When I first heard about the new DOOM I was expecting something akin to the kind of experience we got in DOOM 3 back in 2004. Which by the way was a dark beautiful and deeply atmospheric video game. Which this new DOOM definitely is not, what we do get is a game that is less concerned with dishing out horror or drama. And more interested in going back to the game that started it all the granddaddy of all FPS games. The original DOOM game arguably defined the first person shooter genre, and the modern day father of all FPS games. If you are unfamiliar with the DOOM franchise and you been living under a rock your entire live, the series has always been about the gore, over the top gore and mindless running and gunning.
Like previous titles in the game the setting takes place on Mars where a research facility has been overrun with a demonic presence. A corporation known as UAC were conducting research on limitless energy by tapping into the hell dimension and converting its energy, for the betterment of humanity of course when things inevitably go south as they do. The story starts rather abruptly and with virtually no introduction as our hero, pulls himself out of an ancient sarcophagus in a Martian research facility. Soon you discover that two thirds of station’s 60 000 inhabitants have been possessed and transformed into demonic warriors. You then embark on sealing the rift between mars and hell created by a cybernetically enhanced mad scientist.
And that pretty much sums up the entirety of the story. Are you looking for a slow build in story and narrative? Or you looking for an epic retrospective on our hero and learn his true motives? Then look somewhere else, because DOOM guy is angry DOOM guy is out to wreck shit when people tell him not too. But most importantly DOOM guy is here to kick demonic ass, in super violent and creative ways. DOOM’s story only exists to justify its action, rather than being a device to spin a detailed and cohesive story. Most of the story gets told through a few cut scenes, audio vignettes that pop up between missions, and as you’re running around slaughtering the demonic hordes. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, since DOOM is clearly an action oriented game.
The first thing that struck me was DOOM’s tremendous sense of speed. This is one very fast playing game FPS game. There are no cover mechanics in this game, and certainly no hiding spots from the spawning demonic hordes. If you stand still for even a second, you will get over-run by the hordes and die a quick bloody death. DOOM’s biggest and most enjoyable new feature is its glory kills. When you shoot at a demon, you wear down its health to a point where it starts to glow. And that is your cue to kill it kill said demon in the most glorious gory fashion possible, which so happens to release much needed health and armor. And believe me you will need it in this game. While most levels are typically littered with extra ammo and health power-ups.
The action is so intense during the entire game, and you are wading through so many demons that you inevitably need to keep topping up your health bar and armor by performing glory kills. Another new aspect to the game is upgradable weaponry and armor. But while the guns may be old classics we have come to know and love, they have been given a modern twist. Each one has a couple of secondary firing modes that can be installed by finding field drones scattered around each level, and they can also be upgraded to beef up their fire power. For example, the gatling gun can be transformed into a turret. And the shotgun can be outfitted to shoot explosive shells. You’ll likely recognize the weapons we use to dispatch them, too.
All the classical weapons make a return. The pistol, shotgun, plasma rifle, chainsaw, chaingun, rocket launcher, and the ridiculously powerful BFG9000. What’s more you can also upgrade your armor with keys pulled from the suits of fallen soldiers you find. You will be able to improve your stats like dexterity, equipment, and abilities. Which in the long runs increases your survivability when face by the demon hordes. The controls are fast and responsive in the game. You can jump on platforms fairly easily and there is no input lag from the Playstation 4 controller. It does take some time to get accustomed to the speed at which the demons fly in your direction but after only 30 minutes into the game, I was cutting through them like a hot knife through butter.
With regards to DOOM’s graphics, this game looks absolutely stunning. Especially considering that the consoles are heavily under powered when compared to their PC brother. The environments are extremely well structured and designed. The textures are rich with detail, and pop right out at you. The special and environmental effects such fire and explosions nicely add to the overall design and feel of the game. Many of the assets you found in the original games also make a return, although now it is in far better quality. Even things like the designs of the walls and door are all made to look like the original game. Overall this is a great example of how a AAA game should pay homage to its original roots.
The soundtrack is extremely fitting for a modern DOOM game and add to the heart pounding action, however it might not appeal to everyone with its grungy heavy metal undertones. The sound affects consists of electronic screeches, ambient bass, distortion and other un-holey monster noises which sounds even more terrifying when you play with a high quality headset. The campaign lasts for about 15 hours, and I can’t remember being so impressed with a first person shooter since the original BioShock. DOOM’s campaign is considerably stronger than I expected and that really caught me off guard. Truly a worthy reboot of a timeless classic. It is loud, over the top hyper violent and in your face like a bull in a china shop.