Does DOOM Signal a Return to FPS’ Roots?

No one could have predicted the success of Bethesda Softworks and id Software’s DOOM (aka Doom 4), especially after the disappointment that was Doom 3 way back in 2004. Doom 4 combines the elements that made the original games in the series a success, with carefully updated game mechanics, to produce a top notch AAA title that’s taking the gaming world by storm.

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Doom 4 places all of its emphasis on speed, movement, and hordes of angry drooling beasties, and not much else. The story is bare-bones, and serves only to usher the player to the next arena. This is a massive departure from the cinematic heavy-story style, that has come to dominate the first person shooter genre (most notably in the venerable Call of Duty and Battlefield series). This hearkens way back to the shooter stylings of days gone by, where (sometimes severe) technical limitations forced developers to rely solely on the strength of their gameplay, which was often fast-paced and frenetic, with a larger emphasis on player skill. Doom 4 takes these old-school tropes and updates them with a greater focus on vertical movement, and integrating resource (ammo, health, bonuses) management into the shooting itself. Run low on ammo, and you can switch to your chainsaw for melee kills, which then spout fonts of power-ups in addition to their standard blood and guts. While other developers are already capitalizing on Doom 4’s success, it remains to be seen if this represents a greater sea change in FPS gaming.