It’s been a long time since we’ve had a proper DOOM game grace our presence, a very long time. The whole franchise is one of those series of games that’s been a part of nearly every generation, and the core experienced has remained mostly the same. And that’s precisely what keeps drawing people back to the older games to this day. And it’s back, with a vengeance, and even tries for a better grasp on all the things that have made the original such a classic. But does it succeed?
This isn’t your fathers DOOM, but it might just be a whole lot better
DOOM opens just as bloody and horrid as you’d expect. You’re immediately thrust into the action, escaping from an entombed state with an opportunity to fight your way out of a very bad situation. The demons that spawn next to you just don’t even have a chance. The intro is a sign of what to expect; gore, metal music and a lot of death. It’s bloody and very violent. Doom 3 tried to subtly go in a different direction, taking a more horror-filled approach replete with jump-scares and very dark corners. This is a homage to the past, and even has plenty of secret areas that let you explore the originals, too.
The action and puzzles are at the forefront, just as one would expect. All the familiar weapons also make an appearance, including the ubiquitous BFG 9000. This time, however, it’s far more than a middling plasma-based weapon it was in Doom 3. The pistol is underpowered and becomes slightly cumbersome to actually kill anyone with over time, the shotgun is a useful even later in the game due to the upgrade system and nearly all the rest of the weapons have their uses, if used on the right enemies.
The upgrade system lets you add-on different abilities, things you can buy if you reach certain floating robots, though each robot only allows one purchase. Those power-ups become quite useful and they themselves can be upgraded with weapons customization points. The most advanced of such upgrades can only be obtained by completing a challenge, in typical DOOM style. One such is getting 50 headshots with the scope-equipped heavy machine gun. That’s not easy considering headshot don’t exactly kill every hellish beast with just one. And they’re trying frantically to kill you. Another has you trying to blow up four separate enemies in five seconds with the mini-rocket launcher attached to the same weapon. Now that was a fun one, complete with 360-degree spins and lots of jumping. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
Beyond the weapons and the gore and behind the very pretty exterior, which runs magnificent on nearly anything, is a very sophisticated story that belies the namesake series. They weave a very compelling story about how the UAC wants to utilize the hellish energies that were found on Mars, and of course the corporation went a bit too far to do so, unleashing hell on Mars. You’re a very important part of a plan to stop the portal to hell from remaining permanent, and they count on you to get things done. Violently. The story is all very impressive, and the entire backstory is well written and a joy to explore.
The gameplay itself is actually quite nice, too, despite being slightly predictable. Each time the music changes to something more action-oriented, metal music provided by the talented Mick Gordon, that’s your cue to start preparing to jump around and frantically try to place each shot between the eyes of your enemies. Which is easily possible with a good mouse and proper practice. But it can get crazy, with enemies running around of all types, and it’s not easy to kill them either. Not that they’re much of a danger per-se, but that they have so many hit points that it becomes an exercise in patience to kill them. They’re also a tad predictable sometimes too. Certain beasts have patterns that, once recognized make them almost boring. The glory kills just about make up for that, though, as you go around bringing their hit points down enough so they glow orange to land that violent close-in and hands-on bloody kill. It’s fascinatingly fun.
Speaking of the music, the soundtrack is just what any Doom fan might be looking for. It’s very metal and very good. It fits in just perfectly to the setting with fast-paced rifts and adrenaline-pumping themes just when you need them. Even if it does signify a certain change in pace, which isn’t a terrible mechanic anyway. The game is all about blowing down demons anyway.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
So what’s the verdict, then? It’s a fun game with a lot going for it. The single-player campaign alone is worth the price of admission and can provide hours of entertainment. What’s more is that the music, sound effects and graphics help to add to the overall feel of what classic Doom is without actually being the same game. This is different than the originals yet still very much fun and it’s own. As a modern interpretation of a classic, it’s near perfect, if it weren’t for the somewhat unimaginative AI. Everything comes together in near perfect harmony. It’s a game that’s very recommended for all FPS fans. Just don’t expect the multiplayer to be as amazing a the single-player. It’s lacking something, players for one, and there’s something that seems as if it’s grasping too much at the past without innovating or breaking away into it’s own thing. It’s weird. It might grow on us in time, but for now it’s just not quite what was expected.
If you’re looking for a bloody time, this is it. It’s good, really good.