They are rage, brutal, without mercy. But you. You will be worse. Rip and tear, until it is done.
The opening line of DOOM could not sum the game up any more perfectly. You will face powerful, grotesque adversaries, but you will tear through them all at a breakneck pace. Did you play Doom all those years ago? If so, you’ll probably remember it being a fast paced shooter in which you would mow down hoards of demons with big guns, taking time out to find secret areas and completely ignoring what little story is there. DOOM 2016 is that. It’s as though id genuinely looked back at why people loved the original campaign and modernised it without losing its soul in the process. The guys did good.
It’s been a while…
The fast pace is the biggest thing they’ve brought back to DOOM. Doom 3 was slow and creepy, which is fine, but that isn’t really what the series was always known for. Within 15 seconds of starting the campaign, you’ll have crushed a demon’s head, broken out of your chains, grabbed a pistol and gunned down another pair of demons. No exposition, no cutscene, no trying to ape the classic Half-Life slow world-building introduction, just straight into the action. You’ll grab your classic armour (the Praetor Suit as they call it) and you’re away. Before long you’ll have a shot gun, an assault rifle and the chainsaw. More weapons are introduced at regular intervals to keep the variety up. The weapon models are all interesting to look at with plenty of detail, and have a variety of different uses depending on if you can find secret weapon mods that can turn your shotgun into a grenade launcher or allow your assault rifle to fire rockets. If I had to criticise something here, it’s that some of the gun models are a little too big, taking up more of the screen than I’d like which obscures your vision. A minor gripe but certainly one I noticed.
Massive guns can take up a lot of space on the screen. I love the background detail here though.
Enemies are introduced in a similar way, lots of variety and plenty of call back to the classic games. You’ll often find yourself locked in a chamber with a large mix of soldiers, imps, hell knights and other enemies. Fighting them mostly involves moving quickly, taking enemies out as you rush by them. The speed of the action is unbelievable, with you rushing past enemies, dodging attacks and firing at your targets as quickly as possible. Clearing out a room is as much planning a route as it is being accurate, and deaths rarely feel cheap. Occasionally you can get yourself caught up on the scenery when you expected to be able to climb up it, but this is very rare. Overall, the minute to minute gameplay is tremendous fun, with you mowing down one enemy before “glory killing” (the game’s animated finishers) another, dashing along a hallway to use your chainsaw on the next and seeing them explode into…ammunition pick-ups(!) is quite satisfying. They can become a little stale after a while as you see the same animation many times. Luckily they’re all quick enough to not break the pacing.
In about 2 seconds I will be rushed by these enemies. Around 3 seconds later they will all be pulp!
There is a story and it isn’t half bad if you’re willing to dig into it, but it can be completely ignored if you wish. Simply put, the UAC opened a portal to hell and decided to use the energy they find there as a form of renewable energy, which is about a sane as it sounds. Hell are not happy and set about invading Mars. As I said earlier, there is very little exposition, and scenes in which the story is fed to you take a total of about 10 minutes of the entire game’s playtime (about 10-12 hours depending on if you go searching for secrets). This is rather nice as breaks from the action and exploration are kept to a minimum. There is a lot of lore available if you’re willing to look for it though. The codex entries from finding hidden logs fill in a lot about the universe and your history, as well as the demons and how they view you.
Some of the exposition is provided by these ghostly images…which can be completely ignored!
The game also comes with the obligatory multiplayer mode. It’s perfectly fine if I’m honest, with a fast pace and a variety of game modes. Warpath is one I actually quite like, which is basically king of the hill but with a control point moving along a set path. It’s really nothing special though, using the usual modern setup of loadouts and “hacks” (think limited time perks from Call of Duty). It’s fine but nothing special. Then there’s Snapmap, which is a level creation utility that allows you to piece together a map for your own levels or game modes. Triggers can be included to allow events to happen at certain times. It seems quite powerful with some interesting levels already created, although most of them seem to be remakes of classic maps from Doom and other games. It’s nice to have these features but you’ll have by far the most fun in the campaign.
Yes, this is a shot from the credits, but the game very much feels like this all the way through.
DOOM was developed by id Software and published by Bethesda. I played the game on Xbox One and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, shooter, that’s more interested in being fun than being dark and gritty. Take a look FPS developers. This is what fun looks like!