A lot of things happened in 1993, but we can all agree that Doom is without a doubt one of the most iconic. Riding the wake of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom delivered on the promises ID software had made, and then some. In fact, the game was so amazing, it is still being played today. Every day, countless new levels are being developed by the fan community, and multiplayer matches are carried out over various services including Doomseeker. While enthusiasm for the franchise might have dropped off a little bit with the release of Doom 3, in my opinion, the franchise has made an outstanding comeback with this new entry.
Descending into Doom
Going into this I was a little nervous to see how they were going to pull it all off. The community has been split in half ever since the release of Doom 3 for a few reasons. There is the story element, of course, as many old school Doomers didn’t like the idea of a cinematic storyline. Then you had those who believed the pacing of Doom 3 was way off, and that ID had in fact turned it into a survival horror game. Those people aren’t wrong, but in all honesty, I still liked it. Regardless, I wondered how they were going to present this new Doom without letting the story get in the way. Well, they managed to pull it off, and they did a great job. The first thing you need to know is that while there are minor cinematics, the story is told mostly through radio transmissions and log entries that you can pick up. You can pay attention to it if you want, but the game is simple enough that you can just charge through, barrel first, and turn everything into cottage cheese without actually paying attention. That’s a good thing, especially if you just want to rip and tear.
On top of the simplistic story, every single room, from the UAC Facility to the depths of Hell is chock full of monsters, all of which hail from the classic Doom. You have your basic zombified soldier, to the imps, Barons of Hell, Mancubus, and of course everyone’s favorite satanic beach ball, the Cacodemon. There are plenty more, but why ruin the surprise?
For those wondering what the gameplay is actually like, I would say it is most similar to Painkiller in that you are forced to clear an area of demons before you can move on to the next. Someone actually cared enough to write a computer system that would announce the demonic presence was too high and wait patiently for you to clear it out before opening the doors. If that’s not being proactive, I don’t know what is.
Room for Improvement
The biggest change in Doom is the fact that Doom Guy is actually wearing power armor which is a significant change from Doom/Doom 3. In Doom 1 the guy could walk across the surface of Mars without a shirt, and in Doom 3, let’s just say I never saw him put a helmet on when he passed through an airlock and his arms were always bare, so I think we threw realism out the window a long time ago. The Praetor Suit can be upgraded through Argent energy pickups throughout the game – some more obvious than others. Let me just say you’re going to want to find these, if you just run and gun through the game, you’re going to run into some serious trouble when it comes to the boss fights, and it really muddles up the action when you’re reloading your checkpoint every five minutes or so. In addition to upgrades to the Praetor suit, you can expect obtain weapon upgrades through kills, giving you faster reloads, missile add-ons, and burst fire modes, among other things. You’ll want to spend time upgrading, completing rune challenges, and increasing your health, because honestly, when you get the later boss fights, the stats you start out with just aren’t going to be enough. Now that I’ve said that, there’s probably someone working on a full speed run with no upgrades, so we’ll be seeing that on YouTube in the next week or so.
For Glory and…Whatever the Hell this Is
The team at ID has implemented Glory Kills this time around, meaning you can attack demons until they reach a certain health threshold, at which point you can simply press F to perform an insta-kill in one brutal way or another. You might be tearing the still beating heart from a mancubus, or you might be ripping the head off of an imp. Whatever it is, I can promise you, it’ll be gory and completely unforgiving. Of course it tends to go both ways, if the demons get the better of you, especially the Barons of Hell, they’ll rip you apart limb from limb, unless you chicken out and load from checkpoint right after you go down. Personally, I enjoy being beaten to death with my own limbs, but not everyone is like me. Actually most people aren’t like me.
Return of the Chainsaw
Yep, in every Doom game there’s going to be a chainsaw and this one is no exception. There are a few changes this time, however, the biggest being that it now requires fuel to use. The bigger the demon, the more fuel you’re going to use, so make sure you save it for the big encounters. Most importantly, use of the chainsaw is an insta-kill on anything but a boss monster, including the biggest baddies in the game. Yes, it takes something like 50 rockets to take down a pinkie, but one swipe with the chainsaw and you’re eating their brains for lunch. Rip and tear.
