The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: DOOM

DOOM: Final Review and Reflection at the Endgame

“The road to Hell is paved by Argent Energy.” —DOOM tagline

The Doom Slayer squares off against three Hell Guards and triumphs over them, retrieving the Crucible and returning to Hell with assistance from the AI Vega, the Doom Slayer closes the portal and defeats Olivia Pierce for all time in a titanic battle after the latter transforms into the Spider Mastermind. With the portal closed and the dæmonic threat contained, Samuel Hayden arrives to confiscate the Crucible and moves the Doom Slayer to a remote location so that the UAC can continue its research into Argent energy. With this, DOOM‘s campaign draws to a close, marking the end of a fantastic voyage: the perfect combination of modernity and nostalgia, DOOM is a remarkably effective callback to old-school game designs. The end result is a title that emphasises fun factor over seriousness, reminding players that games are intended to bring enjoyment for their audiences. With its movement system and incredibly smooth gameplay, DOOM succeeds in doing so; the game outright tells its players that the key to victory is movement and risk-taking. In a market saturated with modern military shooters, games like DOOM represent a refreshing return to an older style of gameplay: high-paced game play is facilitated for with an unbelievably smooth movement system and the absence of reloading. During firefights, the constant rush of opponents offer no opportunity for taking a breather, and surviving each firefight is incredibly satisfying. Similarly, the inclusion of well-integrated secret areas yield advantages that encourage players to find them. Unlike the intel in Call of Duty, for instance, the secrets feel like a natural part of the game; at the time of writing, though I’ve tried, I’ve not found everything yet.

DOOM has never been well-known for its narrative elements; the original games simply depicted the Doom marine moving through the UAC facility and Hell itself, shooting through anything impeding his progress. However, in DOOM, the rudimentary narrative presents the possibility for a greater quantity of lore. In this DOOM, an energy crisis has resulted in the use of Argent energy to help meet the world’s energy demands. In spite of the dangers, the UAC continue their experiments with humanity’s interests cited as their reason for proceeding. The Doom Slayer, on the other hand, understands the hazards and consequently, fights to prevent further exploration of Argent energy lest a calamity result. The main theme in DOOM, then, is that even if a particular solution is beneficial to society as a whole in the short term, there might be unforeseen consequences in a decision that proves detrimental in the long run. As such, doing the right thing may entail causing short term tribulations in exchange for long term stability, and while the Doom Slayer succeeds, Samuel Hayden decides that he cannot intervene any further for the time being. It’s admittedly surprising that there could be such an element in DOOM; numerous codec entries seem to explore such lore in far greater detail, presenting a much more detailed and vivid world than previous versions of DOOM. In fact, this level of attention to world-building is quite conducive towards continuations, and it would be quite pleasant to see sequels of DOOM in the future.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • As the finale post, this DOOM discussion will feature the extended thirty images rather than the usual twenty. After beating the Cyberdemon, the Doom Slayer returns to the Titan’s Realm in search of the Crucible. The architectural style in Hell reminds me of the sort of imagery that come to the mind’s eye whenever something like Warcraft or Diablo are mentioned. named thus because the level is set inside the skeleton of a dæmon far surpassing even the Cyberdemon in size.

  • Cacodemons complicate the battlefield to quite an extent now that they have the capacity to blur a player’s vision, and consequently, I make it a point to take them out as soon as possible. The Gauss cannon and its mobile siege mode is a highly potent tool against them: when utilised, it can disintegrate them with a single well-placed shot. The structures of the Titan’s Realm are covered in blood and organic remains, adding much to the sense of foreboding in the level.

  • According to my list of achievements in Steam, I’ve performed a glory kill on one of every common dæmon type in DOOM, and as such, have no further surprises. Against bullets, plasma rounds and even rockets, the Revenant, Hell Knights, Mancubus and Barons of Hell can be quite resilient, requiring sustained fire to bring down. I usually make use of the glory kill mechanics to maximise the amount of pickups I obtain, and consequently, accumulated a large number of glory kills.

  • Because the moral guardians seem so offended by DOOM‘s chainsaw, I will feature a gratuitous screenshot of my using the chainsaw here to replenish my ammunition pool, resulting in what I believe to be a Possessed to be sawn messily in half. The chainsaw mechanic was well-balanced in DOOM, limited by its fuel pool, in contrast with the classic DOOM chainsaw, which was much weaker and featured unlimited ammunition (in essence, it was automatic fists).

  • My pacing in finishing DOOM‘s remaining levels increased as I approached the ending, and so, I finished on Saturday, just before Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday. I helped clean the shrimp and prepare the loaded baked potatoes. Thanksgiving dinner itself, which also featured turkey, ham and pineapple, and mixed vegetables in addition to garlic-butter shrimps and cheese-covered fully-loaded baked potatoes, was delicious, enough to even ward off the decidedly colder weather we’ve had this year.

  • I stare down another Baron of Hell here before unloading several homing rockets in a burst against it. The glory kill animation from the front is ripping out one of its horns and beating it down with said horn. While this year’s Thanksgiving did not see another beta, I had a fantastic time beating DOOM and even managed to complete Enter The Matrix for PC. A review for that will be coming out at some point in the future.

  • After reading an article about how all of the visual effects in DOOM were created, I was rather impressed at all of the mathematics and computations that go into creating each scene. Critics of DOOM‘s violence do not likely understand (much less appreciate) the amount of technical expertise that goes into creating visually compelling worlds: more math goes into crafting these frames and optimising the game’s performance than vindictiveness in designing the glory kills and weapon effects.

  • After filling my armour capacity to its limits twelve times (I used a trick where I stood in an acidic flow for a second to lose some armour, and picked up armour pieces for 5 armour each, several times to do this), I unlocked the “Rich Get Richer” rune’s second form, which allows me to have unlimited ammunition after reaching 75 points of armour. I utilise that here in conjunction with the heavy assault rifle’s micro-missiles and note that unlimited micro-missiles is remarkably entertaining.

  • As I make my way further into the labyrinths of the Titan Realm, I am reminded yet again of the sort of atmosphere so prevalent in fantasy worlds such as World of Warcraft. I’ve heard that World of Warcraft has a new expansion and is presently free-to-play up until level ten. Having not played World of Warcraft since the Burning Crusade, I am most unfamiliar with any of the lore and updates that have since happened.

  • The first of the Hell Guards possesses a powerful energy shield that negates all damage done to it, as well as a hammer and ranged weapons for offence. The trick here is to dodge its attacks at close range  — when it attacks with its hammer, it drops its shields, opening it for attack. The Gauss cannon or super shotgun can deal massive damage. According to the UAC documents, Hell Guards are biological mech operated by a parasite, and upon besting the first Hell Guard, the Doom Slayer must face two more in tandem.

  • The second phase of the battle is actually easier than the first: while the player is facing two Hell Guards simultaneously, neither have energy shields. A combination of the Gauss cannon’s mobile siege, in conjunction with rockets, micro missiles and super shotgun blasts, will deal with both on short order. Here, I finish off the last of the Hell Guards, tear the parasite from its controls and rip it in half, before claiming the Crucible and returning to Mars.

  • The UAC must be a vast facility, since I return to a section of the complex in the colder regions of Mars. By this point in the game, I have all of the weapon mods for each weapon, so the remaining field upgrade drones, I obtained the heat blast for the plasma rifle, the turret with reduced spin-up time and the remote detonation for the rocket launcher. The reduced spin-up turret looks remarkably different than the mobile turret, and in general, I’ve found the latter to be superior in combat performance in all ways.

  • Back in the depths of the UAC installation, it’s back to business as the Doom Slayer disables the security switches in preparation of rerouting Vega’s power to send the Doom Slayer back to Hell. The further I progressed in DOOM, and the more Aria I watched, the more I feel the two worlds are unequivocally linked to one another. The power of Argent energy is used to successfully terraform Mars and cover its surface in water, as well as help it in maintaining an Earth-like atmosphere and gravity.

  • Anomalies in Argent energy extraction and processing would thus lead to some more Neo Venezia’s more unusual phenomenon, such as when Akari steps back in time into Aqua’s past, as well as when President Aria encounters gender-swapped versions of everyone in Aria The Natural. This use of Argent energy would explain why Mars (Aqua) is known as the “Planet of Miracles”, and the events of DOOM could suggest that one man made all of Aria possible.

