In today’s gaming landscape, where most shooters hold your hand along the way to the finish line, Doom harkens back to a time where health was scarce, bullets were aplenty, and enemies pushed you to the limit. Doom isn’t a revolutionary entry into the franchise, but rather a love-letter to old-school Doom fans to remind them of a video game generation gone by, albeit with a new lick of paint.
Doom doesn’t convolute the nostalgic situation with a complex storyline either. From the get-go, you’re thrown into a demon-infested facility on Mars with the task of finding out exactly what the hell happened, or rather, why hell is happening on the Red Planet. There is a fittingly B-grade action movie narrative to follow, full of conspiracies, mad scientists, and experiments going wrong, which highlights id Software’s commitment to the milieu and ethos of this Doom resurrection.
The gameplay is equally as self-assertive as the premise. Players have to work their way through the narrow corridors and wide-open areas of the Mars facility, taking on hordes of demons and destroying their portals, while finding the true source of the invasion. However, the true hooks of Doom have always been the grotesque monsters and the tools to kill them with, and both deliver this time around.
The demons are varied and unpredictable, giving you a bit of a welcomed headache as you have to strategically clear occupied rooms before progressing to the next section. These hyper-fast combat sequences play out like small arena matches, giving you environmental hazards and multi-layered playgrounds to take advantage of as you move from kill to kill. Switching from the punchy shotgun to chainsaw, then to the assault rifle to fire off a few rounds, and back to the shotgun, is an exhilaratingly satisfying experience, and the high-framerate and super-smooth control scheme make it a joy to play.
In addition to weapon mods and upgrades, there are some other tricks thrown into the mix of death-dealing options. “Glory-kills” are essentially melee execution moves and give players the chance to dismember, behead, or crush demons in a brutal, up-close and personal manner. The glory-kills are a great addition to the combat and spice up the shoot-and-move routine, but it would’ve been great to see more variety as you’ll begin to see the same animations as the novelty begins slipping away.
Instead of relying on set-pieces and genre-bending gameplay mechanics, Bethesda’s reboot places its pride in its fun, frantic gameplay and a badass attitude, which is sometimes just what we really want as gamers. Doom brings the feeling of classic first-person shooters into 2016 without sacrificing what made the series great in the first place.
Doom is available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
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