Doom is a major franchise in the world of gaming. You could say that if Doom didn’t gain as much popularity as it did you wouldn’t have games like Battlefield or Call of Duty today, so when they plan to reboot an important franchise you know they better do a good job with it. It seems that ID are doing a fantastic job so far!
Many of us have been excited for the new Doom for many years now. Some might remember when it was originally intended to be the now scrapped Doom 4. Instead what we are getting is a total reboot in simply “Doom.” The game was announced many years ago, it was shown off privately at Quake Con (And those of us streaming online were furious when the feeds were cut), and most of us bought Wolfenstein: The New Order simply to play the beta. Well Wolfenstein was fantastic, but years later we finally got the beta we were promised and it was glorious!
We don’t know a whole lot about the single play other than small glimpses. Small glimpses that were brutal in the most positive of ways. The gameplay seems to be doing a good job of returning to the roots, but also staying modern. There are many approaches to every situation in single player, and everything we loved about Doom has this new modern style to it. This is exactly the feeling I got when playing the multiplayer stages of the online testing. Finally with the public (yet private) beta the NDA was ripped off and we can open our mouths to tell you how awesome the game truly is! (At least what we played so far.)
Arena shooters are back, and they came back with big f---ing guns that are extremely fun to use. Doom doesn’t push things too far in any regards and instead finds a nice mix between controls and layouts. For example older titles going online are more for dedicated hardcore fans. The pacing is super-fast, things happen too quickly, and overall it just isn’t fun for the casual new audiences. You could even say why some smaller arena shooters haven’t caught on lately. The new Doom doesn’t do that. Instead pacing feels a bit more balanced with spurts of hectic mayhem, but also the ability to formulate a strategy with your team.
Aiming is godly, and movement is smooth as butter which makes Doom so fun and addicting. There are a lot of elements in Doom that other shooters explored lately too including a slight jet pack jump, wall climbing, and other movements to get around. I found that these features work flawlessly in the maps found within the beta, and I not once ever struggled to make any movement. I could jump between gaps, grab ledges, and grab objects midair on my first play through. Yet at the same time it wasn’t hard to shoot people either. Players are not flying all over the place or randomly teleporting all around you, instead you just need to be quick and realize where they are moving. It’s best to know your surroundings too in case you start to lose a battle, that way you can create a quick escape.
There is also an assortment of weapons. A shotgun makes a return for fans that loved it in past games, but honestly it was my most disliked weapon in the game. It was so easy to gain kills with it, and super hard to defend against. This meant almost every lobby I joined was 90 percent shot guns. I mean in this day in age do we really need shotguns online? Leave that to single player.
All the other weapons were insanely fun to use and easy to adapt to. Many guns hold a secondary fire that will give you an edge in certain environment. My favorite was shooting an orb that would explode on a surface, any player that walks on it would then take damage. If you got a direct hit though it would do insane amounts of damage. This was fun to utilize by shooting the orb into “sniper nests” where players would attempt to camp, two seconds later they were jumping out into our team’s fire. Other weapons all have their perks like a sniper rifle that can be charged for one-hit-kills, or a heavy assault rifle that allows you to utilize a scope.
The nice thing about Doom was how easy it was to jump in. You don’t have to worry about scoping enemies, instead hip firing is just fine. (Unless the weapon provided any additional perk for the scope) In fact many guns don’t provide the option anyways. The aspect I enjoy the most is that you don’t need to reload either. You can simply run to pick up ammo, or take down an entire team with all your ammo. The guns don’t hit clips or need to “recharge” after a burst, you simply just needed enough ammo. It creates a new dynamic of fun. Instead of dying because your clip ran out, you have a fighting chance.
I guess that is why I had so much fun with the beta. It was going back to old school routines. There are no gimmicky features to it, it’s a simplistic arena shooter at the core. You run around picking up health and armor that spawns around the map, then take down the enemies in fun ways. There is a pacing that can’t be matched by many games because it doesn’t need to be held back. While it felt easy, it was competitive. Very rarely did I finish in the top 3 on my team, yet in other games I’m constantly at the top. I found the even playing field for everyone made it very competitive to be the best.
Even with the simplistic nature you can watch as strategy was being developed by many players. There is a personal teleporter that takes the slot of your grenade, if wanted. By tossing it you will then teleport where it lands. This is great for escape routes, or even tossing it when you engage in battle. The enemy player then becomes disoriented and confused, giving you an advantage. Other players were using perks of other weapons to scare players or herd them into traps, it was neat watching it all develop.
Unlike most arena shooters the modes and maps we played did not provide on the field weapon spawns. Instead you pick a loadout before the match and run wild with that. There are special weapons or powerups that spawn over periods of time that are neat though. There is a BFG style gun that is one shot kills, and when you hit the mark the enemies literally obliterate into pieces. Other power ups include the orbs to better health/armor, or to deal massive amounts of damage with any weapon. If you die you drop the orbs or gun, giving the other team an advantage if they pick it up.
Another perk to online is the ability to become a demon. The demon icon will spawn at random points in the match, and when it does you need to run over to it before everyone else. Whoever gets it will then become a demon that shoots rockets and have better mobility. The bad news is that you can die as a demon and if you do then the enemy team has 10 seconds to pick up the rune. The rune would be locked from your team so you can’t pick it up until that timer expires. This creates many interesting aspects, but it becomes a fight or run situation. Your team can defend the rune and try to keep enemy players away, or give up and run away as they grab it. The game only allowed for one demon, but there is slot to unlock more in the final game so this will be interesting to see.
As for game modes. The beta offered your typical TDM, but what was really exciting was Warpath. In this mode a zone will follow a path around the map that your team needs to take control of. When you do, the zone will then float around the map on a designated path, the other team needs to find a way to take it and control it themselves. It works like domination in other games, but instead there is only one zone and it is constantly moving. It was fun escorting the zone and coming across different situations. As you learn the maps you start to learn where the zone will go next and prepare for it. For example if the zone is heading into a confined space, it might be a smart idea to break from the zone and head around to pick off waiting enemy players at the exit. Warpath worked perfectly to a point that most games I played were close in points, and zones were constantly changing hands.
It’s also worth noting that I spent a lot of time customizing my character and guns. It was simplistic, yet fun to come up with new designs. There were many people that recreated the classic “doom guy” with a beat up green look, but many others were more futuristic shiny soldiers.
Overall I’ve waited years to play this game and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I feel it could be a little faster, but I don’t want it to become too fast like past titles. I think the game offers a good mix of fun and skill for a huge audience to jump in, and I’m glad it kept arena shooting at its core. I just hope the single player missions are just as fun and swift as the online components we have played. I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on this game!