“Developed by id software, the studio that pioneered the first-person shooter genre and created multiplayer Deathmatch, DOOMreturns as a brutally fun and challenging modern-day shooter experience. Relentless demons, impossibly destructive guns, and fast, fluid movement provide the foundation for intense, first-person combat – whether you’re obliterating demon hordes through the depths of Hell in the single-player campaign, or competing against your friends in numerous multiplayer modes. Expand your gameplay experience using DOOM SnapMap game editor to easily create, play, and share your content with the world.”
– The official Bethesda blog (www.bethsoft.com/en-gb/games/doom)
– It’s a classic re-invented –
Even though the original DOOM wasn’t the first FPS that was released, it is one of the most significant – it was actually my first foray into the genre and I have particularly fond memories of blasting away the spawn of hell in the 1993 classic. It kept things simple with clever level design, great weapons and plenty of grotesque demons to take down. Perfect.
Whilst FPS titles have evolved over the years with an increased focus on storytelling and multiplayer, DOOM instead takes the mechanics that made the original such a blast to play and re-invents it to cater for both fans of the original games as well as newcomers to the series. The clever level design, great weapons and grotesque demons remain, but id Software have done a great job of making everything feel fresh whilst sticking to the series’ old-school shooting heritage.
There’s no iron-sight, sprinting, regenerating health or even reloading- of weapons – you didn’t need those in the original so you won’t need them here. That’s not to say that DOOM isn’t afraid to offer modern gameplay mechanics though, with plenty of character and weapon upgrades on offer. You’ll be improving your health, shield and ammunition capacity whilst also beefing up your weapons with sweet new upgrades. Want to add some explosive rounds to series’ classic shotgun? Do it. Most weapons in the game have two available upgrades that’ll offer all new ways to blast your foes to pieces. Literal pieces – the blood and gore levels of the game are insane, but hey, would you expect anything different from DOOM?
The level design feels very old-school too with a decent mix of large open landscapes and claustrophobic hallways. Whilst levels don’t offer the same maze-like intricacies from the original DOOM games, they also aren’t limited to one route. You’ll be shooting foes from above, shooting from below, shooting from a small little tunnel you’ve found hidden away – seriously, nearly every shoot-out in the game had a ton of different ways to approach it. Series veterans will be glad to know secrets make a return too, offering hidden away areas that either feature some powerful weapon or perhaps a neat little Easter egg that give’s a nod to the series’ history as well as other video games.
– The enjoyable storytelling –
There’s always been a story in the DOOM games, but it’s never been something that jumps out in your face. It’s justified the killing and explained why there are hordes of demons on the loose, but it’s never tried to engross you with a rich narrative in the same way that titles like Half-Life do.
DOOM changes that up a little. Whilst it doesn’t feature a long-winded intro describing what’s going on (in fact, you’re blasting enemies to pieces within the first few minutes of playing the game) nor is it plastered with cutscenes that take you away from the shooting, there’s enough character interaction and story progression on offer that’ll actually keep you interested in what’s going on behind the scenes in the game.
Whilst it’s not going to win any awards for its story, DOOM does offer plenty of twists and turns that’ll at least keep you engaged in the narrative. It’s as absurd as it is macabre at times, but it’s a very DOOM-like quality that really complimented the game’s roughly ten hour campaign.
– Killing has never felt so good –
DOOM has always featured awesome means of killing your foes, with weapons such as the BFG and series trademark shotgun providing ample means of taking down Hell’s demons. Fans of the series will be glad to know the classic weapons are back and better than ever, though there’s still room for a few new additions to the armoury too.
Weapons come along in the campaign at a decent pace, offering a variety of intricate ways of taking out your foes. As you encounter different demons you’ll start to find that some weapons are better than others for taking them out too, with each tool in your possession offering their own pros and cons. Enemies getting close and personal? It’s the shotgun every time. Taking them out from a distance? Maybe the rocket launcher would work. Want to just blast your enemy to pieces? Bring out the BFG…
One of my favourite weapons to use is the series’ classic chainsaw. Whilst a melee weapon, it worked in the unusual way that it can take out almost any enemy in-game with one hit provided it had sufficient ammo. Different enemies required different ammo counts, but it was certainly an effective means of taking out a disruptive foe quickly. Plus, you literally slice them in half right in front of your eyes. It’s gloriously disgusting but it sure looks impressive.
DOOM does provide a new way of taking down enemies too in the form of the ‘Glory Kills’. These special melee attacks allow you to one-hit kill a weakened enemy in a spectacular way, be it by smashing their skull apart or by beating them to death with their own arm that you’d just decapitated from their body. Glory Kills look great in-game, plus each time you perform one you get a decent health bonus – something that you’ll need a lot of during the game.
