It has been a whopping 11 years since the last attempt of bringing Doom into the modern gaming era, with Doom 3 and, unlike Duke Nukem, the wait is definitely worth it in this case.
I know there is separate opinions on the multiplayer/single player so will treat both as separate entities.
In a time where someone would associate the First Person Shooter genre with realistic, army, simulation-esque mechanics like having to reload after every shoot-out it makes a pleasant change of pace to go back to old-skool shooters where “You have x amount of ammo, go nuts!” was your only instruction. Doom perfectly shows how even in this reality obsessed genre, you don’t have to follow the trend.
I’ll firstly go into a few gripes, which I would’ve liked changed (and am sure that once the modding community get their hands on it, will be). The first is the colour scheme. It is brown. Very brown. It does give the game a gritty look, and it suits the graphics well, but it started to blend in with itself, not showing any particular detail when whooshing from one end of an arena to another.
In relation to the first thing, I have to say the enemies really suffer because of it. Doom is known for its enemies, be it the Barons of Hell or the measly Imps, but they mostly blend in and are impossible to distinguish from each other barring one or two things. You would not tell an Imp from a Hellknight, if it weren’t for the Hellknight’s guns/lasers.
The only other negative I can think of for the game is the story. I know, I know… It’s a Doom game, who cares about story.. I agree, for the most part. But the problem with this is that they tried to put a story in, not that anyone couldn’t guess the story. There is a company mining resources from Hell. A portal is opened, and demons decided to come here to kill us. Stop them….story spoiled?
There is a minor attempt at character development with everyone except Doomguy, who just plain hates everyone and everything. Machines, punch them away. Upgrade machines, punch them away. If they had no story apart from “Oh no Demons are here. Please kill them and find where they come from” I would be fine, but the attempt to make it more than it is, is a minor annoyance. Just let me kill things!
But anyway, enough of the bad things, let’s take a look at the positive things about the game.
I want to start with something which is immediately obvious before you even start to get into the game. The game is absolutely gorgeous! Besides the brown tint, the graphics are superb. The textures I found to be at a very high quality. The blood in the game is bright and vivid, and lives up the legendary IP’s name. You only need to google Doom screenshots (2016) and you’ll see.
The landscapes are very well done, the interiors are well sized, and despite the maps being linear, have so many different options in regards to secret rooms, alternative paths to the same door, makes the maps show more size than they have.
To go along with the graphics, this is a very well optimised game, hitting 60fps and 1080p on consoles as well as easily hitting a steady 60fps on Ultra on my modest 970 (No SLI support it seems). Both of these make for a very enjoyable run through.
The combat is some of the most satisfying combat I have played in an FPS in years. There is no ADS (aiming down sight), there is no reloading, there is no forced weapon choices, instead you have the guns you pick up, the ammo you have and your health/shield. When swapping weapons, time comes to a slow down so you don’t lose valuable seconds wasting time when you could be gibbing the demon staring you in the face.
It is also very varied as each weapon, of which there are eight, has two mods which enhance the gun. For example, the shotgun you receive within 2 minutes of starting the game, has triple fire, or explosive rounds. If unlocked, you can swap between both on the fly. Each gun has it’s uses, the pistol, I have found to still be useful deep within the campaign.
The game always puts you in the action. Within 20 seconds of the game starting, you have a pistol and are shorting demons in the face. Each ‘arena’ will have you running and, in my case, dying a lot so frequent checkpoints are a godsend, but if you’re lucky to have a minute or two to look around, you can find secrets everywhere.
Glory Kills. They are execution style moves that you can only do when an enemy has been sufficiently weakened. They glow, and depending on where you approach the enemy, a different animation will play. My personal favourite is next to a wall and slamming their face through it.
There is almost a rhythm to the combat which is perfect to play, and I cannot recommend giving it a go if you can.
The multiplayer has had some hard opinions based on the open beta, which may have slowed sales of the game, so I was a bit hesitant giving it a go. However, I don’t know if the devs fixed a whole lot of problems of the beta, or if I just didn’t share the opinion of the masses, but I enjoyed it.
It is not the typical Doom experience, and I know that that was the cause of many people’s bad word about it, but as its own kind of multiplayer, it is solid. From what I could tell it is pretty well balanced, the maps were unbiased, and most importantly it was fun. You do have to choose a loadout of 2 weapons pre-game and then stay with them unless you change the whole class, but that is a developer stepping into a modern genre. And for unfamiliar territory, they do it reasonably well.
Now, it isn’t going to be the greatest multiplayer on the market. But it is damn good fun to play. Now if only it had local multiplayer!
Snapmap is the map editor for Doom. It is a different kind of editor, compared to Halo for example. You cannot (as far as I could tell) build custom map layouts with a room like this and a room like that, and eventually recreate the entire original Doom. Instead, you are giving an inventory of 10 categories of room: Arena, Hallway, 90 degree turns, etc, and you snap them to the doorways on another room. So I could have an arena with 4 doors, and link them all to a T junction and just make a hall right around, before heading in and placing the more detailed items, weapons, and even demon spawns.
I haven’t got any creative skill, but I look forward to the custom games created with the scripting tools, and the custom maps made using the innovative map designer.
I have to say this is one of the very few games in recent times where I have been utterly blown away. The combat feels fresh, and satisfying, even after hours upon hours of gameplay.
I could go on and on, about how the music matches the combat perfectly, or how the difficulty curve is spot on.
The only flaw I would say is that I wish the demons had more variety in their appearance, so I could make out who I’m fighting. But still Bravo!