Game review on PlayStation 4
Zachary Cliff / Sat 28th May 2016
235 views / 5 bites
OVERVIEW More than 20 years after the release of the original, idSoftware has once again managed to raise the bar with DOOM; a wonderfully visceral addition to the series with one of the most satisfying FPS campaigns in recent years
DOOM happens to be a reboot of the iconic series, and with that being the case, everything has been reset in order to create an easily disgestable origin story for players both new and old.
The game takes place on Mars within a research facility owned by the enigmatic Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC). You play as a very angry individual, referred to as a Doom Marine, who wakes up within the facility to find it overrun with demons and the forces of Hell. Using a vast array of weapons, artefacts and good old fashioned fisticuffs, you take it upon yourself to find the source of the demonic invasion and stop it the only way you know how; with the power of love. And by love I mean the heel of your boot.The story here is obviously pretty threadbare, but as advice to allow players to blast as many demons as possible it works and the over the top presentation makes it fun.
The game play is where DOOM truly shines. The game harkens back to its predecessors through the fast paced nature of the movement, combat and pickups, whilst also enhancing the experience with more modern design choices such as upgrade trees and open ended level design.
With double jumping and the ability to mantle certain environmental elements, traversing through the levels feels much more varied and interesting as opposed to the classic corridor shooter recipe.
Using this classic yet improved movement system becomes your greatest offence and defence during combat. Strafing in all directions to avoid incoming fire whilst being able to close the gap and nail a demon with a shotgun blast becomes the staple in almost every situation and it never feels boring or repetitive thanks to the menagerie of demonic creatures and the weapons you are given.
Some standard modern FPS design choices are missing here, such as reloading and regenerating health; however these are instead replaced with ammo, health and armour pickups that can be found scattered throughout every level. These pickups can also be gained through "Glory Kill" executions and killing demons in other gruesome ways, allowing the combat to continue to flow even if you find yourself low on resources.
The level of customisation and choice in DOOM is surprising,allowing you to spend both suit and weapon upgrades that provide meaningful enhancements to your play style. Suit upgrades allow you bonuses such as faster weapon switching and power-up enhancements while weapon upgrades grant you up to two mods for each gun with their own separate augmentations and masteries.
A separate Rune System also finds its way into the game.Runes are only obtainable through Rune Trials that are scattered throughout levels which usually demand a certain amount of kills with a certain type of weapon in a certain amount of time. There are a total of 12 Runes in the game, each with its own effect such as increasing the amount of time enemies are staggered, or increasing the amount of pickups dropped from dead enemies.
The open ended level design is hands down one of the best new additions to the series. Each level is a large, multi-layered experience filled with upgrades, pickups and secrets. Exploring each level to its full potential allows you to find everything you need to tackle the encounters ahead,especially when playing on the harder difficulties. And nothing brings a bigger smile to your face than seeing a secret door open to a room covered in classic Doom textures.
Lastly, there is also the inclusion of a multiplayer mode in DOOM developed in cooperation with Certain Affinity, a handful of developers known for their work on multiplayer shooters like Halo and Call of Duty. While the addition of multiplayer helps to increase the longevity of the title, it ends up feeling rather forced and fails to provide anything new or interesting to shake things up.
GRAPHICS DOOM runs on id Software's latest iteration of the id Tech engine, id Tech 6, and as a first release for both the engine and next-gen consoles the game looks fantastic. The environments ranging from high tech facility to demonic underworld are rendered with beautiful clarity and the demons look as despicable and disgusting as ever.It's clear that id Software took plenty away from their last release, RAGE, with many of the in games animations looking similar in both style and fluidity. Demons leap, crawl and slash with real weight and some, such as the imps, use the environment to their full advantage like hanging from pillars and jumping on top of crates above the player.
AUDIO The music and sound design present here is simply phenomenal. Mick Gordon has managed to create a perfect fusion of heavy metal guitar riffs and hellish soundscapes that fill you with dread in one second and makes you feel like a complete badass in the next.Each and every sound effect feels lovingly crafted and fits perfectly into the tone and theme of the game and the inclusion of some retro sound effects that play upon the discovery of a secret is also a treat.I highly recommend you follow his DOOM: Behind the Music series on his YouTube channel and I sincerely hope that the OST for DOOM will become available shortly as I will be listening to it for years to come.
VERDICT I don't think many people expected this DOOM to be so well handled. After a troubling development schedule it seemed at one stage that we may never again see such an iconic series resurrected to the standard that it deserved. And yet here we are. DOOM marks a triumphant return for id Software and the series as a whole and I look forward to what comes next for our beloved Doom Guy.