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DOOM should not lose its horror roots

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Power fantasy DOOM is fantastic. I feel like everyone that has played DOOM (2016), DOOM Eternal or even Brutal Doom before that can agree. Being able to just mindlessly brutalize demons and shoot at everything that moves, just to see them explode and be showered by their blood has it appeal.

I haven't got to play DOOM Eternal yet, but over a year ago I had the opportunity the play DOOM (2016) on a friend's PC and I loved it. The gunplay is awesome, movement is really smooth and satisfying and most battle encounters are super fun. I love the fact that you can't just be stuck in one place firing, you have to engage. By the end of the game, I really felt like the devs accomplished something amazing with it.

But something was missing for me. Out of what I consider to be the DOOM signature, one aspect that the devs chose not too rely too heavy on was horror. People can say whatever they want about the original DOOM not being scary anymore or that it has never been a scary game, but I think they're not correct. I would even suggest that, if there's a single aspect og DOOM aces to perfection is atmosphere.

There is something about the abstract and mechanical layout of the maps, the music, the looming presence of the demons. In that game, Doomguy is powerful, but he's not a demigod. The demons don't spawn in the maps, they're there, they've conquered the place. You need to take them out not because you can, but because, if you don't, they'll screw you over and deny you of the passage for the next stage. Health is scarce, ammo too. It's usually enough to get you through the stage you're in, but since you're desperately trying to find your way out or find the next key, there are countless ways the game can make you act recklessly and lose them.

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I love that you can visit a stage the first time, fail, comeback, progress and then realize that you're backtracking through an area with doors that have openned by themselves, releasing monsters you didn't even knew were there. Sometimes the game will even turn the lights off.

Many of these aspect only have so much effect on us because, as a game from 93, we've come to accept the way it works for what it is. I don't expect a game in 2021 to be pulling this off exactly, when we've had so many amazing shooter experiences throughout history. DOOM (2016) included.

Since DOOM Eternal seems to be a massive success, I imagine we're going to see many other games in the genre try to follow its footsteps, I just wish they would make a spinoff series in that original vein. Or maybe, find a way to integrate horror back into DOOM, without losing its newfound combat glory.

I know there are a good numbers of indie games out there that follow the design philosophies of the orginal DOOM and Quake, but as a huge DOOM fan, I hope it never loses its horror roots.

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