It’s been a while, but DOOM is back to raise hell. The classic franchise has finally found its way to the next generation of gaming, but features a singleplayer campaign that seems to come straight from the 90’s. Does that work?
23-05-2016 - by Thijs Kaagman
It would be easy to dismiss DOOM as a dumb, simplistic shooter. You run around, shoot at everything that moves and pick up health and ammo when you’re getting low on either of those resources. That’s really all there is to it. You can upgrade your weapons and armor a bit, making them slightly more powerful or increasing your maximum health. Really, they could’ve made this game 15 years ago.
But you know what? To hell with that, because DOOM is pure, unadulterated fun. All the scripted explosions from Call of Duty or the complexity of Battlefield’s weaponry can’t compete with the pure awesomeness of tearing apart demonic skulls or smashing a zombie in half with its own severed limbs in DOOM. There were a lot shouts like "Woah!", "Damn!" and "HOLY $&%#!" coming from the gameroom in our office this week.
Everything you need to know about DOOM’s story happens in the first ten seconds of the game. You wake up on some sort of altar as you see a zombie demon walking towards you on the right. You grab him by the skull, smash it to bloody bits on the altar and pick up the gun that’s laying on the floor. Let’s go!
There’s several moments in the game where you can get some more detailed info on the Union Aerospace Corporation research facility on Mars and what they were doing before everything went to hell. But the game doesn’t force you into understanding anything of what’s happening. As long as you’re willing to shoot demons, you’re good.
Progressing through the campaign consists mostly of opening doors by killing all the demons in the vicinity, or finding a coloured key on one of UAC’s former employees whose bodies are scattered throughout the facility. The game is constantly urging you to keep moving. You don’t regenerate health by hiding behind a wall, for example. Like the shooters from ye goode olde days, you have to pick up health packs. Or, you can kill demons.
One of the first tricks you learn is how to perform Glory Kills, which drops extra health packs. You shoot at a demon until they get a bright blue glow over them, move closer until the glow becomes orange and hit the melee button. Depending on the kind of demon and the position from which you initiate the Glory Kill, you’ll finish the monster in a variety of ways. As mentioned before, you can tear their skull in half, beat them with their own severed limbs, rip out their organs or beat them to the ground and stomp their spine in half with your armoured boots. Nasty!
Bethesda and id Software managed to not only make the game look amazing, it also runs really smooth on all platforms. We’ve played on the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and the differences were negligible. While hardcore players may prefer the mouse and keyboard combo a PC offers, both gameplay and graphics are just as impressive on the consoles.
There’s also a much-talked about multiplayer. Players weren’t particularly impressed with it after several beta weekends and honestly; it’s not great. By no means is it a bad experience, but after several rounds of shooting up other players, I didn’t really feel the need to start another match. The simplicity that makes the singleplayer an awesome experience, feels restricting in the multiplayer.
The final option in the main menu is Snapmap. This allows players to create their own maps and even game modes. It’s a little more restricting than full-out mod support, but mere days after the launch gamers have already proven their creativity by coming up with all matter of crazy game modes. From actual gameplay mechanics or puzzles that are almost impossible to solve, to crude chiptune music generators. We’re very curious to see what they can come up with given more time and experience.
Make no mistake; despite an okay multiplayer experience and the promise of very cool Snapmap creations, the singleplayer campaign is where DOOM truly shines. It offers pure, awesome fun in the form of thousands of demons and a load of “big f’ing guns” to shoot them with. The Glory Kills are a cool addition, making sure you’re always on the move and trying to get up-close-and-personal with your enemies. And to top it all of; it looks amazing on all platforms.