DOOM has always been a challenging game about demons, guns and speed; a fast paced action and first person shooter game originally released way back in 1993. id Software had the huge task of bringing DOOM back to the market in all of its glory, while trying to keep the essence and also adapting to the modern day. Have they managed to pull it out? Sure they have; this new take on DOOM is brilliant.
Developed by id Software and Published by Bethesda Softworks, DOOM came out on Xbox One, PC and Playstation 4 May 13th 2016.
Size: 45.04 GB
Reviewed on Xbox One.
id Software manages to keep DOOM’s essence thanks to the push-forward combat formula; since there’s no cover mechanic in the game or a progressive health regeneration system, the game encourages the player to move constantly and kill enemies as fast as possible in order to refill health or ammo (loot dropped). This formula makes a lot of sense for a game of this nature, and translates the lack of movement into almost certain death.
DOOM’s single player mode (campaign) features 13 main missions set mostly in Mars facilities and Hell, in all of which there’s a hidden lever that once it’s pulled, it will unlock a path to a classic DOOM level inside the modern DOOM level; it’s like a time machine and I bet you will love to see the contrast between both. Classic DOOM’s retro textures will take you on a trip down memory lane, and it will make you realize how much the game has evolved.
Just like the classic good old DOOM everybody loves, this new title is also filled with tons of easter eggs and secrets as a reward to players who are willing to explore. But there’s even more to it, as exploration will also provide health, armor and ammo upgrades as well as collectibles and rune trials, which are particularly fun. These trials are short mini games that shall be completed in order to get runes; passive and permanent power-ups that can be equipped.
One of the things I most loved about this title is how the story is told. id Software made the wise decision of letting players skip the story as long as they want to. Let’s be honest, no one is buying DOOM for its argument, trust me. There were in fact some dialogues (very few) you couldn’t skip but other than that, the rest it’s up to you; that’s what I call freedom, sweet freedom. I decided to skip the story on my first run because I couldn’t wait to do what you are supposed to do in DOOM; shooting your way through, and nothing else matters. Anyway, I’ll give some details on the plot, for those of you interested.
The story begins with the player, a marine, suddenly waking up in a room, breaking the chains of his arms. You have a pistol which will come in handy in about a second, as a couple of enemies will approach you.
In the very first minutes of the game, Olivia Pierce and Dr. Samuel Hayden (Head of the UAC mars facility), main plot characters, are quickly introduced.
Hayden wants to work with you to stop the whole mess created, in other words, the demonic invasion. He takes responsibility of what happened but he also states that “the risk was worth it”. So it might has been his fault but now he want to do things right, let’s just put it that way. According to one of his reports, the invasion was originated at the Lazarus facility, where Olivia allegedly contributed to it by releasing some demons from their cells. As you may see, Olivia Pierce is immediately pointed as the “bad character”, and from that moment on, she will be your main target.
The duration of the campaign depends on the difficulty you’ve chosen, lasting up to 13 hours on ultra-nightmare (the highest difficulty setting, featuring permadeath; that means dying equals starting all over again). Some of you may be wondering if the campaign will start feeling repetitive at some point. Well, I never really got tired of all the awesome shooting this game involves, but I did get lost more than once; I didn’t know what exactly I had to do next or which path I needed to follow. The different levels are designed to offer great combat scenarios and experience, but when it comes to orientation, the amount of map layers can result in a bit of confusion; I’m not sure if a first person platforming is the best of the ideas either. This has been one of my few concerns with DOOM. Despite that, you can still use automap stations to download the map level to help you in this matter, but sometimes that didn’t solve the problem well enough for me.
There’s a decent variety of enemies, obviously some are weaker than others, but the spawn combinations are really tough, it’s just a matter of time until you will be surrounded; just keep moving and shooting.
One of the best moments in the campaign are the remarkable boss fights and how hard those are. It will sure take several tries but nothing can beat the satisfaction of beating them. The optimal use of all of your resources will be crucial in these intense battles.
Upgrades are a new element of DOOM, which are also applied to your suit and weapon arsenal thanks to points and tokens you earn as you progress. Finding field drones will unlock weapon upgrades (attachments) in your arsenal menu, raising the amount of damage and destruction your weapons can cause.
