Better Late Hands On Impressions – Doom (PS4)

Note: This is an impression of roughly a couple of hours of campaign and more mulitplayer than I’d like to admit.  SnapMap, the game’s level editor, wasn’t touched.
The Bottom Line: I would buy the crap out of this game – in a sale.
The original Doom induced some nightmares in my already frightful child mind.  Watching my step-mom mow down demons with shot guns and a chain saw probably mostly lead to my lifelong weariness of horror games and movies.  Snap to 2016 and Doom is a frantic, and ultra-violent (parents be warned), shooter where you run around and mow down demons with a shot-gun and chain saw, among other gleefully destructive weapons.  The “nope factor” is still in the back of my mind as gore-streaked, dimly lit, hallways mark my path of progression.  It’s the draw to the kinetic, and surprisingly vertical, action that keeps me moving forward.
The story seems to be neither here nor there, which is appropriately deliberate.  I am Doom-Marine, I’m worshipped by Martian scientists and buried in a sarcophagus and my power armor is surrouneded by a makeshift shrine.  I’m also a pissed off bad-ass.  I punch screens and push them harshly against walls, as if they’re as offensive as the invading demonic imps chucking fireballs at me.  The metal soundtrack is the icing on the cake, making me realize that what developer id is going for is more important and fresh than what most recent big FPS’ have done.  They want me to have fun.
Moving, and Doom-Marine moves really fast, feels fluid.  Shooting, running, jumping and punching/ tearing at flashing demons for much needed health or ammo looks amazing and plays great.  Being the main mechanics in the game, I do them a lot and glory kills add to the gamey immersion.  The game looks really nice too with a lot of debris floats around and wind whips up clouds of sand.  The explosions are super pretty and movement blur gives a great sense of speed and adds to the chaos.  The game just exudes nerdy awesomness.
There were some odd loading moments.  The game once briefly froze when I threw a grenade and blew up a red barrel (there are a lot of them).  Platforming and jumping feel a little laggy and sluggish, especially when compared to the frantic fluidity from combat.  It still works and is the best first-person jumping this side of Far Cry 3.

I played Team Deathmatch in multiplayer and came away impressed.  As someone used to CoD, and have been playing multiplayer since Halo 3, it’s nice to see a change of pace.  The fast and chaotic nature of the campaign carries over to the multiplayer.  Load outs are the name of the game, but the number of weapons are limited – even when you’ve unlocked everything.  The big glass ceiling comes from customizing my and my weapons’ appearances.  Like in the campaign, there is no auto-regeneration of health, or reloading of weapons.  Fleeing is a legitimate strategy.  Special weapons and power ups spawn at certain locations on the map and knowing where those spots are becomes as vital as winning those fire fights.

gk doom
I may have found that the best way for me to play Doom is in chunks.  The original game may have been the literal stuff of nightmares for me when I was little, and I may be a little weary of stuff jumping out at me, but this new Doom is both distantly familiar and a blast of fresh air among a genre mostly stuck in “Modern Warfare”.  The feeling of playing offensively rather than duck and covering to reload ammo and health is very welcome.  I get giddy from the idea of playing more and finding those much talked about secrets.  I didn’t think I would say that about a Doom game and much less one in 2016.
My potential grade: A –
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Better Late Vicarious Videogame Impressions – the Division (PS4)

In short: I want this game.  It makes more sense that I would be interested in Destiny: it’s a sci-fi space opera massive multiplayer-light first person shooter from the people who brought us Halo.  My affair with Destiny was intense, but brief.  Once I stepped away from it, I never felt that twinge to go back. I also never played the Diavision demo.  So, when a “realistic” Tom Clancy massive multiplayer-light third person shooter comes about, why am I excited?

Even in Destiny, I tend to play alone, mute my mic and ignore anyone who tries to talk to me.  I match-make for instances, and PvP, but that’s pretty much it.  In The Division grouping seems even more integral for main-mission progress unless you’re either really good at the game, or you want to throw your pricey controller out of the window.  I have been wanting to come out of my shell more in this type of game and this is my chance to branch out.

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The story seems compelling enough, even if it is inspired by Clancy’s more-pulpy plots.  Money is laced with a man-made virus and spread among the denizens of New York City (and maybe the rest of the country?).  The results are catastrophic and in a matter of weeks, Manhattan is quarantined.  You play as a member of the second wave Division group, a secret military group that exists only for such circumstances.

The RPG roots seem to run deep.  I like the typical satisfying insta-kill head shot as much as the next gamer, but there is also something compelling about the RPG bullet-sponge systems.  Maybe it’s the fact that I adore Borderlands and love seeing numbers flying all over the place.  There seems to be a lot here for those who love loot: different color-teared weapons, mods for your weapons, upgrades on various clothing, and a deep crafting system.   The upgrade system seems deep and forgiving, letting you switch to different abilities on the fly.  The PvP, set in the lawless and contaminated Dark Zone, is also the freshest multiplayer idea I’ve seen in years.

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There are things I have to look past.  There is a threat of the missions getting monotonous: running to point A, duck and cover to destroy enemy wave B, do that three more times, destroy boss C and get to mission point D.  When I’m playing alone, would I be able to team up?  I have heard that the main missions do scale based on how many people you have in your group, but they seem best played with groups.  The third person shooting is also my other concern: is it hard to get precise shots when DPS does matter?

division ss1

The game looks damn good and that’s just another reason for me to get excited about eventually playing the Division.  As it stands right now: the Metacritic user score for the PS4 version is 7.4, which is “average” in most rating circles (I have my issues on the number scales, but this isn’t the time or the place).  Though I have never been one for more “real life” settings, I’m quite compelled to sink my teeth into this meaty shooter.

“Tom Clancy’s The Divison” is rated M for Mature for: blood, intense violence, and strong language.  It is released by Ubisoft and is available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

If you enjoyed, please like, and feel free to comment.  If you want to send me a friend invite, my PSN tag is bad_gamer83.  And thanks.