Prodeus is the kind of game that appeals to a certain type of gamer. The kind of gamer who grew up cutting their teeth on Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem 3D. It’s the kind of shooter that will satisfy those who enjoy powerful guns and lots of enemies to kill them with. In exceedingly gory fashion.
Since I happened to be accepted into the Prodeus beta, I gave the playtest a run and came back feeling absolutely in need of more. Which is naturally a good thing. So here are my brief thoughts on the game so far, judging by the beta.
A Core Boomer Shooter
Prodeus takes obvious influence from a myriad of retro shooters. But the most prevalent influence seems to be Doom. The look of the game and the fact you have a character face in your HUD makes this pretty obvious. Not that this is a bad thing. As far as being a classic Doom clone, Prodeus does this extremely well.
You progress through levels with a simple goal of reaching the end. Along the way, you need to hunt for keys to progress, as well as kill enemies. The game seems to support scripted events as well, with some actions like shooting certain things activating other things.
Weapons all have an alternate firing mode. And what weapons I could find in the game all feel extremely satisfying to use. Even the starter pistol and punching attack feel satisfying to do. Though similar to Doom, there is the issue of how useless the pistol becomes once you obtain better weapons.
Due to the fact the pistol shares ammo with the SMGs (which you dual wield, to my enjoyment) and minigun, there is little incentive to keep using it once you obtain those weapons. The shotgun is also obtained fairly quickly and becomes a new staple gun since it has its own ammo pool. It also has an incendiary alt-fire that is incredibly useful for larger enemies.
The game is extremely fast, and I was thoroughly enjoying the combat. My only gripe with the demo was that near the end of the second level, you get the most awesome gun in the demo, the Arc Rail. But you only get to use it for one battle or so before the level ends. I am really itching to play the full version so I can play with it more.
Prodeus looks pretty much like it was taken right out of 1996, looking similar to early 3D FPS games that blended 3D environments with sprites. Environments are rendered in gorgeous 3D with extremely good use of colored lighting. I’m also loving the HUD, which replicates your character’s visor. It makes you feel grounded in the game’s world in a similar fashion to Metroid Prime.
I also absolutely adore the weapon sprites. Insanely detailed weapon models, with just the right amount of chugging to the animation. It gives the combat a very unique feel, reminding me of a lot of Build engine games like Blood, Shadow Warrior, and the recently released Ion Fury.
There are also a lot of options in the menu to customize the game’s look to your liking. You can choose to have enemies rendered as models, but sprites tend to look more fitting for the game. You can also choose to have a minimal HUD, and change the FOV.
It’s also an extremely visceral game. Blood gushes pretty much everywhere, and powerful attacks can result in your enemy’s entire body blowing up. This makes combat extremely satisfying when you pull off a powerful shot on an enemy.
An Audio-Visual Feast
The music and sound design are also absolutely top-notch. Your character’s movement sounds fittingly large and armored. And your guns have a really satisfying beefy sound to them. I also loved the sound effects of the kills. It all comes together to just make a very satisfying gameplay experience.
I absolutely loved the soundtrack as well. I was surprised to hear that the music is even dynamic, and changes depending on whether you’re in combat or exploring. During exploration, it goes into a calmer variation on the theme, before ramping up during combat. It was extremely well done and seamless. So huge points for that.
An Epic Tribute To Doom
If you want an experience that not only emulates classic Doom but brings in elements from other shooters, Prodeus is a game you can’t miss. The style of the game and the fact it plays like an absolute joy makes this an easy sell for me. Even though the playtest is a beta, I had zero issues running the game. I had a buttersmooth framerate all the way, and the game even supports level editing right now.
If there’s any criticism I have towards the game so far, it would be that I think the game needs quicksaving/quickloading. Relying on checkpoints feels a bit too limiting. I’d prefer being able to save at my own leisure. It’s not fun playing a game where you’re at the mercy of the level designer for saving.
I also feel like the game could benefit from having the amount of found secrets shown on the map screen or as an optional HUD element. It’s kind of tedious completing a level, only to know you didn’t find all the secrets. The percentage also doesn’t really say much about how many secrets there are. It makes it a bit too vague for my liking.
That being said, after playing the Prodeus Playtest I’m truly looking forward to not only playing Prodeus but also seeing what levels the community can come up with. You can check it out on Steam if you want to wishlist it. Prodeus is heading into Early Access soon, so stay tuned!