PO’ed: Definitive Edition Review — Just Needs A Bit More Finesse

A recreation of the retro-style FPS genre we all know and love!

PO'ed: Definitive Edition Review
Overall
3
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

PO’ed: Definitive Edition tries to capture the essence of the original DOOM, but it fails to be as fluid as its inspiration.

Pros

  • Classic Gameplay And Progression.
  • Great Level Design.
  • Excellent Optimization And Performance.

Cons

  • Strange Movement And Hit-Scanning.
  • Outdated Visuals.

Long-time fans of FPS games must’ve played or at least heard of the first DOOM—the pioneer of the genre that’s cherished and flourishing even today. While it wasn’t the first FPS game, it certainly had the strongest legacy of its peers to the point where it spawned a new term: DOOM-clone, which referred to games that imitated the original DOOM’s style to a tee.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Nightdive Studios
  • Publisher: Nightdive Studios
  • Release Date: May 16, 2024
  • Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch
  • Game Length: 5 hours
  • Time Played: 10 hours
  • Editor’s Note: We thoroughly tested PO’ed: Definitive Edition on PC, putting roughly 10 hours into the title.

Just like the 1996 PO’ed, PO’ed: Definitive Edition is another modern way DOOM-clone that inherits several traits from its inspiration but also implements some new elements to make it distinguishable. However, while one may argue that slightly modernizing the original DOOM can still work today, this new PO’ed makes various extremely weird design choices that hinder the experience and make it feel almost tedious.

Gameplay

Po'ed Definitive Edition
Killing enemies with the game’s signature weapon (Screenshot taken by eXputer)

The Definitive Edition of PO’ed carries over the core gameplay loop and style from the original DOOM and PO’ed games while adding new mechanics that make it more dynamic yet occasionally more frustrating. As a first-person arena shooter, your job is to shoot, kill, clear areas, and repeat until you reach the end of the level. It’s about as classic as you can get and PO’ed instantly revitalizes your nostalgia with it.

The game is divided into several levels, and as you progress, you unlock new weapons, powerups, health packs, ammunition, and more. The levels’ layout is really a standout feature, packed with secrets, verticality, and tons of puzzle sections, which are a great way to take a break from mindless shooting. DOOM Eternal takes the same approach, and it’s great to see that this title implements that dynamic aspect.

The Definitive Edition of PO’ed carries over the core gameplay loop and style from the original DOOM and PO’ed games while adding new mechanics that make it more dynamic yet occasionally more frustrating.

Unlike the original DOOM, which only gave you guns, PO’ed has a much more diverse collection of weapons where you get guns, melee weapons, flamethrowers, and more. These distinct weapon types keep the loop fresh because they encourage different playstyles and allow you to try unique strategies instead of just sticking to the most powerful gun.

Another new addition is the Jetpack, which gives you another mobility option by adding aerial maneuverability. This is something you rarely see in FPS titles, and it’s arguably PO’ed’s highlight because it adds a completely new layer that you need to get used to.

Po'ed Definitive Edition
Hovering around in a jetpack (Screenshot taken by eXputer)

A Tight Gameplay Loop Held Back By Bizarre Movement

Unfortunately, one of the game’s most important elements is also its biggest critique—movement. In PO’ed, you have the option to switch between walking and sprinting. Walking is generally good for careful traversal because you have much control. It’s not the best during combat because you’re more susceptible to getting hit, but with how sprinting is implemented, you usually don’t have a choice.

Unfortunately, one of the game’s most important elements is also its biggest critique—movement.

When you’re in sprinting mode, the ground becomes as slippery as ice for some reason, and your character starts skidding wildly throughout the arena. I understand that it’s designed so that it doesn’t completely overrule walking, but as of now, it’s a nightmare to sprint, and it can honestly get nauseating.

There’s also the hit-scanning, which seems extremely janky. It seems as though most of your bullets and attacks simply phase through enemies, even though you’re absolutely certain that you aimed directly at them. Fluid and reliable shooting is the core component of an arena shooter, and when you can’t trust your own weapons because of their clunkiness, it feels like you’re unfairly cheated out of most circumstances.

Po'ed Definitive Edition
The weird course correction of bullets (Screenshot taken by eXputer)

Overall, despite a worthy attempt, it seems most of the gameplay needs to do more to distinguish itself. Besides the jetpack and a few other weapons, most of the additions could be more impressive or more impactful. The melee weapons get outdated fairly quickly, and the movement becomes more frustrating as you play. There’s a lot of potential here, but the execution in some crucial areas just doesn’t hit as I’d hoped.

Visuals And Performance

Po'ed Definitive Edition graphics
The colorful retro graphics of PO’ed Definitive Edition (Screenshot taken by eXputer)

Like the gameplay, PO’ed’s Definitive Edition features the original PO’ed’s art direction with pixelated textures and a retro theme. Although simple, the environments, pickups, and enemies are vibrant and distinguishable, and the game perfectly captures the ‘90s FPS vibe and style.

Comparing both the game and its inspiration side-by-side, you might not be able to tell each other apart. However, if we’re looking at it objectively, these visuals need to be updated, even for indie standards. Most arenas look like a mishmash of low-res JPEGs, and the enemies themselves are in 2D in a 3D environment, so they literally look like a line when you peek at them from the side.

Like the gameplay, PO’ed’s Definitive Edition features the original PO’ed’s art direction with pixelated textures and a retro theme.

Performance-wise, your PC doesn’t have to render too much, so your FPS should be high and perfectly stable. I didn’t face any visual bugs or glitches when testing PO’ed on a GTX 1660 Ti, so it’s safe to say you can run this title even on decade-old hardware. Besides screen resolution, there are not too many graphical settings you can toggle; I’m just happy it natively supports 144Hz to run buttery smooth.

Verdict

Po'ed Definitive Edition
Verdict (Screenshot taken by eXputer)

PO’ed: Definitive Edition tries to capture the essence of the original DOOM, but it fails to be as fluid as its inspiration. It uses a formula that worked three decades ago and tries to put a spin on it, and while some of those mechanics shine during combat, crucial elements like movement and hit-scanning simply don’t deliver. 

I respect the creative approach, and as a major fan of the original DOOM trilogy, I was looking forward to trying PO’ed out. However, in the end, I felt like I wasn’t having fun because it’s a constant battle between you and the controls rather than you and the enemies.

This has been my review of PO’ed: Definitive Edition. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other reviews published recently:

This is box title
Get This Game
If you love the gameplay style and visuals similar to the original DOOM trilogy.
Dont Get This Game
If you’re not a fan of FPS games.
Buy/Wait For Sale/Don't Buy
Until the developers address the movement issue, I suggest waiting for a sale before buying PO’ed.
Alternative Games
  • DOOM (1993)
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • Duke Nukem 3D
  • Quake
  • Heretic
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Daniyal is a Guides Writer and Editor at eXputer with over one year of experience in content writing. He's had a passion for tech and gaming for more than 15 years. Ever since his first console, the PS2, he's constantly branching off to different genres, and his go-to at the moment is the Souls experience pioneered by FromSoftware, which is evident by his 1,500+ hours of game time on Elden Ring. You can learn some more about Daniyal's gaming journey on his Steam & Xbox profiles.

Experience: 1+ Years || Mainly Covers Guides || Education: Bachelors in Computer Sciences.

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