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
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
. 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.