  • I stop to admire the lighting and particles in this here hallway after yet another firefight, and by this point in DOOM, I’ve stopped actively hunting for secrets. I note that my speculations about the ties between DOOM and Aria are purely for entertainment’s sake, but given how few people out there would have the unusual background of both enjoying DOOM and Aria, I am very certain that no-one else will put the two side-by-side in discussion.

  • By this point in DOOM, the number and ferocity of the dæmons spawned is such that it becomes necessary to draw the BFG 9000 and fire it to buy one some breathing room. Ideally used in areas with a large number of mid-range dæmons, such as Mancubii, Pinkies and Hell Knights, the BFG fires an initial plasma round that yields secondary discharges capable of instantly shredding opponents. Ammunition for it is very rare, and I prefer having all of my charges available for a pinch during a boss fight, but when I see BFG ammunition hanging around, I am at a greater liberty to utilise this weapon’s awesome capabilities.

  • After looking into the so-called moral outrage propagated by the moral guardians out of curiosity, it turns out that these individuals do not even believe in the position they were backing, and instead, were making such remarks merely for attention’s sake. From the looks of things, their complaints about DOOM came as part of a much bigger internet-based culture war that was instigated back during 2014 over an obscure and poorly-made title posted to Steam.

  • While the aforementioned culture war was ostensibly about “ethics in video games journalism”, things devolved into an unproductive and meaningless debate about the so-called “gamer image”. I say that it was meaningless because the objective of some parties was to eliminate games such as DOOM, and rudimentary market forces illustrate that such a drastic course of action is futile: so as long as people are willing to purchase shooters and higher-end hardware to attain a pleasant experience, these products will continue to be sold whether or not people hold opinions against them. So, as to whether or not “gamers are over”? The fact that there are increasingly powerful GPUs, and the release of new games like DOOM, strongly demonstrates that no, gamers won’t ever be “over”.

  • As far as I’m concerned, I pay very little attention to the component of video games journalism reviewing a game for its “artistic merit” and instead, mostly keep to news on when a game (or its features) are released; I’ll be the judge of whether or not a game was fun or not. Returning to DOOM,  the fight at this section was perhaps one of the toughest I faced. Besides a seemingly-endless number of dæmons, a pair of Barons of Hell also make an appearance: I died here on several occasions from the sheer volume of destruction sent my way.

  • The aforementioned deaths come on top of making liberal use of the BFG to clear out a path and gain some breathing room. After a few attempts, I managed to clear out the area, obtained all of my weapon upgrade points and at last, could proceed to the final stage of this mission. Because I was constantly on the hunt for Argent cells, I upgraded each category of my Praetor suit fully on a single play-through: at maximum, players double their health, increase their ammunition pool by three times and can carry three times as much armour.

  • After clearing out the last of the dæmons, I make my way to Vega’s central processing core, which has a design reminiscent of the cyrogenic chamber seen in Akira. The final goal is to disable the core itself, and in a flash of energy, the Doom Slayer is back in Hell once more. The English phrase “Go to hell” is meant as a rejection functionally equivalent to the phrase “go away”, “get lost” and “leave”, but given how often the Doom Slayer has indeed “gone to Hell” and come back, said phrase would translate to “get to work” in DOOM.

  • The final mission in DOOM is titled “Argent D’nur”: I’ve always wondered why science fiction and fantasy worlds made such extensive use of apostrophes in their names, and unsurprisingly, there’s a fascinating story behind it. Use of apostrophes were inspired by some real-world languages, where the apostrophes are used as a consonant rather than punctuation, and H.P. Lovecraft used them for a more exotic feel in his names. Star Trek and author Roger Zelazny would contribute to their increasing usage. While some are not fond of them, I personally find that they definitely add a bit of mystique to science fiction and fantasy names.

  • With the power-ups section of my Praetor suit fully upgraded, the Berserker mod turns the Doom Slayer into a wrecking machine: even Mancubii and Barons of Hell fall before his fists in a single shot, and the powerup is perhaps the most entertaining to wield. There was a similar power-up in Brutal DOOM, where picking up the Berserker mod would allow players to punch dæmons so hard they exploded, or else carry out brutal executions on them (one of the more violent ones includes ripping out an enemy’s spine). It appears that this was split in DOOM, allowing players the executions through Glory Kills.

  • DOOM is a fantastic game I can easily recommend to all DOOM fans, although folks who’ve played through Brutal DOOM may be disappointed at the fact that the ability to kick enemies, or flip them off, did not make it into DOOM. With that being said, these were “nice to have” features, and DOOM‘s engaging upgrade system more than makes up for the fact that I cannot flip the bird at dæmons to further aggravate them; in Brutal DOOM, fingering the Cyberdemon sends it into a rage, increasing the rate at which it fires rockets at the player.

  • Because this is the finale post, I’ve opted to double the number of chainsaw images. Sparingly used, I find that it’s usually unnecessary to chainsaw larger dæmons because it consumes more fuel units, but in a pinch, the chainsaw can be used to quickly take out a particularly tough dæmon. While each fuel can restores three units, some opponents (such as the Barons of Hell) require five units of fuel to down. The most economical (and unsurprisingly, least fun) way is to use the chainsaw on Imps and Possessed as a means of obtaining ammunition.

  • Individuals who’ve been around games long enough will know that it’s bad news bears whenever a game gives this much resources to players. In the Argent D’nur mission, once the Argent wells are disabled, players are treated to some information detailing the Doom Slayer’s past: I absolutely love the high fantasy style descriptions of the Doom Slayer as a dark lord from the ninth age who destroyed the power of the Necromancers.

  • After seventeen hours of gameplay, we come to it at last: a confrontation with the Spiderdemon (known in DOOM as the Spider Mastermind). The ultimate boss in DOOM, it has a vast health pool and range of attacks that it will field against the player. Shooting at its limbs or armour won’t deal substantial damage, even with the Gauss cannon, and for the curious, I did not last very long against it using just the pistol.

  • Aiming for the Spider Mastermind’s exposed brain, on the other hand, deals substantial damage. Making use of the rocket launcher and Gauss cannon is probably the fastest means of dealing serious damage, although when the Spider Mastermind’s health begins dropping, it will start spawning spike bombs and electrify the entire floor, which I learned to be more lethal than any other attack the Spider Mastermind possesses.

  • The BFG 9000 becomes an indispensable tool in this fight; besides its base damage, the weapon will stun the Spider Mastermind, opening it up to attack. The Gauss cannon and its siege mode is highly effective against this monstrosity. According to the in-game documentation, the Spider Mastermind is known as the Aranea Imperatix (similar to the Latin Aranea Imperattrix, or “Spider Empress”). Beyond this, not much about its origins are given in the cryptic tomes.

  • After running out of ammunition for the Gauss cannon, I swapped over to the rocket launcher and pounded the Spider Mastermind until its health was depleted, ending the game. After besting the Spider Mastermind, Samuel Hayden appears, and similar to the G-Man, remarks that the Doom Slayer’s services will be needed another day, but for the present, cannot be allowed to interfere, before teleporting the Doom Slayer to an unknown location. Thus, I’ve beaten DOOM, marking the first time where I’ve upgraded my GPU for a game.

When it was first announced, I wondered if DOOM would be something that I would enjoy; I had a blast with DOOM and DOOM II, as well as the Brutal DOOM mod (which appears to have inspired some elements seen in DOOM, no less). Having passed on DOOM 3, I wondered if DOOM (then known as DOOM 4) would follow in the trends set by modern shooters. Early trailers seemed to suggest so, but when DOOM underwent a redesign and the 2015 E3 trailers revealed that DOOM would be returning to its roots, my hesitation was erased entirely. Coupled with a well-timed summer sale, my decision to pick DOOM up became much more straightforward. With the campaign now complete, I feel that the game is well worth its cost: besides this initial play-through, I will probably go back at some point to find all of the secrets and collectibles, then see about unlocking and trying out the legendary “ultra nightmare” mode. There’s also a multiplayer component: this might be less well-received than DOOM‘s campaign, but the inclusion of a multiplayer similarly serves to boost the game’s replay value. My final verdict on DOOM is very straightforwards: this game earns a strong recommendation for any and all fans of first-person shooters. DOOM fans will enjoy the game without question, and the ultimate question of whether or not one should get DOOM really boils down to whether or not one has the hardware required for this game. Although somewhat on the steeper end, DOOM is very well-optimised and runs buttery-smooth provided that one meets the minimum requirements.

