Doom (2016) Review

The recently released science fiction, horror, first-person shooter video game, DOOM, developed by iD Software and published by Bethesda Softworks, is a reboot of the original and highly popular PC game series, Doom. The fourth game in the series, DOOM is the first major installment since the 2004 title, Doom 3.

DOOM is based entirely in the first-person perspective. Set in the future, on a colonised Mars, players assume the role of a US marine driven to battle the Union Aerospace Corporation and the fiery and hellish demonic creatures they’ve released.

This latest instalment of the Doom series follows closely in style and concept to the original 1993 Doom game and its sequel, Doom 2. Focusing on providing players with horror and gore at every turn, DOOM also provides players with the tools to overcome the horrific creatures hell-bent on ripping players apart. Empowering players with upgradeable weapons and a devilish metal soundtrack, adrenaline runs high and all that matters is the thrill of the kill.

The very essence of DOOM remains true to its predecessors with some modern upgrades such as expansions to traditional combat styles, a host of secret areas which house a number of gameplay bonuses and some much loved old weapons like the iconic chainsaw, though in the new instalment, this weapon actually requires refuelling.

In analysing DOOM, it can be said that the game is a mere modernisation of its 1993 predecessor. Where the original was a pixelated game with rather slow and mechanical movements, DOOM is extensively fast paced with smooth transitions and incredibly beautiful graphics. Never had I expected hell on Mars to look so crisp and clear.

Describing DOOM as a violent game is a serious understatement. Just like its predecessors, an in depth narrative and believable story is one crucial aspect that DOOM lacks. Where the game falls short in terms of narrative, it makes up for in terms of violence. The level of violence in the game and the amount of bloodshed isn’t for everyone (it certainly wasn’t for me) and the idea of there being no other choice but to blast your way through enemies is not one I fancy. In fact, the new concept of ‘glory kills’, which allow players to execute incredibly gory melee finishers to enemies nearby didn’t spark my interest (though I’m sure there are many gamers of the male persuasion who will find this feature extremely entertaining). Nevertheless, as a long time fan of the Doom series (Doom was the first video game I ever played), DOOM provided me with moments of incredible nostalgia.

The one thing that I found difficult and frustrated me to no end is the game’s transition from easygoing and linear to completely overwhelming. DOOM starts off relatively easy, allowing players the opportunity to get a good feel for the game. However, this false sense of ease is quickly made obvious as more and more enemies appear at any given time, making it difficult to really focus (for me anyway). As someone who was never really all that ‘good’ at first person shooters, the idea of having to kill several enemies at once is stressful. Combined with a vast battle arena and multiple levels to utilise, what went from stressful and hard, quickly became exhausting and terrifying.

Interestingly enough this latest instalment of DOOM also allows for multiplayer gaming, which I attempted for a few minutes before giving up. Compared to the single-player, DOOM’s multiplayer was only attractive in that it allows players to turn into monsters for a couple of minutes. Apart from that, the gameplay was tough and I kept dying within moments of revival. I’m not sure if the game itself is to blame, or my lack of expertise and finesse in multiplayer games. Regardless, DOOM’s multiplayer did allow for survival tactics to kick in and did appear to have a kind of Halo-like concept.

Given that it is a good 23 years since Doom first released, one would imagine a reboot to outshine the original. While it certainly does in terms of graphics and soundtrack, the pixelated gore was, to me, a lot easier to handle than the violence in this new instalment. Of the two, the single-player was reasonably fun to mindlessly play without giving much thought into strategy in comparison to the multiplayer which just didn’t faze me. As a fan of the series, I would still recommend playing DOOM, if not for anything then at least for nostalgia sake but if gore and violence get to you, perhaps nostalgia just isn’t worth it.

Perhaps the newly announced DLC: Unto the Evil, revealed by Bethesda at the E3 convention will provide some welcome changes and additions.

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