New FPS Built Using Doom Tech Is Better Than Most AAA Shooters

New FPS Built Using Doom Tech Is Better Than Most AAA Shooters

Things aren’t looking good for me. I’m a few levels into Selaco, a new FPS out now on Steam, and I’m stuck behind a bar as a group of sci-fi soldiers unload their rifles and shotguns into my hiding spot. I’m also low on health. So yeah, a bad spot to be in. I take a deep breath and try something.

As smoothly as I can I slide out from behind the bar, toss an ice grenade toward the enemies, and then dash behind a wall. A moment later a boom happens and my foes are frozen. I spot a nearby propane tank, pick it up, and chuck it at them. A second later I shoot it and watch them blow up. On my screen, a notification lets me know I’ve killed enough of these bastards to unlock a new milestone and earned some new crafting materials to make my assault rifle even better. Sweet!

I then remember that the game I’m playing—that lets me do all this and more was built using a modified version of the ancient Doom engine and giggle. This kind of thing happens a lot in Selaco, a game that rarely feels like it’s built on old bones and dated tech, but instead feels like a polished and modern shooter with some slick retro visuals. What’s most surprising about Selaco isn’t that it’s developed in GZDoom, but that it might be one of the best shooters I’ve played in years.

Altered Orbit Studios

Selaco, out now on Steam via early access, is a first-person shooter set inside the last surviving city containing all of human civilization. And unfortunately for the people living there, an alien invasion is happening and it’s up to you—a security guard—to help fight them back and save the day. Unlike Doom and similar shooters of that era, Selaco actually has quite a lot of lore and world-building to dig into via emails and terminals, if that’s something you care about. But if you’re just here to blast baddies with cool guns, Selaco has plenty of that, too.

This ain’t your grandaddy’s boomer shooter

The gunplay in Selaco is fabulous, with weapons that are loud and powerful. Even the pistol, usually a trash firearm in old-school shooters, is a head-cracking magnum that you can upgrade into a fast-firing death machine. In fact, most of the guns in Selaco can be upgraded to improve their stats or unlock new features. This is done in upgradeable safe rooms you find dotted around the world…and yeah, you might be realizing this isn’t Doom.

That’s something I really want to stress. Don’t expect this to play like Doom or other contemporary shooters of the day. Instead, Selaco plays more like Half-Life, Doom 3, or FEAR. You’ll need to take cover, run away to get a better angle, ambush unsuspecting enemies for an advantage, and manage your ammo and health carefully to survive this FPS. If you go in with a shotgun and no plan, you’ll likely be dead in a few seconds. And as you progress through Selaco it turns up the challenge, forcing you to play carefully or die.

Screenshot: Altered Orbit Studios

The big hook of Selaco for many will be the fact that, yes, it was developed using GZDoom—an open-source port of the original Doom engine that includes new features and tech not found in the ancient Id software game from the ‘90s. For the first few hours of Selaco, whenever I saw a massive level filled with individual items that I could pick up and toss around, I’d shake my head and think, “This is built on Doom tech. Wild!” But quickly, the novelty of that gimmick faded and was replaced by another thought: “This is a fucking awesome game.”

Selaco is a more polished, well-made, and fun FPS than some AAA shooters I’ve played in recent years developed by massive teams using modern engines and big budgets. And this thing is technically in early access!

In fact, I bet as you play Selaco you’ll quickly forget all about its Doom origins as you run around its large, hand-crafted campaign maps filled with different enemies, puzzles, and loads of secrets. That may be the real secret of Selaco: While it’s cool and impressive that it was built using Doom tech, this is so much more than a retro throwback. It’s its own thing, and one of the best shooters in 2024.

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