Enemies are just as dangerous as you and come equipped with their own devastating weaponry that can take you out with ease. Whilst I’ve often neglected the danger of a standard grunt in a FPS, you’d be surprised at how quickly enemies can take you out when they work together. It’s not that DOOM is a particularly hard game (unless you’re taking on ‘Nightmare’ difficulty of course…), it’s more a case of its enemies being smart and easily overwhelming you if you’re not quick enough to take them out first.
– The fantastic visuals –
I was incredibly impressed with the visuals of DOOM from the moment I started the game right until the very end – I’ve never seen something so horrifying look so damn good. Corpses litter each nook and cranny, blood seems to be splattered everywhere and satanic ruins really set up the Hell-like vibes. You actually end up venturing through Hell yourself and it looks bloody fantastic.
The game’s countless enemies look impressive too. Plenty of classic DOOM demons return and they look better than ever – the Cacodemon and Cyberdemon look utterly insane with their new horrifying look. Whilst the demons of DOOM have always been gross, there’s something a lot more terrifying about them with their fresh, slick designs. The game is always seems to be introducing new foes, keeping everything varied throughout the campaign. Bosses are a spectacle too, providing epic showdowns with gruesome beasts that want nothing but to bring a painful end to the DOOM-Guy.
The game runs in an impressive 1080p and consistent 60fps across all platforms, providing a smooth and impressive experience throughout.
– Enjoyable multiplayer –
I’ve seen plenty of criticism for DOOM’s multiplayer modes, but I found they offered plenty of variety and a consistently enjoyable experience. Whilst it’s followed titles like Call Of Duty with its load-outs and levelling up system, it also feels very much it’s own with the ‘Demon Runes’ that allow you to take on the role of one of the game’s horrific Demons and (literally) unleash hell upon your fellow gamers. Whenever a Demon Rune was available it quickly became a race between every player in the match to reach it – if you get there first you can expect your kill-count to see a drastic improvement.
There are six different modes on offer including the likes of Team Deathmatch, Domination, Freeze Tag and Soul Harvest. Each mode manages to feel completely different from the rest, providing a unique experience that’ll offer exactly what you want from the multiplayer. Want to simply kill tons of enemies? Go for Team Deathmatch. Want to work towards capturing and defending areas? Go for Domination. Want something more creative and unique? Play Freeze Tag, the mode that tasks you with freezing your enemies and unthawing your team mates in order to survive. Whatever mode you play, you’re guaranteed to have fun.
You can customise your multiplayer character too with plenty of different armour and colour varieties on offer. You’ll have to unlock some of these through progression in multiplayer along with the multiple weapons on offer.
However you play it, multiplayer is consistently fun. There are nine maps on offer and each one is well designed and looks great. There isn’t a huge variety in how they actually feel to play across, but they’re ideal battlegrounds for the epic shootouts you’re going to have online.
– Snapmap offers endless creative possibilities –
Whilst we’ve seen a lot of games allow you to create and share your own content, DOOM’s level creation suite ‘Snapmap’ really ups the ante by not only allowing you to create and share your own levels but also customise every tiny aspect of them.
The freedom you’re granted is fantastic – you can make any style of level, be it a Horde style stage that features waves of enemies hunting you down or even a finely crafted story driven mission similar to those you’ll play through the main campaign. You can modify everything including the AI of the enemies, the lighting, mission objectives – the only thing restricting you is your own imagination.
Snapmap is surprisingly easy to use too. The UI is clean with everything working on a drag-and-drop basis, whilst there are also plenty of tutorials that show you exactly how everything functions. It won’t take you too long to build your own fully functioning, demon plagued DOOM level…
Perhaps most exciting though is what OTHER people might make. I’ve always enjoyed venturing through the catalogue of user-created levels offered in titles like Mario Maker and Little Big Planet, so the prospect of playing through the creative ingenuity of what other players have provided for DOOM excites me. id Software have done a fine job creating one of the best shooters I’ve played in a long time so I’m excited to see what other gamers can create to better the experience.
– Nothing! –
id Software have brought back their most beloved franchise and they’ve done it in style, with DOOM not only being a credit to the series but also one of the best shooters I’ve ever played. It manages to maintain its heritage by keeping the old-school vibes, yet it still feels slick and refreshing – there really is something here for everyone. Want a killer campaign to blast through? You’ve got it. Want some slick multiplayer that’ll hook you in for hours? It’s here. Want to be able to create your own epic DOOM levels that you can play with your friends? Go for it. DOOM has it all and you’ll have a blast as you shoot hordes upon hordes of demons to pieces. DOOM is back and it’s better than ever…
Developer: id Software (www.idsoftware.com)
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks (www.bethesda.net)
Release Date: 13/05/2016
Format(s): Xbox One (Reviewed), Playstation 4, PC