After years of waiting along with a near-complete sequel scrapped, DOOM is heralding its release with one final beta weekend, this time open to the public as opposed to those who received an invite for buying Wolfenstein: The New Order. The previous beta runs have been met with fanfare from the general press and those with access, but the open beta release has been receiving a considerable amount of flak from the PC gaming community, as seen in the Steam reviews for the game. As of the last day of the beta, the game rests at a solid Mostly Negative ranking on Steam. Don’t let that let that review average lead you to regard the game as a failure, but see it as a rift in the different preferences between PC and console games.
The obvious catalyst for the rage coming from the PC faithful crowd is one of shattered nostalgia and expectations. PC gamers were expecting the comeback of the arena shooter a genre that had died out in the late 2000s with the advent of games such as Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. As console gaming began to become the dominant platform in the industry (something that is losing slight traction as of late), the difficulty associated with the KBMOD-dominanted arena shooters did not translate well to joysticks and buttons. Despite decent attempts such as the Unreal Championship games on the original Xbox and ports of Unreal Tournament and Quake III Arena for the PS2 and Dreamcast, the modern shooter had to adapt the gameplay for the sprawling console gaming majority. As such, arena shooters fell out of popularity.
Though DOOM has elements that arena FPS purists will scoff at, the combined elements make the game work well, and it is rather addictive. Your marine moves at a rather fast pace, can double jump, and is controversially limited to a load out of two weapons. This eliminates the tried and true tenet of managing weapon and ammo spawns and having to memorize maps in order to have an edge over your opponents. Though the game seems “off” without the competitive element, the 6v6 gameplay is still a raucous and rampaging affair, albeit with a hint of strategy involved. Though you can take on 2-3 people at the same time if you are mobile enough, it’s best to stay with your teammates.
Though there is already a mixed opinion on the multiplayer, we still have yet to see any single player outside of the trailers. Many beta players have forsake the multiplayer, leaving faith in the single player portion of the game to make up for the sub-par beta. Other are requesting a “classic” mode be introduced to the game, adding traditional weapon spawns and ammo placements. Though these are sound suggestions, the game is basically complete as it is set for release in May. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.