Horror Gives Way to Action: New Doom Plays Like Old Doom

Doom: Review

Doom is back, and that mean it is just going to be you, any weapons you find, and all the demons that hell can possibly throw at you. The game is a complete reboot of the original FPS shooter that made the genre what it is today, and in many ways, that will certainly appeal to anyone who grew up knowing the game. But while the nostalgia factor is pretty high (which is basically the point of the game), the reboot fails to properly hook in a new generation of players. While the gameplay feels solid enough -it ends up sacrificing innovation in the face of its attempts to recreate past glories.

Demons on Mars

The original plot of Doom had a facility on Mars trying to create portals for transport purposes -unfortunately, one of said portals ends up opening a gateway to hell (you can pretty much imagine how that went). In this new version of the doom, the connection to hell is no longer accidental, it is deliberate. As it turns out, UAC wants to get resources directly from hell (maybe because trying to wage war on other earthly, human, countries for oil was not challenging or dangerous enough). The outcome is still the same however: you, as the protagonist, will have to wipe out all the demons that stand in your way. Now, this is still a 'horror' game in the sense that you are alone and all these demons want to rip you apart. The only difference is that you also want to rip the demons apart too.

Straightforward Combat

Doom: Action

In this age of cover fire, dynamic enemy aggro, and regenerating health, Doom is an old horse running alongside younger thoroughbreds. The level designs are very straight and linear -enemy placements and spawns at pre-set, item drops are all accounted for. Sure, you play the game your own way, but there is still an approach that is inherently encouraged by the design of the game: keep killing, keep moving forward.

New to Doom are the inclusion of special execution moves and the upgrade systems. We will get to upgrades later, but first, it is important to point out that executing enemies will ensure that they drop items. This becomes a critical factor in a game where ammunition is limited and health does no regenerate. The way that the stages are laid out, there is not much room for picking off targets from huge groups -you get in there and bring down as many as you can before they can return fire. Weapons are easy to find -even the plasma weapons pop up early enough in the game. And hidden locations are not too difficult to seek out either.

In many ways, these design philosophies makes the game feel a lot like the original. But while that may seem like a good thing, it does leave players used to today's kinds of shooters feel a little alienated. Of course, the game is not all old school -the upgrade system is very much new, and does well to complement the scavenge-centric nature of the game.

All New Boss and Multiplayer Fights

Boss battles are new to the game -they were not present in the original versions of Doom. Sure, there were special battles against hell barons and even the powerful cyberdemon at the end, but they were not on the same scale as your typical ""boss fight"" for other shooters. New Doom now sports massive, bullet sponge monstrosities that will have you carefully strategizing and fighting your way to victory. While kiting works for regular AI enemies, boss fights are more about reflex, coordination, and the ability to discern combat patterns. This opens up a whole new way to play the game, and while the switch may seem like a jarring transition, the way that the boss fights unfolds actually feels quite natural.

The game's multiplayer options lack a proper cooperative mode (not much interaction for players) and focuses instead on competitive scenarios. On the surface, the free for all, team, and CTF modes are kind of generic -then you discover the inclusion of demon runes in combat. These demon runes spawn randomly and can easily tilt the flow of the match to the side that has it. Activating these runes will turn a player in a powerful demon with incredible combat abilities. While the addition of playable demons is nice, it barely makes up for the otherwise unsurprising multiplayer.

Come for the Nostalgia

In the end, it all boils down to the fact that this game was made solely for the happiness of the original Doom fans -which is not a bad thing. There are many of us old school gamers who grew up on this classic. But to expect that this game would influence the genre the same way it did so many years ago would be too much of an expectation. The reboot of Doom is a great game with good graphics and a very olden-style gameplay approach -and in that regard, it does a great job of being exactly what the original fans expect. All the old enemy types are still around, you still need to collect keys to open doors, and yes, the BFG still proves itself to be one of the most powerful weapons in FPS history. This is a game that is all about hunting down demons and shooting them full of holes, and there is nothing else that we need to ask for from Doom.