Category: Video Games

Hope Dooms Eternal

The first thing I did when I got a job was to save up my money and buy a decent PC. I fought with my mom for that one. Who wouldn’t? But compared to our fights before, this was a lot less intense and my mom had probably given up all hopes on me being a functioning adult at that point. So I happily started researching for a PC that was within my budget (around 80k, in Rupees). Although I could have gone for a higher budget PC, my upbringing, courtesy of mom, somehow got hold of my decision making machine (sometimes referred to as a brain) and refused to allocate more resources. I searched high and low for the parts online. Finally when I decided on what kind of PC I wanted, I visited Chikpete in Bangalore and searched all the shops once more for the cheapest option for my spec. After hours of agony and dilemma, chose a shop and got everything I required and came back to Mysore with me grinning like an idiot the whole trip back. I got it assembled at my home and just . . . fell in love with it.

I decided that since I am earning, I will now buy games like a normal person. But, I hear you say, a normal person does not buy games, he torrents it like the rest of us. To you, I say, . . . ah shit you win, I will now buy games like an abnormal person. And that is how I ended up installing Steam (like Amazon but for games). Even before I had bought my latest computer, I had a list of all the games I wanted to play when I got a good PC. And now I referred to that list and starting adding all those games to my wishlist on Steam. And among those entries, there was this one game I had been dying to play for more than a year: Doom (2016).

Doom was a reboot of the original series, whose first entry was released waaaaaay back in 1993 by a company called Id Software. You may not know it but these guys were the creators of one of the most famous genre in the history of gaming: The First Person Shooters or FPS. Doom 1993 became a classic. You controlled a marine (known as Doomguy) who fought off demons from hell using your trusty guns. I haven’t played Doom 1 (yet) but I played a lot of Doom 2 (1994) and Quake 2, another one of their masterpieces. In fact, I have fun playing Quake 2 even now. But what actually hyped me up for the latest Doom (2016, which is the 4th game in the series) was Doom 3. I can already hear Doom fans picking up their chainsaws in the background, but I am not changing my opinion (but I am getting ready to escape). I loved Doom 3. While the first 2 games focused purely on shooting, Doom 3 was more of a horror game. I loved the atmosphere, loved the guns, loved its tight corridor shooting and sense of tension and dread it created throughout its 10 or so hours of gameplay. And it was the first horror game I had ever played and finished in my life.

When I saw the latest Doom on the Steam page, I immediately added it to my wishlist and waited for the day it was offered in a sale. Just because I stated I’ll buy games doesn’t mean I’ll splurge 2-3k on a single game. By the time I had got my PC Id had announced the next installment of Doom. So I was hopeful that they will reduce the price of Doom 2016. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Seems like people still bought the game even after 2 years. And Bethesda (the publisher of the game) had no intention of offering the game up on a sale. WTF. I can’t pay 2k for my most anticipated game. I had some other games to play so I could afford to wait. But I’ll admit, I was on the verge of snapping.
“It’s just 2k, just buy it”,
“Spend your money just this once, you can save later”,
“You’re saving it for yourself, so why not spend it for yourself”,
“You don’t know when they’ll offer a sale, just do it now”.
You kind of feel sorry for Smeagol once you experience such thoughts day by day. So when they finally offered a discount of 20%, I finally gave in and bought the game. Then I had to download the game and it was around, *drum rolls please*, 70GB. My monthly internet plan was 100GB. I had to use up 70% of it just to download this single game. But I was unfazed. I was on a mission, to play that game no matter what. I was ready to even face the wrath of my mom if it meant I could achieve my dream. I kept it to download on a Sunday night, which was a huge mistake on my part because the game would be downloaded on the next day but I had to go to Bangalore for work. This meant I had to wait a whole week before I could play the game. A WHOLE WEEK. That week was one of the longest weeks I had ever had in my life. Never had I been so sad to be a Weekend Mysurian. But it was finally over and I rushed back to Mysore as fast as possible. I sat down, fired up my PC and started the game.

I was not prepared for what came next.

The Doom Slayer, ripped and teared my expectations and put a super-shotgun-sized hole in it using his super shotgun. Whatever I had hoped for, they did it better. You wanted good gameplay? We’ll give you better gameplay. You wanted simple story? We’ll give you minimal story. You want to rip and tear those demons? YOU WILL RIP AND TEAR THOSE MOTHERFUCKING DEMONS. For 17 hours (I am a slow player) I shredded and blasted those demons like never before and I loved every second of it. Oh the buttery smooth movement, the fast paced combat, the addictive gameplay loop, the soundtrack, the enemies, there are so many things to talk about that I don’t even know where to start. The very first thing you notice when you start the game is how to-the-point the game is. You wake up in a room chained to an altar and there are demons around you. So you do what any rational person would do, break off from the chains, smash a demon’s head that stumbled towards you, grab a gun and start blasting. There are no 15 minutes cutscenes, there are no lengthy expositions explaining why the protagonist (referred from now as Doom Slayer) was chained, where he was before he woke up and so on. You aren’t even told what to do to those demons surrounding. And you realize you have only one objective within 45 seconds of starting the game: Shoot anything that moves. One of its “tips” says this exact same thing in a very Doom-like way: If the enemy has a head, its a weakpoint. And this simplicity is what made me root for the game just within a minute into it. But that is not the only thing it has going for it. The gameplay is fast, smooth and polished. The movement feels so good that you don’t feel like staying at one place and shooting the demons. And that is what the developers also want you to do. You cannot survive if you stay at a single place. The guns are awesome and each feel unique. For a First Person Shooter game to have good guns? Colour me impressed. And the protagonist himself is something you tend to like two minutes into the game. There is a scene at the start where a computer screen starts explaining what is happening around him and what he should and how he should go about doing it . . . and Doom Slayer just slams the screen to a wall. He doesn’t want to know all those. He just wants to kill some damn demons. The man is literally too angry to die. Doom Slayer’s badassery charms you in a way very few games do. It’s like you are in control of a god that is dishing out punishment to the demons (“Be blessed, ye lowly being. Thou shall soon face my wrath and be ripped and teared”). Lastly, the soundtrack. Oh the soundtrack. I have an eargasm just thinking about it. I never realized how a good soundtrack can elevate the status of an excellent game to a legendary one. Doom’s music is mainly metal. I don’t listen to metal but by the end of my playthrough, I had all the songs in-game on my playlist. The music complements the gameplay and the gameplay complements the music. The symbiosis is perfect. You feel that Mick Gordon (the composer) deserves a standing ovation by the time you finish the game. You come to a realization that the game is basically a love letter to the FPS genre and the original Doom (1 and 2) games.

I had read some reviews when the game came out which did not give as much positive reviews as I was hoping for. I had also heard the gameplay is repetitive: go into a large room, kill all demons, repeat. And somewhere in the back of my mind, I was afraid that I might not like the game. But I am glad that I still felt like buying the game and checking it out. Infact I had so much fun playing that I completed it once more at a higher difficulty last month. That means Doom has the distinction of being the only game in my life that I have completed twice on different difficulty levels. Doom by far, is the most expensive game I’ve bought (at 1.1k) and I am so glad that I did splurge on it.

The next game in the series (Doom Eternal), is releasing next month and I cannot wait to play it. I hope that it will live up to the hype and be better than what Doom 2016 was. Although I dunno how they can possibly top it.

Even if Doom Eternal is releasing next month, I have to wait for the next sale (August or December) because I still cannot spend 4k on the game. But maybe, just maybe, I might buy the game at its full price this time.