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DOOM (PC) artwork

DOOM (PC) review


DOOM 2016 is an excellent video game. I genuinely consider it a work of art. It’s one of the best FPS campaigns I can remember playing. If you have any interest in a fast paced, adrenaline filled, gloriously violent action FPS, this is definitely the game to check out, and I can’t imagine anything else dethroning it for a few years at least. Bethesda Softworks/Machine Games had done a great job in releasing Wolfenstein: The New Order back in 2014, and Doom is a similarly successful “soft reboot,” although the two games are very different in terms of design and gameplay focus.

To non-gamers, every game where you point a gun and shoot things in the face looks the same to them, more or less. However, people who play any number of FPS can tell you how different a few tweaks and changes can make the experience. Imagine the tense, malaria infected and desperate struggle for survival against overwhelming odds in Far Cry 2 compared to the pot filled, dubstep blasting, power fantasy that was Far Cry 3. Imagine the slow paced, resource management and crowd control tactics of the Halo series compared with the lighting fast, laser focused quick decision action of any Call of Duty title. First Person Shooters can differ greatly in how they play and what emotions they generate, the only thing they share is the perspective and control structure (maybe), but things like enemy health, movement speed, weapon damage, can change what the player experiences during a game.

DOOM (PC) image

As much as I loved Wolfenstein: The New Order, I now realize that there is an inherent contradiction within the gameplay design. This is a game where you can dual wield massive assault rifles and fire them with pin point accuracy with no penalties whatsoever. but your character was very fragile and could only take a few hits on higher difficulties. This, coupled with B.J.’s lumbering slow speed and the enemies firing hitscan weapons meant that despite having overwhelming firepower at my fingertips, the gameplay often turned into just another cover based shooter, a “stop and pop” kind of game. It was frustrating not being able to unleash hot lead on all the Nazis in sight, but because of their hitscan weapons and B.J. staggering around like a muscled tank bristling with machine guns, it made more sense to hide and peek around corners from time to time when facing overwhelming odds. I understand why they did this, the game is still somewhat grounded in a facsimile of “Real Life” and maybe allowing B.J. Blazkowicz to run around at lightning speeds would be too ridiculous to witness in an otherwise gritty and realistic setting.

DOOM is free of the shackles of realism, however. The distinct “Hell On Mars” setting, plus the protagonist being a !@#$!ed Sci Fi Doom Marine Angel of Destruction and Death means that there is no restriction as to how fast the character can move, how high they can jump (or double jump). I swear, the first surprise, among many I found in the game was how fast your character moves. Tap W and he freaking flies across the environment he’s got rockets taped to his ass. I think it’s approximately 10 times faster than B.J. sprinting at max speed. It’s amazing. This plus a simple ledge climbing mechanic means you can zip and mantle around the environment at extremely high speeds. The game's enemies all have projectile weapons/ melee attacks, combined with many of your own weapons being hitscan meant every encounter played out like a deadly dance versus a stop and pop shooter. You're not taking cover, you are actively dodging shots and dealing out damage constantly, instead of hiding behind a chest high wall. It is within your power to move out of harms way if you are quick enough, and on the higher difficulties even a SECOND spent poorly in the wrong position can lead to your death, which I absolutely loved.

DOOM (PC) image

The player experiences DOOM from the perspective of an extremely mobile glass cannon with a cone of heavy DPS but only in the direction the camera is facing, which means movement and precision are both key to success. The added glory kills adds to this feeling of a “dance”, you NEED to get close to the enemies to tear them apart with your hands to regain health, so the moment to moment gameplay is a frantic mix of strafing, jumping, shooting, switching weapons, spinning, sniping the head off of a Mancubus, turning to rip demon’s head off of its shoulders, jumping, blasting a hole in an Imp's chest, running forward and so on. This is portrayed on a graphics engine with great details and textures throughout even at blindingly fast speeds, a brutally bloody and glorious gore system with location based dismemberment and gibs effects, set to an ass kicking, dynamic soundtrack by Mick Gordon that feels like an entire rock band inside your computer dedicated to melting your face off with sweet guitar riffs about HOW FUCKING COOL YOU ARE.

And oh boy, the gameplay a barrel of pure, unadulterated fun. You know that feeling in a multiplayer twitch shooter where you are racking up kill after kill while flying through the level avoiding all damage and you feel the adrenaline pumping through your eyeballs and EVERY sense is stretched to the limit? You know the feeling when some kickass song is stirring something deep inside your soul and you can’t help but bob your head and tap your feet? You know the feeling when you rub a kitten’s belly and it purrs? DOOM encompasses all of these feelings, and more. The game feels more like a Devil May Cry or a Bayonetta than a traditional shooter, due to its unrelenting pace and bullet hell-like maneuverability, and it is a fantastic niche for the franchise to occupy in this new age of modern shooters.

DOOM (PC) image

The weapons are fantastic, mostly all come with two alternate firing modes in addition to a primary mode, and each are unique in their own capabilities. Unlike other games where I usually found a gun I liked and stuck with it, ammo is balanced in such a way that you are encouraged to switch it up once in a while, often discovering that you may enjoy this other gun more than you first thought. Ammo is never THAT scarce, however, so if you want to do a Super Shotgun only playthrough, I mean who can blame you? One of the driving factors in this game is the desire to unlock weapon upgrades that turn them each into uniquely overpowered death machines, which is always an exciting prospect. What is your reward for killing lots of demons extremely efficiently and brutally? A BIGGER AND BETTER WAY TO KILL DEMONS. What's your reward for exploring an area? Some sweet upgrades, AND MORE DEMONS TO KILL!

The storyline in this game… is perfect. Unlike The New Order’s serious premise, DOOM takes things far less seriously. The game is constantly winking at you, reveling and delighting in the ridiculousness of its own premise. Have gun, kill demons. It’s self-aware, but not self-aware in an annoying, Gearbox Borderlands kind of way. However, one of the biggest surprises for me is how damn cool and intriguing the storyline gets as it eventually expands outward through the game. It gets your hooks in you, and you’re left wondering/ wanting more when the credits roll.

DOOM (PC) image

DOOM 2016 is a surprise hit that everyone who enjoys First Person Shooters should give a shot. Play on Ultra-Violence or above, and experience an amazing single player campaign that will be compared as a benchmark to future games for a long, long time.


KT_Extinction's avatar
Community review by KT_Extinction (February 28, 2017)

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jerec posted March 05, 2017:

You certainly know your stuff when it comes to first person shooters. I found the review a little long for my tastes, and definitely much more technical than I'm used to, but I think that is more to do with audience. I'm definitely not your target, as my relationship with the genre is fairly minimal. I'm sure people who play a lot of these games would find the comparisons and descriptions of control and speed and all that to be very useful in deciding whether they should play this.

I certainly can't fault your enthusiasm for DOOM and the genre as a whole. Keep up the good work!

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