Remember the days when you just wanted to blast everything that moves in shooters? Well the DOOM series was a prime example of a classic that allows you to unload lead and rockets into every demon in hell. Well except for the last release DOOM 3, which moved towards a survival-horror aspect rather than it’s fast-paced predecessors. I enjoyed DOOM 3 in its own aspect but it didn’t feel like the originals and thankfully this 2016 reboot serves up what made DOOM so enjoyable.
Launching DOOM, the game doesn’t beat around the bush as within minutes, you’ll start skull bashing and basically shooting the heck out of demons coming at you. There’s no slow build-up to a story or character introduction – you’re basically thrown into the fray, given a weapon and the metal music starts pumping. It’s frantic and fast which even though a classic formula, is somewhat missing from today’s shooters. DOOM knows what it wants to be and sticks to that point with story pretty much coming second.
Technically, there’s not much to the story elements. Humans discovered a way to mine resources from the depths of hell (yep) and its pretty obvious things would get out of hand like they did. Talking about classics, DOOM shares similarities when it comes to the level design from older shooters. Each part of the levels serves as a killing room columned into another killing room when the player must kill everything before progressing. It’s a repetitive design but somewhat feels satisfying with the way each one is set up. DOOM will gradually introduce new weapons to the player as well as upping the difficulty with new enemies.
Another classic design is the lack of regenerating health and ammo meaning players will have to watch their health bars and pick up as much packs and drops along the way. While most modern shooters allow you to sit back and pick off enemies as your health regens, DOOM wants you to get close and personal to the action by introducing Glory Kills which helps add to the classic formula.
Glory Kills is probably the biggest highlight of DOOM and works well with bringing the players closer to the action. You can kill enemies the old fashion blows them into bits’ way with your rocket launcher but when a stunned or damaged enemy staggers around, the game will highlight a way to instant-melee kill them… brutally. These moves not only add to the lists of violent ways to kill enemies but also drops health allowing you to continue fighting without taking a pause from the battle to look around for health packs. This keeps the fast-paced momentum up for DOOM.
On the side, DOOM also allows you to customise your character and weapons. While character customisation allows you to add special abilities or buffers for the player such as limited self-damage etc. – the real and only fun customisations are the weapons. Each gun has two attachments that can be unlocked and further upgraded using points collected throughout the game. Want your shotgun to charge up and shoot a triple shot or want missiles flying out from your assault rifle? You can which helps with the demon cleansing.
The combination of fast gameplay and rapid kills, DOOM runs at a smooth 60 frames per-second on the consoles to keep up with the flow of the game. There are obvious sacrifices that have been made to the visual and details when you progress through the game. Things like texture pop-in and dynamic rendering of textures can easily be spotted. However, my preference for a shooter like this will always be frames over quality so it’s good to see the developers push that side of the game for its fluidity.
DOOM has two other game modes to dive into such as the multi-player and snap-map. Just like it’s single-player offering, the multiplayer is a fast arena style shooter where instant kills and insane out of nowhere kills are introduced. If you want that older style arena shooters where rockets fly – you’ve come to the right place. DOOM multiplayer has your usual game modes but also introduces the ability to become a demon, yes a demon by picking up a rune spawned on the map where you can turn the already haphazard gameplay to the next level.
Another segment included with DOOM is SnapMap which allows you to customise your own map for the game. It’s a simple drag-and-drop style system, where players can create their own arenas. There’s also lots of others things you can do and the community has already created some fun mini games to toy around in.
The only big downside to DOOM is the timing for loading screens. Between deaths, which is fairly common given the lack of a regen system is pretty long. It really cuts the momentum that the game’s trying to push but this is only apparent and possibly the limitation of the consoles. Testing it on PC, there was no load issues.
DOOM is a fairly straightforward shooter that doesn’t try to hide what it wants to be – ‘a no bs violent shooter with plenty of blood and metal’. It’s fun; stupid most of the time but with plenty of post single-player content such as multiplayer and SnapMap to keep it going – DOOM is a great package for those just wanting things to destroy absolutely everything that comes at you.
Developer: id Software
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
A copy of the game was purchased from retail. Reviewed on Xbox One and PC.