DOOM
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 8

Doom is an action-packed experience from start to finish and manages to pay tribute to the original games while still feeling fresh and modern. The combat is extremely satisfying and forces players to stay on the move and killing instead of cowering behind cover. The campaign is somewhat short but has plenty of replay value and the whole package is rounded out by a multi-player mode as well as SnapMap level editor. It’s not perfect, but as big fans of the original game we played through this one with a huge smile.

Gameplay: It’s fast, it’s frantic and it’s over the top in the best possible way.

Graphics: The game doesn’t just look great, but it’s well-optimized too.

Sound: The soundtrack is great, but it tends to drown out everything else

Summary 8.7 Outstanding
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DOOM

Developer: id Software | Publisher: Bethesda Softworks | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Action / First Person Shooter | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

It’s hard to believe now, but once upon a time every game that had a first-person viewpoint and gun was described as a “Doom-clone.” The 1993 classic wasn’t the first game that allowed players to shoot things from a new perspective, but it was certainly the most influential. However, since then the genre has continued to evolve and even the third official Doom game, released in 2004, chose to reboot the franchise as a horror shooter instead of following in the action-fest boots of the original. Since then things have been very quiet on the Doom front and apart from a high-definition remaster of Doom 3, it didn’t’ look like Doom 4 would ever become a reality. Fast forward to 2016 and against all odds id not only managed to release a new Doom, but also designed it in such a way that it stays true to its roots without feeling dated.

The original Doom didn’t waste a lot of time on the plot and simply cast players in the role of an unnamed space marine stationed on Mars. His employer, the Union Aerospace Corporation, performs secret experiments involving teleportation and before you know it demons are pouring out of the gateways. Instead of being a sequel to Doom 3, which was a reboot of the franchise, Doom (2016) once again resets the clock to tell the story from scratch.

This time your character wakes up chained to a stone sarcophagus as hungry demons close in. Making short work of the demons your character then retrieves his Praetor Suit and sets off to kill every demon in sight. You soon learn that you are on Mars where the invading demons have transformed the research facility into a holiday destination thanks to UAC. It seems that after a bit of an energy crisis on Earth, UAC managed to open portals to hell to siphon off their resources. Things were going well and numerous artifacts, including the sarcophagus holding you, were retrieved from the demonic dimension. Of course, nothing good ever lasts, so eventually one of the scientists involved in the project lost her mind and made a deal with the demons, which resulted in the current catastrophe. It’s a little more involved than the original story but still boils down to gruesomely killing everything in sight.

Instead of being a lowly space marine who just happened to be at the wrong place at a wrong time because he assaulted a superior officer, your character is now the mythical Doom Slayer. Apparently, your talent for ripping and tearing through demons is so legendary that you strike fear into the hearts of all of hell’s inhabitants. Unable to kill you, they only managed to lock you away in a sarcophagus, which is where UAC got their hands on you. It’s goofy and over the top, but who wouldn’t want to be the ultimate bad-ass demon stomper.

Doom 3 received a lot of flak for turning the pace way down and relying on jump scares instead of action to get the adrenaline pumping. This game, on the other hand, is a glorious throwback to the fast-paced running and gunning of the original. Instead of sneaking around dark corridors with a flashlight you are a one-man army that doesn’t let anyone stand in your way or anything intimidate you. Unlike Doom 3, you are not locked in a facility with demons, they are locked in with you.

The single-player campaign of Doom is spread across 13 different levels and, provided you don’t’ play it on the easier difficulty settings, should take about 13 hours to complete. There’s a reason to return to previously completed levels too as each one is packed with secrets and collectibles. Levels are large enough that there is room for some exploration even though the story is linear. It also makes backtracking through some of the more sprawling levels a little more rewarding. While most of your time is spent at the UAC research facility you will also be taking a few trips to hell along the way. Plus, as an added bonus, you can even discover the original Doom levels if you search hard enough.

We understand that not everyone is equally good at first-person shooters, but Doom is definitely the type of game where you want to keep the difficulty setting as high as possible. Facing and then overcoming seemingly overwhelming odds is quite a rush and the sheer pace of combat makes it a blast. This is is not the type of game that allows you to hide behind cover while taking occasional potshots at enemies as your health slowly regenerates. Instead, you are given no cover, no regenerating health, and enemies that will swarm you the second you stand still for too long. Thankfully, enemies drop health and armor pick-ups when you kill them, which means that the most efficient way to stay alive is to kill enemies as quickly as possible. Normally one would want to put as much distance between yourself and a demon, but in Doom you can actually close in and perform a “glory” kill on enemies if you’ve dazed them. Dazed enemies glow so you can pick them out from the crowd and depending on the direction from which you approach them when performing the glory kill you could snap their necks, stomp their heads in, beat them to death with their own severed limb or much more. Once again, it’s gloriously violent and over the top, but fits in well with the rest of the game. Glory kills also reward you with more health and ammo pick-ups, so you’ll want to perform as many of them as possible.

