Doom is a game created by ID software and Bethesda studios. It’s the latest of remakes in the series, after the latest game, Doom 3. A reimagined version of the game, Doom is reminiscent of classic rail shooters. It’s just you, your guns, and a whole lotta demons that need killin’. It’s a title that remembers what games are supposed to be…. Fun. There are objectives sure, but the real meat of the game lies in the simplistic, but fast paced combat.
The storyline of Doom is concrete, but offers little depth and serves only as a means to get the player from one group of unsuspecting demons to the other. There are only two other characters beside the protagonist himself, and describing them as bland would be giving them too much credit. As for the “doom marine,” the main character of the story; the only personality we get is from small interactions with the environment, mainly interacting with levers and hitting buttons. He has no voice, and the only description we get of him is that he’s a badass warrior who’s been slumbering for centuries and is infamous among the hordes of hell for being… well, a badass.
But Doom isn’t a game that’s hung up on story… that’s for pansies. In the game’s intro, we see the doom marine awaken from his slumber. As soon as some expositional dialogue starts getting spouted at him through a monitor, he grabs it and throws it against the wall. It seems that the story was really an afterthought after level design and gameplay, but Doom seems to know this. I mean after all, who needs a story when they can take their day out on a horde of demons with a minigun?
The gameplay of Doom is really it’s bread and butter. Or should I say meat and bones? The game starts you off with a pistol and shotgun, but soon after you’re carrying around a barrage of weapons and screaming your head off while jumping around displacing every bullet you can into an unsuspecting demon’s head. As for pacing, the game does its job. The guns you grab get gradually better, although I found myself sticking mainly with two or three that seemed to do the trick.
The enemies get bigger, but not exactly tougher. They get more health, sure. But they all do either one or two things; shoot projectiles at you, or leap around the map trying to stomp you. I guess demons can only really do those two things, and to Doom’s credit they try to mix it up by having some demons charge you, or leap at you, but I couldn’t help but feel there could have been a little more going on.
The challenge doesn’t necessarily come from the enemies’ strength, but rather from the sheer number of them you’ll face. They come in droves, and there is no way of telling when they’ll stop. Each portion of the map can unleash anywhere from 2-10 waves of enemies, and sometimes you won’t know when to stop shooting. Towards the end, you will be bouncing and leaping off so many walls and cliffs, that your legs will turn to Jell-O. Overall, the pacing is OK. The game gives you enough tools to keep things fresh.
Doom’s upgrade system is well balanced but a little dull. While all the upgrades make you more powerful or give you a new ability, there aren’t really many upgrades that will change up the gameplay at all. They all merely serve as small tactical advantages, rather than awesome new powers. This doesn’t take anything away from the game, but I feel as though the upgrades could have been more than just decreased cooldown periods and faster weapon switching. But there are other new features to the game.
This leads me to my final talking point. The new features of Doom. As in previous Doom games, there is a chainsaw. But this time, it serves a more singular purpose than before. Every time an enemy is killed with a chainsaw, they drop a boatload of ammo for you to pick you up. I like this. It gives a practical gameplay use and keeps the fight going rather than halting the player to look around for more ammo. It keeps up with the fast-paced gameplay, and is all around a good idea (not to mention, satisfying as hell).
Another new feature is the glory kill system. When an enemy’s health is low, they will flash red and blue, letting the doom marine get close to finish them off. This causes a small break in gameplay, as a kill animation will play. The benefit of this being that the enemy will drop health pickups. In a gameplay sense this works out really well. The animations are small and don’t slow the pace too much, although doing them repeatedly will eventually get boring. But they are well implemented and serve the gameplay well enough that they don’t detract from the game.
Graphics and sound
On console, Doom has an optimized system. Because the loading times are small, and there are no loading screens in the middle of levels, the developers were forced to dumb down the texturing a bit. This comes across painfully obvious at some points in the game. But while it is noticeable, you won’t really pay much attention to it in the middle of dogfights. I can’t give the developers crap for it, as I’d rather have some slightly dumbed down texturing than an extra loading screen. Mainly because nothing makes an action game duller than having to sit through multiple loading screens per level.
The only issue I noticed with sound was on the final level of the game, when glory kill animations wouldn’t produce any sound on impact. It only occurred for a small portion of the level before returning however. Other than that, there were no issues to speak of.
Playing the game on a console, I can’t help but feel that I have been cheated of some experience. The game requires a quick trigger-finger, and I think this would be much better served on a mouse. But on console, the controls still mesh together really well. Doom has the typical FPS range of controls for Xbox One i.e. RT shoots, D-pad for equipment etc. The only major difference I saw was using RB for weapon switching other than Y. In this case, pressing Y brings up the BFG and pressing X whips out your chainsaw. Holding down RB brings up the player’s weapon wheel and slows down time for a while. This is all very well done and allows for easy switching out during combat. It’s very simple, but it serves the combat’s needs.
Doom is a game that allows you to choose your difficulty. My first playthrough I tried the normal difficulty and didn’t have any challenging combat until later in the game. I’d like to say that this is because of my awesome gaming prowess, but really I think that the combat was just a little too easy. In short, if you are a regular player of FPS’s, then play on the hard (nightmare) difficulty.
The difficulty curve isn’t so harsh that it will catch you off guard, but may come across as too easy at times. As I said before, even the bigger badies won’t pose much of a threat to you once you learn how to hop around the map. The game will even remind you of this, saying that movement is the key to battle during loading screens.
Doom’s replayability will depend largely on how much you like the combat. By the end of the game, I didn’t feel like going back to play it again. The only real reason to do so is to find collectibles you may have missed the first go-round. But having said that, the possibility of going back to earlier levels with your full repertoire of guns is enticing. There is multiplayer to keep you occupied, but whether or not you play that is a matter of personal taste. Really, if you want more of the same, then go back and play it again. But overall, there isn’t much of a reason to unless you’re a perfectionist.