Friday, 6 April 2018

Still Doom

I finally finished Doom 3 over the Easter weekend. I'm finding it quite a hard one to write about (partly because I've got a horrible cold and my brain's not working). It's Doom, but prettier. Much prettier. The engine looks great and moves quickly. It's all a bit samey, but thenDoom always has been. There are basically only two environments: in a space station or in Hell. Oh, you do also step out onto the surface of Mars on occasion, but you're on an extremely limited oxygen supply, so you're running around trying to find the quickest way back into the space station rather than admiring the scenery. A few more varied locations would have really made a difference (even the expansion packs were in exactly the same locations). It was all very claustrophobic, too (intentionally, I guess), with not even any of the variety in scale that the original Doom had. There weren't really any open spaces, which may have been the feel they were going for (and certainly would be correct for a Mars base), but it made parts of it pretty boring. Then, of course, there's the lighting. I remember the massive outcry at the original release of the game because it didn't allow you to hold a torch and fire a gun at the same time. Doom 3 is a dark and moody game, and you're unable to see anything in many places without your torch. It was bad enough with the rapidly draining torch inthe version I played, I can't imagine playing it the original way without being able to fire at the same time. It seems like a crazy decision to me. The rest of the game is spent shooting things and finding keys (audio logs) to progress. I think the amount of audio logs in Doom 3 was roundly mocked, and it is a bit crazy. The story's just not interesting enough to demand that amount of content, and most of it is just boring filler. I'm being a bit harsh on it, but I think it was a bit behind the times. The engine was amazing, but games like Half Life had already taken the FPS in a different direction, and Doom 3 feels a little bit unsure of itself. It doesn't have the balls to stick to its guns (quite literally) and just be a straight high-octane shooter, but it doesn't have the skill and variety to be a story-led FPS. The story, the weapons and the monsters all feel a bit generic. The mission packs tried to change things up a bit with a gravity gun that they barely used and a bullet-time artifact that I didn't use once. It was all too little too late, and too badly integrated into the main game. This cold's making me extra negative. It was a fun game, and I wouldn't not recommend it, I just found it a bit of a drag towards the end, and I was very glad when it was over. Next up is the most recent Doom game, just called DOOM once again. I was fairly dreading this, but that was blown away when I started it up. I'm not much of a graphics whore as you can probably guess from the blog, but this game looks amazing! It's by far the most recent triple-A game I've played (and probably will play for some time) and the jump in graphical fidelity is astounding. It's leagues ahead of Fallout 4, which was the last game of this level that I played. I was also very pleased to see their intent with this game - right at the beginning your marine wakes up and finds a monitor screen with a voice intoning your mission in exactly the same way as in Doom 3. The marine promptly smashes the screen and hurls it away half way through the message. Coming straight from Doom 3, that was a beautiful thing to see. I'm now very much looking forward to playing through the new Doom.

I think I'm also done with Super Off Road. I gave it pretty short shrift, but hey. It's a very basic top- down Super Sprint-style racing game. The differences here are that it's off-road, so there are lumps and jumps in the track, along with pools of water and other obstacles, and there's a career mode built in, so you earn money for winning races (or you can sometimes pick it up on the track) and you can spend that money on upgrades to your vehicle. Things like extra speed or grippy tyres, etc. It's a perfectly fine game, and has the usual caveat where it'd be great fun with a few friends and a few beers. As it is, though, it's not something that I'm going to spend a great deal of time on. I played for a little while and managed to win a few races, and that's enough for me.

Next up on the randometer is...iF-16 Fighting Falcon! Ugh, yet another flight sim. Ah well, better get it out of the way, I guess.

...Yay, it doesn't work! It's a Win95 game that won't run under Win 10, and bums am I going to try and look for a solution for it. Come on random number generator, don't fail me now. Next up on the randometer is...Psi 5 Trading Company! A space trading game from the '80s. Thanks gods of randomness.

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