It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but when those Doom 4 images surfaced, it got me thinking about what I’d like to see in the upcoming sequel. The last one didn’t exactly wow the world with its overabundance of monster closets and super dark, claustrophobic corridors that you could only light up if you had your pistol out. Thankfully, what the game lacked in variety it made up in incredible sound design and lighting effects. Actually, the more I talk about Doom 3 the more it sounds like Dead Space.
It makes sense really, because the two games are pretty similar. So if that’s the case then Doom 4 could probably take a few pages out of Dead Space 2’s book, titled How I Improved Upon Every Little Thing About My Predecessor. Yeah, Dead Space 2 sounds like a bit of a dick, but that doesn’t change the fact that action/horror games have come a long way since Doom 3 came out way back in 2004. Head past the break to hear me go on and on and on about what I’d like to see in the game, and if you’re lucky I might even let you comment with your own ideas. I hate to say it, but the first thing that comes to my mind when I’m thinking about Doom — and I think about it often, in case you’re curious — is monster closet. That’s because the last game was infested with them, to the point where it completely took me out of the game. This isn’t unusual for games like these; take a good look at Dead Space and you’ll see it’s peppered with ventilation shaft monster closets. They’re a camouflaged a little better, but they’re still a problem because they make the game less believable.
You might be saying to yourself, “Why Adam, did you just say ‘less believable’? In a game about fighting the minions of hell?” to which I’ll reply with a resounding yes. Immersion is a necessity for horror games. If you’re not invested in the world you’re exploring and the player you’re controlling, then you never have a reason to be scared. By the time Monster Closet #36 came along, I had already lost much of my emotional investment in the game.
The solution? Hide them, and preferably in a clever way. That’s about as much help I can provide without having to charge.
The second thing that pops up in my mind when I think about Doom is how insanely dark the third game was. I’m all for a creepy, dark atmosphere where the air is thick with dread and you can’t see what’s waiting for you around the next corner. The only problem is, I could rarely see what was going on anywhere, because it was just too dark and the only gun I had that came with a flashlight was the pistol. The only problem with that, besides the obvious issue with only having one flashlight-enabled gun, is the pistol sucks. When Pinky comes around the corner and threatens to make me watch while it defiles everyone I love, I don’t want to have a pistol ready. I want to have a laser-guided rocket launcher out so I can immediately ruin his day before he ruins mine.
This one’s an easy fix: attach flashlight to all guns. There, problem solved.
If you’ve made it this far you undoubtedly know what the BFG is. If you’ve never heard of it then you should Google it right now. Don’t worry, we’ll be here when you get back.
Done? It’s awesome, right? Ok, so besides being one of the most iconic video game weapons, the BFG was really just insanely fun to use. It made you feel like a total badass, and that’s a feeling that’s not quite present in Doom 3. What we need is a new BFG — a new gun that brings back some of that magic into Doom 4. I also suggest bringing in the Wingsticks from Rage, because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as caving in the skull of an unsuspecting enemy with the blade of a well-thrown Wingstick.
While we’re on the subject of combat, shooters have evolved quite a bit over the years, especially when it comes to taking cover in the heat of combat. This is where I believe a 360 degree cover system a la FEAR 3 could be a fantastic addition to the series. The days of running behind a wall and crouching when the shit hits the proverbial fan are long over, and there’s plenty of innovation in this area for Doom to take from.
A few years back, before Rage came out not with a bang but an almost inaudible whimper, I read an interview where id Software’s John Carmack was talking about the upcoming game. I’ll never forget something he said about one of the dev team’s goals for Rage, and that was to have a lot of 12’s. Doesn’t make much sense at first, but he went on to explain that one of the many things they wanted to accomplish with the game were moments the average gamer would rate a 12 out of 10. This meant they wanted to have these spectacular set pieces or sequences in the game that couldn’t be matched in any other game. Whether or not they succeeded in this goal is debatable, but it’s an goal I’d like to see accomplished in Doom 4. With the exception of more recent action/horror games like Dead Space 2, this genre tends to be more about subtlety over spectacle. That approach really isn’t something I’d like to see too much of in Doom. Instead, I’d like to kick tons of demonic ass in the most brutal and twisted ways imaginable.
So what about the multiplayer? That’s a popular thing to add in horror games these days. Well, you might expect me to shut that idea down fast, and 99.9% of the time you’d be correct. Most horror games don’t need a multiplayer, and most that attempt to include more often than not end up failing. Doom is an exception however, because this is a game that’s made for multiplayer. The level design, guns, and world are ideal for the tried and true Deathmatch or Capture the Flag modes, and since that’s id’s bread and butter, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of multiplayer in Doom 4.
In case my support of competitive multiplayer in a horror game hasn’t blown your mind already, I’d also like co-op. If I’m going to fight the legions of hell, I’d very much like to do it with a friend, or better yet, friends.
If you didn’t want to or didn’t have the time to read that long-winded summation of everything I’d like to see in Doom 4, here’s a handy outline:
1. It’s okay to liberally borrow from Dead Space 2.
2. Come out of the (monster) closet
3. More flashlights.
4. Shower me with Wingsticks.
5. Go crazy with the multiplayer.
Now it’s your turn to tell me what you’d like to see added, changed, or removed in Doom 4.