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2014 In Review: Doom Tactics: Evil Unleashed 
 PostMon Jan 12, 2015 5:35 am
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The game starts with this. I couldn't resist a little fun. It pushes some of the dialogue off the sides of the textboxes though, there should be a character limit.
Doom RPG as it was 3 years ago...
..and now! Note how I pushed the chairs to make it impossible to trigger the cutscene and advance...
Bug Report: Holdin down keys and hitting escape rapidly can make the menu behave weirdly. There's supposed to be a custom backdrop to it.
This is the door. Go through it, and you're stuck. And you have to go through it, 'cause it's where you should open the door to the exit. But you can't. Because it's broken.
And this is where it all ends. It might look like you can walk on that blue stuff, but you can't. This is why you should always test before you release
This is a review of Doom Tactics - Evil Unleashed.

Well... this is not the review I expected to be writing. I thought I'd get to talk about how much had changed since the last time I reviewed it, or since the last time I helped playtest. Hell, maybe I'd even reach the end of the demo this time. Figure out how to turn the lights on in the hell that is that second dungeon. But regrettably, I am not going to get to write that review because as near as I can tell it's now impossible to leave the prologue dungeon.

Graphically the game has improved. I only have one screenshot for comparison, but I think it shows the extra work that's gone into readability. It's not perfect, it's still hard to tell what the game wants you to do, what you can play with and what's just there to look pretty. There's little arrows that point to crucial items and stuff which helps, but they stay there even after you've triggered it, making it really hard to tell what you've solved, what you've tried and what you haven't.

You still pick-up items by walking over them, and it still shows a textbox you have to manually advance, which still makes picking up a bunch of items in a row obnoxious, as opposed to the original Doom where you'd be like "Holy shit, yes!". The game has made strides to get a little identity of its own, on level up you can increase your stats and gain perks... like in Fallout 3. Unlike Fallout 3, however, the game doesn't put any work into telling you what these stats or perks do.

It's a lot like Iron Galaxy in that regard, and just like Iron Galaxy it starts with a "Name the Hero" screen. It's a little less annoying for the Doom Guy, because we all know who he is, we know not to name him Buttercup, but you really shouldn't start your game with naming someone the player hasn't met. It's bad form.

As I mentioned, the game seems to be unwinnable. I'm unable to even reach a majority of the content I reached before. I've enclosed screenshots of where I got stuck, I don't know if I did something out of order or what, but I go through a door and am trapped in a way that I am unable to move further or even go back through the door that I came in. This appears to be the only way forward in the plot and it is blocked.

A lot of the points in my original review still stand, but there is some improvement. I don't know that I'd say 3 years worth of improvement but.. improvement! There's a new menu system, but it's kinda weird. It takes an extra second of "fade out" time to pop up, and if you change your mind or hold any keys during that time it can get weird. It also makes the silly mistake of putting an extra step in the equipment process. Instead of "Menu -> Equipment -> Done!" You have to go "Menu -> Inventory -> Equipment -> Done!". It sounds like a small thing, but every little bit counts and a game should always be as streamlined as possible. The menu isn't all bad though: You can save and load anywhere, just like in the source material. That's pretty cool, and I wish more OHR Games would put the "Load" feature on there. Makes it easier to savescum, and savescumming can be fun!

Mixing Doom and RPGs, especially OHR RPGs and especially random battle RPGs is still kind of a weird concept? I think it might work better as a rogue-like like Carcere Vicis, or even just with some kind of visible enemies. The goal in Doom was never to get stronger, it was to save your ammo for the big bosses, use barrels as best as you could, and try to trick the bad uys into fighting each other. Just moving around in three dimensions was novel in the original Doom, which made some of the twisted mazey-ness and backtrack to where the keycard goes more tolerable than in a big frickin RPG map with a slow little walkabout dude.

I also think it's weird to borrow so heavy from the Doom Bible that no one's familliar with rather than the original levels which are more relatable. It's really weird to see a game with Doom's sense of puzzles and general plot, Fallout 3's perk system, and OHR RPG Battles. It doesn't really click, but I guess none of that really matters since the game isn't winnable.

I notice the game is Doom Tactics - Evil Unleased now, and not just Doom: Evil Unleashed. I guess that's in honor of the Fallout stuff. If you're really a Doom fan, and you've read the Doom Bible and you want to see an OHR game about it, the original Doom: Evil Unleashed might be worth your time.

Nothin to see here though. Just a lot of really weirdly placed effort. It's like.. putting a new wiper on a broken windshield. The big problem is still there, but now there's this other thing goin back and forth trying to distract you from it. I get that feeling about a lot of these re-releases, playing the same intro with the same problems again and again. At some point as a critic, you gotta quit trying to change it and just realize it's not something you particularly like and it probably never will be. Where do you draw the line? Like, no one expects Shakespeare out of a Transformers movie, but you should expect more than just shiny CG Robots, right?
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