Disposed Hero's Blog

Posted on Jan 25th 2017 at 01:00:00 PM by (Disposed Hero)
Posted under Review, Shooter, Action, id, Bethesda, First person

The original Doom that was released back in 1993 was an extremely important landmark title in gaming.  While not necessarily the first first-person-shooter to hit the market, it was definitely the game that popularized the genre.  I have fond memories of playing Doom sometime back in the mid-90s on PC when I was less than the age of 10, with its gameplay and (at the time) mature content being unlike anything I had ever experienced before.  Although the version I had only contained the first episode, I played through it multiple times, and it is still a game that I find myself going back to even today.  After the Wolfenstein series got a great new entry with MachineGames' excellent Wolfenstein: The New Order, I was confident that id's other classic franchise would receive the same treatment when a new game in the Doom series, simply titled Doom, was shown at E3 2015.  I was not disappointed.  In fact, even after playing other highly acclaimed games from 2016 such as Uncharted 4 and Final Fantasy XV, I still feel like I enjoyed Doom enough to call it my Game of the Year for 2016.

Doom was developed by the legendary id Software, was published by Bethesda, and was released worldwide on May 13, 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.  Releasing only three days after the big-budget juggernaut that was Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Doom was thankfully able to hold its own in sales and received virtually unanimous positive critical reception.  It has received many industry awards in 2016 for Game of the Year, as well as awards in other categories.

Originally announced way back in 2008, Doom went through multiple iterations before becoming the game we finally received.  Operating under the working title Doom 4, it was in development for many years, caught in the limbo that is often referred to as "development hell."  According to members of id Software and any gaming insiders who had seen early incarnations of Doom 4 in action, the game lacked a personality of its own, instead closely resembling other popular first-person shooters such as Call of Duty.  These earlier projects were all scrapped, and id Software began working on the final iteration of Doom.  Knowing that they could not compete with the popularity of more established shooters on the market, id set out to create a game that felt unique but also remained faithful to the original games in the series.  Doom eschews most modern first-person shooter conventions, instead relying on many of the same mechanics that made the original Doom a success while still incorporating current ideas to keep the game modern.  The result is a game that feels totally new and unique despite relying on antiquated mechanics.

Keep an eye out for Easter Eggs!

The story of Doom is minimalistic and mainly just serves to move you along from one gameplay segment to the next.  Set in a research facility on Mars, a new type of energy called Argent energy is being siphoned from Hell itself in an effort to solve the energy crisis on Earth.  Somewhere along the way, all Hell literally breaks loose, as a portal directly to Hell has been opened and demons begin invading the research facility and killing everyone in sight.  You, as the Doom Slayer, are awakened from a hibernation of sorts, and it is up to you to close the Hell portal, all while killing every demon that gets in your way.  Doom is a game that knows exactly what it is, an over-the-top action-packed adrenaline rush from beginning to end, so don't expect a lot of exposition out of this one.  There are logs and data files scattered about for those who are curious about the origin and backstory of various characters, locations, and even the demons themselves.

The gameplay of Doom is mostly comprised of run & gun shooting with some platforming mixed in.  Where the original Doom was more of a corridor shooter in which you killed enemies as you traversed through rooms and hallways, the new Doom typically locks you in large arena-like rooms and forces you to kill waves of enemies before you are able to proceed. The combat is intense and satisfying, with enemies swarming you from all directions.  There is a nice variety of weapons in the game, most of which will be familiar to fans of the series, and all of them feel great to use.  Enemies in the game will also look familiar to fans of the series, and their incarnations in this game look appropriately horrific and imposing.

Hordes of enemies will be breathing down your neck for most of the experience.

What sets Doom apart from its contemporaries is how heavily the game borrows from early innovators of the genre.  In Doom, there are no mechanics such as cover systems, regenerating health or shields, or even reloading for your weapons.  Speed is an extremely important aspect to the feel and overall gameplay of Doom, and pausing the action to take cover to regenerate health or to reload would only serve to dull the frantic pace set by the game.  Doom even takes it a step further by introducing the extremely gratuitous and fun Glory Kill mechanic.  Glory Kills are initiated by damaging an enemy enough to stun them but not kill them so you can move in for a violent and gory melee kill.  Glory Kills cause the enemy to explode in a shower of health and ammo, so quickly moving from one enemy to the next is encouraged.

Platforming in first-person games can sometimes feel clumsy and frustrating, but Doom pulls it off well.  Jumping feels fluid and responsive, and being able to control your movement while in the air helps tremendously when trying to move from one platform to the next.  You can also grab the edges of platforms and pull yourself up, a literal lifesaver when you fall just a bit short of making a long jump.  Platforming is an integral part of Doom's gameplay, as it is often necessary to move across platforms when trying to access new mission areas as well as secret areas, and it is crucial to stay moving and quickly traverse the environment during combat sections.  There is also a staggering amount of verticality to the environments rarely scene in first-person shooters, further enforcing the need for platforming.

