REVIEW – Ah Doom, last time we met was on also Mars, but I could not see anything because I kept switching between a shotgun and a flashlight. Now back after nearly a decade of waiting, plus a reboot from a Call of Duty esque sequel (Thank god that mess never got made) we finally have DOOM or D44M as some call it. The game has been met with skepticism; fans worried that the game is too slow, or that it is just a glorified Halo game. However after spending nearly three days with the game, I can safely say that ID has knocked it out of the pack, and sadly Bethesda made a few marketing missteps along the way when promoting the game. In the end, DOOM was released, uncaged, and wrecked the FPS genre once again.
Doom has returned, and it is angrier than ever. After nearly a decade of piss poor health regenerating shooters, and military shooters that do not have the guts… to show guts, Doom Marine does and returns to us in 2016. The question merely here is, should you rip and tear? Or just throw it away?
Story ? … what story, there’s only blood and guts
Doom starts off pretty in medias res; you are awakened from a stone sarcophagus, as Demons are about to tear you apart. So at this point we would probably get a lengthy cinematic, maybe a huge voice over as to how this has happened, or a length tutorial to introduce us to the game. Nope, you just bash a demon’s face in, get a gun, and the game lets you loose to tear hell apart. There is, of course, a story, but it is entirely minimalistic.
You are the Doom Slayer, an ancient soldier so powerful Hell has locked you away for killing too much of their demons. UAC in the future has decided to end the energy crisis by siphoning off energy from hell…? Okay, that is a weird idea, but still the idea works, up until one crazy scientist decides to unleash the monsters of Hell on Mars. You need to stop the invasion, kill everyone in Hell and save… probably no one as everybody in the facility pretty much died (to be honest). We have two colorful characters, and one robot AI that provides exposition, and you the Doom Marine, an entity that probably puts Skynet’s Terminators to shame as to how much slaughter you cause.
While the story is paper thin, it has its certain charm, it is tongue and cheek in a way, practically making fun of the past decade’s narratives. It does not try to be anything more than a DOOM game which is a great thing. There are no lengthy cutscenes, or highly detailed cinematics, nor any gigantic setpieces to awe at like Modern Warfare or Halo. Instead, the game allows you from the very first minute for the player to take the reins, create its own setpiece moments, and enjoy a nearly uninterrupted shoot em up festival.
So a fair warning to all who loved Witcher’s story, or Fallout’s deep narrative, does not expect anything profound here, unless broken bones and guts are profound for you.
Pistol? Check! Shotgun? Check! Big Fucking GUN? HELL YEAH CHECK!
The guns of Doom are back; we have all of the iconic weapons from the original series back, and they all handle pretty damn good. Our first weapon will be the basic pistol that can be upgraded for a little bit of a punch later down the line. After that, we get a shotgun that also has a grenade launcher if upgraded and a triple burst shot. All the weapons handle fairly well, and the upgrade system while at first feels weird in a Doom game it has its purposes. The more secrets, and unique items we uncover, the more upgrade points we gain per level.
The upgrades feel meaningful, and useful, not like most games where an upgrade is a 10% damage buff. Here the upgrades provide lock-on for missiles, give a stun AOE to the plasma gun, and allows the Super shotgun to cut through multiple enemies. It can take a lot of effort to get most out of the guns through the upgrade system, so expect the usual 8-10 hour campaign to end up around the 15-20 hours as a rough estimate.
The guns pack quite a punch, and that is reflected on the death animation of the monsters all the time. However besides the guns also have two other „weapons” at our disposal. Glory kills in which the weakened monsters can be torn apart by our fists, or we can stomp on their heads. We also have the chainsaw, which allows us to instantly kill an enemy. If we have enough fuel for that particular enemy, the encounter will be cut short for them. There’s actually a pretty good mechanic for these two options of death for demons. The glory kill gives us more health while the chainsaw provides us with an abundance of ammunition in case we run out of them.
It is not the most in-depth combat system of all time, it keeps it simple, but quick, rapid, and does not waste the player’s time. The glory kills do not detract from the overall player experience, and they are short enough not to be bothersome.