DOOM: Encountering the Cyberdemon, A review and reflection at the ¾ mark

“If so powerful you’ve become, why leave?” —Master Yoda, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

After returning to the UAC facility on Mars, the Doom Slayer meets with Samuel Hayden and reluctantly agrees to work with him to shut down the portal to Hell. Picking up the BFG 9000 along the way, the Doom Slayer continues ripping and tearing his way through the UAC facility, eventually reaching a vast chamber containing the Cyberdemon. Despite defeating it once and stripping it of its Argent Accumulator, the Cyberdemon is resurrected, forcing the Doom Slayer to kill it a second time. With the successful defeat of the Cyberdemon and subsequent unlocking of the achievement, titled “Shoot it until it does”, I’m now three-quarters of the way through DOOM. It’s been a fantastic journey thus far, and the boss fight with the Cyberdemon brough back memories of old-school boss fights from classic games. According to the in-game documentation, the Cyberdemon is the synthesis of a Baalgar dæmon and an Argent Accumulator. With cybernetic implants and a UAC rocket launcher grafted into its left arm, the end result in a leviathan so powerful that the UAC struggled to contain it. Like most of the other dæmons encountered, this incarnation’s combat characteristics is remarkably similar to the Cyberdemon of classic DOOM, bearing a vast reserve of health that allows it to absorb BFG shots. While it attacks with a random pattern in the UAC facility, the Cyberdemon’s behaviours take on a more recognisable pattern once it is resurrected. In this long battle, I died several times, but as per Andrew Stine’s suggestion, the most effective strategy of besting the Cyberdemon is indeed to continue shooting at it until its health is depleted.

With the Doom Slayer’s base arsenal now fully unlocked, there seems to be no shortage of combat options in DOOM now: I add to my arsenal the chaingun, a powerful (if ammunition-consuming) weapon, and the BFG 9000, a legendary weapon so powerful it can clear out entire rooms of non-boss dæmons in a single shot. The weapons diversity and ability to carry all of them all at once has led me to internally debate, which weapon would be the most entertaining to field for the next section? With the ammunition scarcity for the BFG 9000, I opted to conserve on the rounds and utilise my fully-upgraded Gauss cannon, for which I’ve attained the mastery for: the AOE shot and decreased firing rate, plus the mobile siege mastery makes the Gauss cannon a miniature BFG 9000. I’ve further unlocked some of DOOM‘s more impressive runes, allowing the Doom Slayer to demonstrate the true extent of his combat capabilities. I’ve unlocked the “The Rich Get Richer” rune, which confers unlimited ammunition provided the player has more than 100 points of armour (it took me an inordinate number of attempts to finish this one, since I’m not good at all with remote detonation). In conjunction with “Armoured Offensive” and “Vacuum”, I’ve been able to enjoy the powers of limitless ammunition for the chaingun. The other runes can also be fun to utilise, as well: I’ve made use of the improved air mobility to move around and reach secrets more easily, even finding a hidden area that allows players to unlock classic DOOM levels for play. Altogether, DOOM appears to have struck a superb balance between gameplay, exploration and options, and I’m looking forwards to whatever lies ahead now.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’m progressing through DOOM at a moderate pace, far quicker than I had been for Alien: Isolation; I’m not sure why WordPress has decided that DOOM is somehow related to Sword Art Online, but with this post, hopefully, DOOM posts will be related to other DOOM posts. Returning to Mars, the UAC facility has fallen into ruin as dæmons begin overrunning the facility. This level is essentially a damaged version of the fourth mission, with different areas open, reminding me of the backtracking missions seen in Halo CE and 007 Nightfire.

  • It turns out that there was a chaingun in Kadingir Sanctum, but I did not locate the secret to pick it up earlier. Fortunately, there’s one set on a turret at the UAC facility; in its base form, it must spin up before it can fire at full speed, and while it takes a while to reach full speed (and firing rate), the rounds it fire deal tremendous damage. Without any mods, I typically do not use the chaingun, since its lower starting firing rate is a bit of a detriment.

  • The Pinkie dæmons in original DOOM were merely nuisances, but in the modern DOOM, they are incredibly resilient to damage and require an inordinate amount of ammunition to take down from the front. However, their backsides are lightly armoured and when shot at from here, a Pinkie will go down in a few shots. Owing to their tendency to charge players, one can jump out of the way at the last second and shoot them, or else make use of explosive splash damage to target their backs.

  • The quad damage power-up in conjunction with the Gauss cannon’s siege mode is disgustingly powerful, able to utterly destroy a Mancubus in a single shot. When quad damage is enabled, I typically roll with the rocket launcher, since the AOE conferred by splash damage allows for a larger number of enemies to be damaged, or outright destroyed.

  • DOOM constantly forces players to be mindful of their surroundings: a gore nest is visible in the distance, and one of my favoured tactics is to explore an area with a gore nest after clearing out the Possessed. This way, I can determine where all of the health, armour and ammunition pick-ups are such that I may immediately retrieve them should I become dangerously low on any resource mid-battle. Once this is done, I then destroy the gore nest and commence battle, making use of everything to survive.

  • One aspect that makes DOOM so entertaining on the first playthrough is that one does not know what the game will throw at them: when one think they’re in the clear, additional dæmons will often spawn in to continue the fight. In one case, I thought I had cleared an area out of the Barons of Hell, but then an additional pair spawned in, and at that point, I was low on ammunition, forcing me to get creative in order to survive that firefight.

  • Here, I finally meet Samuel Hayden in person. A senior UAC official, Hayden replaced his original body with a cybernetic body after some regions of his brain began developing neoplasms, and he chose to go with a powerful new vessel owing to the inherent dangers of his position. He is resistant to conventional firearms and briefs the Doom Slayer with the means of stopping Olivia Pierce. Hayden’s office is well-organised and features some relics worthy of closer inspection, and he is voiced by Darin de Paul.

  • The Cyber-Mancubus is a modified Mancubus, equipped with UAC-engineered arm cannons that increases the range of its attacks. Some folks on Reddit, upon reading the properties of a Mancubus (what with its flammable, toxic innards), linked to a horrifying story about a surgical operation gone bad (for those who are masochists interested, look up “Dagobah swamp”, I shan’t post any links here or recount it): said story was very vivid, and back in DOOM, in the knowledge that Mancubi are supposed to be putrid, my awe for the Praetor suit and its environmental resistance properties doubles.

  • Because the mobile turret mod transforms the chaingun into one of the most over-the-top weapons in DOOM, this was the mod I immediately picked upon encountering a field upgrade drone. When engaged, the chaingun splits into three barrels that deal an incredible volume of fire, draining ammunition reserves at an accelerated rate and also overheating the barrels. The mastery challenge for the mobile turret removes overheating, allowing the weapon to be fired indefinitely (usually, until ammunition is depleted).

  • The BFG 9000 makes a glorious return, and I immediately use it to clear out a room full of Possessed. There’s a mini-puzzle that must be solved before players can pick up the BFG 9000: this weapon fires blasts of Argent energy that explode any enemies. Secondary pulses can deal further damage, making this a powerful room-clearing weapon, although the scarcity of ammunition means that the BFG 9000 is best saved for bosses. Upon encountering it for the first time, TheRadBrad remarks that the weapon is vicious: the weapon cannot be upgraded or modified in any way, and it’s still the most powerful weapon on a per-shot basis in DOOM.

  • The quad damage power-up with the mobile turret on the chain gun is absolutely nasty, and I make use of it to shoot down several Mancubi. Each of the power-ups has their own applications, and I’ve maxed out the Praetor suit tokens on power-ups such that the power-ups last longer, release a damaging blast wave when expired and also replenish health fully when picked up, making them a powerful asset to save for the middle of a lengthy engagement.

  • Upon starting the seventh mission, I equipped the Gauss cannon, set it to siege mode and fired a single shot when I saw a hallway full of dæmons. Already upgraded with the AOE rounds, the shot tore through the air and killed ten before impacting a wall, allowing me to complete the mastery to unlock mobile siege and simultaneously netting me a weapon upgrade point for completing the “Threading the Needle” challenge (“kill eight dæmons with a single shot”). This is probably the best shot I’ve fired in DOOM so far.

