Doom (aka Doom 4) released by Id Software for PC, PS4, and Xbox1 manages to be a new, groundbreaking game in terms of graphics and game play by tapping into the nostalgia style of the previous Doom titles in the series, all the while correcting what could arguably be some missteps created by Doom 3s departure of fast pace Run and Gun game play the Doom series (and clones) was known for and trying to shift tone to a more oppressive “survival horror” style. What impressed me most about the game was the fact that it just runs so fast and so smooth. Id Software did a great job with this new engine and over all it just feels solid. Whats more impressive is that the game looks great on any system thanks to the amount of work and polish the Id engine was given. Everything from weapon models to tiny little object like coffee mugs and work terminals all the way up to the Cyberdemon have a crazy amount of detail on them. The level of detail is even more profound when you are able to look at in game models in the “collectibles” area or even looking at your custom Marine in multiplayer. And its colorful, in an age where many games tend to go for “realistic” or “life like” which means just a bunch of muted brown, grey, and green everywhere, Doom 4 tends to have lots of color sticking out of every where, sure mars may look red and not interesting but then a giant orange fireball goes whipping past your head and your pulse rifle starts shooting bright blue orbs while you run over to collect the bright neon green armor power up.
The game play as I said, is reminiscent of the older Doom games, where in the main strategy is to just simply never stay still, always keep moving and shooting. Which Doom 4 makes very convenient with the edition of health and ammo drops by the enemy. There was never a moment where I could be low on ammo or almost out of health and I could quickly kill a smaller enemy to get back into the fight. Speaking of supply drops, the best way to stock up on ammo and health is the new “glory kills” mechanic which seems very reminiscent of the “Brutal Doom” Mod that was popular a while back. During combat, the enemies will occasionally blink and glow, if you hit them with a melee attack you will perform a brief animation where in your Marine will kill an enemy by punching its head off or ripping an arm off and beating the enemy to death with it or sweeping the leg and hammer punching them back into the ground.
Most times this will only drop health and some armor shards with a sprinkling of ammo here and there. If you are in a big fight and really low on ammo thats when you need to bust out the series iconic chainsaw. the chainsaw will one-shot kill most enemies provided you have enough gas in the tank, each enemy requires a certain amount of gas to be able to kill but the benefit is, the tougher the enemy the more ammo it will drop like a fountain of bullets.
Your journey will be helped by the ability to upgrade your suit and weapons. The suit, which is sorta tied to the back story, can be fed Ardgent Energy to increase Health, Armor, or Ammo capacities. In addition to this, you will find dead UAC guards on the ground which you can look their suits for upgrade chips to enhance your suit further by taking less damage from exploding barrels, or having collectibles show up on your map to being able to switch weapons faster. Your weapons can be upgraded by filling certain conditions during a mission, like performing 5 different Glory Kills on a certain type of enemy, or doing one from above which can be frustrating as some times its hard to get the appropriate Glory Kill to work. You can take these “upgrade points” to enhance your weapons in various ways. The Weapons all feel solid and sound great. The only one I found lacking was the Gatling Gun, it just didnt feel like it had much of an impact till I upgraded it. There are 2 mods for each weapon and 2-3 upgrades for each with a final upgrade you have to unlock via game play. IE the double barrel shot gun can get an upgrade that lets you fire it twice before needed to reload it, but to get it you have to kill 2+ enemies at same time with one shot over 30 times. All the weapons have similar.
The story of Doom is pretty simplistic but Im not entirely sure if its a true sequel to Doom 3, as there is no mention of the Marine from that game or anything that happened, or if its like a soft reboot. The UAC has already found a way into the hell dimension and started mining it for its resources. As you would expect, a demon outbreak occurs and that is where we start the game. You awaken from your stone sarcophagus….wait what? Yes the game just starts with no real explanation of anything, only being revealed slowly via holograms that will play out very quick scenes that occurred well before you got there. Or through data pads you collect through the game that will add to your codex which is a running database of all the items, people and monsters you find. There is only a couple of very very brief cut scenes that occur in real time as an NPC will talk to you through a monitor or your helmet. But the basic story breaks down to “You are here, Demons over there, kill they ass!”. The main character of the story is the “Doom Marine” a play off the old “Doom Guy” that was the main character of Dooms 1 and 2. He is an angry angry angry man who only wants to kill demons and gives 0 craps about anything else. When being locked out of a monitor he was looking at for information, he violently shoves it out of his way. When told to carefully disengage some filters on an energy collector, he instead takes the boots to them and smashes em into rubble. Even gaining a weapon upgrade is done with a mean streak, you will find these little drone bots that carry a case, in the case is an upgrade option for a weapon you carry, after selecting the upgrade, the drone struggled to hold on to the case so the Doom Marine just punches it in the eye and rips the case away. See above for the Glory Kills section as more examples of how angry he is. But it works, there something to be said about a character who just wakes up pissed off and wanting to rip and tear every demon he can find. The only bad mark I have to say is the ending is abrupt, and is obviously DLC/sequel-bait. What largely starts to open up as an interesting back story concerning your characters origins and the purpose you serve ultimately feels like a real ending was cut for add on later which is a shame, I found my self more invested in the back story that I thought I would be, I mean its Doom, just go kill demons but you start to get a sense that there is a bigger picture that you are only a small part of…then its over and no real resolution is to be had.
As for Multiplayer, there is not a whole lot I can say to it as I have not played a lot of it. But from what I have played, and mind you I am not a PvP shooter player, I enjoyed it. It was fast, did not have to wait a long time for re-spawns, everything felt balanced, I got to turn into a demon, and there is some minor amount of unlocks like addition armor pieces to customize your Marine how ever you think looks cool. Theres not much there but what it does, I feel it does pretty well.
In addition to the main story and PvP is a new mechanic called “Snapmap”. A built in custom map maker that is pretty easy to use and allows you to keep things fresh by trying challenging maps created by members of the community. Sort of a Mario Maker in Hell if you will. One of the best parts of this feature is that you can make the maps Co Op for up to 4 people. One map I tried was a “hoard mode” type challenge for 4 people, joined via match making and was playing with 3 other people killing demons, it was pretty fun.
Overall Doom reminds me of my old school shooter roots while impressing me with cutting edge visuals and game play. And while the ending ultimately disappointed I find that I can keep playing certain levels over and over again just trying to clear out the trophies/achievements and to just have a good time in general. If you are a shooter fan I highly recommend picking this up.
- Fast game play
- Gorgeous graphics and animations
- Glory Kills and Chainsaws
- Heavy Metal/Techno Sound track is awesome
- PvP is fun
- Snapmap is an interesting idea and is fun
- Story initially starts to get good
- Ending was huge cliff hanger with no resolve
- Some of the weapon upgrades did not feel as useful as others
- Limited PvP variation
- Getting specific Glory Kills to work can be frustrating