As I sit here ready to type out my review for the new Doom I am torn. On the one hand the single player is a brutal exhilarating ride that reminds us that shooter campaigns used be fun. On the other Doom’s multiplayer shows us how stale some shooters have become. That said in my mind the former far outweighs the latter in its awesomeness.
Once again Doom puts you in the chunky shoes of the Doom guy/Doom Marine and it literally wastes no time in the process. After a brief cut scene, you are given a gun and you shoot some demons. No tutorial, no listening to talking heads for five minutes you just get into the action. For me this is Doom’s greatest strength, it knows you came here to shoot demons with cool guns, so it gives you a gun points you at some demons and says “go crazy”. Obviously there is more to it than that, there is an overarching narrative that surprised me in the way it was delivered and there are awesome secrets to find. But Doom’s purity of purpose is what kept me playing.
That said, purity of purpose doesn’t mean a one note performance. Doom isn’t just run and gun, its backed up by great level design that adds a much needed dose of verticality to shooters that provides an element of platforming and gives you a great sense of dominating the environment to pull of flashy manoeuvres and kills. It doesn’t stint in giving you the tools to pull off these kills either. Doom’s diverse range of weapons is great giving the player a plethora of options to gorily kill the hordes of hell. From an assault rifle that also fires missiles to the old favourite the super shotgun each weapon feels weighty and satisfying to use and when you have riddled your enemy with bullets/plasma/buckshot you can finish them off with brutal glory kills.
Glory kills are a new and welcome addition to the series after weakening an enemy they glow gold and sway about stunned and with a push of a button you go into an animation tearing their limbs off and beating them with them or snapping their neck. I thought going in that these animations would break the flow of the fast paced gameplay, this isn’t the case after a while you start to get into the flow of chaining them together knowing when to pull them off and when to leave well alone; it is an infinitely satisfying mechanic. Also boss fights!! This game has boss fights and they are one of the highlights of the campaign for me I genuinely can’t think of a shooter that has the quality of boss fights that Doom has.
You can see the fear in their rotting faces.
The game looks great too from the dystopian industrial wasteland of mars to the very depths of hell, Doom runs smoothly gore splatters gorily and the demons look great when you get up close and personal. Performance wise on my PC it sat at a cheery 60 fps with never a drop even when the screen was filled with explosions, freaky hell light and the demonic hordes it’s nice to see Bethesda publish a game that runs so smoothly with no bugginess at launch.
Now we come to the multiplayer as you have probably already guessed I’m not a massive fan. Its passable in its own way and parts of it hearken back to the arena shooters popularised by the original Doom. But for me it just doesn’t cut the proverbial mustard you can tell that the multiplayer portion of the game has been farmed out to another developer. Although it uses many of the same assets as the single player it just doesn’t seem to have the same aesthetic and feel. Also instead of positioning weapons as pickups around the map a’la Quake or Unreal Tournament the game opts instead for a COD like loadout system. Overall this leaves the whole package a little confused with an old school type of gameplay being infused with modern elements leaving the whole thing feeling a little limp and languid. I’m sure there will be people who enjoy it but it just wasn’t for me and I would of rather they took the money they spent on the inclusion of multiplayer and spent it on more content for the campaign.
So as I said at the beginning of this article Doom really is a game of two halves one refreshing and exciting to play and see in a genre that seems to be groaning under its own weight and age. The other displaying the very problems the first seeks to rectify. Don’t let that put you off however in my opinion its worth every penny just to play the campaign.
Doom is available now on PS4, Xbox one and PC.