Doom (2016) returns us to the classic PC days of hunting down monsters and finding colored key cards on our ancient computers.
However, is this game merely a retread of the ultra-violence we’ve seen before? Or does it manage to bring something new to the table amid a crowded field of rival shooters?
Take a minute to grab your chainsaw and your BFG because I’m about to answer all of your questions!
Back to Basics
The first thing you’ll notice about this game is the simplicity of the name: Doom. There is no subtitle to it, and no number after the word, which may seem curious because this is the fourth proper entry in the series.
Of course, the simplicity of the name is a not-so-subtle reminder to fans that this game gets back to basics. Doom 3 was a game that divided fans because it traded many of the run-and-fun antics of earlier games for a creepy and atmospheric horror movie vibe.
Basically, if the original Doom and Doom 2 were slasher movies, Doom 3 was more of a psychological thriller. Which is cool in its own right, but fans of the classic games wanted (understandably) classic gameplay.
And this game delivers that gameplay while adding some unexpected twists!
As you may or may not know, the original Doom games are more popular than ever. This is because of the vibrant modding scene in which creative fans find ways to make these old games feel new.
One of the most popular mods is “Brutal Doom.” This mod adds many cool improvements, but it is mostly known for giving you the ability to perform flashy and gory fatalities on the creatures you fight.
Doom (2016) copies this mechanic pretty shamelessly: when monsters are weak and flickering, you can execute them in a bloody and visceral way. Fortunately, this affects the gameplay on more than just a cosmetic level.
Enemies executed in this way drop much-needed health for your character. Furthermore, you are functionally invincible mid-execution, so taking monsters out like this is another way you can survive some of the more difficult encounters in the game.
This is one of many games where Doom embraces a “combat as strategy” vibe. Haters might dismiss the gameplay as simple. The truth, though, is that beating the game takes some serious skill, especially on higher difficulties!
The Need for Speed
Earlier, I mentioned that fans wanted a “run-and-gun” Doom. This game embraces that idea on a level that we’ve never seen before.
First, every battle feels fast and frenetic. These aren’t slow monsters waiting to be killed; they are fast, fierce, and intelligent, and they’ll keep you running all over the map.
Speaking of that, your character now has the ability to pull himself up on ledges and other surfaces. This is a mechanic familiar to fans of games like Halo 5, but it introduces an entirely new element to the Doom universe.
Basically, this adds some welcome drops of parkour into the run-and-gun gaming. And it helps make battles that much more complex and satisfying.
This is not exactly a harsh criticism, but it must be said: Doom (2016) has one of the most paper-thin plots you will ever encounter. And when it does try to add some complexity, it does so through some really ham-fisted narrative devices.
In all fairness, the original Doom games were really light on story. And many fans feel like the focus on a more complex narrative is one of the things that derailed Doom 3.
So, if you somehow thought this was going to be a cerebral shooter, you’ll be disappointed. If, however, you want to turn your brain off and have some serious fun, then you’re in luck with this title.
The modding community is a large part of what has kept the original Doom alive so long. And now, the new Doom lets everyone be a modder… to an extent.
The game includes a built-in “SnapMap” tool that lets you create your own levels. These can be simple challenge maps for you and your friends or complex masterpieces that you share with other people online.
There are some serious limitations in what you can do with SnapMap, but you’ll be surprised to see how much you can do and how easy and intuitive it is. And this, along with the multiplayer, really adds to the replay value.
The original Doom games helped pioneer multiplayer online shooters. The new game carries on in this tradition, but it is content to keep multiplayer simple and streamlined.
There are the familiar Team Deathmatch type modes as well as other familiar games such as a King of the Hill mode. There are also more exotic things such as “Freeze Tag.”
If I’m being honest, the multiplayer is a bit simple. However, it is built on the foundations of satisfying combat from the campaign mode, and the fun of firing familiar weapons like the shotgun has not gone away, even after all these years.
Doom is more than just worth checking out. It is one of the best shooters of 2016, and no game has really been able to dethrone it in subsequent years.
It’s pure, adrenaline-soaked action, with a side of demons, chainsaws, and blood. Whether you were a fan of the originals or not, Doom (2016) deserves a place on your shelf!