Talk about a serious hangover, you wake up with probes all around and immediately you are being attacked by freakish beasts, and from here on out it’s kill or be killed.
Id Software pulls no punches with their latest reboot of the science fiction, horror first-person shooter, DOOM and from the start the fun meter only increases. Once again players take control of the unnamed Marine, as he takes on would be suicide missions, battling hordes of demons, which have been unleashed by the Union Aerospace Corp. on the future-set colonized planet Mars.
As the rather shallow story unfolds you discover the intentions of key characters such as the elusive Olivia Pierce and the mortally cybernetic Samuel Hayden, who both with brilliant intellect could be considered mad scientists in their own right. Ultimately, you discover that you are an instrument of death, stuck in the middle of a power struggle with the opening of the gates of Hell in the balance.
DOOM is refreshing as it makes no strains trying to be more than what it is. The classic formula, which old school fans have come to love from years past has returned, only much, much better. DOOM is a brutal and punishing fast-paced rollercoaster ride of carnage, making it difficult to end a play session.
Shortly after coming to grips with your new hellish reality, you the Marine find your protective Praetor Suit, which comes with environmental resistance, area-scanning tech, an equipment system, powerup effectiveness and an impressive dexterity system, which affect the speed of certain actions. All of these attributes are upgradable with Praetor tokens, which are found on Elite guards. These upgrades certainly come in handy if you plan to tackle the game on the harder difficulties, so make it a point to scour each of the games thirteen mission/chapters in order to maximize your skills.
Progressing through DOOM players are confronted by a myriad of monsters, from the pesky fireball flinging Emps, Pinkys, Possessed Soldiers, Revenants and Unwillings to the over-sized Cyber-Mancubus, Barons of Hell and Hell Knights and many more. Adding to the intensity, most of the enemy types make quick haste in approaching you with deadly intent, keeping our man of few word on his toes as he dispatches Hell’s legions in stylish fashion.
Truth be told our nameless Marine never uttered a single word for the entire campaign. In fact, based on the gameplay presentation and how the story unfolds, our unflinching and fearless Marine never reveals signs of wanting to escape Mars or Hell for that matter. You might also get the impression that the Marine could be soul-less as he is tasked from objective to objective, performing the wishes of Samuel Hayden in an effort to thwart Olivia Pierces plans. While you never hear the voice of the Marine, you also never see his face. This unknown added much to the Marines campaign exploits making it feel so much cooler kicking-butt and taking names as the legendary Marine.
DOOM features an impressive arsenal of weapons, each packed with unlockable mods and mastery challenges, which increase your wielding proficiency. Most of the weapons modifications, which are acquired through locating combat support drone hovering around, offer two options like the Heavy Assault Rifle, which can be layered with an upgradable tactical scope or upgradable micro missiles. Whether equipped with the futuristic Shotgun, Super Shotgun, Chaingun, Plasma Rifle or the devastating Gauss Cannon there are times you might seem overwhelmed, however staying on the move and keeping your eyes peeled for those handy health packs, ammo pack and the like will make a massive difference in your life longevity.
The chainsaw action in DOOM would certainly make Marcus Fenix jealous as Id Software adds punishing variety to its purpose. Throughout the missions gas tanks can be picked up, which fuel your trusty chainsaw. By dispatching enemies with the chainsaw, players are rewarded with loads of varied ammo, quickly refilling your complete weapons cache. Chainsaw kills were celebrated often as we simply could not get enough. You’re cutting smaller enemies in half vertically and horizontally, while cutting off the heads of Pinky’s or tearing through the intestines of Mancubus’, leaving your chainsaw coated with layers of dripping demon blood. I mean id Software lays it on thick. Please don’t think me demented, but it was awesome!
Everyone once in awhile you can find floating orbs which boost your dexterity, one of which is my most favorite named ‘Carnage’ (red orb) which offers the Marine the ability to literally tear through any demon or enemy type with his bare-hands for a limited time. The yellow orb adds remarkable speed to the Marine, while the purple orb give added destructive might to any wielded weapon, also for a limited time.
Always keeping the action dialed to ten, DOOM’s melee system is a glorious addition to the fray. Whenever any enemy is blinking a red or blue after peppering them with a few bullets, this is your indicator to go in for the brutal kill, which differ in execution based on your position. One signature melee that certainly gets its point across is the maneuver when you rip what seems to be an explosive device off the obese Mancubus, and place the device in its mouth just before exploding it. If any enemies are in the blast radius you’re knocking out several enemies with one explosive stone. Melees never cease to amaze, especially when they become of epic proportion during those exhilarating boss battles.
Having completed the campaign on two playthroughs, the game ran extremely well for its entirety. There were some occasional texture pop-ins when loading into a game which smooth out fairly quickly, but it was forgivable. Having played the game on the PS4, the visual here are great, while seeming to run at a steady and consistent 60 frames per second, even during those more intense action sequences. What was unforgivable was the brutal load screens. Talk about a serious buzz kill. As mentioned before, DOOM offers thirteen chapters of campaign action only to be hampered by what I believe the longest load screens I’ve experienced for a shooter on a console in quite some time. You will cringe when the load screen arrives after each mission. You could have just ended a great battle barely making it out alive, now anxiously awaiting to enter the next mission, and by the time the game starts back up, the high is gone because you were forced to wait 45 or even 60 seconds to be placed back in the action. Don’t call me spoiled, 60 second load screens are horrible in 2016.
However, I digress. DOOM, despite those painful load screens, slight texture popups and thin narrative, was a joy to play. Why else would I playthrough the game twice?
DOOM’s simple approach to gameplay pacing, high level of visceral encounters, complimented with elaborate open environments, unforgettable weapons, on top of a supercharged soundtrack has me excited for a sequel where I can jump back into the boots of our mute Marine demon slayer.