In 1993 the original Doom was unleashed upon the world, and it quickly ascended to the rank of gaming’s best first-person shooter. However, decades have past since that title’s release and the genre has evolved exponentially. So in 2016, can Doom’s successor once again reclaim the throne?
Unlike modern shooters, Doom doesn’t begin with a lengthy cutscene or an information dump explaining the story. When the Doom Marine wakes from his imprisonment, you instantly assume control and shoot everything in sight. In terms of a narrative, the game lets you know it doesn’t really matter, with the Marine smashing a screen that attempts to explain what’s going on.
A slew of codex entries provide information about the world and the Doom Slayer himself. Reading prophecies and tales about how much the hellish kind fear the Doom Marine, really adds to the whole power fantasy aspect of the game. It’s also genuinely intriguing to see the backstory of a universe where demons and technology have interbred.
Gameplay manages to expertly weave old school twitch shooter mechanics with modern video game conventions, while also adding in a few neat twists of its own. What is immediately apparent is just how fast you’re able to move. The Doomguy’s walking speed can rival the sprinting pace of pretty much every other FPS main character. Better yet, there’s no silly stamina gauge to slow down the carnage. At first the speed feels like it’s too much, but later on the haste becomes and integral part of the game’s lightning quick action.
Taking cover in Doom is the worst thing you can do, and you’ll probably spend most of the time running around blasting foes with an assorted variety of death machines. The weapons are one of the best parts of the experience, and upgrading them into missile-spewing tools of devastation is the most fun I’ve had with a game this year. Glory kills also allow you to chain melee attacks together once enemies are on the verge of defeat, adding more variety to the spice of death.
Luckily, there’s a myriad of targets to use your new moves on. Grotesque demons come in all shapes and sizes, from ones that shoot projectiles, to giant cyborg beasts that relentlessly attack you. With Doom there is a real sense of progression, and it was always satisfying to destroy an enemy that was giving me a massive amount of trouble just hours ago.
The environments however, are not nearly as varied and interesting as the weapons and enemies. The game is a mix between levels on a Mars base and missions that take place in Hell; both of these backdrops offer little change other than pure aesthetic looks. Whether you’re on Mars or Hell, you’ll still be finding coloured things to open specific doors, be it a keycard or a skull. After a while, things start to get dull as you repeat the same actions to get locked into an arena and progress forward. But even though these aspects began to feel repetitive, the shooting and killing of hoards never got old.
In between the rooms of demons, are platforming sections that have Doomguy hopping between platforms and navigating the level. Like I mentioned before, the Doom Marine moves exceptionally fast, so carefully jumping and grabbing ledges can be an annoyance.
After the main campaign is over, you can go back through the story in search of collectibles or a greater challenge. Ultra-Nightmare mode has players fighting through with only one life and no respawns; it’s a difficulty I could only recommend to the most tormented of masochists.
Multiplayer offers a few extra hours of play, but it’s something I doubt I’ll ever get sucked into. It’s a strange mix of Unreal Tournament and more modern titles like Call Of Duty. In the end the multiplayer is unable to capture the spirit or fun of either game franchise. But if you enjoy the main campaign, online play should be able t0 satisfy your need to smash opponents into tiny giblets.
A level creator called SnapMap also allows gamers to create their own missions and objectives in customisable environments. The few maps I played were amusing, but they didn’t provide anything other than a distraction. However, there are enough editing tools here to create some truly unique and cool levels.
For a while it seemed like this new entry wasn’t going to live up to expectations, but now that it’s here, I’m proud to say that Doom is a worthy continuation of the series. A lacklustre multiplayer spoils things somewhat, but nothing can truly take away from the kick-ass campaign.
DOOM Is A Great Video Game