INTRODUCTIONI was hesitant about the reboot of Doom for current consoles as I have fond memories of playing the original when I was younger. I was happy to find that the Doom franchise has returned with a fantastically fast-paced and brutal comeback.
The game comes from id Software and while it does have some minor issues, it manages to pack a punch and deliver an awesome campaign. You can also expect plenty of references and call-backs to the original games that will please long time fans.
STORYThe game takes place on Mars, and a doorway has been opened to Hell, which is unfortunate, to say the least. The plot may sound ridiculous but the developers have totally embraced the bombastic nature and over the top gameplay to create an experience that is pure fun at its core. You wake up inside a claustrophobic chamber and before you know it you are blasting and punching your way through hordes of demons. You play as a UAC Marine and your primary job is to eliminate the enemy and put a stop to the madness.
Much like the recent Wolfenstein reboot, the game returns in all its glory with gory action and atmospheric setting. The gameplay in Doom is just brilliant and absurdly fun, which is what a game should be. I’m not a big fan of first-person shooters, but I thoroughly enjoyed Wolfenstein and have to say I enjoyed this even more. With fantastic gameplay, updated looks and lengthy campaign I was hooked.
CONTROLSThe controls here are top notch and lend themselves well to the fast-paced style of gameplay. The movement of enemies is frantic and unpredictable but thankfully you’re also very quick on your feet. Combat is brutal and not for the faint hearted. I lost track very quickly of a number of demons I had pulverized and obliterated in my path. That being said the game is challenging and if you take your eye off the action for a moment you will end up dead.
The environments are littered with small health packs and shields which keep you topped up as you move about each zone. The gameplay is almost like a rhythm game in the sense that you’re strategically dodging bullets, timing melee attacks and moving to the next health pack. As you would expect there is a decent variety in weapons and the game does a great job at implementing each new weapon throughout the campaign. You start out with a pistol and soon after you pick up a shotgun. Fan favorites return with the likes of the BFG and Chainsaw.
CAMPAIGNDOOM’s campaign is exactly what you would expect in terms of narrative. It doesn’t have a complex story that is forced upon you, but if you wish to delve into the story there are ways of getting more out of the game. DOOM is all about the pure gameplay that’s fast, bloody and downright brutal. The action rarely lets up and you will find you’re constantly on the move. It blends old and new very well, giving players the constant action and gameplay they expect with some new ideas implemented like the melee combat and upgrade systems. The game also surprisingly has a good amount of secrets and collectibles.
The level design is great with sections that have large open areas before moving into tight, close-quarter corridors full of demonic monsters. The biggest change to the game is the melee system known as “Glory Kill.” The game is good enough without this system but having it adds another awesome fun factor to the game. As you shoot enemies they become weaker and once they become damaged enough they glow, that’s your chance to move in and perform a melee attack which sees you simply batter an enemy to death. These attacks both allow you to become invulnerable for the short time, and pick-up health in the process. This for me is what made the game so much fun to play. Sure it's gory and over the top but that’s what the game is about and the developers have fully embraced the ridiculously violent tone. DOOM knows what it is and isn’t afraid to parody itself and stand up for what it's going for in terms of design.
The melee system is fantastic but the shooting also feels great and the mixture of the two gives the gameplay great pacing and keeps things fresh. DOOM has a points system that allows you to upgrade both your suit and weapons. The upgrades for the weapons are awesome and add even more variety and devastation to the gunplay. There’s also an upgrade system that lets you put points into three main categories of Health, Armor, or Ammunition. These upgrade systems give reason to go back and replay sections. The demons themselves also look terrifying and have had a fantastic visual upgrade from previous games. The single player is surprisingly good and has taken a beloved and quite important game in the history of FPS games and modernized it with great design and fast gameplay.
PRESENTATIONThe visual presentation is great with well-designed environments, horrific enemies, and blood-drenched hallways. The game looks beautiful in an odd sort of way, it shouldn’t be so appealing considering Hell has been opened and demons are trying to pull you apart. The atmosphere is what makes the game stand out against other FPS games, with harrowing corridors filled with monsters and the techno-rock soundtrack that kicks in when the action ramps up. The music is done brilliantly, with beautifully orchestral moments that burst into full on Rock that suits the tone perfectly. Everything about the game is stylized and comes together extremely well. Some people may look at the game and think its nothing more than a shallow gore filled experience but in fact, it's so well designed and the game totally knows and quite frankly nails what it's going for. I highly recommend playing the game with a good headset to feel fully immersed in that world.
MULTIPLAYERThe Multiplayer is enjoyable and certainly feels like an old-school arena shooter like Quake. You only carry two weapons, which you can switch up in the loadout. Health, shields and ammo are scattered around the arenas and the action is extremely fast-paced and hectic. Most FPS games these days have a lot to contend with, like Call of Duty having jetpacks, wall running and other gimmicks, whereas DOOM is pure arena shooter mayhem stripped to the core. An interesting extra gameplay feature here is the Demon Rune drops, which occasionally appear throughout the fight. If you pick up a Rune it transforms you into a demon, giving you ultimate power.
Aside from the standard modes like Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Zone, there are a couple of other modes including Soul Harvest and Freeze tag. DOOM now has SnapMap mode, which is a level editor. This means you can build custom maps for single and co-op missions. You can also make multiplayer deathmatch arenas. The depth and complexity are actually pretty good and I can see some strong designs being made by dedicated users. I’m interested to see what people come up with and I’m sure that people will attempt to recreate sections of the original game.
CONCLUSIONThis DOOM reboot has taken the essence of the original and injected it with fresh ideas and has given it a fresh coat of paint. The campaign is surprisingly brilliant and kept me utterly immersed from start to finish. DOOM is not for the faint hearted and is full to the brim with gore, blood, and utterly brutal gameplay. The addition of the “Glory Kill” system is not only a game changer but is one of the most satisfying experiences I have had in any game recently. The shooting is also strong and the visual design and atmosphere are impressive. The campaign is also longer than expected, at around 12 hours and there are plenty of reasons to replay sections. The upgrades are interesting and have a good amount of depth. Overall I can’t say enough good things about this game. I was looking forward to playing this reboot but it has surpassed what I expected. It may look shallow and nothing more than gore porn, but there’s a surprising amount of depth and some truly brilliant design here and must importantly its hellishly fun.
PROS- Awesome campaign
- Shooting feels great
- Melee combat adds another layer of fun
- Design is fantastic overall
- Good variety of enemies
- Decent multiplayer