In the last two years we’ve gotten two reboots from id on their storied franchises. Wolfenstein The New Order was a fantastic surprise and one of the best shooters in recent years and now id has rebooted a classic in DOOM. Does this one live up to the classics or does it fall flat on its face. Well put on your space suit, get your double barrel shotgun ready and we’ll find out.
Ok I know the suspense was palpable but this reboot is an absolute blast (in single player at least). Doom, at least the originals, if you aren’t familiar is a run and gun shooter which is all about shooting a large amount of demons and a well-designed and intricate level. Doom 1 and 2 were the advent of what we see today in shooters and though Doom 3 was a great story/horror/jump scare shooter, it was not what the original Dooms were about.
The new Doom is very much like the originals in that you have all the famous weapons from the pump shotgun to the pulse gun to the minigun to the BFG. There is no reloading either. Just run into a room full of demons that might have already been there along with ones that spawn. There is also the added benefit of what is called glory kills which are quick time events that are optional that allow the player to finish the demon in a gruesome and satisfying way all the while being able to get health, armor and ammo out of that kill. Originally when the glory kills were shown off to us about 2 years ago at Quakecon I thought they were a bit slow and might impact the speed of the game. That isn’t the case in the final release however. The finishing moves are very satisfying and feel very fluid to the overall combat.
The amount of demons are not overtly difficult on the normal difficulty but it is still enough that you need to move around a lot and make sure you are switching weapons constantly. It really makes the whole game feel like the Doom of old and it is fantastic. I haven’t had this much fun playing a shooter since Wolfenstein or even Half-Life 2 before that (As of right now Overwatch is spoiling me as well, plug of another review? Maybe =P). The new Doom isn’t just about the killing, they also added an interesting upgrade system for your suit and the weapons themselves. As you play each level has a certain number of collectables and side challenges that give you points towards your weapon upgrades. These are things like increase damage, low recoil, quicker reload, etc. on your two alternate fire modes for each weapon; there are a few that don’t have any alternate fire modes including the BFG. Along with weapon upgrades as you run around the levels you will find other dead marines that upgrade your suit like lower damage to explosions, higher jumps and ammo carry increase. All of these allow for players to take a different approach in play styles as they repeat playthroughs with different difficulties.
Another great feature of the new Doom is the levels. Each mission has vast level designs that have different paths and options for the player to choose whether they want to go direct to the objective or want to explore a bit. This also allowed id to introduce a map builder called Snapmap which makes it incredibly easy for people to make their own levels and have other players try them out making the single player experience essentially endless.
I figure I should talk about the elephant in the room at this point and that would be the Doom multiplayer. For the last year on and off id has been showing off their multiplayer mode as a beta instead of the main singleplayer mode. This made a lot of fans unsure about the new Doom reboot because to be honest, the multiplayer was very bland and boring. Doom was one of the first true multiplayer shooters (Quake later perfected it) and though some might not associate Doom with their multiplayer experience there are a lot of people that did. Since id wanted to concentrate fully on the singleplayer experience they handed the development of the multiplayer off to another studio. Because of that the feel of the multiplayer is still generic and feels completely different from the main game. However as of recently id has taken back control of the multiplayer and are making fixes to it to make it a more enjoyable experience, especially on PC.
Since Doom is more about run and gun and killing demons I’m not going to talk a huge amount about the story but there is one there. Doom is one again set on Mars in the UAC facility that has been invaded by demons from Hell. You start as Doomguy (yes that is his name) chained to an alter because you are the one person that can kill the demons and send them back to hell. As you progress through the UAC facility you find out that a Doctor called Olivia Pierce has been the cause of this invasion. And that is just about it. Eventually the game makes its way to Hell where you will fight countless demons in order to eventually destroy the final boss (it is a reference to the old Doom).
That said this new id tech 6 engine has this game looking absolutely gor-e-geous. The facility looks really impressive, the lighting effects, the weapon/particle effects all look splendid and it didn’t come at the cost of performance. The game runs great as I was able to get a constant 120+ fps on my 780TI. What Carmack was able to accomplish before leaving was pretty remarkable. On top of the graphics the sounds and music are all reminiscent to the old Dooms with a modern twist. The music is a combination of metal rock and hard electronic, sort of like Nine Inch Nails. It makes it a lot of fun running around destroying demons.
Overall this game is a great addition to the Doom franchise despite its development woes. What id has done with their reboots of both Wolfenstein and Doom gives me really high hopes for the new Quake game. This game is well worth any money you throw at it and id deserves every bit of praise they have been receiving for it.