Developers: Bounding Box Software
Publisher: Humble Games
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Available on: PC
Version Tested: PC
Official Site: prodeusgame.com
Release Date: November 9, 2020
Where to Buy: Steam Store
Anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows that I will praise DOOM 2016 to my death bed. I was never alive for the craze of 90s shooters like the original DOOM and Wolfenstein, but that game is the closest thing I have to that feeling. Blasting away foes to intense rock beats is something I don’t think ever gets old. With the big resurgence of so-called “boomer shooters”, there’s been a great chance to experience that in a form more playable in modern days. The latest of that resurgence is Prodeus, coming from publisher Humble Games. Does its early access form do well to recapture that age-old feeling of games like DOOM though? I’m happy to say it does.
Prodeus’ Beautifully Old School Appearance
Like most shooters of old, Prodeus wastes no time getting you into the action. The story is virtually non-existent, leaving you to run about your murderous rampage. The premise is that two forces of chaos are battling, with the main character caught in the middle of it. Armed with an arsenal of weapons, he must move through and murder anything that stands in his way if he is to stop them. While in any other game I’d complain about a lack of story, I prefer this being the case in Prodeus. I’m not here to have an emotional and in-depth story. I’m here to rip and tear through every creature in sight.
That killing is displayed in a way that looks both old school and fresh, which may be confusing at first. Prodeus is mainly displayed with scenery that seems straight out of DOOM, with a very simplistic pixelated art style. While this would normally be terrible, the lighting and special effects are much more modern and realistic. This gives it a unique blend that’s not only beautiful but also helps to make the game stand out from the crowd. While there are plenty of boomer shooters out there that utilize older graphics, few use modern rendering as strongly as Prodeus.
This is even apparent in Prodeus’ heads up display. Much of it is simplistic (kudos for having a HUD that isn’t overwhelming). You’ve got your health, ammo, and the gun. Nothing over the top, while still showing what you need to know. The guns even move in a lower framerate, as a subtle nod to shooters of old. That latter point may sound offputting and as if it might get annoying, but I guarantee you’ll hardly notice it. You’ll be too busy dispatching demon after demon to care.
It’s Killing Time
Speaking of which, I haven’t even gotten into the bread and butter of Prodeus, its combat. It’s surprising how simple this is to mess up, and yet this game implements its gunplay with extreme precision. Every weapon hits incredibly hefty (outside of the starting pistol) with some beefy sounds to go with it. The shotgun was by far my favorite, with some meaty sounds paired with serious blood splats of my 2D foes. That, combined with plenty of other hard-hitting weapons, lets you slaughter your enemies in style. Thankfully, these are even implemented in a way that doesn’t feel too easy. You’re never given enough ammo to use one gun for your entire run, so you’re constantly switching through guns to accomplish your task.
As for enemies though, there are plenty there. Prodeus introduces various new enemies at a steady pace, even keeping the ones you’ve already encountered throughout. I was surprised by just how many different opponents I ran into throughout my experience. Later on in the game, these enemies can take a different form which I won’t spoil of course. This form is more varied and powerful though, which gives you a challenge once you’ve gotten used to the game’s fast-paced nature.
Prodeus’ Few Rough Edges
Now I know I’ve been treating this game like the second coming of Christ. While it does let me relive my love of DOOM 2016, there are a few flaws to note. One is in some of its sound design, which has problems in its utilization. The various tracks get your blood rushing and in the mood for slaughter, but the use of it is linked to how much you’re killing. This can be good when implemented right, but the tracks often linger well past your killing spree. You can be running through corridors killing one or two zombies along the way, but an incredibly intense track will be playing. The first thing that should be mended first during early access is this, as it can change the experience entirely.
The other comes in the form of the game’s length, which only comes in at about three hours for the Campaign. While I understand content will be nowhere near complete, it seems like such a small sample that could imply the final product won’t have too much content. For what is there though, each of the current levels are handcrafted to feel unique with various mechanics and styles similar to DOOM. You can really tell the difference between a developer made level and the community levels. Speaking of which, praise for the implementation of workshop levels. The feature is an underrated way to increase a game’s lifespan exponentially.
Lastly, I’d like to touch on the options and accessibility features on offer in Prodeus. As far as graphical and gameplay options go, there’s a wide array of options available. From look sensitivity to individual graphics settings, there’s plenty for those wanting intricate settings tailed to them. As for accessibility though, there isn’t too much as of yet. While this can be forgiven due to early access, some things like colorblind settings would be welcome additions.
Verdict: Prodeus is a shooter of old that truly uses modern technology to full effect. It maintains its roots with 90s graphics and lower framerates on guns while making use of modern technologies. It’s found a true way to appeal to both parties, making this one of the easiest to recommend shooters of the past few years. It does have its flaws though, most of which I trust will be fixed during early access. If you’re willing to look past those, I have no doubts Prodeus will be the adrenaline-filled thrill ride you’ve been looking for.