When you think DOOM, you think fast paced gun play, murdering demons, puzzle-like stages, a no nonsense plot, and a plethora of weapons to get the job done. Luckily, the newest installment in the DOOM franchise certainly scratches that itch.
DOOM is technically a sequel to DOOM 2. Far into the future, the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) has set up a facility on Mars that has managed to solve the Earth’s energy crisis: Argent Energy. Argent Energy is taken directly from Hell and is purified into a usable and practically limitless source of energy on Earth. Of course, the UAC is rife with unsavory sorts of people, and soon enough, a portal is opened to Hell, causing demons to spill out and invade Mars and the UAC base. The DOOM Marine (DOOMguy) awakens from a tomb and immediately starts murdering the hellspawns. No real dialogue or extended cutscene as you pick up a pistol, and immediately start downing demons. I really loved this, because it was very true to the first two DOOMs; little exposition, just start killing demons with your trusty pistol until you get a better killing weapon. After you get your iconic suit, you’re greeted by a voice who claims he can help you quell the demon uprising in a way that benefits the both of you. Doomguy, being a silent protagonist, slams the tablet receiving the message against a wall and leaves the area doing things the DOOM way.
Doomguy in the campaign has a ton of personality despite never speaking a word. Whether it’s the way he disregards apparent authority, or the way he literally rips and tears demons in two with his bear hands. At one point, when requested to carefully shutdown and disassemble an important filter, Doomguy curbstomps it into the ground, showing his disdain for UAC’s perversion of the natural flow of life.
You’ll fight the usual DOOM suspects, from Imps and Cacodemons to Pinkys and Mancubi, upgraded in high definition and cool character models, as well as a handful of new demons such as the Summoner and the Hell Razer. Many areas of the game pit you in a room that won’t let you out until the demon disturbance has been quelled. These rooms are fun, fast paced battles with heavy metal and djent style music that really reminds me of the old DOOM’s sometimes arena style challenges. Locked doors and the appropriate keycards wait to be found as you fight and explore 13 stages, all of which are lovingly crafted and loaded with secrets, weapon upgrades, plenty of platforming, and additional challenges for you to attempt in an effort to power up your weapons and abilities as fast as possible. You’ve also got a number of difficulty modes, including a hardcore “die once and you’re done” mode that tracks everyone’s attempts to see how far you can make it.
While you’re killing demons, you’re often given the opportunity to kill a demon with low life with a brutal Glory Kill. These Glory Kills, activated by pressing the melee button next to a flashing enemy, instantly kills the enemy in question and often drops additional health and ammo, making them a viable way to keep the killing going. Not only that, but the glory kills are brutal and devastating in all the right ways. Whether it’s ripping an enemy’s leg off and stomping them with it, or gouging out a Cacodemon’s eye, you’ll be thoroughly satisfied with each animation. Aiming at different parts of a demon’s body will also activate different styles of Glory Kills to keep things fresh.
Weapon modifications add another new flavor to the DOOM recipe. You can find drones out in the levels that will give you one of two modifications for most weapons, and change up the way you use the gun altogether. For instance, you can unlock a grenade launcher for the shotgun that makes it very viable for weaker enemies, both at short and long ranges, depending on which firing mode you use.
Multiplayer mode in DOOM plays out like a fast-paced, arena like shooter, not unlike Quake. Each map is abound with respawning powerups, armor, and health drops. You can even turn into a demon, giving you and your team a boost until the enemy team gangs up on you and slays you, or until your time ends. Interestingly, unlike old arena shooters where you would find your weapons, they stuck with a customizable loadout system, which unlocks more weapons and equipment the longer you play. It also feature Hack Modules, which are little bonuses that you’ll receive upon respawning, such as a small armor bonus, or the ability to see your killer through the walls of the map. These Hack Modules are rewarded randomly after matches, and there is really not much more to say about them. Each game played will also reward you with random unlocks to customize your character and their weapon’s aesthetics, such as colors, armor types, and patterns. The usual FPS game modes are here, such as Team Deathmatch, Domination, and Elimination, but also throw a few interesting modes like Soul Harvest where you must collect the souls dropped by enemies or your own team while one player is always a Demon and able to get more souls upon kills, and Freeze Tag, where kills freeze you in place and one of your team mates can come thaw you out by staying next to you for a short period of time. The multiplayer is fun, but like usual with DOOM multiplayer, it’s more of an after thought thrown in for fun and those who want multiplayer. DOOM is more about the single player experience; it always has been.
Finally, DOOM also has an interesting SnapMap mode, enabling you to create your own levels. On paper, this is amazing, but it has a surprisingly high amount of limitations. Firstly, when creating rooms, you must select from a number of premade modules and build around or within them. Also, no more than 12 demons can be active on any SnapMap at any time, making crazy onslaughts impossible (though there is a good amount of chaos you can make with 12 demons). You are also limited to multiplayer rules, meaning players can only carry two weapons and one equipment at a time, negating the ability to really make great original DOOM style levels. Lastly, there is, of course, a limit to how much you can build, and running out of space for things happens way too fast. Luckily, what SnapMap lacks in some categories, it excels in one: Logic. The DOOM SnapMap logic is amazing and you can really make some crazy things with it and turn DOOM into practically a whole new game. Customize everything with variables, or change the look and mechanics of things around you. The logic is really powerful. Right now SnapMap is flooded with submissions though, so you’ll need to be pretty lucky to make a level that actually gets a ton of plays.
The Bottom Line
- Fast paced, great gunplay.
- Fun and true-to-the-original campaign.
- Something for everyone.
- Incredible logic in SnapMap.
- Tacked on Multiplayer
- SnapMap limitations.
Final Score: 9.5/10
Any fan of the old DOOMs will at least be able to appreciate the campaign in this new DOOM, it’s certainly better (in my opinion) and more DOOM-like than the Dead Space style DOOM 3. Multiplayer fans will appreciate the arena style multiplayer, and the creative sorts will appreciate and make amazing things in SnapMap. Ultimately, DOOM has something for everyone.