DOOM levels are pretty straightforward: kill demons, find the exit. But there’s a lot hiding beneath the surface, and though it’s optional, I’ve become obsessed with finding everything before moving on. I don’t usually do this in games!
Collectibles are usually bullshit, time wasters meant as padding. I’m not against collectibles as a concept, though—they’re just used badly in most games. Collectibles that hook me are ones that have me playing the game differently.
DOOM is one of those games, and I’m enjoying it nearly as much as the shooting.
Combat is DOOM’s main draw, but when it comes to the secrets, it’s about exploration, puzzle solving, and keen observation. It rewards players who get creative with the game’s geometry, and it’s satisfying to find a hidden path.
The paths aren’t hidden in the traditional sense, though. Take Uncharted 4, for example. I just finished that game, and tried to pick up as many of the game’s hidden treasures along the way. I found maybe...half? The problem with Uncharted 4—and collectibles in most games, really—is that you’re asked to scour and nitpick in a way that’s frustrating and unsatisfying. Should I move on from this area? Do I have to replay this chapter to find all the treasures? The game doesn’t make that clear. In DOOM, you know exactly where you stand.
I know how many secrets there are left to find, what secrets are left to find, and if I spend a few upgrade points, the map will even give hints on where they are.
(I highly recommend investing in all the radar upgrades ASAP. If you end up digging around for secrets, you’ll have more than enough upgrade points.)
Enemies don’t endlessly respawn in DOOM; once they’re gone, they’re gone. So while clearing out a map is violent and loud, there’s an eerie calm when it’s all over. You can then quietly explore the map and see what you missed. If you’re like me, you missed most of them, which means the level is really half over.
Those are the kinds of incentives that give me, someone who tends to rush through games, second thoughts. Four levels into the game, it’s totally worked.
It helps, of course, that many collectibles enhance your play. Runes, earned by completing trials of skill, enable you to collect items from further away or extend the stun duration of enemies. Field Drones give out weapon mods to make your arsenal more powerful. There’s others more, too. It’s a long list! But you don’t have to get those collectibles. You can beat the game without them.
It’s possible to sprint through DOOM’s campaign in 10 hours or so, but I suspect it’s going to take me longer. At my current pace, that number’s gonna double.