I’ve honestly been more hyped for Doom than any other game and normally that means a huge disappointment when a game releases. Yet Doom is everything I could ask for with a thrilling campaign, a multiplayer that isn’t filled with gimmicks, and a snap-map mode to increase the longevity of play. Overall Doom blends everything we remember about the classics with new modern twists to become what is essentially one of the best FPS titles released in years. Welcome to hell, it’s glorious!
For anyone that loves Doom you know that the series is more than just a game. You could say Doom is what brought us Call of Duty or Halo, but older gamers will tell you of their long list of stories involving Doom 1 or Doom 2, which is the greatest part. Doom spawned a whole network of fans that create levels and mods on their own. (Or they port Doom to anything with a screen attached to it.) This network has kept Doom relevant for over a decade and it was something ID Software missed with Doom 3, but something they implemented all throughout Doom.
Single player is everything you’d expect from Doom. A story isn’t thrown in your face and your hand isn’t held as you run through arena based levels with an ever evolving strategy. Instead you ARE the experience. Doom Guy is essentially you, and as you play the game you will unlock more of the story based on how you explore or accomplish tasks. Just like the character you are slowly figuring things out based on your own experience. This made exploring each level extremely fun because you never knew what you might find.
The game jumps right into things with the very first scene having Doom Guy smash a monsters head into his table, forcing it to splatter everywhere. Overall this is just a tease of the overall gore you are about to experience. Each level is built in zones that are triggered in different ways. Each zone is an arena set up for you to run around, jump, and blast away enemies. The biggest perk is of course not simply blasting enemies with guns, but shooting them enough to allow you to run up and melee them to death. The glory kills in Doom are repetitive and yet never get old. There is a feeling of accomplishment that is so gratifying when you rip a monsters limb off and feed it to them before they explode! This is so great when you enter an arena that is troublesome, but you finally beat it and the last kill is nothing but glory. I do wish there were maybe more glory kills, or different ways to trigger them, but it is still ever so satisfying.
I never had an issues with melee combat and I was having a ton of fun taking out entire groups of enemies by jumping swiftly to each one. Glory kills find a way to make it feel like you are making combos by allowing you to take a few pop shots, melee one guy, then blast another. A sense of strategy is ever evolving with each arena making you think on your feet a lot and forcing you to second guess decisions. Another aspect of glory kills is that this is how you pick up health and ammo, so you need to plan accordingly, especially on harder difficulties. The game also doesn’t shy away from a chainsaw by throwing it at you early on, but even that has special perks and a strategy to be had because it is very limited, and yet so rewarding.
In fact every gun in the game feels very unique and every player will have their favorite gun based on their style. I personally love the standard shotgun because it was easy to figure out where to shoot enemies and have them held back a bit, giving me time to develop a strategy. Often time I will use multiple weapons to take out some enemies and moving between them couldn’t be easy enough. The game of course brings back the super shotgun though, which is a fan favorite of past titles, but id Software for some reason made this the most OP gun in the history of FPS. I personally dislike it because of how overpowered it is and how easy it makes the game feel. We will talk about multiplayer in a second, but even in online environment it isn’t needed. I often see full teams of players running around with the super shotgun and it totally ruins the fun.
That being said every gun will either be handed to you or, much like classic titles, you can find them early by searching for secrets. While Doom does everything it can to invoke nostalgia it was kind of nice not having to start over with a hand gun every time I died. (Though even the hand gun can be cool to use!) Doom also wouldn’t be complete without the use of the BFG which is a gun that basically obliterates everything in view. This gun doesn’t take up a weapon slot though and is instead utilized like a perk by recharging after each burst. It’s the friggin BFG and it does exactly what we expected, and it’s glorious!
Every gun can then be upgraded in various ways. You can find secrets to add upgrades, or you can use upgrade points to unlock new equipment. This means that certain guns can have explosive damage, while others can have scopes or bullet damage upgrades. Each gun is unique in the upgrade department and you will want to use these points on the weapons you are using the most.
As you progress not only are you getting strong, but so are the enemies. The further along you go, the harder and bigger the enemies seem to get. Just like the classic titles you will be introduced to new enemies that have different approaches to taking them out, and a majority of the monsters look exactly like a modern day rendition of the past! I loved every encounter and I even found myself saying “what the hell is that!” when something big and new came after me. The game doesn’t really rely on horror tactics, but there are times when you are limited in health and a big guy really scares the crap out of you because you need to turn away and run! Another nice perk is the divide between grunts and soldiers. Soldier demons are actually one of the tougher enemies in the game and are not simple enemies like every other game. It’s a very simple, yet great change which dramatically changes the game environment. You can really feel how much of an impact it is when you try to play “classic maps” filled with them.
Visually the game is beautiful in every way you could imagine. The levels are demonic and amazing looking, the characters intrigue nostalgia, and you really feel like you enter hell vs a UAC base. That being said I wish the sound design was just as good as the visuals. Personally I think there are a lot of flaws that are simply due to the sound. Enemies don’t really sound scary, and there are areas where I wish there was music playing when there wasn’t. I think the metal soundtrack really puts the experience over the edge, but that’s about as far as sound design went. Everything else is too simplistic to be happy with and doesn’t live up to par with the rest of the game. There are some quirky moments where sounds from the older games pop up, but they are so random.
