Parent Talk: I’m going to keep this very short and sweet. Under no circumstances are you to ever let your children play this game. It is beyond gory, brutal and mature. Just don’t let the kids near this one. It worked very hard to earn that M rating.
Plays Like: Incredibly DOOM plays very much like the original DOOM, right down to needing to find healing items. That’s right, no auto-regenerating health here. You have to earn your health, like you used to have to do years back. Even the concept is the same, locate the stage’s exit before moving on the next one. It is an ultra-old concept, but it works perfectly. Weapons are mostly inspired by the original’s weapons, and that’s excellent since they’re absolutely great fun to use. There are also new more modern day features that have made their way into the game including being able to upgrade weapons, your armor suit, and more.
Review Basis: I polished off the campaign and tried some online multiplayer matches.
DOOM is back! For those that are old enough to remember the glory day of DOOM, you’ll remember that at its core it was a simple game. You moved around an open map trying to find keys to access next areas. Your primary objective was to locate the stage’s exit and move on to the next stage. It really was that simple. DOOM and DOOM II were both pioneers of the FPS genre, and will always remain legendary games. They were followed up with DOOM 3 which was, for its time, the nicest looking videogame ever released. The problem was those visuals weren’t matched with outstanding gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love DOOM 3, but you can tell more emphasis was placed on graphics than gameplay. Today Bethesda has released what amounts to a reboot of the franchise and it takes all the elements that made the original two games great, but doesn’t ignore the technical prowess of the third game. What you’re left with is a retro-inspired game done right, one of the best games released thus far this year, and a hell of a good time for fans of the genre.
Everything old is new again. I can’t stress this enough, but this is one of the best retro-inspired videogames ever made. So let’s start off with what makes DOOM, DOOM. Gone is the auto-regenerating health all modern first-person shooters use. Here you have to locate healing items in order to gain lost health. If you perform a glory kill, which occurs when you melee strike a flashing enemy. This occurs when they are just about to keel over and die. Performing a glory kill awards health, and they are absolutely gruesome and in-your-face. Since it’s one of the easiest ways to get health, you can expect to do this repeatedly and it’s damn satisfying.
Health is only one aspect though, the very nature of your objectives are reminiscent of the original DOOM. In essence you’re simply trying to locate the stage’s exit. Sure there are other objectives scattered around before you do that including locating and destroying key objects, or taking down a central system, or more. Ultimately though you’ll find yourself searching for a way to move on to the next area. This is absolutely wonderful as it harkens back to a simpler time.
- The gameplay as a whole is just fantastic. Sure the levels are linear, but there’s a great sense of verticality to them, well certain levels at least. One in particular has you climbing to the very top of a giant spire, and the sense of freedom you have is wonderful. There are 13 stages in total and the whole game can be wrapped up in under ten hours if you just hightail it to the exit, however there are a ton of secrets to be found.
- The Metroidvania elements, which aren’t very Metroidvania to be honest, are a great way to sink more time into the game. There’s a wonderful map system that allows you to easily spot where secrets are lying for you to discover, however actually getting to them is often extremely tricky. I found myself returning to previously completed levels once I had acquired more equipment just because it made exploration that much easier, however I’m fairly certain you can locate all secrets in a level the first time through.
- Weapons and gear play a big part of the game. Classic weapons such as the shot gun to the BFG and many more. Each weapon has two upgrade sockets, well except for the double-barrel super shotgun, which has one upgrade slot. These upgrades can add different functionality to your weapons including everything form explosive rounds to tracking tech and much, much more. The chainsaw also returns, however that weapon gets allocated to its own face button for quick use and doesn’t feature an upgrade slot, much like the BFG.
- Exploration is rewarded. Every stage not only features a wide assortment of hidden goodies for you to try and collect, which often reward you with a weapon upgrade point, which can then be used to expand a weapon’s ability to hold more ammunition, etc. but each stage also features three challenges. These range from everything like performing five unique glory kills on a specific type of demon to locating a set number of secrets. You can also locate special armor suit enhancements that make you a better killing machine if you explore the stages enough, which is how I got addicted to doing so.
- If all the action and gunplay weren’t enough, the soundtrack is absolutely awesome. It’s non-stop heavy metal which gets your adrenaline pumping like no tomorrow. I didn’t really have any expectations for DOOM, and it just blew me away.
- Graphically the game is stunning and all of the legendary enemies are back, but look better than ever before. It’s just incredible how well the environments, animations, design, and effects come together. I was honestly impressed from the opening all the way to the end credits, and even those credits managed to impress me as the developer did something very special with them.
- Before moving on to what some might find disappointing, I should mention there is a semblance of a story here, but I found it existed only to give you justification for being where you were and why you were hunting down hell spawn. I won’t go into detail of the story here but it has to do with a link between Mars and hell.
+/- About the only negative thing I can say about DOOM is that it is a tad repetitive in that every new area will always have a breakout battle sequence before some more exploration and fighting. It’s extremely cyclical, although I found it never got boring, just predictable.
+/- The multiplayer is fun in short bursts. Don’t expect a Call of Duty replacement here. You can expect a few simple modes that are best enjoyed in small doses. There’s Soul Harvest, Freeze Tag, Warpath, Domination, Team Deathmatch, and Clan Arena. Most of these are extremely simple, but again, they’re fun to play.
- I’ve never done something like this before in a review for a new game, but I want to introduce a new element to the reviews called The Surprise. DOOM features one element that really surprised me, Snap Map. Forget about multiplayer, this is where the future of this game lies. Snap Map is a gameplay mode that allows you to quickly creature maps for either single player or multiplayer. The interface is quite intuitive and the community creations thus far have been nothing short of incredible. One person created a MOBA out of this mode, which is incredible. Give this mode a try and you just might be playing DOOM for months to come.
Hands down my single favorite feature of DOOM is the return to form. While DOOM 3 looked incredible, I always felt like that didn’t belong to the series as it felt so different. It was creepy as hell sure, but the original games were something else. This game matches that original feeling perfectly. It’s a fantastic videogame that comes highly recommended and when you throw in the Snap Map mode, I can see people playing this bad boy for a very long time to come.
Final Score: 9.2/10