Easter Eggs Galore
There are plenty of easter eggs and references to other games throughout the main campaign, some very obvious, and some not quite so much. The most noteworthy secret is hidden in all 13 levels throughout the campaign. You can find levers that hidden doors, and behind them, you’ll find part of a level from the original Doom. In the Foundry, for example, you’ll find a doorway leading you to E1M2, or at least a small section of it. Something amusing to note, is that with the inclusion of these hidden levels, you can literally be chased back to 1993 if you find yourself in a pinch, and if you think about it too hard, you’ll probably start laughing like a maniac.
As far as the classic maps are concerned, I do have a few things to say about them. First of all, yes, they’re mostly created to scale and faithfully reproduced by the dev team. There are small differences however that really pick at my OCD. As a Twitter user pointed out, many of the wall textures are inverted, and I found that the health pack sprites aren’t correct. Instead of a red cross on the front of the gray stimpacks and health kits, there’s a red dot, which doesn’t make a huge difference, but it does make you stop and say “Hey, that’s not quite right”. Additionally, some of the demons are too large fro the environment. The new Baron of Hell, for example, cannot fit inside the ‘closets’ in E1M8, meaning they have to teleport onto the platform the moment you trigger the door opening sequence. Finally, at the end of the level, the teleporter didn’t send me to ‘hell’, it just ended the level. Still, I’m glad to see these easter eggs, and I hope they continue with them when they release the expansion (they will make an expansion, right?). Did I mention that once you find a classic map in the campaign it’s unlocked in the main menu for you to play through again?
There are lots of other easter eggs for you to find throughout the game, but one more I’ll mention, is the reference to Terminator 2 when you die in a lava pit. You’ll want to try this when you get to the foundry: jump into the lava, die, and watch the Doom Guy’s hands. At the end, we’ll give a thumbs up in the same manner Arnold does at the end of Terminator 2.
There’s not much more to say, other than this is an amazing game that stays true to the original, at least as far as gameplay style goes. Sure, you can double jump now, and they used thrust boots as an excuse to let you hop through the levels like a gun toting version of Mario, but you know what? It’s fun.
There’s nothing spectacularly original here, but who cares? It’s fun, it’s adrenaline fueled, and it’ll haunt your dreams for weeks after you take down the final boss. Sure, I might be a little biased, but it’s Doom, and this time they did it right.
Like I said previously, there’s nothing spectacularly original here, but they’ve finally included level editing tools easy enough for a raw beginner to get into. On top of that, classic maps!
As with any game, the community can get a little bit toxic, but for the most part, it’s made up of great people who just want to rip and tear. You can find them in multiplayer…and kill them.
I heard a lot of complaints about the music in the game, but quite frankly I had no problem with it. Actually, during many of the levels I experienced auditory references to the original Doom which made me feel right at home. As far as the graphics are concerned, they’re not quite as intense as the initial news leaks led us to believe. I played on an R9 370 and had a pretty decent experience, and I’ve heard of people playing it on less. It looks great, it sounds great, and ID Software clearly spent a lot of time on it.
Value for Money
This is a difficult section to cover as you’ll have people who will agree it’s worth the $60 pricetag, and then you’ll have those who would much rather wait until it’s in the bargain bin. I personally think the price is warranted. You get a great single player experience, and you also get the multiplayer. But wait! With snap map you can create your own levels, both single and multiplayer, ultimately leading to an incredible, unlimited experience. Yes, I think it’s worth it, and I can’t wait to see what the community comes up with. Also, I know there’s at least one of you out there (yes, you know who you are) who thinks the game plays too much like Quake 2. The only thing I have to say to you is….just kill all the things.
If any of you had any doubts you can put them aside. Doom is back and it’s better than ever. It’s a rage and adrenaline fueled murder fest that won’t challenge your perception of what is possible in a game, but it’ll help to reinforce the belief that maybe, just maybe gaming has a future that doesn’t involve quick time events and pointless cut scenes.
+Outstanding Old School Gameplay
-No Co-Op for Main Campaign
-Clipping Issues in Some Levels
-Classic Levels aren’t Completely Accurate