Review – Prodeus
I thank the beautiful demons of the underworld every day for the success of 2016’s DOOM reboot-quel, which kickstarted a brand new wave of what people (unfortunately) call “boomer shooters”: first-person shooters focused less on the tactical and realistic aspects of Call of Duty and Battlefield, instead opting for ultraviolence, simple controls, ludicrous speeds, and a big emphasis on exploration. This new wave has gifted us with games like Dusk, Hellbound, Ion Fury, Amid Evil, and others. Most of these games took old-school DOOM as a source of inspiration. But today I’m going to talk about something different, the first proper “DOOM 2016 clone” released in the market, and a damn good, nay, fantastic shooter in its own right. Prodeus is the name of the game, and it’s one you should definitely buy.
Prodeus feels like the best of both worlds. As far as presentation, it tries to emulate the look and feel of the first batch of polygonal shooters released in the mid-to-late 90s, such as Duke Nukem 3D and Quake. It even features a handful of retro filter effects to give the illusion of a lower resolution, and lets you decide whether you want to fight against polygonal or sprite-based enemies. While I did not like its flicker and CRT effects, I did like its retro-infused visuals, which clashed beautifully with some gorgeous modern post-processing effects, such as particles and some really realistic lighting. It’s both old and new, resulting in something fresh, something that truly stands out among the crowded retro shooter landscape.
When it comes to the gameplay, Prodeus is a lot more reminiscent of DOOM 2016 and DOOM Eternal than any other classic-inspired shooter, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Despite featuring an excessive amount of aim assist, considering the fact this is more suited for precise shooters and not an ultraviolent gorefest, I loved its gameplay. I didn’t even mind some of its questionable button mapping decisions (reloading with the triangle button felt really odd). It’s fast-paced, it’s responsive, every single weapon packs one hell of a punch. Just like modern DOOM games, they all feature secondary functions, such as explosive shots for the shotgun and a triple bullet burst for the starter pistol.
I can’t think of a single weapon I didn’t enjoy using. Hell, even your bare fists can rip a demon in two with ease. Just bear in mind that, despite the DOOM-ish influences, as previously mentioned, most weapons do have magazines, so you have to reload every now and then. Thankfully, weapons do reload quickly enough (yes, even shotguns), so you’ll never feel completely at a disadvantage. Ammo can be found easily throughout levels. You can also gather it from downed enemies who were wielding similar weaponry.
The level design is a thing of beauty. Prodeus‘ developers were clearly inspired by 2016’s DOOM‘s level design philosophy, with a crap ton of secrets to unveil while also adding the slight amount of collectibles, which can be traded for even more exclusives weapons in your arsenal, and a handful of simple platforming gauntlets. There’s enough variety in each level, as well as a shocking amount of them. Prodeus is lengthy as hell. Not only that, once you’re done with the game’s initial batch of levels, you can pretty much play it until the end of time, all thanks to a fantastic feature included on the side: community-created levels.
The PC version of Prodeus comes with a shockingly robust level editor. I wasn’t able to use it for obvious PS5-related reasons, but I can still access the community hub and download and play these user-made levels. The depth of this level creator is simply staggering. You can create pretty much everything you can imagine if you put enough time and effort into it.
For instance, some beautiful lunatic was able to create an entire map based on Peach’s castle from Super Mario 64, all interior rooms included, letting me blast demons while venturing through a locale I know better than the back of my hand, all while being greeted by some of Andrew Hulshult’s heaviest and loudest tunes so far. Yes, the same lad behind the DOOM Eternal DLC campaign’s soundtrack. And that was a free level, uploaded by the community, with dozens of other levels available as well… and even more to come in the future.
Prodeus would have been great if it was only a mere shooter heavily inspired by 2016’s DOOM, but its developers went above and beyond. What an amazing game. It’s both a love letter to old and modern shooters, embracing the best elements from both eras. Its levels are amazing, its gameplay is fast-paced and punchy, its soundtrack is insane… and it’s got a freaking phenomenal level editor that will basically ensure that players will have an endless supply of brand new levels to tackle for the foreseeable future. More than just another “boomer shooter”, Prodeus is one of the best first-person shooters released in years, period. If you’re a fan of the genre, don’t even think twice. Go buy the damn thing right now.
The game mixes mid-90s FPS visuals with modern post-processing effects. I’d recommend removing some of the retro filter effects in order to reach a perfect balance between visuals and performance, though.
Fast-paced, responsive, punchy. The only minor issues are the initially odd controller layout and the excessive aim assist.
Prodeus features a loud, abrasive, and fitting soundtrack from Andrew Hulshult, the same composer behind the DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods expansion.
Fun Factor: 10
The insanely fun gameplay loop, the punchy weapons, the lengthy career mode, and the sheer infinite possibilities stemming from the downloadable community levels… Prodeus is a game I will be playing non-stop for the foreseeable future.
Final Verdict: 9.5
Prodeus is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on PS5.
A copy of Prodeus was provided by the publisher.