Doom was developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released on May 13th 2016 at a price of £49.99/$59.99 and is available on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels.
Doom is a franchise that has been around now for over 20 years, and is widely considered to be one of the most influential releases in video game history as it was one of the first FPS games to really capture the imagination of gamers across the world. Multiple expansion packs, re-masters and re-releases took place over the next 19 years across a variety of platforms. In 2004 Doom 3 was unleashed on the world but was met with a muted response from the gaming community. A sub-par movie tie-in followed in 2005 and the Doom name quietly faded into the background. After an eternity in development along with a name change (the game was originally going to be called Doom 4) we are finally able to head back to hell and fight the demon hordes once again.
What I enjoyed:
Mars attacks! – After a very brief tutorial which involves your character breaking out of captivity and destroying a console which is trying to give him instructions, you head out into the barren world of Mars on a mission to close a portal which is allowing demons to travel from hell. It’s a stunning looking environment that is as deadly as it is beautiful. Enemies roam the vast spaces and you can easily be overwhelmed if you are ill equipped for battle. You can upgrade various parts of your suit so you can withstand damage or carry more armor and there are also upgrades for every weapon you choose, so you are rarely without the right tool to fight whatever you are presented with.
Big (redacted) Gun! – There is a wide and varied selection of weapons for you to choose from, including some classic Doom staples. The distribution of weaponry is very well done and you’ll have plenty of fun experimenting with all the different combinations. The fan favorites are just as satisfying to use as ever, the super shotgun is deadly from close range but leaves you vulnerable in longer engagements. The Gauss Rifle can obliterate anything that gets in the way of your shots but you are unable to move while it charges so enemies can flank you while you are scoped in. It definitely makes you think about every weapon choice. If you want to get up close and personal there is a chainsaw which can be wielded, but my favorite weapon by far is the BFG. This is the ultimate in weaponry and will destroy anything and everything that is unfortunate enough to cross your path.
Glory kills – One of the new additions to Doom is the ability to carry out a ‘glory kill’ on any enemy that has been stunned or has low health. They are activated by simply hitting the melee button when an opponent or enemy is glowing blue/yellow, and are an absolute treat. If you are squeamish and not a fan of gore then Doom definitely isn’t for you. Blood and guts fly through the air as you carry out increasingly creative ways to dismember anything that stands in your way. Want to rip an enemies arms off and use them to crush his skull, or disable a demon by pulling the horns clean off its head and using them to slice it into pieces? If so then Doom is definitely for you. It embraces the violent legacy that the previous Doom game established and amplifies it massively.
Labyrinth maps – A common complaint about the newer generation of FPS games is that they have removed the need to explore your surroundings and are far too linear. The maps in Doom definitely do not fall into this category. There are still occasional segments where you’ll have to stop for the story to progress although when these occur they are needed, but for the most part you are free to explore the map in whatever way you like. It’s a refreshing feeling to have complete control of where you go instead of being shoehorned in the direction the developer wants you to go. There are still some limitations as there are areas which will require key cards before you go any further but these are made clear and visible once they have been located. There are also a stack of hidden rooms and collectibles for you to find, as well as a unique lever on each level. Finding this will open a door somewhere on the map that once found takes you into a level from the original Doom games. It’s a fun nod back to its heritage and makes exploring the maps even more worthwhile.
Demon rune active – I haven’t covered much of the multiplayer yet in this review and after playing the beta I wasn’t too sure if it would be something I would enjoy. It has actually turned out to be a lot of fun and the main reason for this is the inclusion of demon runes. Demon runes randomly appear during each multiplayer map and picking these up can often be crucial to victory. If you are fortunate enough to be in the right time and at the right place you become an almost unstoppable killing machine capable of eliminating enemies with one hit. There are four different demons available for you to choose from and each has its own set of skills. You can still be killed while controlling your demon although you are supplied with an extended health bar. Demon runes only appear a couple of times per multiplayer match so there’s no danger of matches being unbalanced by an over reliance on these power-ups.
What I disliked:
Very little – My total play time for Doom was around 20 hours which enabled me to complete the entire campaign and unlock all the achievements, and also play a decent amount of the multiplayer. I really found there was very little here that I disliked which for me is a rarity. While playing multiplayer I did not notice that there were certain weapons that would constantly be used by the opposition while other weapons (such as the rocket launcher) were almost useless. A bit of weapon balancing is something that could easily be done with a patch though. Also the maps felt a little generic which is unfortunate as the campaign had an almost endless amount of environments to take inspiration from. In the campaign mode there was a little bit of an over reliance on platforming sections that required the use of your double jump but I really struggled to find anything else that I disliked.
After the success of the revival of the Wolfenstein franchise back in 2014 I had high hopes that Bethesda and id Software would be able to work their magic on Doom, and I am delighted to say that it more than surpassed all of my expectations. With a captivating campaign and fun-filled frantic multiplayer there is something here for everyone to enjoy.
Score: Buy it now
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