Well, I meant to have this up a lot sooner, and then we somehow managed to land one whopper of a storm here in SoCal–such a big one, in fact, that it knocked out all of our power and phone lines (and therefore internet!) until this afternoon. Still looks like a typoon outside, but at least we’re connected again.
Some of you might recall seeing this trailer I am quite proud of up on the site last month. Well, the LP it promised has finally begun.
Thoughts on the game so far: Like I say in the video, this run isn’t quite as blind as my Half Life one is, but it should still be entertaining, especially once we get past this initial part that I played through for the trailer. Still, its actually kind of fun to know this area, since I can sort of take you on a tour–there are lots of little details and nooks and crannies that are fun to find and point out.
Now…the game itself. I spent quite a lot of time in this LP comparing the introduction of this game to the quite similar opening sequence of Half-Life. I think its a fair comparison, since the creators of Doom 3 clearly borrowed quite liberally from it. (As, it must be noted, the HL creators did from the original Doom.)
One thing I want to make a special point about is the whole “silent protagonist” idea. I quite like this convention, especially in FPSes, but the way Doom 3 handles it just does not work for me. In Half-Life, you NEVER leave the first person perspective (I’m assuming if they were going to have a “regular” cut scene, it would have happened already. If the show Gordon at all, I assume it will be at the very end of the game). This really and truly allows you to completely immerse yourself in the character; I honestly find myself talking to myself as I think Gordon would talk, or answering questions in my head the way I think he would. You can do that for Doom Marine too, of course, but every time something happens…there’s a cut scene. A cut scene in which you are removed as the protagonist, and become a spectator. Now granted, it doesn’t seem that Doom Marine talks either, but when you’re WATCHING him and he doesn’t talk, its a totally different experience–you aren’t IMMERSED, you’re wondering why the hell this guy doesn’t talk. You can’t answer “for” him the way you can for Gordon because, when the first person perspective is violated, he is no longer “you.” He becomes “the character.” And having a completely silent “character” is just odd–especially when he ignores direct questions from other characters.
It seems like the guys over at ID learned the exact wrong lesson from Half-Life. They got that a silent protagonist can be good, but they missed the WHY. The sort of sad part is that they could have made it work even WITH cutscenes–just keep the cutscenes in first person perspective. Take control of the camera for a moment, and play the scene out as you normally would. It would have worked, I think, and added quite a bit more immersion to the game. I know the scenes are few and far between, but its one of those small details that really, really add up in the final presentation and feel of the game.