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DOOM Review

DOOM Review

After 2014’s critically-acclaimed reboot Wolfenstein: The New Order, all eyes were upon seeing the same treatment for everyone’s favourite classic ‘90s shooter DOOM. Now, finally it’s here and it’s time to rip and tear, until it’s done in a blazing gorefest of guns and demons.

DOOM certainly has been cooking for a long time, even with fears of it becoming nothing more than a nostalgia trip of what was, but this couldn’t be any more wrong. DOOM is back and it’s not riding off its lineage. Developed by id Software, their time has been well spent crafting one of most terrifyingly satisfying shooters ever made. To be put simply: you can’t compare DOOM to what we’ve been shown in the trailers. You have to see it, feel it, grab it by its demonic balls and shred them apart to truly experience the hell of DOOM.

Taking place on Mars, once again the UAC (Union Aerospace Corporation) have been quite unfortunate by meddling with powers beyond them trying to harness the power of hell, they inadvertently have unleashed it upon on themselves. This leads to the inhabitants of the facility either being riddled with death or possessed by the spawn of hell. You as Doomguy arise in the wake of this and it’s up to you to put on your best green power armor, grab your trusted guns and rid the menace once and for all. That’s all you need to know about the story, sure there are other moments within to guide you towards to an objective, but you’ll be too busy ripping demons a new one to notice.

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Everything that made the original great is here: the map design, the weapons, the demons, even the music are refreshingly realised with a brand new coat of paint for the new generation. From the very get go, you’re thrust right into action. This ain’t no cinematic, follow-the-leader shooter, this is all out action. Each new area you enter welcomes you with tantalising death as you are barraged with hordes of demons. The doors lock out and you’re trapped within. Like small arenas, these rooms fill with a demonic presence or a nest of gore that must be cleansed before proceeding. This is where the real fun begins as the sheer pounding momentum of metal music and crunching bullets against demonic flesh couldn’t be more exhilarating. You may think they’d become tedious after sometime, but as you progress further and start fighting new types of damnation things get twisted, with all the classics returning: from Imps, Hell Knights, Revenants and Pinkies. Furthermore as you fight your way through, switching up your playstyle you can take advantage of the brutal and satisfying Glory Kill system; it never becomes dull.

Speaking of glory kills - the new Glory Kill system introduced is clearly inspired by the popular Brutal DOOM mod for the original. It makes for a more frantic, up close and personal punishment for the wrath of hell. When you barrage enough bullets into your target, you’ll stagger them and they’ll glow a tint of blue and orange - this is your moment to joyfully rip them apart, crush their skulls and tear their limbs off. Chaining together such brutality in a flurry of combo killing is best described in one word: glorious.

As mentioned before, this is all out action, so when it comes to the weapons; you’re not limited to a couple as your trusted Doomguy has no limits: From the super shotgun, chaingun to the rocket launcher and the iconic BFG9000. The classics are back and they’ve received an upgrade. Each weapon has fierce power behind them, especially the super shotgun, and with the ability to switch weapons on the fly, which briefly slows down time, you’ll be in for a real running and gunning good time. Combined with constant movement, the ability to double jump and mantle objects in the environment everything is based around being quick or be dead.

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The demon spawn is no slouch and will hit hard and may even overwhelm you. Keeping an eye on your health and armor can make all the difference. Enemies will drop health and ammo upon death, but searching the environment will give you the advantage. If all else fails, rev up the trusted chainsaw and tear through the demonic plague in a single blow and see them burst into a bloody fury of health and ammo.

The levels are a beautiful, hellish throwback to old-school design. They’re straightforward but non-linear, semi-open areas that you can explore to your heart's content. Just by bringing up the area’s map alone you can see the intricate design. From the blood-soaked metallic walls of the UAC facility to the ritualistic savage foreboding landscape of Hell, it all flows organically, offering more verticality than any other DOOM game, when you’re not killing demons in a furious spree of gunfire, you’ll be using your mantling abilities to traverse the Mars facility or Hell with ease.

With level design such as this, exploration rewards as you seek out not only health, ammo and armor but everyone's favourite: secrets. DOOM offers a variety of hidden goodies. Search hard enough and you’ll come across weapon mods and power armor upgrades - which add new abilities - Ranging from a rocket shot from your shotgun or mini-rockets to your assault rifle, and for your armor gain advantages in combat such as increased weapon switching speed and self damage reduction. They all add more power to your already well-equipped arsenal and are worth seeking out. Runes are also introduced, and are another worth hunting for. They break up the frantic pace by offering short challenges with specific requirements. If you beat the challenge within the given time you’ll be rewarded a demonic rune to further fuel your demon slaying spree.