Floating platforms?  Don't see those much anymore!

Speaking of which, exploration is highly encouraged in Doom, as levels are fairly nonlinear with multiple paths and secret areas to discover.  There are many rewards to find hidden in the various nooks and crannies of each level, and many of these are well worth seeking out.  The aforementioned data logs are littered throughout the environment and can give a bit more insight into various creatures and locations in the game.  There are also small Doom Guy figurines that serve no gameplay purpose and are included just as a neat collectible.  Last but not least, there are hidden rooms that are taken straight from the original Doom that you can find and explore.

There are other secrets to find, but they are all tied to the game's character progression and upgrade systems.  Field drones can be found hidden in certain locations, and these allow you to upgrade one of your weapons, usually with an alternate firing mode or something similar.  There are also Praetor tokens that can be found on the dead bodies of Elite Guards, and each token gives you one upgrade point you can spend to upgrade your suit.  Argent Cells are found in large containers and allow you to permanently upgrade your maximum health, armor, or ammo capacity.  Lastly, Rune Trials can be found and accessed in various locations and are short trials that task you with killing a certain amount of enemies, usually within a time limit and sometimes with other arbitrary constraints.

The map screen shows the number of secrets and collectibles for each level.

I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't mention the multiplayer aspect of the game.  Doom features online multiplayer modes which include team deathmatch and King of the Hill.  While I didn't spend much time with the multiplayer, I did play a few rounds of team deathmatch and enjoyed my time with it.  Although it was standard fare as far as team deathmatch goes, there was one interesting aspect to it that allowed one player to turn into a Hell demon for a while if they were lucky enough to be the first to grab the corresponding token when it spawned on the map.  There is also a leveling system that gives players access to better and more varied equipment loadouts.  I don't play much online multiplayer in general, so I can't say how Doom's multiplayer compares to other games, but I feel confident in saying that it is competently made and fun, and I'm sure it is a selling point for many people.

Doom is a game that I would 100% recommend to anyone who enjoys playing video games, especially those who have grown weary of the status quo of realistic modern shooters such as Call of Duty or Battlefield.  It may not have the engaging cinematics, compelling narrative, or realism that has become so important and commonplace in many games releasing these days, but it is fun, and it is a game that has enough self-awareness not to dilute the experience with unnecessary padding.  Clocking in at around 8-10 hours for a single playthrough, Doom is a respectable length for the type of game it is, and there is a fair bit of replay value for those who still want more.  Doom is a title that should not be missed.

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it really was a beyond-pleasant surprise.

On that same token, I strongly hope that all you guys are checking out Resident Evil 7 which is just out-of-left-field amazing.
@noiseredux:  I'm a huge fan of the RE series, so I'm very interested in RE7.  I don't have a copy yet since I mainly play multiplatform games on PC now, and I just can't bring myself to pay MSRP for PC games, so I'll grab it on the first decent sale.  I also just got Yakuza 0, so I'll be playing that in the mean time!  Smiley
yeah I'm PC-only. The price was steep, but I had a GS gift card leftover from Christmas to help soften the blow. Either way, I'm very happy I didn't wait. RE7 is really something special.
Great article and I know that this game was at or near the top of every yearly list.  With that said, how would you guys (everyone on here who plays modern games and wants to participate) feel about maybe doing an annual site voting on a Top 10 games list starting next year?  Heck, we could even do 2016 after the fundraiser, if there was interest.  I'd be happy to organize and coordinate it.
Love the idea.
DOOM was my game of the year as well. For the first few hours of the game, I thought the name was Gory Kill, not Glory kill. Which fits. I like that they provided a little second to breath and plan your next move, while at the same time giving you health.

@singlebanana: I like that idea.
I don't like scary games, is Doom scary?

(I am not into RE at all either because of this)

Keep in mind, I thought the monsters in Uncharted 1 were scary and they were only a small part of the game. Never played Dead Space. I want to try BioShock but I guess that isn't as scary I hear.
@RobotWillie:  The monsters can be scary in appearance, but the point of the game isn't really to frighten the player.  It's really all about action from beginning to end.  There aren't any jump scares that I can remember like you would find in games like Resident Evil and Dead Space.  Personally, I would say that BioShock is scarier than Doom.

Maybe you could watch a bit of some YouTube walkthroughs and see what you think?
Great game. I bought a PS4 just for it. I do not regret it one bit. It was worth every penny ad you can get Doom for $20 now retail. While I was playing it it felt like I was playing an updated Metroid Prime.

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