Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Developer: id Software
Official Site: www.doom.com
Release Date: 5-13-16
Where to Buy: Retail Stores, PSN, Xbox Live, PC
It has been over 10 years since the last new entry in the popular first-person shooter series Doom (not including the Doom 3 re-release). The game was in development hell, which its a good thing it fought its way out. Though fun, the new entry isn’t without its flaws. Not everyone will like it while hardcore fans of the original (like myself) will enjoy it.
Doom’s story is pretty straightforward. You wake up, playing as a marine that was entombed by the demons centuries earlier (it is hinted you are the original Doom Guy). Don’t expect much story building in the cinematic form that Bethesda and id Software are known for with the likes of Rage or Fallout. Most of the background is told through collectible data logs. They are interesting to read and will make things a bit difficult as to what is going on without reading them. This could be a problem for those who don’t want to go ahead and collect everything.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the story isn’t anything special. Unlike the reboot of another id Software game, Wolfenstein, Doom lacks character. The protagonist is silent and the other characters either only appear once or only through voice comm. It feels lazy, considering the previous game, Doom 3, had a lot of story. When the game ended, I was surprised, because I thought there was going to be a lot more, considering you confront a character you have been interacting with from the start of the game. It is things like that, that will be sure to frustrate people, like myself.
Speaking of Doom 3, this game isn’t anything like it. If you only played Doom 3 and were thinking you are going to be playing a horror game, you will be extremely disappointed. Doom is an action game through and through, just like the original PC games. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at times, I felt a longing for the horror elements of what I consider being one of the best original Xbox games.
The meat of Doom lies in its gameplay. From the get go, you are thrown into the fray. There isn’t an opening cutscene. You just get up and kill things. This is what Doom was back on the PC in the 90s and this game embraces that. It is moving from one action piece to another. Whether you wake up shooting zombies in a hospital room or having an all out brawl with demons on the surface of Mars not a few minutes later. There really isn’t any room to breathe except between missions.
The non-stop action though isn’t really a bad thing. It makes up for the lack of story. Doom has always been about the action. And the guns. There is a nice variety of guns tailoring to each player. Unlike previous games though, the chainsaw and the BFG9000 aren’t considered main weapons. The chainsaw ammo is rare and depending on the enemy you use it on, it could use up little or all of the ammo. When chainsawing an imp for example, you get the benefits of using the chainsaw while only using one ammo compared to using all the ammo when using it on a Baron of Hell. It is wise to use it as a last resort so you can save up on ammo for bigger fights. The BFG900 is a great gun to use but like previous entries, the ammo is scarce. This is a good thing so you don’t become overpowered, thus challenging you. That longing though to spam the chainsaw like you could do in Doom 3 will be a big factor for some of the players.
Gameplay is pretty solid overall. Each level is made of mini arenas you have to empty before moving on while everything in between is to get collectibles, ammo, and to take a breather. Some fights are easy while some are harder, even giving a challenge on the easiest difficulty. Each level also comes with challenges, giving some replayability. These challenges award you points that you can use to level up. Despite the challenges, I found that in some moments, the non-stop action was hurting the game. With some moments of basic platforming then straight to some more action, it felt inconsistent as a whole.
The progression system in the single player campaign is simple. Weapons, your armor, health, etc. each has their own way of leveling up. There are also runes you can gather (and level up) by completing certain challenges that carry over in the game between playthroughs. The trial runes don’t really add much to the gameplay, at least anything that is noticeable. They are just a side distraction that adds some fun to the game like quicker brutal glory kills. If there were more to the upgrading, progression system, the game might have been a bit better. Some like things simple, but at the same time, it would have been nice to have nicer if there was more depth to it like you were working on something bigger than just your typical more damage boost.
The gameplay though does get repetitive towards the end. Boss fights are cliché’, with only three of them that aren’t too special. It felt like the boss fights were more for fan service (no spoilers) than anything else, while not making sense in the larger scope of things.
The whole game seems to be fan service while setting up a sequel. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it does hurt the game a bit in the pacing. It took me roughly 10 hours to get through the game on the easiest difficulty (while I collected everything). The length is part of the reason why it does get repetitive. At one point I was just rushing through some areas because it was like the previous four fights I took part in. Games really shouldn’t make you feel that way. Compared to Wolfenstein, you feel like there is not anything at stake.
Adding some more replayability to the game, besides the challenges, is the difficulty choices. Ultra Nightmare, is Nightmare difficulty, but with permadeath. It’ll be interesting to see how players, particularly speedrunners, tackle this mode being that even the developers can’t beat it. I kept finding myself going back to try to get farther in Ultra-Nightmare mode everytime I died. It is a nice feature that the game has a marker of how far you progressed your last playthrough.
Multiplayer also makes a return from previous games. Fans of the original games will feel quite at home. Unfortunately, the progression system is pretty basic, even for a Doom game. For example, you can purchase guns, but they are limited to the ones you get in the single-player, with certain ones being overpowered. Overpowering players and balancing seem to be an issue that hopefully will be fixed.
In one instance, I just spammed using the double barrel shotgun because when using the rocket launcher and plasma rifle weren’t doing anything. It was frustrating. Multiplayer would be more fun if balancing wasn’t an issue. Server wise, there wasn’t an issue of dropping out of game or lagging. That makes up for balancing depending on the situation.
In addition to multiplayer, a feature called SnapMap makes a debut. Think Halo’s forge mode. You can create different levels whether it is for multiplayer, survival based co-op, or single player levels. The customization for the SnapMap mode was a lot more interesting than the basic multiplayer maps. I found I spent most of my time in SnapMap, making challenges for other players to tackle.
The interesting thing to see is recreations of older Doom maps in SnapMap. Some people have gone as far as making classic Doom 1-2 levels, bringing in a nostalgic component as well. You can spend hours in playing SnapMap, more so than multiplayer. I’m curious to see what they do in the future with it. Hopefully, it becomes a mainstay.
When it comes to the graphics there was some minor clipping in some instances in Doom but no frame rate drops that were noticeable. Enemies will occasionally fall through the floor, making it hard for you to progress the area because of the lockdown. It can be frustrating to have to restart a checkpoint, which fortunately are kind to players on the easier difficulties. Fan will also have much to like in the soundtrack department. Heavy metal makes a return and there are some throwbacks to the original soundtracks. The ending credits, just for the soundtrack alone, is worth a watch.
Overall Doom is a decent game. Hardcore fans will enjoy this game (I know I did), but for some, it may not be their cup of tea. If it weren’t for some of the fan service or the SnapMap mode, it might not be worth the $60.
Are you a fan od Doom? Have you been playing it? Let us know your comments below!
- Gameplay: Fun for the fans, some newcomers, but repetitive.
- Graphics: Nothing special, decent graphics with minor clipping.
- Sound: Silent protagonist, with OK voice acting for side characters. Has an awesome soundtrack.
- Presentation: A decent start for the reboot of a popular FPS franchise.
- Story had tons of fan service
- Awesome soundtrack
- Guns gun guns
- Multiplayer balancing
- Repetitive gameplay
- Lack of story