  • The Rich Get Richer rune challenge involves using the rocket launcher with remote detonation to kill thirty dæmons before the timer expires. Without item pick ups, and a weapon mod I was unfamiliar with, it took numerous tries to actually unlock, since I kept blowing myself up by detonating the rockets too early. Fifteen minutes and a large number of attempts later, I finally unlocked the rune, although at this point in DOOM, I have not spent enough of the Argent cells on armour to make the rune effective.

  • While the dæmons of DOOM might be horrific in concept, the fact that the Doom Slayer has such a vast arsenal and powers means that no dæmon is too tough. I was reading an interview on F.E.A.R., where the developers noted that horror is scary only if players lose a sense of control. In their mind, getting the drop on a chainsaw murderer and lighting them up would immediately dispel the fear, but an opponent that can liquefy an entire spec ops team would again result in the player feeling defenseless despite being armed with an assault rifle. It is this reason that Alien: Isolation was so effective as a horror game, and furthermore, is why DOOM definitely does not fall under the horror genre.

  • This is the Helix Stone in Olivia Pierce’s inner sanctum, disclosing the location of a legendary weapon called the Crucible that is able to put an end to all this. Looking through the time stamps on the screenshots, I’m amazed at how quickly time’s passed: it seems like this week’s gone in the blink of an eye, and that it’s already Friday. Autumn is definitely in the air, and the skies were chilly as I stepped out for a dinner at the 桃園 Café HK, where I ordered the vast and delicious American-style Hot Plate Mixed Grill (which features pork chop, beef short ribs, chicken steak and sausage with a fried egg and plenty of fries).

  • The Satanic imagery in DOOM is excessive and rather hilarious for the most part, although it can be a little disturbing if one thinks about their implications. Here, a hologram depicts some scientists engaged in a ritual of some sort, stabbing a body repeatedly with a stake: while these are scientists, one wonders if they believe in the occult and are conducting said ritual with the aim of pleasing some entity to further their cause.

  • Close inspection of this image finds that the barrels of my chaingun have taken on an orange glow from sustained firing. I’ve not encountered any groups of possessed yet that would allow me to accomplish the weapon mastery for this mod, which would allow me to fire the chaingun indefinitely in the mobile turret mode without having the barrels overheat. Coupled with “The Rich Get Richer” rune, this could be a fearsome combination.

  • Facing the Cyberdemon, the time has finally come for the BFG 9000 to be put to good use, and here, I use the weapon to stun the Cyberdemon before switching to the Gauss cannon and hammering it with as much ammunition as I can before it resumes its attack. The Gauss cannon, both its standard shots and siege mode, are highly effective. Should the ammunition for the Gauss cannon be depleted, the rocket launcher is also a hugely useful asset.

  • A powerful boss with a large health bar is an element from games of old, and it was remarkably fun to keep ahead of the Cyberdemon’s attacks. While a durable opponent that will deplete the player’s ammunition as the fight wears on, the Cyberdemon occasionally drops health and ammunition when shot, allowing one to replenish their provisions during the battle. This old-school boss fight was tremendously fun, requiring a combination of a sure aim and quick reflexes in order to best.

  • With the Cyberdemon vanquished, I’m set to return to the depths of Hell and continue the search for the Crucible. Mine eye now turns to future posts, and with both New Game! and Amanchu! in the books, we’re rolling into the fall anime season. Next weekend will be Thanksgiving, and Brave Witches should be coming out on short order, so I’ll probably be pushing out the first episode discussion next Saturday (I’m guessing there’s some faulty intel, since I’ve read that episode one is coming out on October 15 when in fact, it should be airing October 5). In the meantime, I’ll be looking to do a talk on the Non Non Biyori Repeat OVA, as well as a bit of a talk on Kimi no na wa and what I’ll be doing for that review now that I’ve seen the movie in full.

I’ve had nothing but good things to say about DOOM so far; even folks who do not typically play the single player campaign of a game have remarked on how solid DOOM is. The game offers enough features to merit replay, and on my current playthrough, I’ve not discovered every secret yet. Furthermore, I’m hearing that there is an “ultra nightmare” mode that is unlocked, which provides players only with a single life. It will be quite interesting to see how long I last before I die and are sent back to the game’s beginning. Similarly, there is also a multiplayer component in DOOM. While it’s not seen the same positive reception as the campaign did, I am curious to try that out and see just how different the gameplay there is compared to those of Battlefield 4 and the like: it’s supposed to be a high-paced arena-style shooter, featuring the gameplay that I often employ even in something like Battlefield 4. While this aspect is exciting, for the present, I’ve still got another quarter of DOOM to complete, and with the Spiderdemon on the list of things to see remastered, I foresee that this is going to be a fantastic experience.

DOOM: Passing the Game’s Halfway Point

“So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.” —Corrax Entry 7:17

Unsurprisingly, there are a total of thirteen missions in DOOM. Thirteen has long been considered to be an unlucky number, and triskaidekaphobia is quite prevalent, to the extent where buildings omit their thirteenth floor and folks sometimes avoid registering for license plates ending in -13. Although not quite as intimidating as 666, 13 is nonetheless associated with ill-tidings, and consequently, it is perhaps quite appropriate that DOOM opts to go with thirteen missions in its campaign. Having just ripped and torn my way through the Kadingir Sanctum of Hell itself, I’ve now made my way to what is, more or less, the halfway point of DOOM, with the intent of closing off the portal to Hell and stopping Olivia Pierce. Fighting through the hoardes of Hell’s dæmons through the UAC facility, the Doom Slayer continues to find new weapons to aid in his one-man crusade, eventually reaching Hell. Along the way, the Doom Slayer learns more about the UAC and Samuel Hayden’s objectives, as well as how Olivia Pierce’s fascination with Hell and its constructs resulted in this calamity to begin with. Having spent ten hours in the campaign thus far, DOOM never ceases to entertain and impress with its high-pace action and constant incentives for players to explore.

At the forefront of the list of reasons to explore the levels in DOOM is the fact that there are field drones scattered about the more quiet places of each level. These field drones provide players with weapon modifications for the weapons they’ve already found, adding a substantial firepower and versatility advantage to the Doom Slayer’s arsenal. In my case, I’ve chosen to unlock the explosive shots for the combat shotgun, transforming it into a makeshift grenade launcher that is remarkably powerful for weakening tougher opponents. For the heavy assault rifle, the micro-missiles likewise add explosive capabilities to a weapon whose rate of fire can result in a devastating combination. For both of these modifications, I’ve unlocked their respective masteries to further enhance their explosive output. I also have the charged burst for the combat shotgun and the tactical scope for the heavy assault rifle, but these were unlocked simply because I found the field drones before I had any other weapons. I’ve also chosen the stun bomb for the plasma rifle: it’s able to knock out the Possessed Security, whose shields can absorb a fantastic amount of damage and render them a frustrating enemy to take on in great numbers. For the rocket launcher, the lock-on burst is what I’ve gone with so far, being quite useful for ensuring three rockets hit more mobile targets, and the Guass cannon’s siege mode is a monstrosity that deals tremendous damage. Taken together, these mods add additional depth and usefulness to each weapon in the game, encouraging players to play strategically to each weapon’s strengths and also time their application of a weapon mod to maximise combat efficacy.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • One of my coworkers mentioned that the level design in DOOM is what would happen if a fifteen-year-old began sketching their opinions of what a world being consumed by Hell would look like while being bored by a high school class. Everything is over-the-top and absolutely marvelous to behold. DOOM is rifle with Satanic imagery: there are pentagrams, candle-lit alters and sacrificial corpses littering the UAC facility.

  • The over-the-top nature in DOOM contributes to its immense fun factor, and in contrast with modern military shooters, DOOM rewards players generously for walking into the midst of combat and manually tearing apart opponents to recover health and ammunition. Despite its high pacing, DOOM offers players much more control over how they’d like to play the game: in between combat, there’s always an opportunity to explore maps in more detail.

