TryGamers Doom Review
New Xbox One, PS4, and PC gamers might not be familiar with the weight that the name “DOOM” implies, but I’m not lying when I say that if it wasn’t for the release and success of the original DOOM back in 1993, there would be a lot of games that likely would have never existed. Call of Duty? Nope. Half-Life? Probably not. Duke Nukem? Of course not. System Shock? Definitely not. All of those titles are first-person shooter titles, and looking back at the extensive family tree of the genre, you’ll find DOOM as one of the oldest ancestors.
DOOM in 1993 was such a runaway success that it was installed on more computers than the Windows operating system at the time. It spawned two sequels (three now), a movie, and has defined an entire genre of gaming for years to come. DOOM 2: Hell on Earth was released in 1994 to similar success, and DOOM3 in 2004 followed. DOOM3 is considered by many to be the weakest of the series so far for its departure from the series’ formula of frantic run-and-gun shooting, and took to a survival-horror approach which could be described as subpar at best and a complete flop to emulate Resident Evil at worst.
Sometime passed and it was wondered if there would even be a DOOM 4 after the criticism of DOOM3, but id Software came back to the gaming scene and announced the new installment to DOOM…called DOOM, which was released earlier this year on May 13th, 2016. id Software has since added many new additions to the game in the form of additional modes, multiplayer options, as well as enhancements to its SnapMap Mode, but in the interest of time, this review will focus on the single player campaign.
(Ah, the Doomguy’s suit. Every hero needs a costume, and this one can take everything Hell can throw at it.)
As the story begins, you find yourself waking up on a stone slab with no idea where you are or how you got there. Zombies are nearby and clearly want to dine on your flesh, so much that one grabs you, with your (Doomguy) response to smash the undead’s skull into the corner of your slab, pick up a nearby handgun, and kill pretty much everything you will see from now until the end of the game. The next room contains Doomguy’s Praetor Suit, a protective armor said to have been forged in Hell itself. After some nightmarish imagery crosses your eyes as you don the suit, you get a phone call from a scientist at the facility, telling you that he’s aware of what’s going on and wants your help, justifying the invasion of Hell under the excuse of “we did what we had to for humanity”. Sure, bub. Of course, Doomguy being Doomguy and knowing exactly what is going on, responds within seconds of punching the screen in a sort of aggressive middle finger to said scientist. Your next several hours of gameplay consists of shooting, crushing, breaking, chainsawing, exploding, melting, and otherwise killing demons from Hell in fantastically brutal fashion.
Despite what it may seem like, DOOM is not an empty demon-murder-simulator. Throughout your demonic genocide, you can find audio and data logs about various things in the game, like important characters, the weapons, the demons, locations you’ll visit, and even a little of the Doomguy’s own backstory. Collecting all of these, including the other collectibles scattered throughout the levels, is entirely optional, and if you want to skip it all and just kill demons, the game won’t judge you for it.
(The Praetor Suit and your weapons can be upgraded throughout the campaign. Cup holder sold separately.)
Of course, skipping exploration of the expansive levels in the interest of gameplay can also be a detriment to you as well. Each level has hidden collectibles that can upgrade your basic stats, give you points to upgrade your Praetor Suit, and add weapon upgrades which can range from useful to not-so-useful. For example, the Scope upgrade to the Heavy Assault Rifle will come handy to those with experience playing first-person shooters, but the Micro Missiles upgrade feels like it falls flat when dealing with hordes of demons. Choosing what upgrade will be the most useful will depend mostly on your own playstyle, but what makes these upgrades good is the fact that they are options to an already good weapon than something you need to win the game.
Speaking of weapons, your old favorite guns from DOOMs long past have all returned; the Pistol, the Shotgun, the Super Shotgun (yay!), the Rocket Launcher, the Plasma Gun, the Chaingun, the Chainsaw, and our most favorite, the BFG9000. Unlike previous DOOM games however, these are relegated to holdout weapon status, not being a part of your main arsenal like in previous games. The Chainsaw is now more intended for when you have no ammuntion for your guns left, where upon you gain ammo from getting kills with the Chainsaw. It takes fuel to use the Chainsaw to kill things, even more depending on the demon you happen to be carving up, so caution is advised. As for the BFG9000, it is still just as hilariously satisfying to use as before, and is now more intended as an emergency room-clearing/redecorating tool than something to use solely against the big bosses of the game. Two new additions to the DOOM armory in the campaign are the Heavy Assault Rifle, a run-of-the-mill automatic weapon, and the Gauss Cannon, a massive weapon that fires destructive beams of blue light and can reliably saw most demons in half.
(It wouldn’t be DOOM without the Cyberdemon coming back for another rematch.)
Another tool at your disposal is one of the most satisfying weapons to use; your fists! Taking a cue from the Brutal DOOM mod for the original release, id Software added the “Glory Kill” mechanic, where if a demon is weakened enough and you’re next to it, you can hit the melee button and kill the demon with your bare hands in gory fashion. Glory Kills are a good way to save ammo and give yourself some breathing room while the animation plays, and will sometimes reward much-needed health or ammo pickups to keep you back in the unstoppable fight against Hell.
All in all, id Software has shown a glorious return to DOOM’s true roots in the campaign of this new title, as if standing up in a room at E3 saying, “this is how you do a shooter, you idiots!” and following through. The gameplay is fast-paced as it was in the old days, the same guns and things we loved about DOOM are all here, and yet the subtle changes to the formula haven’t hampered the game and have improved it. Truly, this is how you do a nostalgia title reboot (looking at you, Gears of War, Halo, Syndicate, and et al.).