Doom


Introduction

Doom is a first person shooter developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is rated 18+ and is currently on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. This is the 4th instalment into Doom's main series but the 12th game in the entire series and follows the story of the "Doom Slayer". The game only won a handful of awards, mainly for its sound design and action, but overall it got a lot of positive reviews ranging from 8-10/10. With the exception of the 7.1 those geniuses over in IGN gave.

Genre/Story


The destroyed Argent Tower


Doom is a first person shooter  with a single player campaign that is packed full of action but a very simplistic story. Usually I would complain about a game lacking in a story, but this is Doom we're talking about, id Software never intended to give the games an in depth story. Instead their main focus is combat and making the protagonist a bad ass who never utters a single word. This has been their direction since the original Doom, and I'm glad they have kept this in place.

You begin the game waking up naked, on some sort of stone table that is clearly from hell, but you're in a laboratory. The scientists around you are zombified and you quickly obtain the classic Doom pistol and kill them. Upon leaving the room, you come across your "Praetor Suit" which is the Doom Slayers armour. After putting it on, Samuel Hayden (the C.E.O of U.A.C) contacts you and informs you of whats going on, then asks for your help, but you grab the monitor and through it into the corner, destroying it in the process. Instantly I'm already happy with how the story is going, because this shows id are sticking to their roots unlike most developers these days. They know the fans never truly cared for the Doom games story line. Despite that, this game has quite a bit of story for a Doom title.

The basic plot to this game is that Earth has been running out of energy so the Union Aerospace Corporation (U.A.C) decides to draw energy from hell. This is done in their research facility on Mars, and the energy is Argent energy. Argent energy is this form of energy from hell that in a matter of moments, can produce the same amount of energy as a nuclear reactor would in a year. They syphon it by using the Argent Tower, which in turn allows travel to and from hell. Samuel Hayden, who is U.A.C's C.E.O, has lead several expeditions to hell to bring back demons and artifacts for human use. One of these artifacts was the tomb the Doom Slayer was imprisoned in, who Hayden planned to use in case of an emergency. A scientist called Olivia Pierce has made a pact with the demons and opened up a portal within the facility, causing it to be overrun with demons and also releasing the cybernetic ones the humans had been experimenting on. So Hayden releases the Doom Slayer from his tomb so that he can stop the invasion and close the portal.

Characters

Their is a grand total of four characters in this game, with one who never speaks a word. If you're hoping for a game full of characters and intertwining stories, this isn't the game you're looking for.

The Doom Slayer reloading the super shotgun


Doom Slayer is the same as always, strong and silent, so their isn't much on him personality wise, but there is a quite a bit of lore on him throughout the game. You will find collectibles, data on terminals and runes in hell that will tell you some cool stuff about the Doom Slayer, but it isn't anything ground breaking.

A portrait of Samuel Hayden before he became an android


Samuel Hayden is actually a quite cool character, his voice actor Darin De Paul is an excellent voice actor. His voice shows both wisdom and dominance, which suits his character perfectly. He seems to be the driving force for what you do in each mission since he knows and understands the facility and hell better than anyone Hayden is also 300 years old because he has preserved his consciousness in an android body.

VEGA's icon


VEGA is an A.I  with a males voice, that assists the Doom marine around the facility. VEGA opens doors, starts up machinery and provides valuable information to the player. It can do this because it's the most intelligent A.I to date and runs most of if not all of the U.A.C facility on Mars.

The first time you encounter Olivia Pierce


Olivia Pierce is a mysterious character that you barely see any of, she just appears at certain moments in the campaign. You only really get to learn about her intentions rather than her personality and story. Of course her intentions will reflect what her personality may be like.

Overview

One of the Doom Marine collectibles

The story isn't too interesting but does give the game direction, characters were nothing to brag about and merely helped inform the player of what was going on and gave reason for why the Doom Slayer could get around the facility and figure out what to do. Olivia Pierce was placed in the game to give it a villain. There's lore to be found in the collectibles that you can find throughout the campaigns 13 missions. This isn't a game you play for story and id have made this very clear the past two decades, so don't expect much when playing Doom.

