DOOM: 2016’s most kickass shooter?
I’m not the biggest DOOM fan in the world but after playing the Close Alpha on PC I was cautiously optimistic about the latest DOOM not sucking ass. Turns out I was right in my initial estimation as amazingly this DOOM is actually good, very good in fact. It’s a glorious throwback to the good ol’ days of Gore, Gore and more Gore. It’s ridiculous, over the top and a proper good time from start to finish. There are no grey levels or ridiculous set pieces just you, a ton of guns and a whole host of enemies to brutally murderise.
It shouldn’t work so well yet in spite of its obvious limitations it just blows the latest bore fest shooters out of the water. It pays homage to the DOOM’s heyday but it never feels old or dated and stands up to the standards expected of modern shooters. It’s fast, frantic, chaotic and incredibly hard on higher difficulties requiring almost god like reflexes to survive.
The core game mechanics are a mix of what you expect from DOOM and a sort of mash up of Halo & Titanfall. The inclusion of a Mantle ability adds a real sense of verticality the game enabling you to clamber and reach higher areas for a better view. DOOM reminded me of Titanfall on many occasions due to its double jump capability that becomes critical during the more intense combat sections. Used correctly It can seamlessly link together a room keeping you moving and making you a much harder target. It’s tricky at first but once you get the rhythm nailed there is a real flow to it that works so perfectly it’s a wonder why more games don’t have the feature.
The Single Player campaign is the real meat of the game offering a real fun, challenge to it’s not overly lengthy campaign. On medium difficulty you can blow through it easily in 6 hours but doing that defeats the purpose entirely. Crank up the difficulty, to Hurt me Plenty or Nightmare and you’re in for a real serious challenge. It can be incredibly frustrating and at times it felt impossible but all the tools are there to master the game and blow everything to shit.
The layout of the campaign is a fairly basic one and if you boil it down to its base elements it is just the player going from Arena to Arena following a story that really doesn’t matter that much. The gold is in the chaos that follows your arrival at the next arena. Swarms of ever tougher enemies bring the pain in so many ways it’s sometimes almost overwhelming. The sheer number of enemies is at first daunting but once you get used to never reloading and always moving clearing entire rooms without stopping becomes almost hypnotic. Chaining kills together is the way forward switching weapons on the fly and using the Chainsaw and Melee animations to replenish health and ammo become critical to survival. It’s exhilarating, exhausting but brilliant all at once.
Oh and did I mention it looks amazing, mind-blowingly amazing in places but only on PC.
The console version manages a decent 60FPS but on PC DOOM is pure eye candy. It’s like having your eyes held open whilst a Unicorn with the face of Winona Ryder, the hair of Mikel Arteta and the left foot of Lionel Messi takes a steaming dump directly into your retina. It’s a work of pure beauty and is proof if ever it were needed just how crap the PS4 and Xbox One are.
In a way DOOM is the exact opposite of the multitude of overly serious, grey identikit shooters that dominate the gaming landscape. It’s a brief, fun ride best played as a serious of crazy hard challenges in small hour long chunks. It’s the perfect modern day successor to the DOOM, Quake and Wolfenstein games that created the FPS genre. It doesn’t do anything amazing but does manage to feel like DOOM only bang up to date.