A couple of years ago, Bethesda and the team at Machine Games did the unthinkable – it rebooted Wolfenstein without the need for multiplayer, and creating an ambience that’s on par with some of this generation’s greatest games. Thus, The New Order was born, and that game, alongside the 2015 release The Old Blood, revitalized an old-school franchise in a bold new light.
So if it worked once, why can’t it work again? At least, that’s what id Software was thinking with Doom, a franchise that’s been in the industry since the early 90’s, setting the stage for the first-person shooter genre as we know it. Those games were all about frenetic, bloody action, fast pacing and having fun in both single and multiplayer modes – and what do you know, that’s exactly what this modern follow-up is all about, too. And we love it.
The game’s single player campaign puts your soldier in the midst of a demon invasion on an intergalactic outpost, with someone trying to open the portal even further to let their buddies in. With a weapon in hand, it’s up to you to single-handedly stop this invasion before it begins, plowing these demons back to Hell and keeping in one piece while you’re at it.
The real magic of Doom comes with the gameplay, as it’s refreshingly close to the nature of the original releases. It’s fast-paced, accurate with controls, and incredibly fun to play, especially as you start unlocking upgrades that make you feel like a complete badass. While some of the melee finishers can get repetitive, they’re creative – and more importantly, bloody as hell. Just wait until you pick up a flaming skull and start splitting demon skulls in two with your bare hands. It’s really something.
The variety of weapons is very cool, ranging from classics like the BFG 9000 and the rocket launcher to the trusty shotgun. For good measure, the upgrades are also incredibly useful, and ammo is hardly as scarce as in other games on the market, so you’ll have plenty of room to pass destruction around. The campaign is also packed with a good amount of length (it’ll take several hours to get through, especially on hellaciously higher difficulty settings) and huge, looming level design that demands exploration to find all the hidden goodies.
The only real negative here is that the platforming can be clumsy at times – the game goes so fast that you can occasionally miss a ledge and fall to your, ahem, doom as a result. It’s very seldom, though, so don’t let it get you down. Plus, falling in the lava unlocks a very cool Easter Egg – you’ll see it for yourself.
That’s another thing – the presentation is truly on a “wow” level, between the booming level design, the fast frame rate (it runs at 60 frames per second across the board most of the time) and neat demon designs. They’ll definitely harken back memories of the good ol’ days, with fireball-chunking hellions and big boys that require a mighty amount of firepower to bring down to size (well, enough to perform a satisfying melee kill on them, anyway).
The sound is also excellent, with great rock music that plays every time a new skirmish begins in this world, along with solid voiceovers (like the automated system getting annoyed as you trash the base) and sound effects that really make proper use of your surround sound system. Crank it up for this mother.
Along with a great single player campaign – mind some loading times to get there – Doom also features some pretty good multiplayer. It’s not nearly as good as other shooters on the market (looking at you, Black Ops III), but it’s fun for getting together with friends and blowing heads off with humans and unlocked demon Revenants alike). On top of that, the SnapMap feature allows you to build some great levels from scratch, as well as setting up new modes and objectives. It’s a great community builder, even if it doesn’t quite reach out to its fullest potential – there are a few limits in place that prevent you from getting too creative.
No matter – Doom is yet another feather in the cap for Bethesda, proving it knows how to make a capable and thrilling reboot yet again. Like Wolfenstein, it holds its own with awesome gameplay, impeccable presentation and a number of options to continue the adventure, even if you think you’ve found everything. Now that Doom’s gotten its due as one of this year’s best games, let’s see what the team can do with Quake, shall we?