  • I’ve heard varying opinions pertaining to whether or not the remote detonation or lock-on burst modification is superior for the rocket launcher. As is evident in this here image, I’ve elected to pick the lock-on burst, which allows the rocket launcher to lock onto and fire three consecutive rockets at an opponent for massive damage. It’s a powerful fire-and-forget solution useful for situations where movement is essential to survival, and while remote detonation could be useful in giving rockets indirect fire capabilities, I’m generally up in the dæmons’ faces, so I don’t see myself as making too much use of that mod for now.

  • The double-barreled shotgun makes a glorious return. I found it as a secret during the fourth mission, and have since upgraded it so it reloads faster. Should I choose to add the uranium rounds, I’ll be able to unlock the weapon mastery for it that doubles its ammunition efficiency: each shot would only require one round, but this does not compromise its firepower. In the upper right hand corner are combat efficiency points: wiping out dæmons earns one more points that can be used to further improve a weapon modification.

  • It takes nine weapon modification points to fully upgrade one mod, and once all upgrades are obtained, there is an additional challenge to unlock the weapon mastery. The mastery confers nigh-ridiculous firepower for a given weapon, and perhaps the most blatant instance of excessive firepower can be found in the heavy assault rifle’s micro-missiles: the mastery gives the mod the ability to fire as many missiles as they please (until ammunition is depleted). Here, I cross the Argent facility’s bridge, a section of the map that reminds me greatly of the bridge missions in both Half-Life 2 and Wolfenstein: The New Order.

  • Save the pistol, every weapon in DOOM has the potential to turn a target into chunks of meat. I usually try to go for glory kills where possible, although when confronted with multiple dæmons, I will usually keep back and make use of a combination of grenades and directed fire to gain some breathing room. After encountering my first argent cell in the third mission, I’ve since alternated between upgrading my health and ammunition capacity. Once those are maxed out, I will focus on upgrading my armour.

  • The mancubus is a grotesque, lumbering dæmons armed with a pair of biological cannons capable of projecting a noxious stream of super-heated fluid at their enemies. The official documentation states that these weapons are purely biological in nature, whereas in the original DOOM, they were merely flamethrowers. Capable of absorbing a tremendous amount of damage, these brutes are best dealt with from mid-to-long range. One of the glory kills scored against a mancubus is quite macabre: the Doom Slayer will rip out one of its organs and stick said organ down its throat, causing it to explode.

  • The quad damage power-up is absolutely vicious: as per its name, it allows players to deal four times as much damage as they otherwise would, allowing for normally-tricky opponents to be shot down very quickly. A single rocket salvo with quad damage enabled is enough to rend a mancubus, and I’ve upgraded my Praetor suit so that a blast wave is issued whenever a power-up’s duration has passed.

  • The environments in DOOM never cease to amaze me, and here, I climb up the Argent tower. I’ve not attempted it, but those conduits for the argent energy are probably one-hit kills. Owing to carelessness, I did fall from this height and watched as the Doom Slayer’s limbs fell off from the fall. There are some parts of DOOM where this becomes quite amusing: when falling into a “bottomless” chasm, the Doom Slayer’s limbs will explode off him even if the actual fall was only around 10 meters or so.

  • The fourth mission’s single objective is to “kill Olivia Pierce”, but given Samuel Hayden’s dialogues, it would seem that the game would end once that objective is done. As such, when the end of this mission is reached, rather than fulfilling the initial assignment, something surprising happens; Olivia opens a portal, ending the mission. On a completely unrelated note, I wonder who’s reading this post and wondering how someone who greatly enjoyed GochiUsa could find equal enjoyment in something like DOOM 😛

  • So, here I am, in the Kadingir Sanctum of Hell. The name itself sounds like something taken out of a high fantasy epic of the sort that one of my friends from high school were particularly fond of reading. He was very much interested in things like WarcraftWarHammer  and Lord of The Rings; we spent numerous math classes talking about these elements while working on the day’s assignments (and my math instructor allowed it simply because I wasn’t in too poor a shape with math back then).

  • At one point, my friend grew weary of not having anyone to talk to about Half-Life 2‘s episodes, and so, lent me both games so that I could play through them and share with him my experiences. At the time, only a handful of my classmates had a computer that could run the game, and my then-new Dell XPS 420 proved up to the task: previously, the game’s requirements looked quite steep, requiring a 3.4 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM and a GT 6800. After I beat both games, we recounted the achievements and challenges encountered, wondering when either Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2 Episode 3 would come out.

  • I’ve not conversed with this friend since I was in my undergraduate program a few years ago, and I’m hoping he’s doing alright. Back in DOOM, I wield a Gauss cannon against a Hell Knight. Firing a flechette at extremely high velocities, the Gauss cannon deals massive damage against opponents. It shares an ammunition pool as the plasma rifle, and as a semi-automatic, precision weapon, it is effective at longer ranges.

  • The Hellscape of Kadingir Sanctum reminds me of the more fantastical (and uninhabitable) regions of Azeroth: some regions, such as the Blasted Lands, Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge come to mind, although the floating geometries also bear some resemblance to places in Outland. I’ve not set foot in Azeroth since I was in high school, when another one of my friends hosted his own private World of Warcraft server. In DOOM, however, the objective isn’t to complete quests and do raid instances: it’s merely to maximise the amount of destruction as possible en route to the portal that will take the Doom Slayer back to Mars.

  • The cacodemons make a return from the original DOOM: these floating dæmons bear much resemblance to their original incarnations, although their ranged attack (now described as a toxic, charged ball of sludge rather than being plasma) now blurs the Doom Slayer’s vision for a few moments, enough for the dæmon to close the distance and utilise its biting attack. The projectiles the cacodemons hurl are slow and can be dodged, so in conjunction with the rocket launcher or gauss cannon, they can be easily dispatched.

  • Bottomless micro-missiles can be abused to deal massive damage in a very short period of time, and while this can chew through ammunition very quickly, the damage dealt is unreal. With the narrative in DOOM as it stands now, I posit that the UAC were the forerunners who utilised argent energy to render Mars habitable. After the Doom Slayer defeats everything Hell throws at him, colonists from Manhome begin arriving to populate Mars, which subsequently becomes renamed Aqua as argent energy provides enough power to terraform the planet, maintain a gravity more similar to that of Earth’s, and help the planet retain a breathable atmosphere.

  • With this in mind, it’s not particularly implausible that ARIA is the result of the Doom Slayer’s heroics, allowing Akari and her friends to experience the peacefulness of life in Neo Venezia. Some of Aqua’s more supernatural phenomenon can therefore be explained as a result of remnant argent energy artefacts. Halfway through DOOM, I fight the Baron of Hell for the first time. Ever-faithful to the original DOOM incarnation, these Minotaur-like dæmons are among the toughest of all enemies. Besides possessing a powerful ranged attacking taking the form of a verdant hell-energy fireball, these beasts are highly swift in their movements, and dying to them results in the Doom Slayer’s lower body being torn off, before the screen goes black as his head is crushed.

  • The siege mode modification for the Gauss cannon allows the weapon to fire a devastating beam that can punch through multiple targets. Its tradeoff is that it freezes player movement while it’s charging, but with the weapon mastery, siege mode is said to transform the Gauss cannon into a miniature BFG. Notions of “siege mode” are not new, and I recall a friend playing through Starcraft with siege tanks, right before a Halo 2 LAN party was set to begin. The siege tanks have a mode where they can increase their attack range and damage at the expense of movement, and I wonder if DOOM‘s incarnation of siege mode was inspired by Starcraft.

  • The floating islands and forbidding-looking environment reminds me of World of Warcraft‘s Hellfire Peninsula to some extent: I first visited the location shortly after beginning my final year of high school and was overwhelmed with the intimidating atmosphere, having spent most of my time on Azeroth previously. However, as I quested more frequently here, that sense gradually faded. I’m certain that, were the friend who had lent me both Half-Life 2 episodes to still be in contact with me, he’d definitely enjoy the atmospherics and gameplay of DOOM.

  • With the sixth mission now complete, I return to the UAC facility on Mars to continue seeking the means to shut down the portal to Hell. This post thus draws to a close, and in the near future, I will be aiming to get a finale post for New Game! out, as well as one for Rick and Morty‘s first season; the latter, I’m finally finished after some two-and-a-half years. I’ve heard that a third season is coming out, so I’ll see about watching the second season at a faster rate than I did for the first season. Once October rolls around, I’ll also be rolling out a talk for Amanchu!, which I’m enjoying immensely — both the New Game! and Amanchu! posts will be extended to thirty images each, since I’ve got quite a bit to discuss for each anime.

