A Return to Hell
If you’re familiar with gaming, it’s extremely likely you’ve heard of the name Doom. Hell, even if you haven’t played a single game in your life there’s a chance you know a little bit about it. The original DOOM was a genre defining first person shooter at the time of its release, and it was used as a tool to compare other shooters too. After a long line of games, reboots and even a movie, id Software is attempting to resurrect the behemoth once again, along with the old style arena shooter genre most of us grew up playing. DOOM definitely manages to do this with its stellar campaign, and innovative SnapMap mode without having to rely on nostalgia. However, DOOM struggles when it tries too hard to fit in with current modern multiplayer shooters, and suffers because of it.
For the Betterment of Mankind
DOOM’s story is very minimal, as it should be. A short opening cutscene gives some background to your overall objective and that’s it. There are no cutscenes in DOOM after that, at least not until the very end of the game. Story is also told through holograms showing past events, and Data Logs can be found for extra lore and backstory if you search for them. The premise of the story is that you wake up on Mars to find that something has gone terribly wrong at the UAC. For whatever reason, a demon invasion has taken place, and all hell has broken loose. It’s your job as Doomguy to rip, tear, and cut off the demon invasion by any means possible. Voice acting is convincing, and for what story there is, it’s quite satisfying in terms of the ending, and the lore is interesting if you’re willing to search for it.
Going back to its Roots
At first, it feels strange playing DOOM. The maps are open and explorable, you can’t reload your guns, secrets are scattered around the map, health and armour pick ups cover the floor, and next to no guns can aim down sight. It feels refreshing. Extremely refreshing. Within these larger maps are arenas, where countless numbers of enemies are thrown at you. Combat is fast, frenetic and satisfying. Every gun feels unique and each one is distinct due to weapon mods. Each weapon has 2 (apart from the pistol) and they can be swapped whenever you want once they’re unlocked.These mods range from micro-missiles on the Heavy Machine Gun, to the ability to charge 3 rapid fire shotgun bursts. Weapons can be further upgraded with Upgrade Points, the Praetor Suit can also be upgraded using collectible Praetor Tokens that are scattered around each level.It keeps gameplay fresh with every encounter. DOOM allows you to play the way you want to by including Runes, By finding and completing hidden Rune Trials in each level, you unlock Runes to use permanently. Each Rune has different functions, like faster glory kills, the ability to vacuum drops and more. It’s a really cool way to tailor the game to how you want to play, whether that be fast or slow. The chainsaw makes a triumphant return to DOOM, but it’s more than just a novelty. The chainsaw works on a fuel system, and each enemy require different amounts of fuel. Small enemies like Possessed and Imps only require one bar of fuel, while larger enemies like the Mancubus or Baron of Hell use a lot more. The chainsaw kills anything in a single blow, and an explosion of supplies cover the screen when the animation is finished, which I might say are satisfyingly gory. Speaking of gore, Glory Kills are a new and very prominent feature of DOOM. Once an enemy is has low enough health, they’ll start flashing blue or orange. This is indicating that they can be executed, leading to extra health, armour, and ammo. Surprisingly enough, they don’t slow the game down at all due to fast animations, but they still manage to look absolutely incredible every single time. It never wore off through my entire playthrough, which took 11 hours or so, and they’re a welcome addition that I really hope we see return. Besides, if you really don’t like them, you can turn them off in the options menu. Kudos to id for the options too, a lot of stuff can be tinkered with, including a field of view slider on all platforms. The difficulty is perfect. It can get fairly challenging on the base difficulty, and it gets really hard on the higher up difficulties, and I’m looking forward to replaying the game on a harder difficulty. Some of the most fun I had in the campaign, was the boss fights. All together, there are only three, but they’re all fun, interesting and challenging.
Aside from the campaign, DOOM comes with a multiplayer mode, but it feels out of place. It tries to hard to fit in with today’s modern military shooters like COD and Battlefield. Things like loadouts, and not being able to pick up guns feels very out of place for what is supposed to be an arena multiplayer shooter. The Demon Rune feature (which lets players take control of 1 of 4 demons) feels forced and underdeveloped. Demons are ridiculously powerful, they have lots of health and one shot any standard foot soldiers. I can’t help but feel it’s unbalanced, especially when the only way to bring them down is by having specific guns, and grouping up as a team. The game modes are standard, Team Deathmatch, Soul Harvest (which is kill confirmed) , Domination, Freeze tag, and Warpath. The most interesting are definitely Freeze Tag and Warpath. Freeze Tag is essentially search and destroy, just without the bomb planting and perma-death with each round. It has an interesting reviving system and I can say that plenty of fun can be had with this game mode. Warpath is a moving king of the hill. The zone is constantly moving through the map, which was different and a very interesting concept. The multiplayer has extensive customisation for guns and armour too, which is very nice to see.
SnapMap is DOOM’s inbuilt content creator. It acts as a hub where you can play fan made maps, and create your own. Some of the stuff iv’e played has been really cool. People have remade old school Doom levels, parkour maps and mini games that you can play with friends. The editor is amazingly deep and complex, but simple enough for beginners to easily get started, and the tutorials for the editor do a good job at getting you started. SnapMap is definitely something that people will be contributing to for a long time, there is plenty of fun to be had playing different maps and you can get a lot out of it to boot.
Devilishly Good Looking
DOOM looks superb. The UAC facilities a dimly lit, and detailed. Hell looks awesome, various bones are scattered on the ground, massive structures are imposing and awe inspiring to look at. Enemy design is incredible, the amount of detail put into these models truly show just how grotesque these demons are. Mancubi walk around with their stomachs hanging out, Revenants look like they’ve had their muscles freshly exposed, and it’s all awesome. The game is 1080P 60 fps across all platforms, but it’s definitely best on PC if you have a good enough rig. Frame dips, while inconsistent, are very apparent, and they only ever occur when a tonne of enemies are on the screen, along with explosions and drops going everywhere. Do keep in mind that the Xbox One version suffers from this more than the PS4 version does, simply because of the lesser hardware. This is an incredible technological achievement for id that we don’t see often. Connections to multiplayer were also spot on, I never once had a problem with connections, and thankfully, DOOM uses dedicated servers!
DOOM has done an extremely good job at providing what most shooters lack. A solid single player experience. It’s nice to just sit down and just mindlessly kill demons without being heavily invested in a story. It’s a refreshing break from the way games are today, and brings memories back of a simpler time when story almost always took a back seat. While it may not have the best multiplayer component, DOOM does a superb job at going back to its roots and modernising what made DOOM so special. SnapMap will keep the community playing for ages, and hell, maybe a few tweaks to multiplayer could have the effect it needs to really boom. I cannot wait to see what they do with the series from here, I can see myself revisiting DOOM over and over whenever I feel like I need to just unwind, relax, and kill some demons. Trust me, DOOM is perfect for you if that’s what you’re looking for.
-Fun boss fights
-Fast, intense, and frenetic combat
-Multiplayer definitely needs some changes
-Occasional frame dips on console
Thanks for reading guys! The next few reviews might take some time because it’s 4 games. I’ll be doing all three Fire Emblem games, and Overwatch. I’ll get Overwatch out before Fire Emblem, simply because I’ve played a solid chunk of the open beta.