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Doom stays true to its roots
May 25, 2016
By John Powell - G4 Canada
The ravenous demons. The treacherous Mars landscape. The BFG9000. The shotgun. The chaingun.
Who could ever forget the first Doom?
In 1993, the landmark shooter changed the world of video games forever. Not only did it along with Quake, Wolfenstein, Half-Life and Goldeneye, set the standard for first-person shooters, it also pushed the boundaries of content introducing a more visceral style of gameplay that is now traditionally associated, rightly or wrongly, with the FPS genre.
Doom is remembered and honoured not only for Doomguy’s bloody crusade against the forces of Hell but in bringing 3D graphics, multiplayer gameplay and fan-made mods.
Since Doom’s initial release, the gaming world has grown in leaps and bounds due to advances in technology but also because of the expansion of the fan base. In 2005, we had a Doom movie starring The Rock and there have been Doom novels, action figures and game sequels, expansion packs. Now, 23 years later, we have a reboot which truly ushers the bloodthirsty franchise into the next-gen era of gaming.
As brash and brazen as ever, Doom is frantic and hectic designed to push you along at breakneck pace. Doomguy has no time to waste at all. You pretty much sprint everywhere, blasting blistering holes through anything in your crosshairs. No ducking for cover or waiting to regain your health in Doom. With health packs and ammo anywhere and everywhere, the idea is to run and gun, taking the fight directly to your enemies. It is in-your-face, wild action as its very best.
Although the shotgun, BFG and chainsaw make their return to the series, Doom demands you get your hands really, really dirty and melee the crap out of those demons, usually to land that killing blow after filling them full of bullet holes.
Usually, the only real break in the action is if you choose to perform Glory Kills. When an enemy has taken enough damage and begins to glow, you can execute them in bloody and brutal ways. Snap their necks. Punch through their skulls. Go ahead, howl the designers. Eviscerate them all. We are so happy to oblige.
Whether in the UAC facility or Hell itself, the levels themselves are expansive containing as many locked down kill zones, where you must destroy everything before being permitted to venture on, as there are secret areas. You are encouraged to search out all the mysteries of each level because in doing so you will increase your health, weapons and armour.
As in the original, there isn’t much story to speak of. As the Doom Slayer or Doom Marine, you wage war against hellish monstrosities who have invaded a Union Aerospace Corporation facility on Mars. This time though, working hand-in-hand with a UAC research chief, you locate the Helix Stone, which by all accounts will close the blasphemous gateway to the unearthly dimension.
The multiplayer aspect of Doom takes a bit of getting used to as just like the campaign health and ammo are scattered about the level and there is no duck and cover system. It is collect, collect, collect, attack, attack, attack, all the time. Randomly spawning Demon Runes add a bit of complexity to Doom’s standard multiplayer modes. Using the Runes you can transform into a demon for a limited amount of time. The team who secures the Rune has a tremendous advantage which could turn into consecutive advantages if fate smiles upon them. Truth be told, if you are continually on the wrong end of the stick, it can be as frustrating as hell.
Of all the modes, I enjoyed Soul Harvest the most. In it, killing your adversaries is just the start. You must collect their souls to really finish them off. This twist is as challenging as it is devious.
Paying tribute to Doom’s origins, the developers have included the SnapMap tool. With it, you can easily create your own fiendish levels, although it doesn’t grant you the freedom of something like Halo’s Forge mode which allowed you to alter the gameplay experience, to create racing levels, for instance. Still, the monstrous Mario Maker and a player’s imagination get the job done.
With its rumbling heavy metal soundtrack chugging along, demons shrieking and guns bellowing, Doom is proud to be loud and unreservedly vulgar, garish at times. Like the most entertaining and rebellious rock stars, Doom is unapologetically belligerent, impudent and an insolent piece of work. In that way, this reboot is very true to its roots. It is more than a redo though. It is an uncompromising tribute to a franchise that changed the way we play.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
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