Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: id Software
The original DOOM was never a game that I owned, but a game that I played through various means. Generally that meant that DOOM got loaded onto a few PC’s in high school classrooms until a teacher caught on and had it deleted. Essentially I got to play a whole lot of E1M1 and E1M2, and that was about it. Also, my mother was convinced that games like DOOM would lead to some sort of household demonic infestation, so yeah, I couldn’t play much DOOM as a kid.
Despite having no strong feelings towards the original, new DOOM is still, hands down, one of the best first-person shooters I’ve played in years. The level maps are sprawling, filled with secrets, and feature tons of interesting enemy encounters and scenarios. The gunplay is fast and frantic, with a decent variety of weapons at your disposal, along with a host of upgrades and optional objectives to complete. Seriously, the single-player portion of DOOM is absolutely amazing. I’m really taken aback by how much I’ve enjoyed playing it, and how much I look forward to playing even more of it.
While the story side of DOOM might not be the most important thing in the world, I like that the developers and writers have allowed the game to tell the story pretty much through gameplay and optional audio logs and codex entries. You get enough of an idea of how messed up Mars is simply by playing, and you’re rarely taken out of the action to watch any sort of extended cutscene. Even the intro to the game is handled extremely well, wherein you wake up on a stone slab, surrounded by demons, and you’re immediately given a gun and allowed to start blasting away. The pacing throughout DOOM is generally non-stop action, with very few chances for you to catch your breath.
Combine the excellent gameplay with a really memorable, metal inspired soundtrack, and some visceral, gory visuals, and I think you’ll find DOOM does a solid job of paying homage to the original PC game. Most of the enemy design is based around classic foes from the original series, and even some stages are meant to harken back to classic maps. The weapon variety in DOOM is solid, with satisfying weapons to obliterate the hordes of Hell with, including the obvious throwbacks like the BFG (which by the way, totally lives up to its name here).
I’ve even found myself enjoying the multiplayer. I skipped out on the beta, so this is my first exposure to it, but overall I’ve had a lot of fun online. The game modes aren’t particularly inspired, the only one that truly stands out as unique is Freeze Tag, while other modes consist of standard FPS fare like Team Deathmatch, Soul Harvest (think Kill Confirmed), and Domination/Control style modes.
Like most modern FPS multiplayer games, there’s an experience and leveling up system, and a whole bunch of unlocks. I will praise the level of customization here though, there’s a lot of different armor pieces to unlock, colors and patterns, weapons, and other special items that make leveling up feel worthwhile. I also enjoy the random demon rune aspect to multiplayer. Occasionally a rune will spawn, and the first player to get the rune will turn themselves into one of four different demon types for a limited time. You can generally cause a whole lot of havoc, making it a pretty sought after control point when it spawns on any given map.
The final mode featured in DOOM is called SnapMap, which consists of a level editor. This allows for both single and multiplayer maps to be created, and features a whole host of tools to play around with. Thankfully, it also features some decent tutorials, and a number of community creations are also already available to try. I’m not much for level editors, but SnapMap seems easy enough to get working. However, it’ll entirely depend on whether the community gets behind it or not to see how worthwhile SnapMap ends up being.
I’m absolutely impressed with DOOM overall, especially when it comes to the single-player campaign. It’s such a blast to play, and I could easily see DOOM showing up on a number of top ten lists at the end of the year, just for the campaign alone. It’s certainly rocketed to the top of my own personal list, and I look forward to playing even more of the game over the next couple weeks.