Platform: PC, PS4 and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: id Software
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Something old that feels new again
Price: Regular edition: £49.99 / $59.99 – Collector’s Edition: £119.99 / $119.99
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Doom is a traditional old school FPS mixed with a few more recent gameplay mechanics. The game is a fast paced shooter reminiscent of the golden days of the Unreal Tournament franchise. There’s no auto-regenerating health; so players can’t simply run, shoot, hide, heal, repeat. If players try, enemies will hunt them down; your key to survival is to never stop moving and shooting. Killing enemies will reward players with precious health for healing after a hellish onslaught. but there are also health stations that can be found throughout the areas that can be used only once to fix the protagonist up after surviving an onslaught.
Doom has players thrown on a Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) research facility on Mars. As a generic Doom Marine, players awaken from a sarcophagus right in the middle of a demonic invasion. Thanks to the help of digital facility director Samuel Hayden, players must find the source of the invasion on the UAC and stop it at once. Unfortunately, players find out that head researcher Olivia Pierce has other plans in mind.
Thankfully, players have a little bit of help on their side. This game encourages players to explore every nook and cranny of the area forupgrades that will improve the protagonist’s health, armor or ammo capacity. Additionally, players can obtain weapon upgrade points. The more enemies the player kills in each mission, the more points they get. By exploring, players can also come across Runes. Interacting with said Runes will offer players a challenge in order to earn usable rewards. Challenges are mostly kill X amount of enemies using Y gun under a specific amount of time. Acquired and equipped Runes can have various beneficial effects such as increased range in which the player attracts fallen items or increasing the amount of time enemies stay dazed.
And now to the good part: weapons; as a Doom staple, this new iteration features fantastic weaponry for players to take down demons. Players will start off with an unlimited plasma gun which can be charged à la Halo. Not that powerful, it does the job when stuck in a bind. Then things get real. Players will start picking up bigger and more powerful weapons quickly starting with a shotgun and a machine gun, among others – hey, I don’t want to ruin the surprise! And there’s no reloading. Run out of ammo for your precious shotgun? Players will need to scour every corner of an area to find and stock up on ammo.
Then there’s the chainsaw. Interestingly enough, it’s used as a backup melee weapon as opposed to the standard punching by clicking down on the right joystick. As long as there’s gas in it, the chainsaw will be entertaining to use. Guns can be used to kill and daze enemies. Why would you daze enemies? Glory kills! While going out guns blazing on enemies, once they have suffered a fixed amount of damage, they will stay dazed on their feet, flashing red-ish orange. This is the cue for players to get close and perform a glory kill by pressing the melee button.
Navigation can be cumbersome at times. Players can follow the compass atop the HUD, but it won’t be very precise. If the objective is a level above or below, players will have to guess and explore different methods of reaching the objective. Luckily, if stumped, players simply need to find green lights to indicate the way forward. If the objective is high up, instead of simply having stairs or an elevator nearby, players will have to jump from one spot to another. It’s another clear example that first person games aren’t made for platforming. While at times, it can be easy to see where to jump and subsequently land, other times, it’ll be more of a guess as players will need to land on a very small surface. Miss it and fall to your death.
The game has a certain survival horror feel to it; claustrophobic, dark areas, crazy music and demons screaming their lungs out every which way you turn, though don’t quite manage to turn it into a horror spectacular like Silent Hill would. Visually, the game stands out very well, mostly thanks to its gory scenery. Environments are very well done, although most of them being being dark, id Software successfully made Mars and its surrounding pretty creepy. My main issue with the visuals is that when walking around on the orange surface, it’s easy to lose track of far away generic enemies seeing as they’re the same color as the scenery. Soundtrack wise, while roaming around, there’s ambient creepy tracks filled with enemy screams to set the mood, however when enemies are out and about, the music cranks up a notch and hits a sweet metal note to get the adrenaline pumping.
Once players are done with the lengthy and rollercoaster of a campaign, players can take their skills online. Players can choose from the various multiplayer modes to test out their abilities:
- Team Deathmatch: Pretty self explanatory
- Soul Harvest: Kill your enemies and harvest their soul. Players can access Demon Runes, transforming them into one of the game’s four bigger demons.
- Domination: Control the zones.
- Warpath: Control the moving zone.
- Freeze Tag: Freeze your enemies and thaw your allies.
- Clan Arena: This mode for the old school Doom players. No pick-ups for weapons, health or armor. No respawns nor demon runes. Last team standing wins.
When booting up, players can choose their loadouts and hack modules, the latter adding extra armor or being able to track down the enemy team for a short while. While the game offers three types of loadout straight away, players can customize their own (customizable loadouts can be unlocked by playing multiplayer rounds) by adding their favorite guns. Like with standard shooters, players can also customize the look of their character and weapons with various skins.
Honestly, Doom is the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer game in a long time. Fast paced action and interesting multiplayer modes make for some fun times. Although some times I’ve had to wait a few minutes for a match to start. Hopefully, id Software will figure out a way to keep players enthralled for a long run. Maybe the next gameplay mechanic will keep players engaged.
And then there’s SnapMap. This new mode allows players to create their own version of multiplayer hell by crafting new maps with their own structure and game logic, then share them online. It is actually pretty easy to use; anyone with a few spares minutes and a mind full of crazy ideas is sure to cook up something nuts.
Doom is a hell of a fun ride from the opening sequence right down to the climax. The game features a lengthy campaign, with explorable areas which can result in finding secrets, Easter eggs, additional weapon/armor pick ups. While some sequences might prove overwhelming, it’s just the game’s way to keep players on their toes. The action is quick and intense and will keep players on the edge of their seat as Hell unleashes wave after wave of enemies. FPS fans and old school players looking for a tough challenge and fun gaming experience will have something meaty to sink their teeth into. Hell has never been this much fun.
- Fast paced action
- Old school feel
- Gotta love the guns!
- Glory kills!
- FPS platforming still sucks
- Season pass not included with the Collector’s Edition
Doom is rated M for for blood, gore and extreme violence. If the 1993 version was rated M with the old technology, would really expect id Software to not use today’s highly detailed tech to make things even more bloody?