Posted on 01 Jun 2016 by Simon Sirmenis

DOOM

The Defence

Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda
Genre: Shooter
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: 13 May 2016

The Prosecution

Minimum
Recommended
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i5 3.1 GHz
AMD FX 3.5 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 670
AMD Radeon HD 7870
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 55 GB
DirectX: OpenGL
Controller: Partial
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 120+
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i7 3.4 GHz
AMD FX 4.0 GHz
VGA: Nvidia GeForce 970
AMD Radeon R9 290
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 55 GB
DirectX: Vulkan
Controller: Partial
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: Yes
FPS Lock: 120+

The Case

Doom has deep roots. It is pretty much grandfather to FPS genre as a whole with only Wolfenstein rivalling its record. The revival of the latter proved that old school franchises can stand strong again in today’s market. And so can DOOM. While a lot of people were put off by DOOM’s reveal during 2015s E3, the game took the fears we had and moulded it into a weapon. But is it a proper boomstick or just a blunt weapon?

The Trial

Whatever it is, DOOM will take it and use it to beat the crap out of whatever is in its way. It is that brutal, that brutally good. The game takes no shit and doesn’t pretend to be gentle and caring. It is here for one thing and one thing only – to kick the living hell out of any hell spawn unlucky enough to be in its way. It does not pretend to care about anything else, it does not try to do anything else. Just one end goal and a lot of soon to be dead targets.

This all sounds very…primitive, but it’s not. Far from it. This time around DOOM even has a decent story going for it. If you care to look for it. This notion is actually the running theme in the game – if you care to look for it. If you do, the game has many more things to offer: collectables, secrets, Easter Eggs, challenges, codex’s and exploration. If not, well then go kick the shit out of that demon around the corner.

Curing demon cancer.

to aid you in your quest are status-quo: shotguns, machineguns, plasma rifle, rocket launcher, melee, grenades…and a peashooter (aka pistol). The first three are split into categories with two guns each: Combat Shotgun and Super Shotgun, Heavy Assault Rifle and Chaingun, Plasma Rifle and Gauss Cannon. If that was not enough most of the weapons can be modded. Twice. And if THAT was not enough, most of the mods could be upgraded. Thrice. Plus a bonus. So yeah, our beloved Doomguy/marine is fully geared up to engage the hell scum from afar or close up. But if you want to make it personal, you can either use a chainsaw to cut the beasties literally into pieces or you can do glory kills. The glory kill system is when you do enough damage to an enemy and then he/she/it starts blinking blue and yellow to indicate its readiness to be splattered. Glory kills are just…glorious. Gloriously brutal. Gloriously satisfying.

The enemies though, they use projectile weapons. They lunge at you and throw fireballs all of which can be avoided if you’re quick enough. The game is determined to keep you on your toes and moving by throwing increasingly difficult and varied hordes your way with each passing level. The environments don’t close you in either. The levels are open enough to give you space to strafe as well as run around in circles if you just use the environment to its fullest. But to really test your skills the game throws challenges and rune trials your way, giving you special task under special conditions, testing your abilities and patience to – sometimes – a breaking point. Succeed and you’ll be rewarded with either a rune or some upgrade points.

Everything is upgradable in DOOM. Many times over. Upgrades have upgrades. Your Preator Suit has basic upgrades that are gained by finding and scavenging Elite Guard for tokens. If that is not sufficient you can scour the map for Argent Energy which allows you to upgrade health, armor or ammo capacity. While these upgrades help you with survivability, weapon upgrades help you with lethality. Explore the map for Field Drones, which carry the weapon upgrade modules then go kill enemies, do challenges or find secrets to earn upgrade points to improve the functionality of those modules even further. But if even that is not enough you can earn Runes by completing various trials like killing enough enemies in a certain way under certain conditions in a certain time span.

What comes up, will go back down. To hell!

For those who feel the need to see every nook and cranny or just want to collect all collectables there is plenty to do. The game is full of secret places and Easter Eggs, be it the classic level, the hidden collectable dolls or the thumbs up in the when you fall into the lava. The game doesn’t take itself seriously and is full of references. It’s not to say that the game is playing stupid, on the contrary. It knows what it is and what it has to do. Everything else is extra and completely optional.

Visually the game looks as stunning as hell can look. Far away places look a bit flat but this is not DOOM The Sniper Edition, you kill most of your targets at arm’s length, blowing their flesh over your dark cold visor. Demons here don’t fall over and die, they explode into gory bits showering the level with intestines. The only downside to the enemy kills is that there is no time to bask in your victim’s demise, it evaporated in a hellish simmer and leaves nothing behind. After the battle you leave the area just the way you found it, just empty of anything that could breathe.

This time around DOOM isn’t as dark as Doom 3 was but it’s oozing with atmosphere. Be it Mars or Hell, each environment is unique, with Mars being a desolate world clinging to a few human built structures and Hell…being hellish. The level design is spectacular and DOOM is one of a few FPS games that have managed to not only get away with platforming but leave you satisfied. Each level is increasing in size, length and complexity as you move on through the world.

The good old days got even better.

One question haunts my mind, is it possible to recreate the game in SnapMap, the games in-game level editor? The tool looks powerful enough from the first glance but it’s no map editor. As impressive as its creations can be, SnapMap is here to occupy an hour or two of most of our times. At most, we can expect a few dedicated players creating challenge maps for the rest of us useless consumers to enjoy.

