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Make Games Assholes Again. Why Doom Eternal being real vicious with its traps and enemies is a good thing.

Content of the article: "Make Games Assholes Again. Why Doom Eternal being real vicious with its traps and enemies is a good thing."

One thing I've noticed with a lot of more recent FPS games is that they tend to hand hold you through challenges. Every moment is plotted out, every rise in tension or danger is clearly shown to the player, the pace of the gameplay is often predictable or even determined by the player. This is good in some ways, it does provide a more consistent experience, but it mainly makes that experience passive when the whole point of interactive media is to have an active experience.

Doom Eternal on the other hand was proud to bring back the design philosophy of things like E1M6, where dickish traps and bait and switches were used to keep the player guessing and on their toes, and spiting those damnable developers by overcoming their bullshit was a triumph you could be proud of. The game is not trying to pander to the player, they aren't just handing you an epic moment through a quick time event to beat the boss in some cinematic way. You have to claw your way to every victory, and on the harder difficulties even simple arenas become death traps.

The developers clearly understood how to make certain enemies the most dangerous, and illustrated that through the various optional challenges or exploration areas. From sending a hellknight charging at you while you are stuck in purple goo to having a mancubus give you a hug in a tight hallway, they knew exactly how to piss you off and keep you on your toes. This forces the player on the back foot and makes them have to respond to the game, but if you learn how to claw that control back, how to hot swap to power weapons and bait enemy attacks with sprint you start to feel like you are the master, the one who can toy with the hordes of hell.

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This is probably seen most clearly with the Doom Hunter boss fight. In any other game you would shoot the Doom Hunter until it dies, get it into a QTE stagger state and win with a cinematic. In Doom Eternal you beat him, the apparent exit opens up, and suddenly you have to face two of the boss you just beat in addition to a bunch of other enemies in a much larger arena, you are baited into this feeling of elation and then forced to earn the actual victory.

It is telling that Doom Eternal has difficulty which is still fair. If you play CoD on veteran you won't really feel all that much accomplishment for beating it beyond gratitude you no longer have to wade through a sea of grenades, and you will still die plenty even if you are an excellent player. Doom Eternal is so tightly designed, it gives so many options and tools to the player, that a good player can absolutely beat it on Ultra-Nightmare provided they invest the time and git gud. There is no determinant RNG, no substantial amount of bullshit, just mastering the game while the developers throw every trick they have at you, and that is where a feeling of true accomplishment lies.


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