After 12 years of waiting, we finally have the next installment of the Doom franchise, appropriately titled DOOM. As you would expect, this is another re-imaging of the 1993 classic FPS forerunner, similar to what id Software had done with Doom 3 in 2004. With less of a focus on story and a greater focus on gameplay and atmosphere, the latest Doom is a contender for shooter of the year.
Doom’s single player is nothing short of absolutely enthralling. Keeping up with the pace of the previous installments, the action in this game is fast, intense and absolutely visceral. The marine runs at a constant pace that is faster than all of the enemies in the game, which rely more on projectiles and dodging as opposed to just charging blindly at you. While the enemies do have their aggressive moments, the architecture of the levels you rush through force you to be aware of your surroundings and use baiting tactics with some of the bigger monsters. In essence, you never stop moving and there is rarely a lull in monster count.
The game’s story is nearly non-existent, but this is a good thing. Though Doom 3 had some cinematic elements mixed into it that added to the game’s claustrophobic/creepy tone, the story was rather forgettable and took a backseat to the gameplay. Id has learned from this, and now the game literally has you shooting monsters within 20 seconds of the game starting. This is a good thing, as it shows the player what they’re in store for, an experience that many old-school PC gamers have been clamoring over for years. The game stays away from the common trope of a linear cinematic sequence, instead using a modified version of the tried and true find-the-keys-and-get-to-the-exit model. Keys are usually found on corpses or within the environment, which can be easy to miss.
Ammo and health are basically in control of the player, Killing an enemy with a “Glory Kill” (meleeing them before they die) will grant the player health drops. Ammo is typically procured from the environment, or from an enemy killed with the games signature chainsaw. The player can also upgrade the marine through a progression system. Various feats, achievements and challenges will award you points that can be spent on improving your marines ammo capacity, health, and other stats. Given that most of the monsters in Doom require a hefty amount of firepower and endurance, this is key for gameplay and is a rather addicting element.
The graphics are a wonderful showcase of the new id Tech 6 engine, giving us heavily detailed and well lit environments to blast through at a constant 60 FPS. Just like in Doom 3, all of the staple enemies and weapons have been made over and are far more graphic than before. Though many of the environments share similar themes as you traverse the game (as usual, you start in a UAC base on Mars and remain there for the majority of the game), the different chapters and sections do change up the architecture to keep the feeling of progression fresh.
As many have come to expect, the multiplayer is a mixed bag. The games multiplayer mode allows only for team-based gameplay with 6v6, with the typical modes of Team Deathmatch, Domination and so on. This glaring departure from the established Doom multiplayer model is compounded with players having to select dual weapon loadouts, with Power Weapons spread through the stage, such as the BFG. Old-school players may not be into this modernized version of Doom deathmatch, but new players will feel right at home.
The top off the game, the Snapmap mode offers a vast array of tools to create not only your own maps, but even your own modes. From survival rounds, tower defense and other devised modes, it offers an alternative experience for players to both create and try something new. Snapmap also supports FFA Deathmatch, but is limited to 4 players.