Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: id Software
Release Date: May 13th, 2016
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Video Review: https://youtu.be/V3ilHDHv9RY
When it comes to what it was, what it is, and what it will be in the future, Doom hits all the notes it needs to be the gruesome, over the top shooter that we’ve come to know it as. It takes the limits and boundaries that are familiar with the genre, then proceeds to tear them apart, chew them up, and spit them out. The end result is a beautiful massacre that truly defines the term “Survival of the Fittest”. Even when you consider the rinse and repeat combat that occasional toes the line of over repetitiveness, Doom is a clear example of the vision that resonates in the earlier days of id software in the early 90s.
The newest iteration of Doom places us in the familiar setting of the Union Aerospace Corporation, playing as the infamous yet muted Doom Marine. Our reintroduction to the notorious mass murderer is what you’d expect. Be prepared to engage in copious amounts of shooting, killing, with disregard for anyone and anything in your path. From here you’ll fight wave after wave of alien hostility to try and break the dimensional connection between Mars and Hell.
While conversations with the supporting cast are presented through one-way dialog, there’s still much to learn about both the environment and happenings of Doom via codex entries located throughout the story. I would suggest taking the time to travel off the beaten path to have a better understanding of the satanic events taking place at the massacred UAC space station. Not only that, codex entries extend even further to areas such as enemies and their combat habits, and details about the origins and functionality of weaponry.
Combat in Doom is about as fast as it can be without making it too easy to lose control. The absence of sprinting and reloading came as a shock to me at first, and forced me to change many of my regular habits drastically. I found myself going into cover less and less, and taking my enemies head on with frequency. Taking the fight to the enemy is essential for survival, as there is also no health regeneration implemented in the game. This means that your only chance of survival is to reap the rewards of enemy corpses either through standard gunplay or glory kills, and option on a staggered enemy that leaves many victims dismembered, decapitated, or blown to bits. Many of these glory kill animations give a Mortal Kombat fatality vibe, and no matter how many times I’d rip someone’s limbs off, it still caught me in a hysteric state whenever I found a new method to this brutality.
Herein lies the one problem with the combat of Doom, and that’s its frequency. While the focal point has always been the insane violence and gruesome killings, one of Doom’s few setbacks is giving the player enough time to take in the scale of the world and the beauty behind this demonic aesthetic. There were dozens of incidences where I’d enter a combat zone, kill everyone, loot any ammunition and health that I could find, leave said area, and be thrown back into the chaos in a matter of seconds.
Once you find yourself in the middle of a firefight however, you’ll find yourself going toe to toe with dozens upon dozens of hell’s finest. It’s here when the fun begins. The idea of having access to up to 10 weapons at your disposal doesn’t seem normal. But you must remember if there’s anything that Doom isn’t, it’s normal. Even though it may seem reasonable to unload on enemies with your most powerful weapons, by the latter half of the game I found myself having to try and preserve ammo for the rocket launchers and chain guns I was carrying around rather than be forced to take down 8-foot-tall Cyberdemons with a pump action shotgun or pistol.
Before you get into the latter areas of the game however, you’ll want to make a conscious effort to try and find as many secrets and unlockable upgrades as possible. The side activities in Doom are, in my opinion, some of the best I’ve seen in that they offer the best balance in both practicality and fan service. Items that can be found range anywhere from praetor tokens which help unlock new abilities for your suit, to opening hidden areas that take you on a nostalgia trip to the 1990s era of the franchise. If you’re playing on any difficulty other than easy, take the extra few minutes in each area to find as many upgrades for yourself as possible. Trust me, you’ll need them.
Doom is a masterpiece in massacre. Never have I played a first-person shooter that understands the chaos it wishes to ensue upon the player, and for that I thank them for giving me every damn weapon available for it. Everything about Doom is over the top. From the combat to the animations, to the world(s) that you step foot onto. But this is a series that made its name for being Over-the-Top and for that, I commend them job well done.