Game Play and Controls

Promotional screen shot for Doom with a demon horde in front of the Doom marine
The controls in Doom are very easy to learn and not too complicated at all. It has the same button/keyboard mapping as most fps titles. Like the original Doom games, you can carry all the weapons you pick up. These are accessed through a weapon wheel which slows down time when you hold down on the button to open it. If you tap it, it will switch to the second last gun you took out. In this Doom there are also grenades, perks, double jump and ledge climb which haven't been in any previous titles.

Leveling System

The upgrade interface for Doom marine's Praetor suit
This is the first time a Doom game has featured any sort of customisation or leveling system. I wouldn't exactly call it a leveling system, but more of  progression/customisation system. As you progress through the campaign, you can find upgrades for your armour, weapons and stats and effects. The levels have different pathways where you can find collectibles, these include upgrades in the progression system like weapon mods, rune powers, Praetor suit upgrades and argent cells.

The weapon mods will affect the guns stats or ammunition, and offers two alternate fire modes for each gun, with the last upgrade only being obtained from completing a challenge. While the rest of the weapon mods are obtained by finding filed drones who will give you a free upgrade to any weapon of your choice. Rune powers are demonic ruins you find that you can walk up to and activate. This will teleport you to somewhere in hell where you will have to complete a challenge on the spot, upon completion, you'll be given a perk that you can switch in and out. Praetor mods are obtained by finding dead U.A.C marines hidden in the games levels. You take the mods from their chest piece and use it to upgrade your suit in various ways. Argent cells can be found throughout the levels in white containment units and will upgrade your Health, Armour and Ammunition by 25 points. You begin with 100 points in each stat.

Combat

One of the "Glory Kills"

Dooms combat has only a few key principles, keep moving, keep shooting and look for pick ups. Your health doesn't regen in this game, but enemies drop health and there are various health and armour pick ups spread throughout the levels. This pushes you to keep attacking and engaging in combat, rather than hide and wait for health to regen. When you kill them, they also drop ammo but not enough to make it easy. They've also added "glory kills" which are a melee attack on a weakened enemy, which will turn into an execution animation and one shot them, dropping more health for you.

This is a system you don't usually see in games these days and was a breathe of fresh air for me. The combat never got dull or boring because the game constantly threw enemies at you and added new ones as the game progressed. Each with their own way of attacking and having differing hit boxes and ways of moving. Some enemies flew, sprinted, climbed, teleported or jumped, this made aiming vary from enemy to enemy. Their attacks consisted of multiple enemies maybe throwing fireballs at you, some charging at you, summoning more demons, flying towards you to self destruct, shoot huge beams of energy or straight up chasing you and trying to beat you to death with sheer brute force.

Not only the enemies varied, but your arsenal varied hugely. There was plenty of weapons to choose from and you found these as the game progressed. Each weapon had its own secondary fire with an alternate mode. This gave you the option to use certain weapons for certain enemies, like a mini-gun for a huge amount of weak enemies in front of you, or a homing rocket launcher for the leaping enemies that chased you but had a lot of health or even the charging enemies who came in close so you would use your shotgun to take them out. Along with these weapons which there are grenades and various different pick ups that you can use that will quadruple your damage, increase your speed or give you a one shot melee power for a certain amount of time. If you count up all the weapons in "Doom", including the grenades, it amounts to 29, which is a good number for a first person shooter,. These weapons aren't like Call of Duty where they're all very similar but just have different range, rate of fire and accuracy, etc... they're actually different to each other. Examples of this would be the chainsaw, super shotgun, light machine gun (that has an alt fire with explosive rounds) and the plasma rifle. The chainsaw in particular is very helpful because it one shots all enemies but has a rare and limited fuel source but makes the enemy drop a lot of ammo upon death.

