It’s finally here folks, the new DOOM game is out and it is leaving everyone that plays it bloodied and awed. After DOOM 4 was scrapped and sent back to the drawing board and the new version was announced in 2013 all we had to go on is a few trailers and a fun but weakly received multiplayer beta. When Bethesda finally streamed some of the single player it fuelled the fire for how much people wanted this game, but there was still doubt in the back of some peoples mind, watching someone play it is different to playing it yourself. Well, after spending the weekend with the game I can honestly say, the single player is epic. It captures the spirit of DOOM, bringing it into the modern era while staying faithful to its predecessors. The campaign is lengthy and crammed with so many secrets and hidden paths that it needs to be replayed as soon as it’s finished. The multiplayer is sadly still in a similar state that it was during the beta, it is a fun arena shooter but the weapons let it down. Luckily the much anticipated Snapmap makes up for any other down falls. It allows people to make their own levels, whether it is for solo or multiplayer, and shows off just how versatile id Software’s new engine is.
The campaign is long, clocking in between thirteen and sixteen hours of play. Considering there are no cut scenes and the story is pushed to the background, this is a lot of playtime. The story is fairly straight forward, hell has broken loose on the UAC base on Mars and it’s your job as the DOOM Marine to stop it. There are minor clues dropped in game showing the player what is happening, but if you want a deeper understanding of the greater plot there are pages and pages of index’s and codex’s dealing with the story, characters, enemies and even the DOOM Marine himself. Gameplay is completely directed to doing two things; moving the action forward and making the player feel like a total badass and it succeeds at doing both. DOOM constantly throws you into the thick of the fight, surrounding you with deadly enemies that progressively get bigger and hit harder. To deal with these unholy enemies you are given a wide variety of weapons. There are the classics such as the shotgun, super shotgun, plasma gun and chain gun as well as some new comers to the DOOM arsenal such as the heavy machine gun and the gauss cannon. All help to carve your way through the horde of demons and leave their bodies in your wake. The major standout addition to gameplay is the new melee combat system called Glory Kills. Once you’ve weakened an enemy enough it leaves them open to a devastating execution, whether it’s snapping their neck or ripping their arm off and bludgeoning them with it, it does the job. DOOM has always been known for its near cartoonish level of violence, but the new Glory Kill system lifts it to a visceral level.
Everything is upgradable. All the guns have two mods, except the super shotgun, which allow a different secondary fire option. You gain weapon upgrade points from killing more and more enemies. You can upgrade your suit, called the Praetor Suit, with tokens found on fallen elite guards hidden throughout the game. You can upgrade your three main attributes Health, Armour and Ammo to help keep you in the fight longer. When you finally factor in runes, which are gained from completing different rune trials and are permanent bonuses to help boost your abilities, you have a way of completely tailoring your DOOM Marine to how you want to play. And play you will. The levels are designed to be ran through, jumped over and teleported around. They are large, sprawling spaces that can be almost oppressive in their verticality, but lend themselves well to the action. They are jam packed with secrets, collectables and alternative path ways. Some of the best secrets in the game come in the form of classic levels hidden in each mission, once you find one you unlock the whole level which is then available to play. There are also tons of easter eggs to find, most of them showing off that morbid sense of humour that id Software is renowned for. The campaign begs to be replayed; if it’s not for the addictive, fast paced action it’ll be to try and find a new secret or to test yourself against a harder difficulty.
The multiplayer is fun and competitive but suffers from issues with the weapons and a graphical down grade. While the campaign takes huge advantage of the current gen platforms power, the multiplayer in comparison looks like they turned it down a notch or three. That being said, it is still a fun arena shooter. DOOM was infamous for its deathmatch back and the day and deathmatch still seems to be the preferred game type in 2016. It was easy to find a deathmatch game, but when it came to try and find a game of Soul Harvest (DOOM’s version of kill confirmed) or Freeze Tag (which is exactly like it sounds) there was a long wait while trying to fill up the lobbies. When I did get a game though it was fun, frantic, kill or be killed action. The only downside was that usually powerful weapons, such as the rocket launcher, didn’t seem that powerful and more often than not needed at least three rockets to kill one enemy. One of the best aspects of DOOM’s multiplayer is the Demon Rune, which allows anyone who gets to it first to become a demon. It spawns randomly throughout all the modes and is a fun way to introduce a new level of chaos to usually hectic games. This can easily turn the tide to any match, and is a good way to shake up your standard deathmatch rounds. There is a host of unlockable and customisable content to keep players entertained for hours. Different armour types, different colours and patterns for armour and weapons allow players to model their ideal DOOM Marine.
The final mode on offer is the new Snapmap mode. DOOM and DOOM II have been modded far and wide, which has always been heavily encouraged by id Software. Snapmap takes that idea of modding and gives the tools to the player to make what they want in the new DOOM engine. Snapmap is easy and accessible allowing the more imaginative players to make their own levels, whether it be solo or multiplayer. There is a strong community presence already supporting this mode, with a ton of maps and options for anyone who wants something a little different from the campaign or the multiplayer. Jumping on Snapmap I saw a bunch of original DOOM maps recreated in the new DOOM engine as well as several multiplayer maps including a couple of horde mode options which look fun to test those skills that have been sharpened by the campaign.
All in all DOOM is an excellent game. The campaign absolutely blew me away, from its fast paced game play to its sheer violence, it is everything I wanted in a modern DOOM game and more. It recognises that it is now a part of not only gaming culture, but gaming history, and taps into its own lineage without ever tarnishing it. It draws inspiration from its past, but is wholly its own beast. DOOM has always been about tight corridors and blasting demons away, but now it’s also about combining weapons and Glory Kills together while using the verticality of the levels to stay alive. Multiplayer may not live up to the old deathmatch days of the 90s, but it’s still fun to jump into and tear your friends’ limb from limb. Snapmap captures the spirit of the modding community, and allows anyone to create something and share it. If multiplayer isn’t your thing, you’ll definitely find some crazy, heretical invention on Snapmap to help satisfy your demon killing cravings. DOOM is without a doubt, no hesitation the best shooter to have come out this year, possibly even in the last few years. If you’ve ever played and liked a DOOM game, this one is for you. If you haven’t, this one is an excellent starting point.
DOOM released May 13 on PS4, Xbox One & PC. This review was completed on PS4 with a copy supplied by the publisher.