Even more useless is the multiplayer. At least for most of us. DOOM should have contained a pure and simple Quake/Unreal Tournament style Deathmatch. Instead what we got is a Call of Duty type multiplayer with preselected weapons and…progression. It is a tack on, pure and simple. Besides having nosy people test it out it holds no real value. Multiplayer is not bad per se but pretending that it does not exist just uplifts the game, not diminishing its offerings.

The Verdict

DOOM is a huge hit, pure and simple. It is all that it needed to be, ticks the boxes and does all the things you expect plus a little extra. The campaign is long enough, the gameplay is challenging enough and the story is interesting enough to keep you glued to your chair for the whole ride. DOOM is brutally simple and honest but it can also roleplay very well. At its core it’s the game it has always been. On the surface the new tux is not only shiny but also has bells and whistles. Bells and whistles that work and make the game better for it. Much better for it. Brutally better for it.

Case Review

  • Brutally Honest: This is DOOM. A shooter. Nothing else matters.

  • Brutally Fast: The game flows extremely well. You are always on the move and engaging enemies.

  • Brutally Deadly: The fights are only as good as you are. The game does a great job preparing you for the increasing difficulty as well as giving you opportunity to better yourself with additional challenges.

  • Brutally Brutal: Glory kills leave you with a smug smile on your face.

  • Completionist’s Dilemma: If you have the need to collect everything you will spend a lot of time looking at the map. This breaks the pacing. But is completely optional. And finding stuff is fun.

  • Snap This: SnapMap is cool and can be fun for a little while but it’s no replacement for a real map editor.

  • Additional Baggage: The multiplayer component should have been either a simple Deathmatch or not at all.

4.5 Score: 4.5/5
Grandpa Doom would be proud.

Evidence

  • Game: The gameplay options allow you to set up basic gameplay settings like auto-switching weapons, difficulty and crosshair style as well as completely customize what you want to see on your HUD.
  • Controls: Proper key rebindability and control sensitivity setup.
  • Audio: Customize each individual audio category volume or enable the subtitles.
  • Video: Full array of options available for visual tuning. Anything that you would need or want. Can be tweaked and tuned to individual preferences or requirements with even the ability to show the performance graph from either simple FPS counter to a complex and detailed GPU and CPU graph and metrics.
5 Score: 5/5

Brutal. Energetic. Reimagined. If you had asked myself or anyone what they thought the next Doom game was going to be, few would have said any of those words. Yet, id Software, after nearly a decade of development hell, has released an outstanding addition to the Doom franchise, and one that was definitely worth the wait. From the meaty weapons to the growling, rumbling sound design, to the sprawling level design that lends itself well to its replayability, from the wry humor and characterization of Doomguy to the brutal, yet effective “Glory Kills,” the campaign is immaculate.

The rest of DOOM should be, yet somehow, isn’t. Multiplayer shouldn’t be terribly hard to do for a Doom game, yet everything about the multiplayer is off-putting, and doesn’t belong anywhere near the Doom series. Numerous flawed design decisions have come together to form the prime example of the “tacked-on multiplayer.” In contrast, SnapMap, the community-based level sharing system seems unique, but there’s not really much to speak of at the moment. Maybe, as people become more proficient with the system it will be more engaging from a consumer standpoint, but at the moment, it’s just a neat idea.

Despite the other modes, DOOM is absolutely worth playing for the campaign alone. It represents everything that reimaginings of classic series should be, and is a triumph for id, coming off of the rather mediocre RAGE. Play DOOM, no matter what.5

4.5 Score: 4.5/5

It’s been a while since Doom 3 left a mixed bag of emotions for the fanbase, and more than two decades since the series first arrived. Equally applauded and criticised for its focus on fast paced action and virtually non-existent “because reasons” plot. So now, in…DOOM we’re back in the roll of the original Doomguy, brought back to kill demons…because reasons.

There’s actually a pretty balance between game and story this time around. Gameplay is fast, frenetic and infinitely satisfying. The glory kills, which many were concerned would become excessive, repetitive and boring…really don’t! The little glow around the enemies is a bit irritating maybe, but it can be turned off. Plus, because reasons, it can be justified in game. I mean, you have a funky suit of armour that can do stuff after all. Effectively, this is DOOM with plot. A very barebones plot, sure, but its there, and it’s just good enough to be interesting if you want, but not so obtrusive that it gets in the way too much.

Let me put it this way. I don’t like Doom, I never have. I found it to be a decent game, that does everything it set out to do, but just not for me. DOOM on the other hand, as in the new DOOM, uhm, DOOM (2016) is a game I can really get behind. It’s authentic to its roots, albeit massively updated in mechanics and visuals, but has a few new tweaks that make it accessible to a newer audience. Providing that audience isn’t wimpy little wimps who can move and shoot at the same time.

Judges Panel

4.5 Score: 4.5/5

Like many, sceptical at first, this is one of those cases where a reboot was done to a near perfection (if you forget about the generic multiplayer). It’s a very fast paced, challenging, gory and beautiful looking shooter with a great arsenal, tons of hidden areas and responsive controls.

4.5 Score: 4.5/5

DOOM is absolutely amazing! It’s gorgeous, well optimized, tons of secrets to find, a frantic, fast paced goregasmic action packed thrill ride from start to finish, a sweet array of horrifyingly deadly demon killing weapons, a decent story that keeps you entertained and an amazing heavy metal soundtrack that fits every blood soaked moment. Do yourself a favor and pick up this instant classic now!


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