When the new Doom
was first announced, the concern most voiced by fans was whether or not it would be able to capture the feel of the original classic, which more or less created the entire FPS genre as we know it.
Modern FPS have been bogged down for the last few years by the homogenous features of realistic military shooters. Cover based mechanics, two shots and your dead, brown and gray color pallet and a setting somewhere in the middle east shooting Arabs and or Russians.
Thankfully, this new incarnation of the Doom
franchise makes it it’s mission from the very start to capture the fast, frantic and over the top gameplay that made the original a perennial classic.
The protagonists movement speed is locked at sprint, there’s no reloading of every kind, and every weapon in the game is carried all at once.
It’s nothing but adrenaline pumping shooting, with a bright red color pallet, and levels of blood that haven’t been seen in a game since the 90’s. The shooting is well tuned, with a number of diverse, awesome weapons that all serve some sort of tactical purpose.
Something that may be a mixed bag, though leaning towards the positive, is the introduction of Glory Kills
. After damaging an enemy somewhat, they will glow blue and then orange. If they’re attacked with a melee attack during this period, a brutal attack animation will play, and the enemy will pour out health and ammo.
These do break up the otherwise very well flowing game play, but they are visceral, and very well animated, so they weren’t much of a problem for me.
Surprisingly, there’s actually a fairly decent narrative present in the campaign. Though the basic set-up is still the same, a portal to hell open up on a facility on the Martian surface, but this time around there’s actually a substantial amount of lore and backstory hidden away in various audiologs, transcripts and environmental storytelling.
This doesn’t make the primary protagonist, simply called The Doom Marine, any more interesting. He’s basically just a nameless, voiceless homunculus there for nothing more than killing demons in increasingly violent and gory ways…which is something that the game cheekily jokes about with it’s animations, wherein the marine seems to be annoyed by everything going on that isn’t shooting things despite not actually speaking.
Most of this lore involves scientists and cult leaders on the facility, as well as an actual explanation for why scientists located on Mars would be messing with energy literally from hell.
Yes, the story is just the type of B movie stupid that you’d expect, and it’s awesome.
As for the multiplayer, apart from a few server drops, it was a very serviceable and fun experience, albeit not my cup of tea. In a market slowly filling up with the likes of Overwatch and Battleborn, there isn’t much of a pressing need for shooters like this outside of their single player campaigns.
This new Doom
will make stalwarts of the original quite happy, and will serve as a fine introduction for those new to the franchise.