The guns featured in the original Doom inspired other shooters for years, so it’s great to see the classics return. From the shotgun and rocket launcher, to the chaingun and plasma rifle it’s never been more fun to blow demons to bits. However, one of our favorite weapons is the new Gauss cannon which feels a lot like the railguns from the Quake series. Of course, the BFG 9000 also makes a glorious return and can still clear the screen of enemies. However, it can only hold three shots at a time and are best saved for when the situation becomes really dire. The chainsaw is also back as a special weapon that shreds pretty much any enemy but consumes most of its fuel in the process. Chainsaw kills are not just gloriously messy, but along with the blood and cuts your enemies will also spew out health and ammo like pinatas.

A fast-paced game requires responsive controls and Doom definitely delivers in this regard. Not only can your character tear through enemies like a bull in a china shop, but you can also perform a double jump move to navigate the environments. This is useful for exploration and secret finding, but also in combat as you sprint around dispensing death and destruction. Along with the jumping comes a new ledge climbing ability and power-ups, such as quad damage and haste also make an appearance. As old-school as the game is with its action, it does incorporate some modern elements that might sound out of place for a Doom title. These include optional challenges that can be completed on each level, a weapon upgrade system as well as character and suit upgrades. There’s even a new “Rune” system where you can teleport to challenge arenas to unlock items that enhances your abilities or gives you other advantages. Most of the weapons are already a lot of fun to use in their default state, but with two modifications available for each and different upgrades things become even better. You can even swap attachments, so you are not restricted to just one of the upgrade paths per weapon either. The only things you can’t upgrade is the BFG 9000 and chainsaw, but these are already so powerful that they have their own keys to activate them.

Doom is powered by id Tech 6, so it not only looks great but runs great as well. The art style is a lot more comic-book-like compared to the gloom of Doom 3, but overall it feels a lot like the original games. The hell sections are perhaps not as visually impressive as they could have been, but each level has nice set pieces that will make players stop and stare for a bit. Your foes are the same demons that have been making a nuisance of themselves on Mars ever since the first game, but they have all been given a fresh lick of pixel paint. Some of them, like the Pinky and Cyberdemon look a lot more menacing, but there’s still nothing in this game that could remotely be classified as scary. Well apart maybe from the “Ultra Nightmare” difficulty which features permadeath. Don’t think you can quicksave your way through the game either as the game autosaves at preset checkpoints no matter what difficulty you choose.

The game delivers in the audio department as well with relative quiet while you explore and then a shredding metal soundtrack as you rip and tear through enemies. The combat tunes have a very Nine Inch Nails feel to them and make the action feel even more over the top. The voice acting is decent, but there’s only a handful of characters speaking in the game. However, the Doom Slayer never utters a word and instead prefers to let his guns do the talking. Speaking of guns, most of them sound decent enough, but if anything we would have liked them to be even louder and more gratuitous. The demon sounds are also mostly drowned out by the metal soundtrack. The controls feel great and we had no issues pulling off moves like double jumping or climbing ledges. It does take a while to get used to the fact that you can’t reload, though.

The single-player campaign is undoubtedly the highlight of the game, but it also features a multi-player mode. However, this was not developed by id, which means it struggles to differentiate itself from all the other multiplayer options out there. It features a progression system to keep players coming back for more but being able to only carry two weapons definitely detracts from the experience. It’s telling that id released an update later that unlocked all of the premium DLC for multiplayer and also revamped the progression system. There are still some die-hard fans playing the multiplayer mode, but it never had the kind of impact that the original game had and there are far better options available. The “SnapMap” feature, which allows players to create their own custom levels is rather neat, but once again can’t come close to what modders could do with the original games. It does make the process of creating levels easy enough for just about anyone to do, though, and we have seen plenty of creativity on display.

When all is said and done Doom (2016) turned out to be a far better game than anyone expected. It’s troubled development meant that expectations were quite low, but id managed to turn things around and deliver a solid experience. It’s not perfect, we still encountered the odd bug or two and the multiplayer won’t be winning any awards, but for sheer visceral fun it’s hard to beat.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2400/AMD FX-8320 or better
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 670 2GB/AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB or better
  • Storage: 55 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Requires Steam activation and broadband internet connection for Multiplayer and SnapMap
  • OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770/AMD FX-8350 or better
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB/AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB or better
  • Storage: 55 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Requires Steam activation and broadband internet connection for Multiplayer and SnapMap

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