Another new thing worth mentioning is the Glory Kill system which is the name the game gives to traditional executions. Low health enemies will be “stuned” for a short period of time, allowing the player to finish them with an insane animation. There are different animations for different enemies; this never gets old.
If you are a hardcore DOOM fan and you are not happy with the new stuff, don’t use it. Simple as that. I’ve even seen people complaining about grenades, saying things like “there is no place for grenades in DOOM” and that kind of stuff. As far as I know, the game doesn’t force you to use grenades, to upgrade your equipment or to try rune trials. You can also disable the glory kill system in the options, so if you don’t want to take advantage of the new stuff (which, in my opinion, improves the game) that’s your problem.
Spoiler: it’s not the 90’s anymore, so if you wanna play a 100% classic DOOM game, you should play the 1993 version.
Enemies and weapons are varied enough and greatly designed. Luckily enough, there’s a pretty good balance between the overpowered weapons you are given and the enemies you face. The weapon wheel selection tool will slow down time while you are looking for the right weapon for the right moment. There’s still no reload button for weapons, so that’s one thing less to worry about.
This time around the Chainsaw and BFG 9000 make a comeback as special weapons. Performing a chainsaw kill will cause the enemy to drop a considerable amount of ammo; that being said, you better save your chainsaw fuel for the very last minute, in case it’s needed. These special weapons are extremely powerful and therefore limited, but I feel that’s the way it should be.
Graphics & Sound
Throughout the campaign you’ll encounter dark themed, apocalyptic and blood filled scenarios with impressive and visually enhanced lighting effects and shadows. Particle effects, sparks, smoke, reflections, blood and explosions look amazing; simply beautiful. This impressive work brings realism and immersion right away into this gorgeous DOOM world. The combination of both art design and a stunning heavy metal soundtrack made of dramatic and subversive guitar riffs, brutal bass lines and solid drum beats directly from hell, provides the ambience any DOOM fan was looking for, there’s no doubt about that.
The overall performance of the game is high and fluid, running at 60 frames per second and it uses dynamic resolution scaling up to 1080p in both console versions.
Multiplayer and Snapmap
Team Deathmatch, Domination, Freeze Tag, Soul Harvest, Warpath and Clan Arena are DOOM multiplayer modes, being my personal favourite Domination. So far there are 9 playable maps, while it’s expected to have more map releases, via DLCs.
Dominate your opponents in DOOM’s signature, fast-paced arena-style combat. In both classic and all-new game modes, annihilate your enemies utilizing your personal blend of skill, powerful weapons, vertical movement, and unique power-ups that allow you to play as a demon.
There’s nothing really special about DOOM’s multiplayer; it is like any other shooter online mode but with the addition of power ups and every other DOOM element. Anyway, I did enjoy it just like if it was something completely new to me. A cool addition are perks, which can be obtained every time you win a match and can be used every time you respawn. Running faster when you are closer to a demon, marking the enemy who previously killed you and start with a certain amount of armor are one of the different perks you can unlock; use them wisely, perks usually last for 30 to 60 seconds before they consume.
Snapmap is the fantastic in game level editor – represented by a top view of a blueprint- used to create, publish and share playable maps within the community. This tool is extremely useful and has many different options, including AI behaviour. Create a snapmap ID, learn the basics and you are ready to go. It’s intuitive, incredibly deep and perfect for every creative player out there. Of course, you can also download those you like and have been designed by other users, as well as make your own changes if desired and play them. You can perform virtually anything you can think of; it is relatively easy to create basic levels, but the editor provides greater depth for anyone willing to find it with different variables that can be adjusted, such as previously mentioned AI or how players interact with objects; you can also create complex levels with objectives or specific challenges, for example, wave/ horde mode playable maps.
In conclusion, DOOM is the best game (and also best looking game) I’ve played this year so far and I think it has managed to deliver according to the high expectations about it. Despite its flaws and the -poorly explained- negative reception by some of the media, this is one of the biggest 2016 titles that will be hard to skip if your are able to see how glorious it is.
Whether it’s due to the challenge of completing the campaign in every difficulty setting or the huge amount of hours multiplayer mode and snapmap delivers, DOOM keeps giving you a reason to come back.