I’m sure that there are a lot of us out there who spent a large proportion of their early life navigating the labyrinth that was Phobos in the original Doom for PC. I for one spent a lot of time on my Windows ’98 PC trying every different direction and still ending up in that same damn control room. It’s this fond memory of frustration which is really why I was so looking forward to the new Doom.
I’ve gotta say – they did a damn good job with this one. It would have been so easy to completely change the whole meaning of the game with the tech we’ve got today, but despite its modernisation the team managed to keep so many tropes within the game which made the original so fantastic.
The original Doom was a very fast-paced game, and the new Doom is still the same. With quick character movement and whirlwind enemy fights, it’s easy to pick up the game at any point and instantly become engaged. There’s so much multi-tasking as well – you’ve got the usual health and shields (still bars like the original, which is refreshing considering the popularity of health regeneration these days), but you’ve also got weapon mods to think about, and each wave of enemies approaches in hoards. Interestingly, there’s also a surprising amount of tactic for such a basic game – a killing technique called the ‘glory kill’ has been added (basically, ending an enemy’s life in the goriest way possible) which can help restore health, so you have to know when to perform these. You can also regain ammo with your chainsaw, but this runs out of fuel really quickly, and so you’re constantly weighing up glory kill vs. chainsaw vs. just plain shooting. It takes a while to get used to, but it really adds something that I haven’t seen much before.
Talking of guns, there’s an excellent range to play about with – you’ve got shotguns, sniper, miniguns, and some very exciting unlockables that I’m not going to tell you about (find them yourself!). Each gun has an upgrade tree with mods you can add to it, and a challenge is issued in order to unlock the highest level – once the challenge is completed then you can get some really awesome upgrades. I felt a bit like the skill trees and so on were only there because there needed to be something to show character progression, but then it’s a basic game and so this side was never going to be that ground-breaking.
The simplicity of the game was great, as it was a real nice nod to the original Doom (shoot stuff, collect stuff, win), but the problem it led to was that it just wasn’t exciting enough. The energy of the game was enough to keep me going for most of the level, but after a while it just felt repetitive. There was a wide variety of locations but they all felt too similar, and one of the achievements in the middle of the game was for killing at least one of every type of normal enemy, which lead me to wonder why I needed to play the second half. The fights themselves were gripping, but by the time I’d got through them the plot had gone over my head as it really wasn’t that great a story. It did rap up well though, with a big hint at a sequel.
Each level was like a puzzle, with a lot of sandbox content featured within linear levels – the fights were like playgrounds as they could be approached from any way. I felt like there could have been a bit more variety between the fights and the jumping puzzles, but each section was fairly small and so that kept me wanting to play more. Unfortunately the map was really confusing, and so that made it a little bit complicated – only a minor issue though, as I didn’t spend too much looking at it overall. The levels were (thankfully) a lot different to the levels in Doom 3, with a lot less corridor and a lot more open areas to explore. There were also some brilliant secrets to be found, which I urge you not to bypass if you want to experience the real epicness of this game.
It was a really good effort, with a messy, kill ‘em all style that was real fun to play around with. Sure, it wasn’t as in-depth or immersive as it could have been, but its sense of identity was seriously strong for such a big gap between games.
I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoyed Doom 1 and Doom 2, and so I’m giving it 4/5.
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