Doom, the franchise that many credit with single-handedly launching the first-person shooter genre, has had a long road. Personally, I can credit it with sparking my interest in PC gaming, and still look back fondly on that satisfying ka-chunk that came with inserting one of the 400 floppy disks needed. Tonight, iD kicked off Quakecon 2014 by finally giving us our first peek at the new Doom game, and it’s already looking to reignite my love for the franchise.
Our first of two gameplay demos started near the beginning of the game. Your space marine admires his helmet for a moment before locking it into place and bringing up the HUD, which brings back memories of Metroid Prime as everything is laid out in front of you in realistic positions.
Right off the bat, the Union Aerospace Corporation area we see looks hellish. The red glare of magma laps at the bottom of the screen while the catwalks beneath your feet show no small amount of wear and tear. Holding your trusty shotgun, even the barrel shows wear of being used before.
Walking around, certain key points are highlighted in your view before the data from them is saved, as the screams from demons seem to echo from the very air around you. We’re not sure how this will play out quite yet, but it seems to be the closest thing to a quest log that we should expect out of the game. Doom isn’t a tactical shooter, this is a frantically paced combat game. Killing and trying to avoid being killed will be your sole priority.
We get our first glimpse at the demons that, in the words of the very large Texan sitting to my left, “needs a good killing,” and the level of detail is definitely impressive. A few shots from the shotgun highlight the vulnerabilities on their fragile frame before they finally are torn to pieces.
I want to make this very very clear. I mean literally “torn to pieces.” Doom‘s weapon play is absolutely visceral, but the melee combat is borderline uncomfortable with how powerful it seems to be. As far as I can tell, enemies will flicker when they’ve taken enough damage, allowing you to finish them off in style. We saw a wide variety of melee kills, all met with roars of approval from the crowd. Punching and snapping of the neck was among the most tame of the kills, with the highlights being ripping out a demon’s heart and (my personal favorite) ripping apart the demon’s skull with your bare hands, leaving behind only some teeth and the tip of the spinal cord.
One other highlight was trying to bypass a security console that required a finger print scanner. In one of the most visceral displays of violence I’ve witnessed, a nearby corpse from a scientist had its arm ripped off at the shoulder before being unceremoniously dropped on the scanner, unlocking the door and leaving a streak of blood as it slid off the glass in the process.
This first demo was brought to a screeching end not soon after a demon managed to corner us, rip off both of our arms and beat us to death with them. Have I mentioned that this game is visceral?