There are probably people in the gaming world that don’t understand the importance of Doom and the way it changed the face of shooting games. Sure, Wolfenstein 3D may have been the first, but it was merely a prototype of what was to come. With this in mind, does the new Doom live up to the legacy that precedes it?
In many ways the original Doom caught the attention of fans like me perfectly. Using the Shareware model for release, a good chunk of levels were released on the gamer with a promise of more if you paid up for it. For a lot of people of course, they may have stuck to the original levels but even those wanted more.
For some it was the good use of addicted gameplay and mix of horror, for others it was the adrenaline pumping music. Whatever it was that hooked you, it hooked deep into you. To put it into perspective, this was before graphics cards had the power to create true 3D, before the Internet really had any speed, and most damning of all, the game could be played on keyboard alone.
A lot has changed from then, especially the graphics quality. Even with this in mind when the new Doom game was announced for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 there was a belief that it could not live up to the original. If anything there was a fear that it would be another Doom 3, which may have been okay, but would not have been Doom.
What is most surprising about the new Doom from Bethesda and ID is that they get it. They know what fans want from the game, and it has been designed from the bottom up to be an experience that may have the modern bells and whistles of a first person shooter, but harkens back to those memorable days when the game was all about the gore and violence, and less about long cut scenes.
What will hit you first is the speed of the game, and yes for the speed junkies Doom hits 60FPS (and beyond), but still manages to look good. What is most impressive about this is the amount of chaos that you see on-screen. What will also hit you is the speed and energy of the levels. You’ll be running around each section of the level ripping apart demons with chainsaws, shotgun and the many weapons you have on offer in no time. It’s the fact that your brain can keep up with all of this that is the most impressive.
An impressive aspect of the game is also the introduction of weapons, abilities, and most importantly the demons you do battle with. There are some minor cut scenes to introduce the story to the character, but the real feeling of progression in the game comes from the moment you see that new enemy and it tries to rip your face off. To battle this the new weapons are also introduced in fine fashion and it just feels right, especially when you make it to the BFG. The first use of this weapon is something you’ll not forget in a hurry.
The whole concept of this new Doom is about speed, with the simple rule being that if you stop you die. The quicker you move, the faster you swap between weapons and their abilities, and the more intelligently you handle your enemies, the better you’ll do. All of this adds up to the campaign mode being one of the best I’ve played in some time. To the point that yes, this is a game that can sit next to the original Doom as one of the greats.
Where it does slightly disappoint is in the multiplayer. I’ve played the Beta, and now had some time in the finished version, and it is disappointing that it doesn’t manage to recreate the frenzy of the main campaign mode. What it is though is still fun, and a solid multiplayer experience. There are plenty of ways to customise your character and the weapons you use, and at this early stage of the game’s release there is plenty of time for it to improve. It is fair to say though that you’ll be heading back to the campaign mode for more.
So yes, Doom is a must buy for fans of the original game, and first person shooter enthusiasts. I’ve not really tried the SnapMap functionality yet, but this area of the game lets you create and share your own levels. This will extend the game even further, and lead to some interesting challenges. What is important though is that Doom has done what some may have felt impossible, and brought back the magic of one of the most important games in the genre.
Whether it’s the glory kills, the adrenaline rush of surviving the chaos, or that fulfilling moment of ripping a demon apart with the chainsaw, there are plenty of moments that will keep you fulfilled in the thought that the money you spent on Doom is money well spent.
Doom is available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 now.