Please be good, please be good, please be good…. Oh my god I want this to be so good. I’m excited, palms are a bit sweaty, head dizzy with anticipation. DOOM is finally here and it’s like Christmas for me, no wait…. Double Christmas.
It’s fair to say I am really amped for DOOM. It’s such an iconic, legendary series An icon. However, it’s also important to note a slight change in my mantra for a new game. It’s ‘please be good’ not ‘this is going to be so good’.
The distinction is important because it underlies my subconscious feelings on how the industry is going. No faith anymore. Now when I buy a game, even after absorbing reviews, trailers and promotional media, it’s still with bated breath as it might turn out to be awful. A plethora of sub-par titles, developers changing things last minutes, and a host of un-kept promises means that even the most anticipated games have come with serious issues. In fact, I struggle to think of any major game I’ve played that hasn’t had a problem. Destiny, The Division, Call of Duty, all of these have suffered major changes on the build up to release and some serious backlash from the community for it. If you want to see the backlash in action, do a quick search on Battlefield 1 vs Infinite Warfare. Do it quick now, I’ll wait for a second… As hilarious as it is it stands as an unfortunate but true overarching view of the games industry currently.
However, I digress. I’m here to tell you about the new DOOM game. And tell you I will. Its straight up, unadulterated brutality. And it’s great. The whole campaign was a pleasure from beginning to end. This game has walked a fine line between innovation and remaining true to the originals. All the elements of DOOM are here, from the maze-like map layout, to the coloured key system. It even captures the same feelings as when I played the original way back when; running around a map checking the auto-map constantly for the secrets contained within it, desperately seeking out some armour to survive the fight. Some of the doors even have the same audio as the originals. DOOM has exceeded my expectations in every way.
The game is extremely gory, with Glory Kills being an option on every demon (a lock-on kill mechanic you can access when you stagger and enemy and leave them stunned for a moment) it means there is always a temptation to wade through the swaths of enemy to reach the stunned enemy and rip it apart. Especially when it’s one of the bigger demons. There is something extremely satisfying about scaling a demon twice your size and ripping off its horn to stick it in its eye, and this is a general theme of DOOM: satisfying. It’s not an overly complex game. The collectables have been kept to a minimum and more than half of what you collect actually contributes to your character’s development. The codex entries are a good read and add more depth to the world as you learn about each entry, and the experience itself is great fun. Again, its fairly simple: get gun, see demon, kill demon. You fight through each level facing large amounts of enemies within arenas where you face off against bigger numbers and more difficult demon types.
Returning to my point, it’s all very satisfying to play, and fun too (oh my god the chainsaw, seriously… I challenge you to find a better way to kill demons than carving them up like a Christmas turkey). I loved it. Maybe my judgement is clouded by my appreciation of the originals, but I wanted to love Duke Nukem Forever and returned it with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat after two days of trying to get on with it. It was pants. Not DOOM, this game is awesome. It’s chaos, fast moving high-octane carnage, not for the faint of heart, with the amount of blood and guts that get sprayed around. I would highly recommend this for any shooter fan who wants a change from the norm of Call of Duty or Battlefield.
The supporting aspects of the game are very strong too, there are in-game rune trials that unlock extra perks for your guy. The music is a fantastic mix of heavy metal and hard electronic music that perfectly matches the pace and mood of the game. The graphics are great and you can really appreciate the spilling guts and organs as they descend around you whilst you destroy things.
However, this game won’t be for everyone. If you want something with depth and substance you’ll be disappointed with DOOM. The gameplay stays the same throughout, whilst individual mechanics are added as you play (like boost boots) it stays within the realm of just killing and shooting. The secrets add something different as a bit of puzzle and detective work are needed, but it’s a small break in the carnage. If I were to liken it to a film, this would be the Expendables. It doesn’t have a love story and the hero isn’t lauded by the world for saving it, but I don’t watch the Expendables for the feels and I don’t play DOOM for the underlying message, I play DOOM because shooting demons in the face has never been better.
The multiplayer, in a nutshell, is a fun, fast paced, arena slayer, but I’m not sure how widely it will be played. It’s a tough one because it could go two ways. Initially I thought its very old school in how it plays, the movement style is very Quake and Unreal, fast paced sliding ground movement with some modern mechanics like clamber and boost thrown in. It reminded me of playing Halo Combat Evolved too. There are some elements that have been added in-line with many current shooters; there are hack modules that are short-term player boosts, taunts for when you win or just want to rub it in someone’s face in-game. But, it still had a very classic feel and I’m not sure how current gen gamers will take to it. Then I thought, “actually, it’s a lot of fun” and it’s very different from everything else. People bored of the same tripe rolled out again and again under new skins are likely to find something interesting here. Maybe it will be popular. I sat down to trial it and didn’t move for 5 hours, and that’s the kind of session length I would have thrown down in the days of CoD 4 or Battlefield 3. Now I am definitely not saying this multiplayer is bad, its not, I had fun and so did the friends I played with. One of them said he was going to go and buy it and the other said he’d play the single player but wasn’t so drawn in by the multiplayer. He still said it was fun though. We also discussed the season pass, which seems a touch pricey at £28 for only Multiplayer updates.
So, now I’m back to it being a toughie. It’s fun, but is it fun enough? Well, I don’t know, and only time will tell. At a guess I’d say it will be popular with the older gamer who played Quake, Unreal, etc. but may struggle with current gen competition on the multiplayer circuit. Oh, and one other thing, multiplayer is loaded up as a separate game from the campaign, and takes a while to load. I imagine with time it may start to grate, but it’s a small annoyance overall.
As an overview I recommend this game, the single player alone is worth it. it’s great fun, something that has been lost in the gritty realism of a modern shooter campaign. It’s all about blood and guts, but you know, in a playful “Check it out, I ripped off its arm and beat it with it” kind of way.
In conclusion, and answer to my opening mantra: “Thank you for being good”.
Thanks to Xbox and Bethesda Softworks for supporting TiX