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Doom’s first 10 minutes are perfect

How to make the player love a game

The latest Doom game wants to be loved so much.

I don't mean that as a slight; Doom is absolutely a game that knows exactly what it wants to be, and doesn't waste a single moment before beating you over the head with that experience.

I snuck down into my basement for a quick session during my lunch hour when I first picked up the game, and was afraid I would just barely have time to get to the "good part." You know what I mean: the moments after the explicit, or sometimes implicit, tutorial when the game itself actually begins. If the game it still pausing every so often to explain how to duck, you haven't gotten there yet.

"Doom starts immediately and violently," our review states. "You begin the game in chains and within seconds, you're beating things to death and blasting away. It's a remarkably effective start, and it's off to the races from there."

This is a bit of an understatement.

How the game begins

Doom begins so quickly, and with such confidence, that I went back to the first level and timed certain events to explain just how quickly things happen. Your loading times may vary, but here is what you can expect from the first 10 minutes of the game:

  • Within 54 seconds you're given a firearm
  • You'll kill your first demon in your first minute
  • You gain the iconic suit around one minute and 30 seconds into the game
  • You pull off the first "glory kill" in under three minutes
  • You're given the shotgun in three minutes
  • The first big, extended battle takes place in the first five minutes
  • There's a hard cut to the Bethesda, id Software and Doom logos a bit after six minutes in, and then the introductory sequence ends when you load the shotgun, which just happens to sync up with the last beat of the music
  • In under seven minutes you're on the surface of Mars

If you were skeptical that Doom knows what it's doing, that introduction should erase those doubts. The first few minutes of the game convey everything good about Doom, from its speed to its sense of silliness.

Doom knows you want to play with guns and blow away demons, and it gets you there in under a minute while still taking the time to communicate enough of the story and new mechanics to keep the first hour from feeling like a rehash of the games that have come before. This isn't the slow build of Doom 3; this is the gaming equivalent to a beer bong filled with rum.

It's like a big, bloody puppy, desperate for you to love it. Everything about the first 10 minutes is perfect, and you're going to feel great about your purchase the moment you begin to play.

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