The further I progress in DOOM, I more I realise that DOOM handles similarly to the Halo ports for PC. I’ve gone back and played some Halo 2 Vista for PC, finding the controls were more or less identical for both titles. Both games also feature memorable campaign missions, each of which are easily differentiable from one another. With this in mind, DOOM handles significantly more smoothly, and even eight hours after my initial experience, there are still so many moments that amaze and astound, whether it be the appearance of familiar enemies from the original DOOM (and watching the different death animations that result should I fall to them), or watching all of the different graphics effects when entering a new area. I’ve still not seen the chain gun or BFG 9000 at this point in the game; similarly, the pinkie dæmons have yet to make an appearance, but my instincts tell me those additions won’t be too far off, and I’m excited to continue moving through DOOM to see what other cool features are in the game. In fact, at my current rate of progression, I might be able to finsih this game just in time for Thanksgiving Weekend.

DOOM: Impressions and Reflections After Two Hours

“You must understand, our interest in their world was purely for the benefit of mankind…” —Samuel Hayden

Released back during May, DOOM‘s latest incarnation is built around a campaign that brings back elements from classic DOOM of 1993. Set on a UAC facility on Mars, DOOM follows Doomguy (hitherto known as Doom Slayer) on his quest to destroy all of the dæmons (spelt this way for cool factor) and Possessed that now infest the UAC facility. After an incident where the researchers lost control of the Hell portals, UAC facility manager, Samuel Hayden, enlists the Doom Slayer’s aid in closing the portal and containing the invasion. Two hours into DOOM, I’m done the first three missions, having ripped and torn my way through the infestation to restore function to the UAC facility. Fast-paced and brutal, DOOM draws inspiration from the aspects that made the original DOOM so entertaining and adding on top of this, buttery-smooth controls and sleek graphics. DOOM outright encourages players to adopt a run-and-gun play-style, rushing enemies and rewards risk-taking: there is no regenerating health, reloading or aiming down sights. The end result is a game that plays like it’s from 1993, while looking like it’s for current-generation hardware. Elements from Halo’s PC incarnations also appear, giving the Doom Slayer the ability to utilise melee attacks the same way Master Chief can melee his opponents. Enemies stunned can be finished using Glory Kills, which feature a brutal finishing animation and returns health to players. This combination makes DOOM an absolute visual treat and joy to play, marking a much-welcomed departure from modern military shooters.

Another aspect returning from the original DOOM are the presence of secrets and collectibles. Although these elements often come across as being tacked onto a game, DOOM cleverly incorporates them into the gameplay: discovering secrets can give the Doom Slayer access to powerful weapons mods, upgrade the Praetor Suit’s capabilities or even pick up new weapons that further bolster the Doom Slayer’s arsenal. While the game falls into a very familiar pattern of “enter an area, kill everything moving and advance”, the presence of these secrets allows players to explore the UAC facility more deeply. The prospect of weapon and suit upgrades encourages players to take a look around rather than charging forwards. This is the main element that serves to balance the pacing in DOOM: other aspects, such as the lack of reloading and the ability to carry an entire arsenal, are features that creates a breakneck, exciting pace for the combat sequences. After the first three missions, I’ve unlocked the combat shotgun, heavy assault rifle, plasma rifle and chainsaw: each weapon performs slightly differently, although in the chaos of combat, each weapon sounds and feels powerful.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • All told, DOOM running on my rig at ultra is bottlenecked by neither GPU or CPU, and as such, I’ve been experiencing a phenomenal experience so far. The lighting effects, textures, reflections and particles have been a major treat to look at, but it’s quite clear that DOOM has been well-optimised. Even on my older GPU, I was maintaining a constant 40 FPS on medium settings.

  • The combat shotgun is the first weapon the Doom Slayer finds in the game. Best for close-quarters engagements, it can be outfitted with explosive shots or a triple-shot as its weapon modification. The explosive shot is plainly superior, turning the combat shotgun into a makeshift grenade launcher that can be used to decimate groups of enemies. Ammunition for it is reasonably common, although killed enemies will occasionally drop small amounts of ammunition to help players out.

  • As seen in this screenshot, volumetric lighting in DOOM is impressive. Because DOOM is built off an older style of play, most of the game can be broken up into three different states. The first is wandering the map and looking for one’s next destination while taking out a few enemies, the second is being boxed into an area until all of the stipulated enemies are slain, and the last is exploring the nooks and crannies for secrets after everything’s been cleared. Despite this seeming monotony, excellent level design and high pacing prevents this from ever becoming dull.

  • The chainsaw is one of DOOM‘s signature weapons, and was also the source of controversy amongst more well-known self-proclaimed moral guardians. Said individuals decried DOOM‘s fans as being a variety of unpleasant things and encouraged people not to purchase the game. So, partially in defiance of such people, I’ve not only picked up DOOM, but I’ve also upgraded my GPU so I can enjoy the ultra-violence at its finest. In a twist of irony, I’d also like to thank two of these so-called “moral guardians” for encouraging me to buy DOOM and support the developers.

  • As icing on the cake, here’s a rather messy screenshot of the chainsaw in actual use. This goes beyond brutal, it’s glorious: rendered at the game’s highest settings in 1080p, 60 FPS glory, the chainsaw has a unique mechanic in DOOM that prevents it from being used in the same manner as the 1993 chainsaw. Whereas the original chainsaw was a high-speed melee weapon, the new chainsaw has a powerful mechanic of allowing players to replenish their ammunition stores. Its use is limited by its fuel reserves, and different enemies require different amounts of fuel to take down.

  • This grotesque-looking construct here is a gore nest, a portal to Hell composed of the flesh from sacrificial victims. Relatively unguarded and easily destroyed with a keystroke, destroying them will always result in a swarm of enemies spawning in, leading to high speed combat. I’ve got the pistol here, and so far, it’s proven to be utterly useless (like its predecessor in 1993’s DOOM), eclipsed by every other weapon in the game.

  • Here, I’ve come across a Berserker rune and so, can utilise little more than my fists to pummel opponents into oblivion. DOOM appears to draw some inspiration from the DOOM mod Brutal DOOM, in that the rune allows the Doom Slayer to explode his enemies simply by punching them. Brutal DOOM is perhaps my favourite DOOM mod, adding a variety of fatality animations, weapon mechanics and features.

  • The surface of Mars is far from the visions that Kozue Amano had in mind when she penned Aria. Rather than a peaceful world rich in surface water and miracles, Mars is a desolate desert where the Gates of Hell have opened. The Mars of DOOM is the polar opposite of Aqua, and suffice to say, no Undine would find this world a hospitable one. While we’re on the topic of Aria, I’ve finished making my way through Aria: The Animation and have just begun Aria: The Natural.

  • The plasma rifle can be found in the second level as a secret: it’s a weapon with a larger ammunition pool and, slower muzzle velocity and higher firing rate than the heavy assault rifle, making it more effective as a weapon for general-purpose usage (most engagements occur at close quarters rather than higher distances), handling similarly to a PDW or SMG. Here, I engage Hell Razers from a distances: these dæmons have a directed energy weapon and will prefer to take on players at range.

  • One of the things I’ve found most enjoyable about DOOM is the play of light on the different weapons the Doom Slayer has access to, and here, reflections and water effects are displayed on the ground. Various points in DOOM illustrate the aftermath of the dæmonic  invasion, with shredded bodies found throughout the maps. One particularly nasty security hologram shows a Hell Knight tearing a UAC guard in half with its bare hands.

  • The heavy assault rifle fires .50 calibre FMJ rounds, fulfilling the role of a mid-range weapon in DOOM. Despite the size of its rounds, the weapon is only moderately effective against dæmons, and sustained firing decreases its accuracy. As such, this weapon plays like an average assault rifle, being most effective when tap-fired. Stepping off-topic for a few moments, I note that my site metrics has seen a dramatic increase in searches for Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no na wa (Your Name), which was released two days ago on August 26. So far, intel on the film and when the home releases are coming out is nonexistent, similar to the case for Girls und Panzer Der Film back during November 2015. My course of action is identical to the one I suggested back then: I will discuss the film once it becomes available and focus my attention on things available in the present, at present.

