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DOOM (PC) artwork

DOOM (PC) review


"RIP AND TEAR"


“They are rage, brutal, without mercy. But you. You will be worse. Rip and tear, until it is done.”

These are the lines that set us of into the newest iteration of the game that started the FPS craze – DOOM. A legend among older gamers and the progenitor of arguably the most popular genre in gaming, 1993's DOOM was the crucible of what most gamers love – bloody shootouts in 3D environments seen from the first perspective. Until Quake came out in 1996, every game we today know an FPS were called “DOOM clones”.

But, as the years moved on, DOOM’s aging technology and gameplay design fell into obscurity to all but the most diehard fan who continued to develop new stuff to the original game, be it source ports or new maps or mods.

In 2004 id made an attempt at reviving the brand but, while technologically a marvel, gameplay wise DOOM 3 was nothing like its predecessor, being closer to a survival horror game than the fast-paced shooter everyone remembered. Finally, after releasing a very well executed Wolfenstein The New Order and announcing that id is going to reboot DOOM again, there was a glimmer of hope for a true comeback of a legend. And what a comeback it is.

DOOM (PC) image


Gamepaly wise, 2016's DOOM is as fast and as brutal as its original incarnation. After the initial lines delivered to us by an unknown voice we start off chained naked to a sarcophagus - but not for long. Within seconds protagonist rips the chains, smashes the nearest zombie’s head against his ancient tomb, grabs a pistol and starts shooting stuff. And we wont run around naked for long. Just after the first switch and door we see the most iconic object in all of DOOM, the Doom Marine's armour, which is here called the Preator Suit. Donning it, we set of onto a bloody adventure packed with powerful guns and relentless demons. Rampaging through 13 levels of carnage and exploration, through the UAC's base on Mars and Hell itself, we upgrade our arsenal and armour to the point of near godhood, so we may slay the most powerful of the masters of Hell.

The action is fast and contrary to the most maps in the original DOOM, both horizontal and vertical. The hellspawn come at us from all possible directions but so can we come at them. With the ability to quickly climb most ledges, and the later addition of double jumping, our freedom of movement while in combat is quite extensive. Therefore, most engagements with the enemies in DOOM are similar to fighting deathmatches on smaller or bigger multiplayer arenas. No more jump scares, no more flashlights, just pure demon carnage. And the enemies are numerous and varied. From the lowly zombies that bare no arms (sometime literary), through Possessed humans, Lost Souls, Imps, Pinkies and Specters, Hell Razers, Summoners, Hell Knights, Revenants, Mancubuses, Cocadeamons and ending with the mighty Barons of Hell. Each enemycan become deadly in certain situations and its up to us to decide in which order and with what weapon to dispatch our foes. Wrong choices lead to almost certain death (remember, Ultra Violence and above is the only true way to play DOOM).

There are a total of 14 weapons at our disposal which can be divided into three categories – regular, special and equipment. Regular weapons are a well known bunch. Starting of with a pistol, which is almost as useless and in the original game, through two types of shotguns, combat and super (two barrels are batter then one), a machinegun and a chaingun (like DOOM 3), a rocket launcher, a plasma gun and a newcomer in a form of a gauss cannon (which works almost the same as Quake’s railgun). We can also use each weapon's butt as a melee attack, which turn into a bloody "Glory kill" if the enemy is damaged enough. A very satisfying mechanic which can be used to get out of a tight spot when we are low or health or ammo as executed enemies drop numerous health and ammo pickups.

DOOM (PC) image


All of these weapons can be upgrade through unlocking their respective mods, found held by small flying bots scattered around the campaign maps, which give a weapon an alt fire mode, two for each weapon, and can be swapped on the fly. This allows for quite a degree of customization to better suit ones play style. Next are the special weapons, and these are two very memorable and powerful tools of destruction. First off is the chainsaw, “30-in close quarters security”, an instant kill weapon consuming special ammunition – fuel. Depending on the size of the demon, it uses from 1 to 5 fuel but can kill even a Baron of Hell quickly and in a very gruesome fashion, leaving behind a heap of ammo pickups. The second one is the game ender, the BFG 9000. Having a maximum capacity of 3 shots and working similarly to the DOOM 3 variant it shoots a green ball of energy that projects green beams of energy at nearby enemies. Once it make contact with a demon or a hard surface it explodes, killing all in the blast radius and whoever it hit with the beams. The equipment section sports 3 items – a frag grenade, self explanatory, a hologram which creates a fake target for the demons to attack and a siphon grenade which sucks the life force out of opponents and fills up your reserves. All of these weapons recharge overtime and the process can be sped up via upgrades. Last but not least, you can come across some power-ups that can turn the Doom Marine into a demi-god. From the simple Haste buff, through Berserk and Quad Damage to the all powerful Invulnerability, those demonic artifacts are there to tip the balance heavily in your favour.

