutscene skip option. Obviously this only happens a few times throughout the game, but it's only 6 hours~ long and if you have any knowledge of modern Borderlands 3 criticism, one of the biggest problems people have with that game is its insistence on having you wait for story beats to play out. I definitely think it's a missed opportunity to include an in-character cutscene skip, where Doomguy just smashes the computer or walks out the door early and the robot guy is forced to speak to him on-the-fly to his next destination.

Unintuitive level design / Poorly implemented objectives

Ideally, in a linear game like DOOM, the design should be streamlined in such a way that players are constantly progressing towards the end with little room to get stuck because they are unsure where to go or what to do. I've beaten the game twice now and I still got stuck at multiple points in the story, either because I accidentally missed an unmarked keycard that I needed, or I was not directed towards the new area I was supposed to go and thought that I had missed something in a previous location. For some bizarre reason, objective markers are only placed on the area you're supposed to go eventually, rather than the area you need to go NOW (sometimes the marker doesn't exist at all!) This is another mechanic of the game that just serves to slow down what would otherwise be a fast-paced and fluid experience.

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Oh, and the random BFG puzzle that comes out of nowhere…no. I shouldn't need to go on YouTube to figure out how to proceed in a DOOM game.

Platforming, or, more specifically, platforming deaths

I don't have a problem with most the platforming in the game on its own – I have a problem with the fact that you actually die if you fail it or happen to accidentally fall off the edge (which then respawns the entire area of enemies). Shadow Warrior 2 understands how annoying this is and simply respawns you instantly with no penalties, but for some reason DOOM thinks its okay for like 90% of my actual deaths to be a result of careless platforming, as opposed to mistakes in combat. Not to mention the tower climbing mission, with its slow-moving elevators and, once again, unintuitive level design that makes that whole section tedious.

So, all in all, I think DOOM has some questionable design that appears to contradict its intended gameplay loop. As someone would later point out, the sequel seems to fix these problems to some extent

counterpoints i've already heard:

  1. "there aren't that many cutscenes" – not the point, should be skippable regardless
  2. "doom wants you to explore" – i'll ignore the fact that ID doesn't emphasize exploration anywhere on its store page and say that this point is irrelevant cuz the main experience could still be streamlined for players who aren't interested in the optional side activity of collectible hunting. again, missing the point
  3. "dying to parkour is annoying, but" – no buts lol

so ya, thoughts?

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