DOOM (1993) Review (PSN Complete Version)

Ok, so I won’t bore you with the tedious details of trying to find the best version of the game to play combined with being able to capture footage for the companion video to this review! Suffice it to say that after trying the Steam, original DOS versions, etc., I settled on the PS3 PSN download playing Ultimate Doom on “Hurt Me Plenty” difficulty.

I actually skipped this one growing up, not on purpose but because my first PC came with Doom 2 and so I would’ve played that to death at the time. Obviously my gaming skills at that age were not the stuff of myth and legend they are today but I did manage to make progress but reverting to cheat codes to get the bigger weapons and skip levels (to my everlasting shame!) It would have been around this time that I was given the SNES for Christmas and my lifelong love of gaming was well and truly sewn. When I think about it, DOOM actually played a significant role in this and obviously with DOOM 2 being the first game I played, I was inevitably going to go back to the original to check it out. It is depressing that it has taken me this long to get around to it properly, what with life and all that rubbish getting in the way, but I am doing it now and that music on the opening level still tugs at the hard-rock heart strings! (Can you hear it?)

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I’ve always maintained that you cannot judge a game of this, or indeed any, vintage by today’s standards, well graphically at least. The release of DOOM (2016) was a very welcome surprise to me, it was phenomenal! Gameplay here is divine simplicity and the music is retro gold. There is actually something about it that transcends a review score because I think that you would be hard-pressed to find anyone that would say DOOM (1993) is a “bad game”. There is the movie adaptation which I kind of liked but that’s for another video. The controls are merely forward, back, left, right, strafe, use, weapon cycle and shoot. There is no platforming element, no side quests, no escort missions, no water levels, no DLC, no micro-transactions, no updates or patches…it was gaming as we all grew up with and it was perfect as it was.

You start the game as the aptly named “DOOM guy” who is left alone on a moon of Mars after the rest of the squadron have been killed and the goal is simple, get out of dodge and take as many hellspawn demons with you as possible using the biggest guns you can find. If there was one simple element that hooked me, that really solidified this game as being genre-defining, if not pioneering, and that was the presence of the “BFG”. It was not to be until a couple of years later that I actually found out what this acronym stood for. You must remember that this was well before the internet became mainstream and if you wanted game hints you had to dial a premium call number and pay through the nose to get it. If, for some reason you still don’t know what it means, it stands for “Big Fucking Gun”. I think that pretty much encapsulates the entirety of the DOOM lore in one demon shredding, green tinted haze of weaponry. Essentially, the last thing a target would see before becoming liquefied goo was the bright green flash of the BFG and the inevitable grin on DOOM guy’s face pulling the trigger. Needless to say there was probably a Joker-like grin on the player’s face as well and rightly so!
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It has seen various versions come out over the last 25 years adding missions and the modding scene can do pretty much anything with it but for that original retro feeling of just mowing down bad guys (and I mean bad guys, no political agendas just demons from hell (Build the Wall, etc!!)) DOOM is still a fantastic game to play and that speaks not only to its impact on the first person shooter or gaming as a whole but to the quality of the game that ID Software made at the time.

We’ll take a look at its successors shortly but for now if you haven’t played it in a while go check it out and come chill on the livestream over on Twitch and share your thoughts!

AJM

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Gran Turismo 6 Review

My interest in racing games has always been confined to the arcade genre.  It was Burnout or Need for Speed where things like cornering or braking are not restricted to the laws of physics.  I always saw series like Forza or Gran Turismo as being far too realistic to the extent of taking the fun out of racing .  I mean, I’m a fan of F1 but there’s only so much number crunching and car setup detail I can take!  I played the original on PS1 and GT3 and GT4 on the PlayStation 2 but this is the first time that I picked it up on the PS3.  I can’t remember exactly what put it back in my head but, truth be told, I’m glad it did.

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So, my fear was driving a car that didn’t turn when you wanted it to and was completely unforgiving with speed if you went into a corner too fast.  It was game over, you were lodged in the fence and any hope of making a top three finish was out of the window like a burglar having just woke the German Shepherd!!