As mentioned before, exploration is an important aspect of the gameplay as the gunplay. Each level has numerous secrets to find. Some are just armour or ammo pickups, others allow you to get a more powerful gun earlier on, some unlock models of monsters and weapons to be viewed in the in-game model viewer, while the most elusive ones unlock classic DOOM 1 and 2 maps to be played from the main menu. There are also numerous logs that explain the lore behind our protagonist, the demons, Hell, different game location and UAC motivations. It’s a nice read for those who seek something more from DOOM that pure combat. All of this searching is greatly enhanced with the automap that works the same as in the original game. Furthermore, each level has a station that reveals all of the map and you can upgrade your suit to show all the secrets on the map to start with.

The multiplayer portion of the game is a throwback to the days of simple arena shooters, most notably Quake 3. I never did like such online games that much, being more of a fan of multiplayer titles like Battlefield, yet I still find DOOM’s take on multiplayer combat pleasing. No cover, no reloads, just pure skill and reflexes. With 6 game modes and 9 maps its enough verity to keep you satisfied for a while. And despite its simplicity in design this is the part of the game that draws heavily on modern multiplayer titles with extensive player avatar customisation, level unlocked weapons and 2 weapons per loadout.

DOOM (PC) image


While diehard fans of the arena shooters will cry with outrage that there are no weapon pickups and everyone can start off with the weapon they want I find it very pleasing I don’t get fragged by a guy who managed to get to the rocket launcher first. Yet, there are still some special weapons that can be picked up on maps, such as the chainsaw, the gauss cannon and the BFG 9000. You just have to know where to look. And last but not least you get to play as one of four campaign demons if you can get one of the Demon Runes that spawn on multiplayer maps. It’s a treat.

The final component of the game is the Snapmap editor which allows one to create maps from pre-made elements present in the editor. The system is easy to use and has several tutorials build into it that explain all the complexities of creating a map of your own. The biggest downside is that you can't build your own rooms from scratch and must rely of a set of ready made pieces created by the game designers. Luckily this is somewhat offset by the ability to change numerous values and behaviours to objects you put into you maps. I think that in quite a short time we will see some really clever maps done by the community using this tool.

Doom has always been on the technological forefront as far as the game engines go and while this game does not have all the modern gimmicks, like destructible environments for example, it gets the job done with fluid graphics, very detailed models and textures for guns, monsters and the environment, good lighting effects and outstandingly visceral and detailed animations. It's always a treat to watch as you tear through a horde of hell spawns using your Berserk power-up, pulverising their skulls against walls and floors, tearing their hearts out or simply ripping them apart. And the chainsaw is ever more gruesome in this regard.

DOOM (PC) image


As in the graphics department the same can be said for the sound effects. The are all well executed, with all the meaty details clearly audible. They only real issue I have with the sound in this game is the music. While it's nice to listen to it on Youtube, the more ambient tracks, while paying homage to some of the original DOOM's music, just pale in comparison to the hardcore riffs and vibes that kick in one the combat starts. It’s a real shame that these vibrant and exhilarating tracks are not heard more often in the game. But when they do start you know that all Hell is breaking loose. A real pleasure for fans of heavy metal.

Summing up my lengthy tirade about a reboot of a game I absolutely adore I just wanna say this – got to a store or online, buy the game and enjoy the way a remake of an old game should be made.

5/5

SHOGUNnYAMATO's avatar
Community review by SHOGUNnYAMATO (May 19, 2016)

I'm a gamer since I was 6 and got my Atari 65 XE/XL. Then I went through NES to a PC and stayed with this platform ever since. My favourite games are shooters and strategy games (mainly RTS). Though occasionally I'll play other genres.

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Nightfire posted May 21, 2016:

I really wish the Canadian dollar was doing better... All of the games I want (like this one) generally cost $80 CAD upon release now, and that just ain't cool.
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EmP posted May 22, 2016:

It feels like the world's is conspiring to make me buy this game. I was sold on "no flashlights, no jump scares."
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SHOGUNnYAMATO posted May 23, 2016:

To be frank there are one or two of the jump scare things but its like in cutscenes and you generaly see it comming. The rest of the game is pure action and secrets finding :) And I must say I find multiplayer better and better. I needed to get used to it after all those years of COD and BF :P

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