August 12, 2004
Posted by scott at August 12, 2004 08:10 PM
Ok, Doom3 is almost starting to annoy me. The AI isn't as good as Far Cry, and there aren't (so far) any outdoor levels whatsoever. It's getting a wee repetitive at this point.
I will say, though, that I've never played a shooter that could sustain this sort of adrenaline level over this period of time. And I've played a lot of shooters over the years. Remember the first time you saw Aliens? How you couldn't sleep that night? It's like that, only you're not watching it, you're in it.
At the end, I think I'm going to rate it with the number of "involuntary underwear changes."
Right now, I think I'm up to 10.
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You're the third person who's given some indication of the game being scary. As a non-gamer I find that a little hard to imagine. At first I thought one or two people were joking. Is it really?
One of the things most gamers talk about when they explain why they like computer games is "immersion". It may seem silly to non-gamers, but by concentrating on the game and using a bit of imagination (less and less as graphics get better and computers more powerful) we actually place ourselves in the game. When it works, it ceases being a game and becomes an experience. We are there, pulling the trigger, throwing the grenade, running and jumping like crazy.
Now, imagine being completely engrossed in exploring, say, a garage area. Vehicles, parts, and tools are strewn about, with shelves along the walls. A broken light fixture zips and sparks on the ceiling above. Several places are too dark to see into, so you shine your flashlight there to make sure nothing nasty's hiding out in the shadows.
Mostly you're just looking for an exit. Suddenly you hear a crashing noise behind you. You turn around, and there's a zombie a dozen feet away lurching forward. No worries, they're slow and stupid. Pull out the shotgun and--
A shriek sounds from where you were just looking as a tall spindly demon crashes through a wall. You turn and take aim at this much more dangerous monster as it spins two fireballs in its hands and leaps for you--
Just as a floating, flaming cross between a pihranna and a beach ball completely fills your view, lets loose a heart-stopping scream, and blows fire all over you.
What do you do???
Ah. If you had to think about it, you're dead.
It's that intense.
Videogames can be quite scary, and many many can be amazingly immersive.
Anyone who is old enough to have experienced the dawn of videogame entertainment by going into an early 80's arcade and playing games will understand what I mean.
You'd step up to an arcade game, something frenetic like Robotron, Tempest or Galaga (or better yet its sequel - Gaplus) and you'd connect yourself to the controls and as garish imagery swam across the screen and synthesized sounds rang in your ears the entire world will condense to a small ring centered around your on-screen character. The rest of the world recedes, in fact, the other edges of the screen recede and you are THERE.
Who remembers the feeling, after your last "guy" is destroyed in a game like Tempest or Asteroids? You step away from the machine in a slight daze, as if you have truly been elsewhere and are now just waking from that strange and realistic dream.
Today, some games are too complex to allow casual gamers that kind of instant connection. First person shooters require a mental transposition of yourself into the game that many non-gamers have a great deal of problem with.
The solution - go classic for a bit, then try Halo on an Xbox. Immersion acheived.
All in all, I think it's a very worthy sequel to the game that practically started the entire 3-D revolution. (Certainly more worthy than DOOM 2 was.) It even has many returning enemies from the original games. Especially the Imps; they are almost perfect in their reprise of the role of "enemy that's hideously intimidating when you first encounter it, but actually pretty funny after you learn how it can be beaten easily."