An interesting example is that in the old games when you were getting hit you would see your avatar head in your overlay begin to bleed and make quenching faces while you character would scream in pain. In the new game you don’t have that overlay and you hardly feel feedback when getting hit. Your character makes almost no sound, and dying enemies don’t really sound like they are in agony either. It’s a slight oversight by the team in my opinion.
Heading In Multiplayer
I personally love the multiplayer because it is a bare bones multiplayer and doesn’t throw a bunch of random perks in your face. Multiplayer is skill based, gun to gun combat. If you have the better moves, you most likely win the battles. The only real perk the multiplayer has is the demon runes allowing one player at a time to transform into a demon and tally up a bunch of free kills before being taken out. Based on complaints about recent shooters I don’t see how this is bad at all. The game is a pure arena shooter and is a lot of fun!
The only real complaint I have about the online environment is the shotgun. People constantly complained about the super shotgun during every beta phrase and I guess id Software never got the hint. The gun is simply overpower and too easy to gain kills with. A simple blast from the gun and a melee will get you kills without the person even noticing you. They not only avoided addressing this, but they went and made matters worse by tossing in the combat shotgun which is even more overpowered and easy to use. This again brings up my complaint about sound design. You really have to pay attention to screen indicators because your character hardly makes any sound when getting hit. Also other weapons are hard to hear when opponents are firing them. You would assume a shotgun blast going off behind your back would be loud, but it isn’t. You simply see the screen turn read, then a second later you are being melee’d or being shot by another person with a shotgun….
The gun is so overpowered that you could blast a guy with a rocket 3 times directly and hardly any damage is done. Two blasts from a shotgun and you are dead. Another combo move is a blast from a shotgun followed by melee for easy kills because a shotgun blast knocks you down far enough to be glory killed. The shotgun needs a really bad nerf or needs to simply be taken out of the loadout screen all together. Honestly the shotgun is the most frustrating part of the entire game because people online are constantly spamming it at every turn…. It takes no skill to use so it’s why people turn to it. I really hope they address it, this isn’t Gears of War. (Hopefully)
Other than that I found the game to be really balanced elsewhere. Other guns are extremely fun to use and give both the attacker and defender enough time to react and fight. There is no radar, there isn’t a UAV to be called in, and there isn’t a way to gain easy kills. Its gun to gun combat and I love it. It’s challenging enough to be fun. The game can be best described as a blend of Unreal Tournament and Quake Arena. The game has a pace and style similar to Unreal, but an approach like Quake without the speed.
As for perks you do unlock them, but they don’t really give you a combat edge in most instances. You might gain a little bit of extra armor, but that’s it. Other perks may include highlighting your foe, or seeing the other team for 5 seconds, but it’s a quick power boost and that’s it. You still need to utilize the perk to win battles and it won’t give you an edge in that department.
I do wish there were maybe a few more game modes involved and some more variation in maps. One game mode I’d love is a true arena based one where weapons are spawned within the arena and people have to run to pick them up. I don’t mind the load out system because it means everyone is on equal ground, but once in a while diving into an arena would be fun too. The maps also feel repetitive at times and there doesn’t seem like a huge assortment at the moment. Game modes are varied, but I’m shocked that there isn’t a pure death match mode.
Which brings me to the major issue the game has, a season pass. To me this is the only major mistake the game made! A season pass will offer future demons and maps, dividing the multiplayer environment which will ultimately hurt it in the long run….
Movement in both single player and multiplayer is brilliant as you can jump to ledges and even somewhat platform mid battle. This offers many ways to escape certain situation, or jump into battle in a new way. The game also places health and ammo across maps in both modes, meaning you need to plan accordingly or even run from battle if you are under prepared.
Whew, you would think that’s it…
Doom keeps on giving when you open the third portion of the game in Snap-Map. This new mode follows the trend of modding Doom in any way you want. This is much like the fan created WAD files that continue to be made to this day. That means you can make new levels, games, and tools for the game for fans to enjoy. It is a really extensive tool, yet has limits set. I don’t think we will be seeing a “brutal doom” type of deal being made with snap map any time soon.
Instead the tool allows you to snap together pre-made objects and levels together to create an experience. On the first day there were multiple people that were attempting to recreate classic doom maps, but you could tell there were certain things missing to truly offer that experience. Perhaps as the community grows, id will throw in more tools to expand that experience.
The cool thing is that while the tool is simplistic, there are so many things you can do. You can tweak pretty much anything as long as it remains Doom approach, and you can even through in classic items like keys and barrels to blow up. At this point I already played a really epic Doom level, played music, and even “counted to 10” perfectly! I keep finding cool things to do and everything is so easy to change to make things even more fun.
You can also take other player made maps and tweak them to your liking. You can make things more or less linear, you can add to it, or subtract. Everything is so easy to change and I can see some truly great stuff coming when players have a bit more time in the environment.
Overall I will say that Doom competes with the likes of Rainbow Six Siege to be the best FPS we have in years. If you like arena shooters without too much gimmicks going on, this game is amazing. The single player is so great that I wish it never ended (ultra nightmare mode here I come!) and it played off nostalgia perfectly! The game blends the past with a modern era of gaming amazingly well and snap map will keep it around for some time.
Great fluent gameplay
Glory kills never get old
Gun-to-gun combat online
Nostalgia at its finest!
Sound Design could be better.
Shotguns totally ruin multiplayer.