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As for the multiplayer experience: there wasn’t much depth to it, but nonetheless still an enjoyable, frantic arena shooter but now with its final release and you launch into it coming away from the joyful campaign, you suddenly realise the multiplayer just feels entirely half-baked. Unlike the campaign the multiplayer restricts you to two weapons as part of a variety of loadouts. This is much like many other modern shooters: Call of Duty, Halo etc. And while it isn’t much of a problem, it just doesn’t feel right considering this tries to bring back the arena shooter. With no health regeneration, limited ammo and no weapon pick ups littered about, when not busy killing the other team, you’ll be relied upon to find the pickups around the map. These being health, armor and ammo, with the only real exception being the addition of instant bonuses such Quad Damage, Haste and Regeneration as well as the one-killing weapons: the Gauss rifle, BFG and chainsaw.

The real multiplayer twist comes in the form of Demon Runes, which spawn at random, these allow players to take control of one of four demons. These include: The Revenant, The Prowler, Baron of Hell and the Mancubus; each have their set of abilities and
are similar to the heroes and villains in Battlefront. They offer players a brief moment of demonic power to turn the tide of the battle and while they’re fun to play as, they’re also a pace-breaking nuisance, as when you’re playing a close countermatch the demon can just stroll through blowing up everyone in its path, so by the end it becomes nothing more than overpowered moment of interruption.

The multiplayer is like an old dog trying to learn new tricks and it isn’t doing itself any favours, but fortunately the maps are well balanced and still offer the same amount of close quarter combat and verticality offered in the campaign. You’ve got objective-based modes and traditional deathmatch, and just like something from Call of Duty, each mode is a variant of one another. With Warpath and Soul Harvest being the most interesting of the bunch. Warpath is basically King of the Hill, but instead of a fixed capture point the object moves around the map. Soul Harvest is pretty much the DOOM take on Kill Confirmed from Call of Duty, a kill is not enough as the key to winning is harvesting the souls from the fallen. Everything else you’ll see in terms of gameplay modes wouldn’t go amiss from other modern shooters, it’s not an issue, just not very original. There is plenty of fun to be had within the multiplayer, but it just doesn’t capture the same fleshed out heart of single player.

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Besides the immensely satisfying campaign, the other pleasant surprise is the introduction of SnapMap. Even after 23 years creators are still making custom maps for the original DOOM. With the introduction of SnapMap id Software have created a new toolkit to allow you to create your very own maps, but it’s not without its compromises. As much as the tools available are robust, it doesn’t offer same amount of sophistication as the classic .WADs (DOOM map files), but the tools provided are simple and intuitive so that anyone can jump-in and start creating. Within seconds of launching you can start snapping together pieces of pre-created arenas, walkways, vantage points and more; all with ease. Add a selection of variables, demons and pickups and you’ve got your own level in the making, you can then share it with the community and allow the world to play your creation. You can also download and rate others as well. It’s an excellent addition and will certainly add more longevity and yes, there is already remakes of classic DOOM maps. The only downfall with such a package is that, it’s too much like a level creator found in Far Cry 4 than actual mod toolkit, so with that being said, you’ll be stuck with using only pre-created objects. It isn’t a bad thing, but if id Software were to introduce modding to the mix, we could have something amazing on our hands.

Performance is astonishingly good. I was wrong about the id Tech engine 6, the beta had all sorts of problems for me. It didn’t run at full 1440p and had what felt like an engine cap of 60FPS, but now on its final release, I can happily say these issues were merely teething problems. It runs excellently and that’s certainly saying something, especially considering the previous id tech titles: Rage, The Evil Within and The New Order all having their fair share of problems. Now though, with a wide variety of graphical options, FOV tweaks and FPS capping. This is best iteration of id tech engine to date.

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DOOM’s magnum opus is the campaign. For a single player experience the team behind it knew exactly what needed to be done and it’s astounding to see something so fresh. The story won’t be winning any awards, but the experience is a testament of classic design paving the way forward, crafting one of the most original and satisfying shooters in this generation of rehashes, recycles and underwhelming sequels.

It’s just unfortunate that the same can’t be said for the multiplayer component, by trying to combine the new and old leaves it feeling confused but it doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable time killer nonetheless. The SnapMap is an excellent compliment to the overall package and if the community stays strong there will be plenty of longevity be had.

Now, excuse me while I go knee deep in Hell for some more ultra-violence.

9.00/10 9

DOOM (2016) (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Guns, gore and demons. The classic DOOM is back and it's better than ever. With a glorious and immensely satisfying single player experience, DOOM is one of the best shooters of year. Shame it can't be said about the multiplayer, but at least with the addition of intuitive SnapMap you can create your very own Hell.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Calum Parry

Calum Parry

Staff Writer

A bearded fellow whom spends most days gaming and looking at tech he can never afford. Has a keen eye for news and owns a dog that's a bear.

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