This entry  however seems to have captured my interest and the focus now is on minding tyres, watching the racing line, keeping the steering and braking steady and of course putting the foot to the floor on a long straight.  After nearly 12 hours of an install (seriously!) I dived right into career mode with the Novice and National B License categories.  The licenses are a series of six driving challenges to unlock the respective racing events from Novice to Super (and a Special Red Bull Racing section).  I’m on International A at the moment and can see the difficulty rising in tandem with the speed. There is a constant, just niggling, urge to put the foot down and throw the cars around the corners.  This is not the way to do it in these games however, a delayed push of the brakes or mistimed sharp turn will send your car into the wall or into a spin that will cost you dearly.   I have actually managed to roll a Nissan GTR as well and not entirely sure how yet alone thought it was possible.  It is, however, a beautiful looking game.  My favourite track is the GT original, Matterhorn.  You get to drive around a fictitious roadway taking in the sites of the mountain and countryside.  Add to this, constantly changing weather conditions and transitions from day into night all while looking at a beautifully detailed interior, or exterior, of stunning vehicles.

For negatives, they are few and far between but nonetheless present and the usual suspects are here.  A possible deal breaker was the massive initial load and install times (I had to download 22 updates and install the game taking up to 12 hours approximately).  There is a PS Store section where real life money can become in-game credits to buy and upgrade cars.  My feelings on these micro-transaction are common and should be stopped.  The accumulation of credits is not as much of a grind as compared to modern gen games like Grand Theft Auto V or the impending Battlefront II. Also, they are tucked away in a sub-menu and you are not prompted to buy credits but it is a cheat/assist that is available if you want it.  The more time consuming but ultimately rewarding option is the Daily Login Bonus which means that if you log in to PSN every day you will gain a percentage increase in the prize money awarded up to 200% for five days.  I have always felt that leveling up should be enjoyable and not seem like a grind.  I’ll save the micro transactions rant for another post!

I don’t have any particular gripe that makes the game completely unplayable but the soundtrack is nothing special and you do have the option to use a custom soundtrack.  Also, the interiors of some cars are marked as “Simplified” which is code for “we couldn’t be arsed modelling the inside of all the cars” and comes across as lazy on the part of the developers.  It is actually very irritating to think that you are expected to pay for an incomplete game.  If you have are going to put effort into something, do it properly.

This too can be levied against the sound of the cars themselves which come across a bit flat and you struggle to hear the roar of an engine.  It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between what cars you are driving from the engine sound.  You should easily be able to differentiate between an Aston Martin or Ferrari engine but at times it sounds, to me at least, like a generic engine which is disappointing for this “Real Driving Simulator”.

Verdict: A good entry in the series but personally found it lacking.  Ideal for somebody either new to the genre or looking for a break from the nonsensical arcade style racers and grounding you in simulation style but accessible racing.  If you haven’t played it then I would recommend getting it on sale or pre-owned and enjoy driving beautiful cars around fantastic scenery.  Shame about the music and car sounds which keeps it from being more fun but is still enjoyable and you should buy it!

6/10

What I’m taking from EA’s E3 conference!

Ok so from all that what I got was FIFA is at least attempting to innovate by introducing a story mode, will I play…no but it’s a A for effort.  Star Wars is continuing to be a cash cow for EA with no signs of going anywhere.  I would imagine of all the fans who were happy to see The Force Awakens do well was EA’s creativity department because they can pretty much do anything now and people will buy it.  I’m not going to go on a Battlefront rant here…that’s for later.  But speaking of battle, Battlefield 1 actually does look like something I will be getting.  It looks like a return to the glory days of Call of Duty or Medal of Honour with actual historic warfare which I always found to be a bit more on point with regards to tone and context because it’s always there in the back of your mind that people actually went through this expereince and make it somewhat more real.  Not a lover of the Call of Duty games, the set pieces in Modern Wafare, 2 and 3 were pretty impressive but they did start to take the proverbial piss with the repetitive entries over the past number of years but with the trailer for Battlefield 1 looking rather impressive maybe my penchant for FPS could be rekindled!

https://youtu.be/m9lo_0LX0EQ