  • The vast streams of molten slag (probably rock or metal) make the foundry’s interior one that is highly visually pleasing, and I spent a bit of time here looking around after clearing out the dæmons. This weekend was a little more quite than the previous one, but yesterday evening, I had the opportunity to view the finale for the GlobalFest fireworks show. As the sun crept below the horizon, I ordered some mini-doughnuts from the vendors and savoured the piping hot confectionary as a cool wind blew in.

  • The weather had been rather unpleasant, however, by the time the fireworks show started, for it began to rain. I became soaked, but the fireworks show was very impressive, enough to take my mind off the rain and the fact that I was drenched. Back in DOOM, here, I’ve found one of the upgrade stations and opted to pick up the micro-rockets for the heavy assault rifle, adding yet another explosive solution to my arsenal.

  • Today (technically yesterday evening local time) saw the second Girls und Panzer Heartful Tank Carnival at the Pacifico Centre in Yokohama. At the event’s conclusion, the Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter (Girls und Panzer: Saishuushou) was announced. While there’s absolutely no intel on what this final chapter entails or when it’ll come out, the title strongly suggests that this will be the ultimate instalment to Girls und Panzer.

  • The reason why I did not open a separate post for this particular bit of news is simply because with the blackout, there’s little to talk about. There was very little talk on the ‘net leading up to the second Heartful Tank Carnival event, and this announcement comes out of the blue. I leave readers with three screenshots taken from the PV and a remark that this DOOM post will also hold the infamous distinction of having a Girls und Panzer tag. With nothing more on the table pertaining to Girls und Panzer, it’s time to return the flow of discussion to DOOM.

  • Weapon mods can further be bolstered by weapon upgrades, which can alter the properties of a mod to further its usefulness. These upgrades are unlocked by completing mini-assignments and killing everything that exists in a level.

  • Visible on the bottom left-hand side of the screen, just right of the health and armour indicator, are a pair of keycards. Like the original DOOM, keycards are required to unlock areas necessary to move forwards in the game, although in the new DOOM, keycards are taken off bodies rather than lying around on the ground. The HUD in DOOM is unintrusive, and while I like its design, I miss not having Doomguy grin wickedly every time he finds a new weapon.

  • After re-activating the reactor cooling and stabilising things, I suddenly realised that I should make an effort to explore the Foundry level in greater depth. At present, I’m leaning towards the combat shotgun as my preferred weapon, switching to the heavy assault rifle or plasma rifle as required. It appears that there are enough weapon upgrade stations to unlock every weapons mod in the game, but for the time being, I’ll spend most of my points boosting the combat shotgun, given that it’s proven to be an indispensable weapon against the dæmons.

  • So far, I’ve only found and showcased a handful of weapons from DOOM, but there will be more weapons in upcoming levels; I’m completely excited to see what they are capable of doing. Besides weapons upgrades, I’m also on the hunt for Praetor tokens, which are used to upgrade the Doom Slayer’s armour. My priority will be to max out the scanner upgrades first so I can find all of the secrets more readily, then decide what branch I’ll pursue next.

  • My current game plan is to finish DOOM by around Halloween and continue on with my Deus Ex: Mankind Divided adventure. This might be interspersed between some Halo 2, since I found my old copy of Halo 2 installed today. From the looks of things, I reinstalled it after building my rig in 2013, then played some multiplayer before the servers were shut down, and never got around to finishing the campaign. It’s high time I rectify that. On the topic of the upcoming season’s anime, I’ve stopped doing season previews on account of my viewing patterns. With that being said, I have my eyes on Brave Witches and Hibike! Euphonium 2 for certain.

With all of these elements in mind, I am very excited to push onwards into DOOM and see what sort of things await the Doom Slayer. The campaign is clearly the star of DOOM, and I do plan on beating the game twice: once on the standard “Hurt Me Plenty” difficulty and once on “Ultra Violence”. In my previous post about DOOM, I remarked on an interest in picking up the GTX 1070, but the price tag meant I would have second thoughts; in my case, I can’t justify spending that much on a new graphics card when my PC has spent three years in service, and that a new GPU would purely be for gaming. Conversely, when the 6 GB GTX 1060 released, it was well within my budget. It turns out that, with a new GPU, my computer is now more than capable of handling DOOM on ultra settings. I’ve experienced no substantial drops in frame-rates thus far, and the entire game handles incredibly smoothly; it’s conducive towards the gameplay that DOOM encourages. There’s much to look forwards to in DOOM, especially in way of learning bits and pieces of the story as I go. While the narrative is hardly substantial in DOOM, its presence adds to the atmosphere; besides ripping and tearing dæmons apart, it will also be quite fun to listen to dialogues from Samuel Hayden, the AI VEGA and antagonist Olivia Pierce. Perhaps, there might even be a theme that can be discerned for my final reflections talk, once I reach the end of DOOM.

A short reflection on the DOOM Demo

“In 1993, we fully expect to be the number one cause of decreased productivity in businesses around the world.” —Doom press release by id Software (1993)

When it was previewed last year at the 2015 E3 Conference, DOOM (the fourth installment in the series) piqued my curiosity. I played through the original DOOM three years ago while supposedly studying for my statistics course in my final undergraduate year, and became hooked on Brutal DOOM, a mod that added some incredibly fun features to a classic. The games in the DOOM series have always generated controversy, and DOOM‘s 2016 incarnation is no different: shortly after the E3 demonstrations concluded, the more vocal parties on the internet voiced their concerns about how it was “really troubling (and depressing) that the #BE3 audience is enthusiastically cheering” about the trailer showcasing the id Tech 6 engine’s capabilities. Built on a combination of ray tracing and raster graphics, the engine was first conceptualised in 2008 and stored geometry as voxels rather than triangles. Watching the id Tech 6 engine’s features in DOOM were a real thrill during the trailer, and so, contrary to claims that “There is something deeply deeply [sic] seriously wrong with anyone” looking forwards to DOOM, I found the demo to really showcase just how sophisticated the id Tech 6 engine is. Fast forward a year, and the criticisms have largely evaporated (the individuals making these remarks have since retreated into the shadows). DOOM is now out on the market, and having seen some of the gameplay, the game shows that id Software has been true to their word with the gameplay: the game handles very smoothly and features the high-paced, breakneck combat of the original DOOM. Gone are reloading and aiming-down-sights mechanics, as is the regenerating health. Instead, the game encourages players to charge aggressively forwards to defeat all foes and progress, marking a return to the gameplay of the classic DOOM.

One of the questions that I’ve had on my mind concerning DOOM was whether or not my rig, just a ways past the three year mark in age now, would be capable of handling this title: the minimum specifications for it are an i5-2400 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a GTX 670. My processor and RAM are easily up to the challenge, but my GPU prima facie falls short. Curious to see whether or not my GPU could actually run DOOM, I downloaded the demo to try the game out. Auto-detection found that my hardware was projected be able to handle DOOM‘s “medium” settings, and so, I loaded into the demo, following the DOOM marine (known as the Doom Slayer in this installment) as he rips and tears his way through a UAC facility where research is being conducted on how to utilise Hell’s energy to solve the Earth’s energy crisis. Even on medium settings at 1080p, DOOM looks amazing: lower texture resolutions, reduced shadow detail and draw distance don’t appear too pronounced. It turns out that my system can handle DOOM at a playable 30-40 FPS, with a minimum FPS of 25. Even at these lower frame rates, the game feels reasonably smooth, and by the end of the demo, which ends with the Doom Slayer moving to the next area, I concluded that my current video card is up to the challenge of playing the game at acceptable frame rates, although the time is ripe for an upgrade: with the GTX 1070 cards now out, I’ll be looking to buy one as soon as some actually become available.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Armed with its Satanic imagery, DOOM is loud and proud of its status as the first-person shooter that popularised the genre. The page quote is taken from an old press release that suggested installing the original DOOM on office machines would result in employees playing rather than working. As of now, my work machine is decisively more powerful than my home computer, and to precisely avoid this, I will not install DOOM on it.

  • The pistol is the first weapon available in the game and its demo: a directed energy weapon, it is very weak compared to other weapons in the game and has infinite ammunition. While useful in a pinch against weaker enemies, it is utterly useless against more powerful foes encountered later in the game.