The AI of the game is relentless, and most enemies will try to track you, chase you and slaughter the everliving hell out of the player. The enemy is very agile, and can jump around the level to gain an advantage over the player. They are not the most static enemies, and probably the most mobile I have ever encountered in modern gaming. You’ll have a tough time against them in higher difficulties as they pretty much melt ammo and health off of our Doom Marine even in the beginning.
There are many unlockables, and secrets, plus there is a challenge mode for the players to try within the levels by accessing runes. The Rune challenge modes are fun, tricky and really difficult, especially the later ones. However earning these runes provide further advantages over the demons of Hell such as better ammo pick up quality, more health, longer dazed monsters.
All in all, if you are a maximalist, and want to unlock everything you’ll have a lot of time to do that with the new DOOM game.
Shiny and detailed gruesome death
ID software has had a rocky road with their engine for over the fast few years. Rage was their first step, and also a not so well received one regarding engine capabilities. Wolfenstein, The New Order, was a better looking game, but the PC version had issues while the PS4 version did not always look the best. We now have DOOM, which runs on the latest ID engine, and finally, the developers fixed all the problems, and the game runs superbly. A fast and beautiful game of 1080P / constant 60FPS with enemies filling the screen almost all the time. All of the enemies are detailed to the activities monstrous teeth, and the effects are topnotch. From the Hell Knight’s ground slam to the Revenant’s rocket launchers it is all there in full glory to marvel at and jump away from them.
The level design is a bit of a weak spot for DOOM while the MARS sections are great, the Hell represented in DOOM is a bit of a miss for me. It is visually boring, and while it is gorgeous to look out, the color scheme and the scenery is mediocre. Unfortunately it is no Hellraiser’s vision of Hell, but hopefully, in the future, we’ll see more exciting vistas of Hell.
The music in this game is perfect for the combat and is one of my favorite soundtracks of the year. Mick Gordon created the soundtrack, the very same composer who also created Wolfenstein New Order’s music. The soundtrack is a mix between electronic and heavy metal, and the original game’s first level’s song was also remade for DOOM. The music is fantastic, and it pumps the player full of adrenaline when the fight is occurring in the depths of Hell against demons.
Snappy and multiplayer
Besides the lovely campaign which takes us to Hell and back, we have two other game modes available to us. The first is multiplayer which has a few weird choices. It has load outs, and leveling up to unlock new weapons, plus skills. It feels disjointed especially after the superb Single-Player experience ID has given us. Unfortunately, the multiplayer was outsourced to Certain Affinity the developer who had a hand in the disastrous HALO: MCC. The multiplayer is average in DOOM, and tries a bit too much to mimick other games, but here it does not work out too well.
SnapMAP is another mode that was marketed by ID as a great level editor. It is a good level editor. However, it still feels limited. Still it allows the players to create a lot of interesting scenarios, and even CO-OP maps. It is not.WAD epicness but this feature should carry the game, and the players for a long time.
Control we have a problem
So while the multiplayer was okay, and the campaign was stellar, we need to talk about Doom’s biggest problem. That it is primarily a PC shooter in the end, as the game is so fast on higher difficulties it becomes nerve-wracking to play. I played on Nightmare, and playing it on a controller is not the best fun I had with a game. Turning can be slow, and unlike most modern games, where you sit in a corner, and pop off a few shots is not going to work. Which is on one hand great, as it forces the player to move, but on the other hand, the console controller really shows the glaring problems of why most modern FPS games are not as fast as they used to be, or difficult.
There is only …RIP AND TEAR
Is the new DOOM worth it for the PlayStation 4? Absolutely! There a couple of minor problem with the game, but nothing too substantial to lower the overall experience. It also shows that fast paced FPS games, with the lack of tutorials and story can still be made, and also be successful. Now where is that Bulletstorm 2 or Painkiller 2 people!?
+ Action is non-stop fun
+ Graphics are superb
+ Fast paced combat…
– …that is sometimes horrible due to the controller
– Multiplayer is not that great
– Ends pretty abruptly
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Id Software
Genre: First-person Shooter
Release date: May 13, 2016