It’s Doom’s 25th anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than by playing some Doom? So, I decided to sit down and play the latest spin-off of the series, DOOM: VFR. A VR title in which you play as a UAC scientist, Dr. Peters, who gets caught up in all this Hell invading Mars nonsense and is ultimately killed. But when you work with the UAC, death isn’t a problem- more of a small inconvenience. The consciousness of Dr. Peters is uploaded to the UAC station itself and is tasked with restoring order to the base. To aid you in your task, the UAC puts you in the body of a deadly robot and leaves massive guns lying around the place.
That’s pretty much the entire story of DOOM: VFR, it’s not super detailed or incredibly important, just like DOOM should be. When it comes to DOOM games, all you want to do is shoot demons. That’s what DOOM is, the developers have even admitted that the story to DOOM is intended to be a parody.
DOOM: VFR handles surprisingly well. It feels just as hectic as the previous Doom installments (excluding Doom 3, obviously), the only problem that I came across was throwing grenades. For some reason, I found this a particularly hard thing to do, but after playing some other shooters on PSVR, grenades always seem to be a bit odd, so I wouldn’t say that this problem is something only found in DOOM: VFR. It feels like an extension of DOOM as in it plays the same, but not quite as violent, which is a big shame. There’s no chainsaw in VFR, so that already makes it a lot less violent and you can’t rip and tear (get it?) through the demonic onslaught of Hell.
Then there’s the thing that really makes the whole game much less violent. There are no glory-kill animations! What was probably the best thing in DOOM isn’t in VFR. The thought of seeing those delicious glory-kills in such immersive VR still gives me chills. Jumping on to a mancubus and blowing him up by forcing the sack which holds the bile that he shoots down his throat and then seeing him explode in VR would be a dream come true. Instead though, you just teleport through them and they kind of break more than blow up. Underwhelming to say the least.
Most of the demons from DOOM make a return in VFR and haven’t changed in design or in mechanics. Weapon upgrades and argent energy cells also feature in VFR, although they’re less in depth, which is justified as VFR isn’t a AAA title. Now, I understand that it’s a VR game on top of being a spin-off so it’s bound to be a little short, but with its playtime standing at a little over four hours, it feels like a rip-off. Currently, VFR costs £19.99 on the PlayStation Store, that’s as much as they’re charging for DOOM. VFR has pretty much zero replayability, once you’ve played those four hours, that’s it.
At the very least, id Software could have included a platinum trophy for VFR, but instead, they put in a few basic trophies. With such a short playtime and no replayability, Shooty Fruity (currently selling at £15.99) would be the better option, as it has tonnes of replayability and is an all-round fun game. Such a short playtime is really upsetting, as DOOM is the best shooter out there, and makes you want to soak up everything DOOM-related, but VFR doesn’t do the franchise justice. In all honesty, VFR probably would have worked better as a non-VR DLC for DOOM and a port of DOOM to PSVR would have been much more appreciated.
DOOM: VFR is a fun and enjoyable game, but unfortunately the lack of ultra-violence and short playtime overshadow the fun that VFR provides, especially at its current price. If there was a drop in price or if you could find it for much cheaper, then it might be worth it but I wouldn’t spend more than £10 on VFR. If you’re a DOOM fanatic then it might be worth getting just to be up to date on the series. If not, then it’s probably better to just wait until DOOM: Eternal comes out in 2019.
Unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros in VFR’s case and in the end, it’s just not worth the price.
DOOM VFR (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.
While DOOM: VFR can be a fun game to play, the lack of ultra-violence and short playtime overshadow the fun that DOOM: VFR provides, especially at it's current price