  • The large glowing fleshy portal at the centre of this room is known as a “gore nest”: these are portals to Hell, and when destroyed, a large number of demons spawn into the room. Destroying the first one in the game gives a taste of the combat style in DOOM: there is no hiding behind cover to regenerate health, as players are generously rewarded for charging head-first into a situation and performing what are known as “glory kills” on demons.

  • Before entering the next area, a shotgun is acquired: the shotgun makes blasting imps and other monsters a breeze compared to when wielding the pistol, allowing for the monsters to be blown away. Once complete, the next area is unlocked. A staple firearm in the DOOM franchise, the 2016 incarnation of the shotgun is a powerful weapon for close and medium range encounters. The high-paced gameplay of DOOM is completely conducive towards shotguns, and as such, this will be a commonly-used weapon throughout the game.

  • Once players exit the interior of the UAC facility, they enter the Martian surface. Far from the azure world presented in Aria The Animation or even the beginnings of a terraforming in the original DOOM, the Mars of 2016 DOOM is a desolate red. A weak sandstorm is in progress, but unlike those depicted in film, a true Martian sandstorm would not be a gale-force event on account of the planet’s thin atmosphere.

  • The Doom Slayer’s armoured suit is equipped with an impact compensator, allowing him to absorb fall damage. In the original Halo, Master Chief’s Mjolnir Mark V armour lacked the ability to take fall damage, but later versions of the suit had energy shielding underneath the soles. I recall a Death Battle video where Master Chief goes head-to-head with Doomguy, with the result being that Master Chief edges out Doomguy with a more diverse arsenal and better luck.

  • Keycards of the original DOOM make a return: they must be utilised in order to move onto the next area. On medium settings, shadows aren’t quite as detailed or sharp as they would be on ultra settings, but as the screenshots throughout this post can attest, the game looks surprisingly good on the lower settings. There is supposed to be a setting, “nightmare”, that defeats any GPU with less than 5 GB of VRAM, but this only looks slightly better than “ultra” in practise.

  • While Doomguy lost to Master Chief in Death Battle, the gameplay in the modernised DOOM suggests that the battle would be even more exciting to watch, and my money would be on the Doom Slayer. Back in DOOM, I was playing on standard difficulty (“hurt me plenty”): the demo does not allow for the maximum difficulty, and I can only imagine what that must be like. On normal, ammunition is fairly common, although players can pick up upgrades to improve their ammunition capacity.

  • Games such as DOOM have long been criticised for purportedly encouraging violence and violent crimes, but one study from 2012 found that there’s no correlation between video game consumption and violence. In my experience, violent video games are actually quite relaxing; partaking in them yields a similar effect to lifting weights in that when my session is over, I’ll be significantly less stressed or bothered. However, being interrupted midway, in both cases, elevates stress.

  • The most vocal of internet critics probably have no hard data backing their claims; they’re merely projecting a personal ideal as the standard around which society ought to rally around. This is not how society should work, and as such, I tend not to give any values to their opinions. Game developers should continue making the games they excel in, and players should play the games they feel are most exciting/appropriate for them.

  • I maintain roughly a similar stance for anime, where I believe that it is a waste of effort to persistently tear down and complain about things in a show for not fulfilling their expectations totally. The anime Hai-Furi is a prime example of that: at least one individual has been complaining vociferously about how Moeka’s essentially a “non-character” who serves no rol and citing declining home release pre-orders as a sign that the anime is terrible.

  • Here, I perform a glory kill on a demon; unlike Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, where the old one-two is explicitly said to be useless against Dementors, the Doom Slayer uses that to great effect here, literally punching the guts out of a demon. The reason why I have very few pictures of glory kills is that they’re very hard to capture as images: a bokeh effect is applied to the viewpoint and everything blurs out as the kill occurs. Chunks of demon flesh and blood spray across the screen, and players get back a bit of health for these kills.

  • I opted to go with the explosive shot for the shotgun upon encountering an upgrade terminal: when used, the shotgun turns into a short-range grenade launcher, great for dealing damage to groups of enemies. Continuing from my point earlier, even if there are other people who feel something should fit their visions, my bottom line is “so what?” If I didn’t like something, I do not feel the need to share it with the rest of the world, since the world doesn’t (and shouldn’t) care.

  • Thus, when I hear vocal figures on the internet bemoan that DOOM is “too violent”, my suggestion, echoed by countless others, is that one merely look the other way. There is plenty of choice in the world, and attempting to strong-arm everyone into accepting one particular branch of thought is futile and inconsequential. Life’s too short to be hating things; it ought to be spent enjoying oneself by doing things that one finds fun.

  • I’ve very nearly reached the end of the demo here after fighting through hordes of Hell demons, and true to the experience id Software promoted, there is plenty of non-stop action. However, once the demons are all dead, there is an opportunity to explore the level in peace, allowing for secrets to be found and scenery to be taken in. There’s an armour pickup here: I find that armour in DOOM is generally only a minor asset, absorbing only a third of the damage the player takes.

  • The demo can be beaten in roughly twenty minutes, but I did not pick up the demo to decide whether or not this game was worth playing. Instead, it was more of a hardware test to see if my computer could run it in its current state. While it’s not 60 FPS and running at the ultra or high settings, that my four-year old GPU can provide a playable DOOM experience (i.e. not “slideshow”) shows that older hardware can hold its own even if it falls under the minimum requirements.

  • The lighting here is reminiscent of the colour palette used in the Higurashi album “Dear You”, a character song album for the Higurashi: When They Cry anime. I love the compositions of the song, and I found the first season to be a solid horror anime. On the other hand, the second season was a good thriller, suggesting that the power of trust and friendship allows one to do what would be impossible were they to be alone.

  • In DOOM, however, all a player has is themselves. With that being said, the vast arsenal available to the Doom Slayer would be overkill for dealing with the sort of thing seen in Higurashi: When They Cry. Generally speaking, horror movies derive their fear off the fact that the protagonists are helpless or unarmed against a supernatural or conventional foe: while the monsters of DOOM appear scarier than the Xenomorph of Alien: Isolation, the latter is horror simply because the player has no capacity to retaliate against the Xenomorph.

  • Upon entering the next building in the UAC complex, the first mission draws to a close, and I return my attention back to the task at hand — I’m presently playing through Alien: Isolation, and while the “jump scare” factor is long gone now that I’ve reached the seventh mission, the actual horror in the game comes from fear of losing progression owing to carelessness. I will do a bit of a reflection once I obtain the flamethrower at the game’s halfway point.

  • The Steam 2016 sale is very nearly upon us: SUPERHOT and DOOM will be on my list of games to keep an eye on, as well as Far Cry 4 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The sale is in three days, and this year, it comes at a very interesting time; with my Master’s Defense on the 28th, it’s going to take every nanogram of my willpower to stay focused and prioritise the defense (the unit deliberately chosen because it relates to my research project).

On the whole, I’m rather excited to play through the whole of DOOM on a GTX 1070: my interest in the card is for its greater VR support, and I foresee that I might be doing a bit of work in VR in the near future, which requires much more graphics horsepower to push the pixels needed for a compelling experience (frame-rates below 90 and lower resolutions break immersion and can lead to cyber-sickness). However, until then, the GTX 1070 will be a powerful upgrade from my current video card: besides DOOM, I’ve also got my eye on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. So, contrary to the ill-founded claims that “This level of extreme violence shouldn’t be considered normal. It not an excuse to say it’s expected because DOOM“, I counter-argue that DOOM without awesome gunplay is like a car without an engine. Moreover, titles such as DOOM, and the game engines they run on, drive improvements in game engine and graphics technology. DOOM‘s gameplay features plenty of mesh destruction (tearing demons’ appendages off), decal materials (blood splatters), particle effects (sparks and weapon flash) and lighting; far from being depressing, it’s exciting: things like DOOM that push the boundaries for what game engines and graphics technology are capable of carrying out. Consequently, once I purchase and install my GTX 1070 (whenever that is), I’m going to make a beeline for DOOM on Steam (when the price is right), put down my coin and enjoy DOOM as it was meant to be enjoyed: as a grotesque, over-the-top, excessively violent, high-paced and surprisingly cathartic shooter.