Bethesda seems to be on a roll with its recent game releases such as Wolfenstein: The New Order, Fallout 4 and now Doom. All are great titles and I command you to stop reading this and go out and buy at least one of them, if you haven’t already. Now!
While Doom 3 was viewed by many as a flawed game, pitch black and not that entertaining, Doom 2016 or…Doom 4 or..I don’t know, they need to figure out how to properly name these games. Anyway, the new Doom is a fantastic first person shooter, a throwback to the good old days of walk and gun everything in sight.
You wake up in a lab, on Mars. You’re trapped in a coffin brought from hell and, of course, all shit breaks loose. In 2 heartbeats you’re freed from your tomb, already kicking some demon butt. You suit up, you get a bit of a story intro and that’s it. Let’s start ripping things apart.
Actually this is one aspect of the new Doom which I appreciate quite a lot: it knows its strengths and it uses them properly. You’re not here to listen to a boring story, with cutscenes and endless dialog trees; you’re here to shoot some demons. So that’s what Bethesda delivers: exhilarating nonstop combat, with a decent story to hold it together and tons and tons of secrets and collectibles.
Each level has a secret area that transports you into the old Doom games and graphics, but with the newer weapons and enemies. You find power-ups, upgrades to your suit and weapons and even little Doom-guy toys that you can collect for your inner child.
The graphics in this game are excellent. In some areas, Doom looks impressively good on the PS4, and its 60 frames per second gameplay is the icing on the cake. Also, I am happy to report that texture popping and glitches are reduced to a minimum in this one (compared with the company’s previous game Rage that was a mess in this aspect).
Loading times are fairly ok, though if you manage to die often, you’ll start to resent the 30 seconds that it takes to reload the game all over again. Also, I have a minor gripe with the Rune challenges spread out through the entire game – they load fairly quickly but you always have to sit through a forced countdown until you can actually move your character. I get it, Bethesda, you try to prepare us for what’s ahead and make it look like a race. But it is really. Freaking. Annoying to sit through all that again and again. If I would patch this game, I would totally get that counter off asap. It’s useless, it’s irritating, get it out.
Gameplay wise, Doom is tweaked to perfection. You get an arsenal of weapons which you can carry and switch on the fly plus 2 special weapons that help you out in battles: a chainsaw which cuts demons in half and gives you a ton of refills for your ammo and the mother-fin’ BFG that obliterates everything on screen and gives you a fighting chance when you’re being overwhelmed.
On top of that, you have Glory Kills, which are brutal melee attacks that instantly kill stunned enemies and give you a bit of health or ammo back.
Gameplay is fast, precise and very satisfying. Each weapon has its unique feel and “kick” to it. Especially the double barrel shotgun feels powerful, when you’re up close and personal with any beast of hell.
andom power-ups are scattered in each area to give you a tactical advantage in the fight against the hordes of undead. Knowing when to use them is key to your survival. You get Berseker mode, that gives you the power to rip demons apart with your bear hands, Speed, which grants you extra speed, Quad Damage, that enhances the damage of your weapons and Invincibility, which enables God Mode for a few seconds.
The layouts of Doom’s levels are fairly simple: interconnected battle arenas where you get to fight most of demons. You pass through a wave of monsters, you walk a bit and replenish your health and ammo, and you fight again. And so on.
Even though this might seem repetitive and uninspired, it is actually good enough to keep the game going and to ramp up the difficulty, introduce new spawns of hell and weapons. Plus, the locations constantly shift between inside and outside of Mars and…literally Hell that it’s fun to explore and just feel like the old days of Doom are back.
Monster variety is good and it’s clear Bethesda put a lot of effort in their design. You get your standard low rank imps that annoy the shit out of you with their jumping and fireballs, big bad brutes that rush towards you, floating meatball demons that shoot orbs out of their mouths and, of course, lots of other pointy beasts of all sizes and varieties.
Boss battles are really intense and throw a multilayered fight at you, with different forms or gimmicks, reminding me a bit of Bloodborne. The only gripe with this that I have is that there aren’t more bosses in the game. In fact, these all these great bosses come really close to the end of the game. You get about 3 boss encounters and that’s it. I would have liked more. More, I say :).
Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally reached that point in the review. Music. Doom has one of the best nu metal, industrial, synthetic rock I have ever heard in my entire life. When you fall in love with the song that plays in the freaking menu, you know you’re in for a treat. All the heavy, distorted chords, mixed with ominous choirs and creature growls make for a creepy, but badass experience.
One final thought about Doom: the trick in beating this game is offensive. While most games these days have cover mechanics and refilling health bars, Doom puts emphasis in movement and combat. You want to get out alive, get close to that monster and shoot it in the head. If you’ll stay hidden behind a crate, you’re demon food in no time.
All in all Doom is an excellent reboot of the franchise. It hits all the right notes to be considered a success and it also leaves enough room so that we could see new entries in the near future.
So guys, that’s the review, go out and buy the new Doom, it is a great game.
And, as always keep playing.