Although slightly too long, Doom revives the old-school shooter genre.
Doom is a real treat to fans of the original 1993 shooter with rewarding exploration and difficult encounters against a wide variety of enemies straight from Hell. The game introduces a satisfying melee kill mechanic, which adds a whole new level of mobility to the action. Whenever an enemy is almost dead, a flashing light indicates the possibility to trigger a special kill move, which rewards you with health and ammo.
Don’t mind if I Doom.
The combat encounters can get very difficult even during the first hours of the campaign. Enemies usually appear in huge packs, forcing you to constantly keep moving. The melee kills offer new tactics, since you might want to save the least dangerous enemies for situations when you desperately need health. Spending some time to figure out which enemies to kill first can make a difference between victory or loss. The arenas are often large enough for effective maneuvering, but also filled with endless pits that result in death should you fall into one. Indeed, Doom relies heavily on platforming, which is more frustrating than fun.
Falling off the edges of the map during hectic battles is a constant threat. Dying to environmental hazards feels extremely annoying in Doom because of the long loading times. The time it takes to get back into the action is just slightly too long, which breaks the flow of the exciting combat. Platforming is an essential part of many of the levels, and in general not much fun. Seeing a towering structure ahead of you almost always promises that the good times are over. Climbing is not very difficult, and you are usually guided by lighting, but sometimes you bump into a ceiling or a wall mid-jump and fall to your death. Fortunately, checkpoints are frequent and mostly well placed.
Not pictured above: good times.
The levels are usually large areas within a Martian facility with plenty of interconnected routes. Exploration is very well rewarded. Secret areas often contain permanent upgrades to your weapons or armour, which can be unlocked with upgrade points awarded for completing level-specific challenges, for example. The campaign is just slightly too long to keep the player interested in exploration all the way through, but luckily there are many amusing inside jokes to be found.
The tongue-in-cheek attitude is present all around. For example, instead of using the facility systems, you usually just punch or break everything. Funnily enough, you have to look for “key cards” even when visiting Hell. Luckily, the key cards are never very difficult to find, and all the while you get to use fun and powerful weapons, often familiar from the older Doom games.
Do not shoot weapons at the vortex. You won’t make it turn around.
The tedious platforming fails to shadow the overall experience. The gloomy atmosphere, brutal combat and interesting enemies result in an amazing game, and hopefully we will see more old-school shooters in the future.
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox one, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Release date: May 13, 2016