Get your ass to Mars!
Doom, the granddaddy of all First Person Shooters, the game which truly popularized the genre and a true defining moment in the history of video games. Without Doom, there would probably be no Quake, no Unreal, no Call of Duty, no Battlefield and both Infinity Ward and Activision would not have that annual cash cow to milk; yes indeed the original Doom was very, very important. Hard to believe that it is 23 years this year since this seminal game saw release, and has seen 3 straight sequels and 4 expansions in that time and 2016 sees the the release of the 4th installment of the franchise.
Let’s get straight to the point, 2016 Doom is bloody brilliant. The initial worries bought about from the Beta have been totally blown away by a well designed, gorgeous looking and most importantly fun video game. Doom 2016 is Doom 4 in all but name, however it seems that id Software have made the decision to make this newest incarnation a reboot of sorts, giving the feel of the 1993 original but with a 2016 makeover. Everything about Doom’s presentation has been stripped back from 2004’s Doom 3, gone are the needless cut scenes, letting the story unfold in game making the player truly feel that they are part of the experience and not just watching a movie. id have tried to give us the purest Doom experience possible and they surely have delivered.
The campaign mode is an absolute blast, all the familiar guns from previous incarnations are here from the lowly pistol all the way through to the BFG 9000, via the always satisfying chainsaw. Each weapon can be upgraded by collecting upgrade points by completing mission specific challenges, once upgraded your weapon will have the ability to utilize various modes of destruction which will significantly help you in your trip through hell. The perennial favorite, the chainsaw is back however this time it is far more than just a satisfying way to dismember the hellish hordes. Using the chainsaw will destroy lower level enemies in one foul stroke and also scatter a plethora of ammo and health from your enemies twitching corpse, however the time you can use it is extremely limited and you must find more gasoline to make use of it again.
The addition of Glory Kills to the game could be seen by some as just a cynical attempt to heap even more blood and gore into the action, however their use adds a lot to the rhythm of the action, helping the player dispatch monsters quickly and effectively, but to be quite honest ripping a demon’s arm off and beating them to death with it is satisfying as hell (pun intended). However if the glory kill aspect isn’t your bag and you prefer a more challenging and somewhat purer Doom experience then these can be turned off in the options. The action hardly ever stops in Doom, you are constantly on the move and in the rare lulls, so the story can progress or you have finally cleared a room, act only as much needed respite so that you can catch your breath before plunging deeper into hell. If there is one gripe to be had with the campaign mode, it is that after a few hours of play things do seem to get a bit samey and the story itself is pretty basic, but then again Doom has never really required a strong story arc to be entertaining.
Once you have worked your way through the 13 campaign missions, Doom offers an extremely satisfying multiplayer experience too, with 6 modes to get to grips with, Soul Harvest, Freeze Tag, Warpath, Domination, Team Deathmatch and Clan Arena. Soul Harvest tasks you with not only killing your foes but to then collect their disembodied souls, the player with the most souls wins, kill a player in demon form and you get 5 souls for your trouble. The aim of Freeze Tag is to completely freeze the opposing team, players encased in ice can be thawed or destroyed to allow respawning, if all your players are frozen at the same time, you lose. Warpath is a King of the Hill type game with a constantly moving capture point and a Demon Rune to make things interesting, the winning team is the first to reach a preset points tally or those with the highest score when time runs out. Domination is your basic capture the base type affair with winners being the team with control of all bases, Team Deathmatch does exactly what it says on the tin and Clan Arena is your basic elimination Deathmatch. All in all the multiplayer aspect of Doom is a lot of fun, the addition of Demon Runes make life really interesting especially in Deathmatch modes, however it can get bloody frustrating being taken out by a jumping demon and smashed against a wall, again and again.
Multiplayer mode is further improved with the addition of the SnapMap function allowing players to create and play their own levels, leading to an endless amount of multiplayer arenas to battle in.
In conclusion, Doom 2016 is a brilliant continuation to the classic, groundbreaking series. id have struck a good balance of the classic core gameplay with gorgeous graphics and new additions which don’t feel “tacked on”. The multiplayer modes will keep you coming back for more, long after the campaign mode has been completed, Doom is back and better than ever and about bloody time.
Developer/Publisher: id Software/Bethesda
Doom is out now on PS4 (Reviewed) and all other formats
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided a review code from the publishers.