*Warning Graphic Content Ahead (Blood/Gore)
The first person genre for consuming video games and cinematic experiences was arguably brought to life among the masses in December of 1993. December 10, 1993 was the release of the titular title Doom. The effects of this sole title’s release can be seen through its core game-play aspects which have been adopted by the majority of first person shooters. The most recent re-imagining of Doom has proved to successfully recapture the feel and overall aesthetic of the original game. Although this title can be argued as “just a remake,” it also brings plenty of new content to player. Personally, anybody that argues that this is simply the original Doom rehashed has never played the original Doom.
Doom has always put game-play first, while the story is on the back burner. So it wasn’t very surprising that this title lacked a blockbuster story or compelling narrative. ID Software did however successfully attempt to convey world building through the environment of the UAC Compound on Mars and Hell itself. Small descriptions of weapons, facilities, enemies, etc, allow for further understanding of the environment the player will find themselves in. This of course requires a need for conclusion or an additional story for the skeleton of plot that is revealed in game. Essentially, the player steps into the role of the Doom Marine (later referred to as the Doom Slayer). The player is tasked with shutting down a portal from Hell in a research facility on the Martian surface. This facility, run by the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC), was experimenting using a form of energy from Hell in order to power things back on Earth. This energy, “ardent energy,” is siphoned from a pit in Hell simply called The Well. As the player progresses, further plot details unfold such as the true origins of the Doom Marine and how exactly the portal appeared. This game is essentially an attempt to reboot the franchise, so it can be inferred that the player is successful in shutting the portal down. Besides the bare-bones plot details, the story does not matter at all to me. Game-play on the other hand, game-play is key.
Doom is a frantic, adrenaline-fueled nightmare at times. Hordes of demons and possessed undead will continually rush the player until all have been dealt with. Doom like its predecessors gives the player access to a variety of methods of destruction. In the newest Doom, these weapons range from the new gauss cannon to the classic chainsaw. Obviously some weapons are better than others, while some are more effective against other types of enemies. Combining attacks by swapping constantly between weapons also proves to be incredibly effective against the demons from hell. The player arsenal in the beginning of the game is quite small so obviously this tactic of sporadically switching between weapons via the weapons wheel won’t exactly work. None the less the idea of killing all of the enemies in a room in order to enable linear progression in the game can only be as fun as the player wants it to be. Sure the weapons are amazing, the overly violent glory kills are fantastic animations (too graphic for me to actual show), and the outrageous carnage is fun but it can grow tiring and tedious.
The latest Doom in my opinion attempts to cater way too much to veteran player’s nostalgia. The single-player campaign offers obviously more modern means of conveying combat movement and overall game-play but it still appears to be strikingly the same. You can take that as you will, I personally didn’t dislike this but also was not a fan of it. The middle portion of the campaign though felt incredibly repetitive and I found myself taking breaks from the game simply because I was bored by repetitive eliminates. Find several specific key cards or skulls and fight through endless waves of hell spawn in order to get to the next area; then only to do it all again. I wish there was more variety than that but besides the three boss fights and some surprisingly well-placed platforming, the game begins to put itself on repeat by the end of the first act. At times, new guns and the ability to potentially upgrade all of your arsenal with new attachments proved to be the only thing that kept me playing the campaign. The very last chapter, however, stands apart. I won’t spoil it, but something about it just felt right when it comes to a modern interpretation of the first two games.
The original Doom is a timeless classic that was REVOLUTIONARY for its time. However, ID Software’s attempts to successfully recapture this lightning in a bottle prove to either be successful for incredibly nostalgic players or underwhelming to others. A reboot can only depend on the nostalgic factor oh so much before it ends up feeling like a cripple using the original nostalgia as a crutch. Sure, this game can stand on its own when a new player to the series plays it. Yet, I have a feeling that a newcomer to the series may feel underwhelmed because there are plenty of games that execute this kind of game-play more skillfully and smoothly. I have a feeling that this game will resonate more will players of the past games, whether that is a good or bad thing isn’t really the point.
Doom’s multiplayer feels like a forgotten offspring of Call of Duty & Halo with some Quake sprinkled in while on speed. The map design is straight out of Quake in my opinion. Power weapon spawns such as the gauss cannon and the demon runes (they let the player become an over powered demon) become choke points on the map. This would ideally create some memorable matches centered around these points, this is not the case. Doom made the same mistake Halo 4 and every subsequent Halo game made multiplayer wise: they added the function of custom loadouts. The main joy in games such as Quake, the original 3 Halos games and arena style shooters was the focus on finding ‘power weapons’ that would give the player advantages over other players that are using the default kit and weapons. That is what set these games apart from Call of Duty or Battlefield. The new Doom not only adds custom classes but also consumables that act a lot like perks. This completely defeats the purpose, aesthetic and fun of Doom. When the majority of players can equip incredibly overpowered weapons, excluding the BFG and gauss cannon, the entire aspect and fun of finding these weapons detracts from the total experience. The whole flaw in the multiplayer could be addressed if custom classes were axed and the power weapons drops were increased in order to cater to players want for more powerful weapons while keeping them out of everyone’s hands.