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DOOM REVIEW (2016)

Article by: Brian Toglia

 

Rated “M” for Mother Fu****!  

                   or

Just another day in hell…

 

Bloody, visceral, chunky, bombastic, an out-of-control freight train. These are some of the words (and one phrase) that come to mind immediately when I think of the new incarnation of DOOM. Nothing is friendly in the game, so unlike most modern shooters that weigh you down with crappy A.I. teammates, just shoot first, second, and third and forget the ask questions part. Credit must be given to ID (developer) and Bethesda (publisher) for crafting a focused (if not slightly repetitive) campaign that really never relents. DOOM knows what it is and succeeds largely in pulling off its vision. Spoilers will be kept to an absolute minimum in the following review so read confidently and without worry.
 
doomhelmet

 

We start the campaign with our nameless/faceless/personality less hero rising off of some sort of demonic sacrificial table. Pick up a gun and some armor and quickly be on your way into the maze-like hallways from hell (literally). You soon get some communication from a disembodied voice who starts giving you the 411 on the happenings on. Why am I being attacked by demons? Why was I naked when I woke?  why were blood and guts the choice for this springs corporate interior redesign? Who cares! This is DOOM we are talking about. You honestly didn’t think I would waste your time talking about the plot line, did you?

If you thought for one second about buying DOOM for its intricate and nuanced story, then this is NOT the game for you. What DOOM is, is an unapologetic throwback to ’90s masculine shooters. No long-winded reflection for the protagonist, no thoughts about the world and what your actions might mean to it, and no hesitation to pull the trigger. Honestly, this game is all the better for its lack of feels. To put it another way, this is the Jean Claude Van Damme of video games (lots of flash but little substance).

What I do care to discuss when it comes to DOOM is how the game plays. The systems under the hood so to speak. Does the game handle well? How are the shooting mechanics? Do I get an assortment of fun toys in which to brutalize endless hordes of hell spawn with? Is it visually stunning? IS DOOM FUN? Let’s start with the last question, shall we?

 

Fun, fun, fun till your daddy takes your Shotgun away…

 

I feel, as a 34 year veteran of gaming, that representation of the “dumb fun” segment of the FPS genre has been seriously lacking in recent years. With the rise of the modern military shooter, it seems that almost every game has become either a clone or some iteration on the Call of Duty formula. Very linear, huge set pieces and gruff military jargon is the new hotness. While I still very much enjoy those games for what they are, there seems to be room for something that takes itself a little less seriously. That is where DOOM comes in. This game is pure, adrenaline fueled, bloody chunk flying fun! Oddly, for a game that’s pretty much a throwback, it really is a breath of fresh air.

DOOM has mostly been a corridor shooter with monster closets aplenty. There isn’t much of a visual spin you can put on your game with those restrictions. Thankfully the 2016 iteration expands on this formula without breaking it. There are some outdoor excursions as well as some very large interior sections that change things up often enough to keep things interesting. I’m more than okay with the locale choices for this game as it shows the developer was not afraid to move the series into the future while still giving enough of the old look and feel that the series fans expect.

There are some visual fireworks tied into each area of the game. The molten metal flows wonderfully and the particle effects from the weapon fire offer nice pops of color. There is some noticeable texture issues upon closer inspection, but overall the game definitely has a current gen feel. There is sparse use of vibrant color with the (clichéd) color coded doors and ammo pickups, which look slightly out of place (but are still welcome) in an otherwise decidedly earth-toned universe.

Doom-03

 

Guns and bullets and upgrades, oh my!

 

One of my favorite things about DOOM is unlocking and then experimenting with the secondary functions for all the weapons. Each weapon has two secondary functions that unlock via finding hidden mini robot upgrade salesmen (they have an actual moniker, but that’s what I call them). Why the hell do these things even exist? You can’t just have everything unlocked at the beginning of your quest, now can you? All jokes aside, I find that all the leveling systems (armor, health, weapons, etc.) are handled very well and your powers are revealed or unlocked with proper pace. Oh, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that the Assault Rifle in DOOM is the single best AR in any game I have played. EVER!

All the guns in the world won’t help you if you can’t fire them straight. No worries there! Each and every gun handles like a dream in DOOM. A very satanic, ultra violent, bloody as hell dream. Side note: this is seriously one of the most violent, gory games I have ever played. I laughed out loud countless time as heads rolled, bodies exploded, and limbs were snapped like toothpicks with regularity. PS. I’m a pretty normal guy.

My god, I haven’t enjoyed satisfying my video game blood lust this much since grade school. But I digress, there is some seriously serious gunplay at play here. Okay! Moving on…

 

… Into the bowels of hell

 

Other than the meaty campaign, there are two other modes of play in DOOM. You have your good ol’ Multiplayer and something called Snapmap. Unfortunately, my praise of this game wanes a bit when it comes to its multiplayer mode. While there are many MP game types to choose from, the choice to give the game an initial load out (choosing Assault, Sniper ect.) is, to me, a tactical mistake. There was no need to change the original Arena shooter formula (everyone starts on equal ground, sprint to obtain the power weapons) into the thing that I praised the single player campaign for not being — a COD clone. Well, it’s not quite that, but it didn’t need to go into that territory at all. One other complaint I have, albeit a minor one, is that there is no physical feedback (read: controller rumble) when you are getting shot in MP. With so much interference from gunshots, plasma blasts and rocket fire appearing on screen at once, it’s easy to miss the red flash around the outside of the screen that indicates you are taking damage.  There is still fun to be had with the MP suite, but I can’t see this game pulling me away from the far superior MP of HALO 5 anytime soon. Kind of disappointing given the stellar execution of the single player.

snapmap

 

The final mode of play in DOOM is called Snapmap. A fitting title for what is a very simple but effective map editor. In Snapmap, you can create MP maps to slaughter your friends in by choosing from pre made rooms that snap together easily and logically. Although Snapmap is a bit limited in scope, with limitation comes innovation. I have already started using rooms, bridges and hallways in somewhat unintended ways. You also have the ability to make PVE based scenarios inside your map creation that can act as stand alone missions. You can then upload your PVP or PVE maps so other people can play your creations. There is potential for dedicated users to right the ship here, making DOOM the MP experience I was hoping for.

Overall DOOM’s single player experience completely outshines its MP component. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a single player FPS in a long time. If your interests lie more with a campaign that is engaging, disgustingly beautiful, challenging (on harder difficulty settings), and flat out fun, then DOOM is the game for you. If you are predominantly a MP gamer, DOOM’s lack of commitment to either the modern shooter or old school shooter sensibilities causes it to land somewhere in the murky middle and therefore cannot be recommended by this humble reviewer.

Note: The single player deserves to be rated higher than the overall score but I must review all the content as it is presented.

OUR REVIEW: 7.9/10

 

Brian Toglia

Lifelong gamer and aficionado of all things videogames and Batman. When not trying to save the world one table at a time, Brian enjoys watching a movie or 1000. A big time horror movie fan who’s a firm believer that most great horror movies were made between 1975 to 1999. Passionate about Type O Negative and 311 ( his personal yin & yang) as well as other great music (no matter the genre). Finally, a founding member (along with fellow MonkeyGoose Steve Principato) of the tri-force of power that is Monster Closet.

https://www.youtube.com/user/MonsterClosetNJ

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