Doom (2016) is a “reboot” of the Doom series from 1993 and is a first person shooter. The original Doom is considered to be an extremely important title in video game history and even more so in first person shooters. Doom was one of the first popular first person shooters. This reboot is created by id software but in reality they are now Bethesda who are better know for Elder Scrolls and the newer first person shooter Fallouts.
This review is only going to be for the single-player as it would appear that the community have already pretty much written off the multiplayer after the beta. While negativity surrounding the multiplayer has already tainted this title, we’re going to see if the single player is worthy of the Doom name. I feel that any title bold enough to carry a name like Doom should be reviewed based on the weight of the legacy and so this review will not be a review for just some new FPS. This is a review for a game that has Doom in the name.
What makes the original Doom so good is the perfect flow and challenge which leads you into “the zone”. The zone is a mental state in which you have no sense of time and submerge into your subconscious. In Doom this translates to a beautiful brutal ballet of perfect gorey murder. You know that time you killed everything perfectly and didn’t lose any health? That. Up to about half way through this new Doom I was convinced I would give it a “not recommended” as I was bored and had not been submerged into the zone at all. After half way the game drastically picks up and you do get that feeling. Sadly - just not enough. Things such as ledge climbing, glory kills (the poor range and being unable to reach a staggered enemy in an awkward position, e.g. air), long pauses without anything to shoot and the predictably dull spawning of demons at gore nests (hell portals that need to be shut down) constantly interrupt violence.
The game has secret hunting which is in-keeping with the originals. For the most this is perfectly good but I regularly found myself thinking I was on to something when it was just a cliff shaped like a way to a secret. There are also weapon and armour upgrades, I do not think they added any value. I loved finding and unlocking relics which involve completing some sort of challenge, such as killing a bunch of demons using only explosives barrels in a specific time. In return for completing a relic you got some sort of equippable bonus.
I’d describe most of the guns as a “bit wet”, both shotguns needs to be overly close to even the weakest enemy for a kill while the rocket launchers explosive range and damage feels a bit naff. Don’t get me started on the pistol - it was outright boring to use. On the other hand the Gauss Cannon felt awesome, firing it blew enemies apart and slowed larger enemies down. The chainsaw was also satisfying to use. Don’t worry - the BFG also feels great.
The storytelling is where this game really excelled for me. I loved that they expanded on the Doom Marine backstory but didn’t go massively overboard on cutscenes and fluff. Some of it didn’t make a lot of sense, like why Doom Marine’s demon armour could be upgraded by human armour plugins or why an ancient demon slaying maniac who loves destroying shit needs to collect PDAs but we’ll let them fly…
The graphics are fairly high quality but aren’t going to win any awards for pushing boundaries. While this would normally be fine, Doom titles are known for pushing graphical boundaries. Heck, even mirrors don’t reflect the character, a regression from Doom 3. I would describe the performance to go with that quality as “smooth”, something you definitely want in an FPS. The game has some voiced dialogue and music which are awesome but in general the audio is unsatisfying. Guns don’t sound very good, enemies don’t really have any distinctive sounds (that stand out - there’s no “oh shit, it’s Hell Knight” type cues), it’s difficult to pinpoint enemy locations due to poor positional cues and sound in general. I genuinely think this version of Doom would be much improved if more effort had been put into the sound.
The game comes with an in-game tool called SnapMap which is supposedly as much as you’re going to get for modding. From a bit of playing around it looks like it’s tied to the multiplayer side of the game (which was developed by someone else) and has some ridiculous limitations such as 2 weapon limit. You can basically stitch a bunch of prefabricated rooms together and add a bit of logic. No user made content can be imported. This is not in the spirit of Doom.
I crashed to desktop once and experienced an enemy getting stuck in the terrain who fortunately killed himself shortly after allowing me to continue.
The Doom single player is a solid modern first person shooter experience but doesn’t deliver the Doom experience. If you want Doom, get yourself the original and install Brutal Doom. As I said this would be reviewed as a Doom title - I will not be recommending or not recommending it. Doom only narrowly escaped a ‘not recommended’ due to the second half of the game.