E3 is the foremost video game convention in the world, with more games on the show floor than you can possibly play during the three-day event. Given we’re now in the second year of the latest round of consumer VR headsets, it’s no surprise that there were dozens of VR games at this year’s show, but none excited me as much as Doom VFR.
It Just Feels Right
The biggest draw for me is that Doom VFR feels like, well, Doom. It’s fast, it’s frantic and it’s all about the movement. Granted there’s no full locomotion, but the teleportation plus quick dash combo works really well, and it feels like Doom should feel. Using the trackpad to do quick dashes, I could even circle strafe around demons, dodging their fireballs in the process.
Entering teleportation also added a unique gameplay twist as the action slowed down around me, allowing me to dodge incoming projectiles and quickly turn to take out the lumbering and plentiful hellspawn. It didn’t feel cheap, and it was even welcomed and sometimes necessary when I would get surrounded by a half-dozen mobs at once.
I also really appreciate that the id designers thought of the locomotion system as not only a means to get from point A to point B, but also as a gameplay element. During my demo I telefragged into dozens of wounded enemies and watched in delight as they gibbed around me. It was really a great sense of accomplishment to pull off in a horde, and fit in perfectly with the quick-timing twitchy gameplay Doom is known for.
Add that fast-paced gameplay with fantastic frame rate and what was the best VR graphics at the show and you have a top-notch experience that looks as good as it feels.
Not Too Long, Not Too Short
I’ve seen a few folks complain about the length of Doom VFR, but to me, four to five hours sounds just about perfect. Yes, I’m really looking forward to spending time in Fallout 4’s wasteland and taking down numerous dragons in Skyrim, but I don’t know if I want to spend 60+ hours in a single VR experience – that’s just not what VR is, for me. When I’m in VR, I like short but dense play sessions, and that describes my time with Doom VFR at E3 to a tee.
It’s %#*&ing Doom
While parts of Doom VFR are from the 2016 remake, it’s mostly built from the ground-up specifically for VR, but that doesn’t mean it strays from the Doom formula. All the monsters, power-ups, environments, jump pads and guns you’d expect in Doom are here. And while the mechanics may be a bit of a departure, like I said earlier, it just feels right. Blood, gore and demons galore – this is unapologetically Doom, right down to the effing name. This is virtual %#*&ing reality!
Bethesda and id really have come a long way since first debuting Doom VFR last year, and what was little more than a tech demo 12 months ago looks, feels and plays great today. It’s supposed to be out later this year on both Vive and PSVR, so you shouldn’t have to wait too much longer to try it for yourself.
If you’re looking for other great games that were shown at E3, be sure to check out our Best of E3 round-ups: