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Developers: id Software, Certain Affinity
Publishers: Bethesda Softworks, ZeniMax Media
Modes: Single-player video game, Multiplayer video game
Platform(s):Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release date: May 13, 2016
It is slightly reminiscent of the recent Wolfenstein games, but with an increased focus on old school FPS mechanics – that is, standing still is death. This is not a game where you use cover. Cover isn’t in this game’s vocabulary, unlike most other shooters these days. The enemies will flank you (or fly over you) if you even attempt to use cover. The best defense is agility, which means a lot of strafing and a lot of double-jumping, leading to high octane combat as you run around as fast as you can, fighting an extraordinary amount of enemies at once.
Check out the first fifteen minutes of our playthrough.
Speaking of the enemies, they are one of the best things about DOOM. They are gradually introduced, growing in size and power. The game also gradually ups the difficulty for each battle, it feels like a perfect learning curve as the amount of enemies slowly increases, and occasionally, just when you think you have finished a battle, the game will throw a new enemy at you, tougher than everything you just killed. Low health? Tough luck, you can’t run away to regenerate your health. You need to find a med pack or some armour. Call of Duty this is not.
To overcome this insane amount of enemies is an incredibly large arsenal, and as you advance through the game you will find more powerful weapons, such as a minigun, a gauss cannon, a chainsaw or the BFG. They are introduced with perfect timing too; the player starts with only a pistol.
There is also a drone in every level, adding even more variety to battle as these drones allow the player to install a mod onto a weapon, such as a rack of micro-missiles attached to a semi-automatic machine-gun, and there is one of these drones in every level, meaning you can install a mod to every weapon eventually, and each weapon has two to pick from. These mods are crucial to staying alive the further into the game you get.
Needless to say then, the combat is never boring, and at the end of each battle you will feel a sense of relief as the heavy metal music stops, indicating you have killed everything in the area. Power-ups offer more variety, such as quad-damage or faster movement. On top of all this, we have Glory Kills. This is when the player harms an enemy enough to stun them; once that is done the enemy can be killed with one melee hit, which is always a brutal, bloody takedown. Of course the game has bosses too, which take a lot of effort to destroy.
As you advance you will find ‘Praetor’ tokens which can be used to upgrade your suit. You will also come across Argent Cell upgrades that allow you to route power to one part of your suit – higher max health, armour, or ammunition, giving the player more choice. The mods you install on your weapons can also be upgraded the way you like, adding yet another layer of choice into the game. These upgrades require Weapon Points, which the player receives for completing objectives, fighting enemies and finding secrets. That last point brings me to the worst part about the game. The Map.
It is horribly disorientating as soon as the map screen is opened, and a custom objective cannot be set. Worse, many secrets are extremely well hidden, often in the most obtuse places possible. The game encourages the player to explore, but exploring yields ammo and health; these secrets often seem impossible to find, and the map is little help.
Now I wouldn’t really care if the secrets were simply achievements or trophies, but secret areas often house something important, like a drone, a Praetor token or even a weapon – in fact one important weapon is very easy to miss.
The multiplayer element of the game clearly affects the building of levels too, as each one simply feels like a string of multiplayer levels linked together by corridors. Additionally, once a pair of boots are found, the player can double-jump. This sounds fine in theory, but it turns many of the levels into jumping simulators; a platform game with guns. It isn’t too bad, but it is just another element of the maps that expose how poorly designed they are. Death by falling is common, and especially irritating if it occurs mid-battle.
I may despise the map, but I love the game. It is addictive, fast-paced, and decidedly old-school. Fans of the original will not be disappointed.