After 12 years since Doom 3, Doom has returned to fill your demon-slaying needs. In this stunning revival, the Union Aerospace Corporation’s research facility has been overwhelmed, by you guessed it, fierce demons. Obviously, you’re the lone space marine who has one task, to kill them all. Obviously Doom’s story isn’t going to win any rewards. It hasn’t hugely progressed since the original Doom and it serves its purpose nicely without getting in the way of the fast-paced and frantic gameplay. There aren’t a lot of cutscenes and missions are briefed in the loading screen, but once again, it isn’t an amazing story but it doesn’t really matter. It’s almost refreshing that a FPS game in this day and age can deliver such a simple story in such a concise manner, and it’s a wonderful callback to the old school shooters that eschewed story over solid gameplay.
Doom is incredibly stylish and visually appealing in a number of ways. The variety of the designs in the demons and weapons are incredible and really bring this game into 2016 perfectly. However, a lot of the environmental elements don’t look as anywhere as good as other games, but luckily this is made up in the sheer amount of gore and violence that will absolutely delight fans of Doom and the wider FPS genre. The game runs at a solid 60FPS which is incredibly important.Whilst the visuals are lacking in some areas, the soundtrack is absolutely perfect. It’s intense and really does well to build up the big moments in the game. I must recommend that you wear headphones whilst playing as it’s a genuine delight listening to the up-beat soundtrack whilst slaying demons.
The other thing I will say on the presentation front is that the game takes quite a long time to load in-between death. I’m talking about 15-20 seconds, which does take you out of the experience, and considering how often you will be dying, it would have been nice to have this sped up. Another major issue is that you literally have to basically quit in and out of the game in order to switch between single player, multiple and SnapMap. Whilst it isn’t a huge issue, it’s something that I personally haven’t seen in a game in many years.
I’ve never been the biggest Doom fan, and honestly didn’t have too many expectations coming into the game, but I was pleasantly surprised. This game isn’t for everyone, there isn’t a whole lot massive set pieces, cutscenes or narrative in general, but it makes up for this in sheer action-packed gameplay. You’re able to just shoot demons and be immersed in action from start to finish, without having to put the controller down to watch 10 minutes of cutscenes in between each fire-fight. The game requires you to move around constantly in order to avoid enemy attack.
You start out with your trusty pistol but it doesn’t take long before you acquire many of Doom’s signature weapons such as the double shotgun and chainsaw and this is where the game quickly picks up. The weapons in this game are a true joy to use. They all feel incredibly satisfying in different ways, and they’re cleverly introduced in order to tackle different demon’s weaknesses. You’re able to choose weapon mods through acquiring fields drones. An example of this is the explosion mod of the shotgun, which can then be further upgraded by killing demons/completing challenges. I was actually surprised how much the game opened up in terms of being able to really customise your arsenal with modifications and upgrades.Further to this, you’re also able to upgrade your Praetor Suit and protect yourself from things such as environmental damage and self harm, or you may want to open up more points of interest on your map. All of these upgrades are completely optional but definitely add a layer of fun to the single player, and allows for a lot of replayability.
The overall pacing of the single-player is really great. The introduction rate of new weapons and new enemies felt really good to me. Just as I felt that I was getting over a certain weapon, or had faced an enemy too many times to the point where a gory finisher was no longer satisfying, a new enemy or weapon would be introduced and reinvigorate my enjoyment for the game.It’s easy to forget that First Person Shooters used to provide a genuine challenge in their level design. Doom sticks with this method perfectly, and I genuinely found myself getting lost and having to think about which direction I had to head in. Whilst this was frustrating at times, I did appreciate that they didn’t take the hand-holding approach that many games tend to take these days. Its well worth exploring too, with a number of secrets and upgrades hidden in areas that you can genuinely miss if you take the straightest path.
SnapMap is a huge part of the new Doom game. It allows you to basically design your own levels with customised weapons and enemy placement. There is already a ton of great levels uploaded and I can really see myself spending a decent amount of time. It really is the Mario Maker for FPS. Doom is the perfect game for this, as it prides itself on being difficult, so the options are endless when it comes to creating extremely challenging levels.Multiplayer is the fast-paced arena-styled gameplay that you’d expect. You’ve got your classic arsenal of weapons as well as a number of power-ups and power weapons and it’s every bit as insane as the single-player mode. Team Deathmatch and Clan Arena will feel extremely familiar to FPS players and Doom players alike. Things get more interesting in modes like Soul Harvest in which you must collect souls of the enemies that you have taken down in order to score. It’s a serviceable multiplayer but it’s not nearly as good as the single player component, and having loadouts in a Doom game is just a pure sin. The movement feels more sluggish and slow paced, and outside of everyone having rocket launchers it doesn’t feel too satisfying. There are some shining moments but the two development teams really shows here, as the multiplayer is quite drastically different to single player.
Whilst the multiplayer is enjoyable enough, I do question its longevity due to the approach that Bethesda are taking with releasing a number of paid map packs over the coming months. I definitely think that there is some enjoyment to be had in the coming weeks, but I don’t know that its worth splashing out on the map packs, and I do question how long the game will remain populated in a very over saturated genre.
Doom is a really decent revival of a classic franchise. It doesn’t hide behind fancy cutscenes and narrative, and puts sheer gameplay first. The single player is genuinely fun from start to finish and it’s the type of game that I didn’t even realise that I wanted until now. It’ll make you feel all nostalgic in the way that it presents difficult enemies and open-levels.
The PS4 version of Doom was primarily tested for the purpose of this review