The simple and accurately titled DOOM is the latest title from the king of first-person shooters, id Software. After the slight plunder that was DOOM³, id Software come back stronger than ever before with this latest instalment in their beloved demon-filled series. So is DOOM worth buying? Find out if this is what you are looking for.
The basics of DOOM
The new DOOM game starts off with you, Doomguy (at least that everyone seems to call him), awaking and rising up from, what would seem to be, a tomb from hell. Take a peek to your right, see some possessed dude, grab him and bash his skull into smithereens, jump up and out of your tomb, grab a gun and start unloading on a room full of undead spaceship workers. No context, no opening cutscene, no nothing; just like the classic DOOM games we all know and love.
Not enough video games start like that nowadays. I can’t think of a game, other than DOOM, that doesn’t start off with a lengthy opening cutscene, so the game actually starting almost immediately after putting the disc in was a great surprise and just allows players to get right into it, rather than having to listen to some spiel about why the demons are invading mars (like that hasn’t been the case in every other DOOM game). That’s not to say that there is no story, but it’s definitely not the main focus. The main focus in DOOM is, and has always been, the gameplay.
The gameplay is gory, fast and most importantly, smoother than the series has ever been, with each devastating blow feeling more satisfying than the series has previously offered. Like previous DOOM games, you can, of course, end the lives of every creation of hell that comes between you and the next demon that crosses your path in a variety of ultra-violent ways, such as blasting them to pieces with a shotgun, mowing them down with a machine gun or slicing and dicing them into bits a chainsaw.
In addition to being able to rip your enemies apart with the vast array of weapons at your disposal, you can literally rip your opposition in half with your bare hands through the medium of glory kills. Simply put, glory kills are absolutely incredible. After unloading bullets into an enemy they’ll go into a staggered phase where they gain a blue and orange outline which signifies that you can get in close and deliver an overly gory blood show, resulting in an insta-kill followed by the drop of health and ammo. Glory kills are an awesome addition to DOOM, not just because they look incredible, but because of how fast the moves can be outputted, resulting in the action remaining fluid and never coming to a halt.
Speaking of fluidity, I’ve been playing DOOM on the PS4 which runs at a beautiful 1080p with a frame rate that, in my experience, rarely drops below the targeted, and smooth as butter 60 fps. With the visual fidelity of DOOM being of such a high caliber, it’s hard to ignore the fact that this is without a doubt the best DOOM game in the series when it comes down to looks and performance. I would even say that, personally, it is a testament to what game developers can achieve when they take advantage of the hardware they are tasked with developing for, and something that I think a lot of big name developers could learn from. It’s not often that games nowadays make me feel this way and id Software really have outdone themselves by making sure that DOOM is one of most visually appealing and best performing games available in the current market.
Comparison between DOOM now and then
Right, I’ve just gone on about how the game plays bloody beautifully and looks better than an ice cream sundae, but how much does it relate and compare to the other DOOM games in the franchise? Well, as I’ve just gone on about, DOOM introduces glory kills to series as well and brings the series into the current generation with its gorgeous visuals and performing qualities, but there’s a whole lot more than just that to make the game as amazing as it is.
If you’re a veteran to the series, I’m sure you’ll feel right at home here as the structure that DOOM is built upon is, for the most part, just the classic DOOM formula that we all know and love. As well as the previously mentioned fast paced gameplay the series is famous for, this new DOOM follows in the footsteps of the series’ past endeavours by having levels that seem linear at first glance, but are actually rather grand in scope. With a vast variety of places to explore, find weapons, items, power ups and even collectable Doomguy toys that exist only to be collectables, which is a nice addition because it’s something that wouldn’t be expected from a 2016 first-person shooter.
A staple of the DOOM series has always been that the games are pretty, bloody difficult and DOOM (as in this latest instalment in the series) is no exception. The easiest difficulty goes by the title of “I’m Too Young To Die” and really is the worst way to experience the game in my opinion, because it really is easy and when it comes down to DOOM, easy just isn’t the way to go. Above that is “Hurt Me Plenty” which is then followed by “Ultra-Violence”. Ultra-Violence is, in traditional DOOM fashion, really bloody hard, but not too hard to the point where it’s almost impossible to progress (that spot belongs to Nightmare mode). Ultra-Violence offers the perfect amount of challenge by making the enemies tough enough to kill to the point where it’s satisfying to kill even the most basic of enemies. Ultra-Violence is the middle ground when it comes to difficulty and there have been times where it’s taken me a good half an hour to finish a room, but the game makes the simple act of progression feel like one of the most fulfilling rewards that the game has to offer.
Like all first-person shooters released nowadays, DOOM has a multiplayer mode and, in all honesty, it’s nothing to write home about. It’s a basic multiplayer mode that just feels like it was a complete after thought to attempt to compete with other typical FPS games on the market. It’s not coherently bad, but it’s not great by any stretch of the imagination. Its fun in short bursts, but don’t expect it to be a replacement for your Call of Duty or Battlefield, if you’re into that sort of thing.
In addition to the single player and multiplayer components, there is also the ability to build your own maps and game modes that can be played by yourself or co-op with other players in a new mode called SnapMap. As well as being able to build and play your own maps, you can upload your maps to the DOOM servers and download other user’s maps in the process. At first, this didn’t seem like a big deal to me, but I’ve stumbled across some really phenomenal maps in my time browsing. Just the other day I downloaded a map that was, more or less, exact recreation of the first level from the original DOOM, which proved to me that some content creators are going to be able to make some incredible maps and id Software has already announced that they’re going to be supporting the map building community by distributing free content pieces for SnapMap to help creators build more deep and complex levels that could potentially deliver authentic single player experiences.
Is DOOM worth buying?
When it comes down to the question “is DOOM worth buying?”, you really have to take into account the type of person that this game is marketed and intended for. If you’re already familiar to the series, then giving DOOM a go almost isn’t a question. If you’re looking for a more violent version of a typical first-person shooter, then you might want to rethink whether or not you’ll enjoy the game as much as you think you would. The thing about DOOM is that even though it’s very much a 2016 game, it’s so classic in the way it does everything. It’s not very story driven, it’s ridiculously over the top, original and, I think most importantly, the main focus of the entire game is the fast paced gameplay. The gameplay is so fast paced there’s not even an opening cutscene to the game, just the first loading screen and you’re in.
At launch, the asking price for the game was £44.99 (or $59.99), and if you ask me, the single player is worth your money alone, with SnapMap and multiplayer feeling like a humbling bonus.
DOOM 2016 is without a doubt the best first-person shooter that the market has seen in a long while and is a refreshing thing to see. I hope we see more games like DOOM throwback to days of old, when games were a lot simpler and gameplay driven.