Doom (1993) is one of the most important video games of all time, spurring on generations upon generations of first person shooters. After a series of successful sequels, Doom is finally coming to the modern era of gaming twelve years later. Over the past weekend, both myself and Chris George got some hands-on experience in the Doom Closed Beta on Xbox One. The beta itself offered two different maps and game modes that were both tested and played extensively. Players were given a moderate roster of weapons ranging from an ultra-powerful double barrel shotgun to a laser sniper rifle. Below are our thoughts on the Doom multiplayer beta:
The Good: I haven’t played a face paced arena shooter in some time so I had a ball getting a feel for it again.There’s no sprint button here and the combat is face paced. Health and power-ups are scattered throughout the map so there’s no hiding to regenerate your health here. If you’re wounded, then you better be hauling your butt around the map to find some health. You can also grab a power up, which randomly spawns on the map that turns you into a demon and allows you to lay waste to pretty much anyone in your path. You’ll have one minute to run around as the demon but you can be killed. If you’re killed before the time limit is over the enemy can use that power up for the remaining time. Customization is also pretty nifty. A variety or armor pieces, colors, and decals can be unlocked to create your own unique looking weapons and armor. There are also taunts…like the “Carlton” dance from Destiny. Executions are also a nice addition to the game. Find an opponent low on health and a melee will turn into one of several different executions.
The Bad: Weapon load outs feel almost useless with many guns seemingly doing minimal damage. Eventually, all I ended up using was a Super Shotgun and the Rocket Launcher because it seemed pointless to use anything else. Going up against an opponent with a heavy machine gun I was only doing about 8 damage per shot. A direct hit from a rocket launcher won’t kill an opponent who has full health either. Little numbers pop out of your opponents as you hit them indicating damage dealt. Hitting someone in the leg with a rocket and only doing 30 damage was frustrating. The weapons are also available to everyone from the start. While you can alter the load outs I feel like I’m more partial to a face paced arena shooter where a variety of more powerful weapons are placed around the map. While I do like the demon power up, you have virtually no chance going up against it unless you have the gauss cannon which only spawns every two minutes or so.
The Good: Doom’s multiplayer feels like a melting pot of all other previous shooters, offering an interesting mix of both new and old design choices. It’s chaotic, frantic, and bloody in all of the best ways; as the gun battles will have you firing rockets wildly at one another in a mad dash to try and turn your opponent into little space marine chunks. Movement and traversing the levels feels smooth and agile, offering your character some impressive momentum that really sets a fast pace for the matches. Weapons are varied enough that they have all have drawbacks to the supreme power that they offer. The Vortex Rifle forces the player to zoom in and charge your shots if you want them to do any serious damage. The removal of healing over time for having to go obtain armor/medical pick-ups adds to the kinetic nature of the multiplayer. To many this may seem like an archaic choice, but it works well with the speed that the PvP sets. Where the new school comes into play is the ability to not only customize the taunts, color, and armor of your marine; along with setting custom load outs for your weapons. It’s a nice balance that doesn’t feel as if it’s taking away any of the retro feel of the arena-style multiplayer.
The Bad: Sadly not everything worked in the beta, as the ability to become an all-powerful demon didn’t feel fully thought out. Listen, while turning into a rocket firing Revenant is a blast, you basically become all powerful in this mode. If you land your rockets anywhere near an enemy they will instantly die, which doesn’t make the demon easily disposed of. However, if you are successful in killing the demon player before his timer expires, you can then grab the power up and become him. Problem is, you only get the remainder of what was on his time left, so it could just be a few seconds. I like the demon, but without the full roster of weapons unlocked it’s hard to determine if this is a balanced design choice. Most matches were simply determined by who got a hold of the demon the most, as players can rack up quite a hefty kill streak with it. The maps shown were also underwhelming, as they didn’t offer anything new. Sure, the design itself was fine, but they lacked the ability to standout. Each map felt too generic in layout and feel that none of them were terribly memorable. Though I look forward to the return of old school online shooting, I hope that the game balances out better with everything fully available. I do have to admit, Doom is a bloody good time!
What did you think of the Doom multiplayer beta? Anything you like or dislike? Sound off below!
A recent graduate of Arcadia University, Collin MacGregor is a freelance video editor and writer. He covers video games, television, and film for The Nerd Stash. Collin currently is the head film/television reviewer for the site.