DOOM is finally upon us. I have to admit, we were a bit worried when Bethesda decided to not send out review copies until the release day. (Usually a bad sign) However, we were pleased to find a very, very, very good game that will make any DOOM fanboy happy.
DOOM was one of the first shooters that I played as a kid. I remember blasting Nine Inch Nails and Ministry over my stereo while playing through the night ; tearing through legions of hell spawn on varying difficulty levels while chugging cases of Mountain Dew was pure perfection.
So how much of that nostalgia was rewarded with the recent release of DOOM? The answer is, every single bit. Well, minus the cases of Mountain Dew.
DOOM puts you back in the Praetor suit of “DoomGuy,” the space marine with no spoken words. When you begin the game you are thrust face first into the action with hell and all of its inhabitants spilling over into our dimension. Fanatical zealot, Olivia Pierce is trying her damnedest to open up a permanent portal from hell to our world.
Much like the classic DOOM, this one takes place at a mining facility on Mars. The Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) is mining argent energy. You soon discover that argent energy is an insidious source and it is up to you to destroy it as well as Olivia Pierce.
DOOM has some fast, polished and liquid gameplay. You move much faster than you do in most first person shooters and that change is a welcome and rewarding one. The controller responsiveness is a match for the fast-pacing and a much needed tool when dealing with the amount of enemies that the game throws at you in the later missions.
Weapon and Praetor suit power ups are one of the biggest and most welcome changes to DOOM. You are now able to upgrade parts of your weapons that allow for things like explosive shotgun rounds, lock-on missiles, sniper scope and a whole lot more. Your suit is also upgradable with things like added protection from explosions, a better radar, (helps to locate secret areas) better equipment usage and a more. Secret areas also offer collectible DoomGuy figures, each one of these are different variations of the Praetor suit.
Glory Kills are one of my favorite new additions in DOOM. This allows you to rip stunned enemies to pieces in varying violent ways. Once blasted a certain amount of times demons will begin to blink, signaling you to move in for the Glory Kill. These range from ripping demons jaws open, ripping an arm off and beating them to death with it and curb stomping all hell out of them. There are a variety of Glory Kills that you can perform, depending on which body part you are aiming at when you initiate them. Glory Kills don’t just looks awesome, they also cause the enemy to drop health or ammo. That health might come in handy in a pinch. I know it has saved my butt more times than I can count.
Rune Trials allow you to equip Runes that can do things like increase ammo, and make some abilities last longer. Rune Trials take you briefly into another dimension where you are tasked with a timed challenge. For example, killing 30 enemies within the time limit or killing a certain amount of demons with a special move if you are able to complete the challenge you are rewarded with a new rune to help you in the fight.
For the first time in a long time, secrets and challenges are imperative to getting full enjoyment out of the game. Weapon and Praetor suit points are rewarded when you discover a secret location or when you complete a challenge. These power ups go a long way to enabling you with more ammo, weapon attachments, more health and more armor. They aren’t a necessary part of the game but seeking them out will help out in later missions, especially if you are aiming to finish the game on a harder difficulty setting.
Bethesda and id took everything that you loved about the original DOOM and did the wisest thing they could have done with it. They kept it all intact. All the hell spawn you remember are all accounted for. Yep, that one too. They updated it for the current gen and the results are jaw-dropping, Mars and Hellscapes are works of art. Looking out at a vista are all wallpaper worthy scenes. Taking the original game and not changing the core elements, enemies or DoomGuy already makes this game a blast. Add in the fact that you can upgrade weapons and armor and this give us the best DOOM single player campaign we have seen.
There is a forgotten art at work here too. With recent shooters gamers have become accustom to grabbing some cover popping up, shooting and ducking back behind cover while waiting to regain health. DOOM takes you back to the days of needing to pickup health in order to heal. It also encourages you to run around and use movement as an ally instead of cover. If you stand still you die. It creates a sense of constant urgency and white-knuckle, sweaty palm action.
The games score is a perfect match as well and gives us a hardcore, synth-driven ambience that adds a kick-ass sound for you to rip and tear demons apart to. It gets to the point later in that game that when you hear that music cue up you invite the hoards in a very “bring it on” fashion. The music helps you become invincible, or at least think you are until DOOM decides to throw hells kitchen sink and five Hell Baron’s at you.
I wasn’t sure if going back to this nostalgic place in my heart was possible, but I was wrong. DOOM is enough of a perfect mix of old and new to cater to hardcore DOOM fans and newcomers alike. The developers really stuck to their guns on this one. They could have easily gone for the pop and shoot ways of current first person shooters; by doing things in the classic vein they have managed to reinvent the wheel again. DOOM is brilliant, bloody and visceral, it takes you to the depths of hell and gives the most badass metal experience you are likely to have this year in an FPS.
Look for our review of DOOM’s multiplayer and SnapMap up soon.