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The shooter counterpart to Blizzard's Diablo 3
on January 8, 2017
A return to form for the venerable shooter franchise, the legendary studio behind the genre, and the once revolutionary engine technology that has plagued recent releases in its last incarnation.
After the technically brilliant but divisive DOOM 3, id returns to the pacing and attitude of the original DOOMs. It's fast and mean. Aesthetically its grimdark in a bright, pulpy and silly way that appeals to the masses, reminding me of Blizzard's most recent homogenizing of their Warcraft and Diablo brands into something out of a teenager's comic book. This kind of aesthetic isn't something I'm a big fan of, but I did enjoy Diablo 3 quite a bit, and this reminds me a lot of that game and its also divisive style.
idTech 5 was much maligned for its total abandoning of real-time lighting techniques, its ambitious but flawed MegaTexture implementation, and it played host to several personally underwhelming, but decent enough games in RAGE, Wolfenstein TNO and The Evil Within. It's technical limitations have also seemingly plagued the performance of the recent Dishonoured 2, which shares a codebase in its Void engine with idTech 5. idTech 6 feels like what idTech 5 should've been and it looks and plays very well on PS4. Load times are not great, but not nearly as bad as some people have made it out to be. Props on id for including PC-friendly features in the console version such as an FoV slider and motion blur/chromatic aberration toggles.
Overall, the game feels good to play and is never bogged down too much by story. I will say that the latest patch, 1.09 is absolutely gargantuan (29 gigs!) and has added features I personally don't care about nor I can participate in; SnapMap and MP, the latter of which requires a PS+ sub, which I don't have, feel like somewhat pointless additions where most people will be playing this game for the single player campaign only.
I will end by saying that I greatly preferred Painkiller Black Edition for this style of retro but modern FPS action and, just like with the Wolfenstein reboot, I fail to see all the hype surrounding these games. They're good enough, but not a rebirth of that 90s/early 2000s style of arena shooter. Painkiller did it with more style.