We all knew it was coming, and how could it not? Let’s face it, blasting away demons doesn’t get old. This reboot of the classic first-person-shooter lives up to the hype of its predecessors with engaging, fast-paced gameplay and stellar graphics. Bullets will fly. Limbs will be broken. So sit down, strap in, and suit up for one wild ride.
Doom wastes no time setting up an elaborate story or trying to explain how demons arrived on a Martian mining installation. Within the first minute of gameplay you have a gun in hand and are thrown into a chaotic frenzy of blood and thrashing, possessed scientists. In some ways, Doom goes so far as to resist classic storytelling elements usually encountered in similar games. For example, when ascending in an elevator early on, a man’s face appears on a screen and begins to explain how the compound was overrun. You only get to hear a few sentences before the Doom Marine smashes the screen with his fist. Yup, we’re here for one thing, and one thing only: murdering demons.
Now I don’t mean to say that there isn’t a good deal of thought and care put into the world building. There is. Each gun has its own description, along with your equipment and suit, all fully upgradable. You can also access your Codex, which stores information on environments, weapons, monsters, and artifacts. The only thing is that you don’t want to stop the game long enough to read any of it. Everything about Doom pushes you to move forward and move fast. During loading screens messages such as “Standing still is death. Stay on the move as much as possible.” appear, hinting that the team at id Software has reverted to a simpler form of game.
After just coming off Uncharted 4, this was a big adjustment for me. Every room I ran into I would stop and look around, trying to glean any information I could from the environment. This is not how Doom is meant to be played.
Standing still really is death. If you do, you’ll just be target practice for all the flame-spitting demons. With a new game function dubbed “Glory Kill”, you can collect health packs from bodies, but you need to get up close and personal to do it. At times, it is literally the only way to survive. Depending on how you approach each demon, the glory kill will be executed differently. Sometimes it’s throwing them down and smashing their brains out with your boot, or ripping off an arm and beating them over the head with it. You can even get rewards for achieving multiple varied glory kills. The Doom Marine gets creative, I’ll give him that.
The very mechanics of the game keep you moving as fast as possible. There is no sprint toggle. Sprint is the only speed. Similarly, there is no button for reloading, and you pick up health and ammo by simply walking over them. They do give the chainsaw its own button, however, and whenever you use it to cleave a demon in two, a bounty of extra ammo drops. What the game seems to be telling you is, “Move quickly, and be as mean as you can.”
At the heart of it, Doom is about heightening user experience and enjoyment through pure action and gratuitous gore. Oh, and death metal. Don’t forget the driving, blood-pumping death metal. Old fans of the classic will be glad. There is possibly no greater catharsis than tearing apart a room full of demons with your bare hands. If a rollercoaster ride of bloody, macho heroics is what you’re looking for, look no further. Doom certainly delivers on that end, and I have to give it to them: for what it is, it’s fun.