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RPS 2016 Advent Calendar, Dec 13th: DOOM

Ripping and tearing into our hearts

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SKULLS AND CHAINSAWS AND SHOTGUNS AND HELLFIRE. Day thirteen of The RPS Advent Calendar, which highlights our favourite games of the year, brings…

It’s the year’s second-best Hell, DOOM [official site]!

Alec: The best kind of good game is an unexpectedly good game. And I sure did not expect Doom to be much good – probably unfair, given how well-done Bethesda’s Wolfenstein do-over was. Whatever else you want to say about that bunch, they seem to have a keen sense of how to make a meaty singleplayer shooter at a time when most everyone else is obsessed with multiplayer hamster wheels.

(Though it was precisely because Doom’s marketing often revolved around humdrum-looking multiplayer that I feared it was going to be lukewarm rather than the roasting fires of hell.)

DOOM is movement. DOOM is violence-as-movement, not movement then violence then movement. DOOM is a gasping roar of overjoyed fury.

DOOM is whack-a-mole off its fucking face on chemicals that haven’t even been invented yet.

DOOM is ur-shooter, free from the awful, creeping nastiness of having to explain why you’re killing other humans. It is you, in a bad place, with monsters. You deserve this party. You don’t need to rationalise it, know why you’re doing it or whether there’s a worthwhile outcome. It is just you, and the dance.

Adam: The way that DOOM forces forward momentum through a combination of demonic AI and melee kills causing health top-ups to appear is brilliant. The way that the music throbs and rumbles in between battles, and reaches wailing shrieking fever pitch during the thick of an onslaught is tremendous. The way that the original game’s weapons and creatures have been updated, visually and in their behaviours, is wonderful.

That such a simple concept – kill demons with guns – is home to such smart design is easy to miss. DOOM is big and loud and it looks like every videogame that ever videogamed, but id have built a ferociously clever game behind the comically exaggerated premise.

I loved Wolfenstein: The New Order – a chunky slab of singleplayer FPS the likes of which I hadn’t played in a good while. DOOM is something entirely different though, purist in its singleminded determination to throw more and bigger demons your way, and more and bigger weapons with which to frag them.

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