DOOM is finally back after lying dormant for many years and it is definitely worth the wait for the series fans, who wanted a good game after the long hiatus. This is essentially a clean reboot of the series that goes back to its roots and focuses on the part that made it so popular when it originally came out. It takes inspiration from the campaign, map design and gunplay of DOOM 1 and 2 and enhances them with modern aesthetics to present a game that is worthy of being called a part of the series.
DOOM’s single player campaign is arguably one of the best campaigns that we have played for a first person shooter this year. It features an exceptional map design mixed with combat encounters that require the players to be at the top of their game. The shooting is extremely fast paced and it is satisfying to pull out melee moves on enemies that results in a gory dismemberment. These melee attacks are all context sensitive and require a simple button press yet they never break the flow of the combat. Players can easily keep a combo chain going on without it getting disrupted by the melee attack.
We finally see the return of the gore from the previous games which featured brutal dismemberment of the demons and death of the main protagonist. This gore isn’t really overly realistic and looks more like what we had in Gears of War. Enemies can be blown into chunks and the same applies to the player. Overall, this is pretty much inline with what can be expected from the series and it is good to see that Bethesda have kept the game closer to its original root.
DOOM will see the return of the classic monsters that fans of the series will recognize. These monsters have now been redesigned for the current generation while making sure that they don’t lose their original design aesthetics that made them popular in the first place. The whole game is essentially a nostalgic trip down memory lane for those who grew up with the series.
The story in DOOM is centered around the opening of the gateway to hell. While we won’t spoil much of it here, the game doesn’t really enforce its narrative and instead the focus is more on exploration and combat. In that regards, the story of DOOM is definitely not its strong suit but it does give the mission structure a purpose. The story is also explained in detail at the start of each mission which helps in keeping track of the narrative in case you aren’t paying much attention in between the missions.
DOOM has one of the most satisfying weapon designs in a first person shooter. The game encourages exploration which can end up rewarding the player with new toys for their arsenal or new alternative modes for their weapons. These add a lot more variety to the typical shoot bang gameplay that is usually the norm in a first person shooter. Each weapon has its own unique firing mode along with 2 alternative type of firing modes that can only be executed for a limited time. We can also improve these firing modes with weapon upgrade points decreasing the recharge time, increasing their power and efficiency and so on. This makes the weapons a lot more fun to use in the various combat encounters.
The game is divided in the form of missions where each mission has its own set of secrets and collectibles. This means that the game has a pretty good replay value because of its well hidden secrets that are not only easy to collect, they also reward the player with actual in-game collectibles or powers that make the game much more fun. Usually in other games of similar type, the collectibles aren’t really an incentive for the players unless they seek all the trophies/achievements or want to gain bragging rights of 100% completing the game. DOOM takes a different approach where the exploration is rewarded but not enforced enough so that the players can keep progressing without feeling like they are missing much of the game.
While DOOM has an exceptional single player campaign, it is somewhat held back by a mediocre multiplayer. The multiplayer mode was co-developed with multiplayer specialists Certain Affinity. This mode sees the return of the arena-style shooter that were a staple of the past for games like Quake. Bethesda has offered a good amount of multiplayer variants here including Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill among others. Unfortunately this is held back by a map design that requires learning the ins and outs of these multiplayer maps to use them to your advantage. This method won’t work well for those who preferred the fast paced action of the current forerunners of first person shooters: Call of Duty and Battlefield.
If you are a fan of creating your own user content, you might have fun with DOOM’s SnapMap mode.. This mode allows the user to create their own levels which can add more value to the base game. As it happens with such creative tools, the sky is the only limit here. This is somewhat held back by the limited options on hand here but it still feels like a step in the right direction.
DOOM is a great throwback to fans of the series. It is an exceptionally crafted and well thought out game that not only manages to satisfy the thirst of long time series fans but also aims to please newcomers who have yet to try the series. DOOM is essentially a return to form for id Software.
DOOM is available now on the PS4, PC and Xbox One. It was developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks. This review covers the PS4 version of the game.