A.I

Doom Guy facing two Reavers and a 
The A.I in "Doom" are one of the better A.I I've seen in games. They may not be the most intelligent I've came across, but they all have different ways of engaging in combat and this adds a huge amount of variety to the game. Some will keep their distance and fire at you while the closer range ones will swarm you and attack you from all directions. Some enemies when near death, will try kamikaze you rather than just die. Some of the enemies will try help out other enemies, this is the case with "Summoners" who will continuously try to summon more and more demons until you kill it. This game also provides a few boss fights, which all have their own distinct A.I, which gives the game some nice pacing when it comes to pacing. The majority of enemies will try avoid your attacks and if you try running and hiding, they will actively seek you out unless they're a long range support enemy like a "Hell Razer".

Difficulty


"Doom" is one of the few recent FPS titles I can consider difficult, because the majority of them lately have been very bland and easy. This game however, actually provides you with a mix of things to take on. Most games don't have much variety, linear FPS titles in particular. "Doom" has great pacing for enemies and the levels are great for combat. To progress in most of the game, you have to kill of hordes of enemies as some of the zones in the labs will go into a quarantine status and not open any doors until all demons are dead. This is the case for areas in hell, you won't be able to open doors because of the runes preventing you from doing it until you kill off the demons. This makes combat necessary, and the fact your health doesn't regen, you will need to fight off enemies anyway. With increase in difficult, the enemies have more health and do more damage, they also seem to show more intelligence and won't run into gun fire as often but with be a lot more aggressive. On the highest difficulty, you have one life, so if you die, you have to restart the entire game.

Graphics/Audio

Graphics

Comparison of Dooms graphics on different platforms
The graphics in "Doom" are excellent in my opinion. The textures look great and are unique to the game, you don't often see this kind of style because not much games are set in hell. The character animations are brilliant too, especially during the glory kills. The games lighting is strange because there's no sun light at all, there's a lot of demonic areas with glowing ruins and artifacts. The shadowing looks great too, and rendering isn't a problem because it's an FPS with a linear campaign. I had no frame rate issues during my gameplay even when there was a lot of enemies on screen. This game had no graphical issues, apart from the armour colours in multiplayer, as they seem very plastic looking.

Audio

Reaver playing the trumpet
The audio in "Doom" was excellent during my play-through. The soundtrack suited the game perfectly, as it had elements of heavy metal and electronic music, but a more aggressive kind of electronic music. This was a perfect choice with the change between a research facility, to industrial areas and then hell. They couldn't have chosen a better soundtrack for this game, with call backs to some of the original "Doom" songs. Mick Gordon was a great choice as a composer for this game, he also remade the soundtrack for the newest "Killer Instinct" game.

The general audio in this game is brilliant, all the guns are very satisfying to shoot and the enemies have a great sound design to them. It really feels like you're in hell, with demonic voices chanting about the legends of the "Doom Slayer" throughout some of the hell levels in the game. The minimal voice acting is good, obviously "Doom Guy" doesn't speak since that's part of his character. The C.E.O of the U.A.C, Samuel Hayden, had an excellent voice actor, Darin De Paul. He was one of the few characters to interact with you throughout the game. 

Replay Value

Cyber Demon from the Doom teaser trailer

"Doom" does provide quite a bit of replay value and that surprises me for an FPS game with a linear campaign and online PVP. The campaign provides you with 15 levels to play through which is more than the usual FPS being 10. There are different difficulties for you to choose from, the hardest one being a one life per a play-through, which provides content for players who like a challenge. The harder difficulties are obtained by beating the game on the lower settings. You can also find 15 original "Doom" and "Doom 2" maps throughout each level, hidden from view.

If you've gotten sick of playing its campaign mode, you can try out the online section of the game where you take place in PVP. This game plays like the old "Quake" games on PVP, it's an arena styled shooter, which is great to see again because those sort of games haven't been seen in a while. I wouldn't consider the multiplayer as fun as I'd like it to be, but I haven't gave it much of a chance, I tend to stick to single player on games these days with an exception for some. This is probably due to the fact you can choose your weapons before you spawn in, which leads to balancing issues in PVP, which I'm not a fan of. There was one thing that caught my eye, they added a pick up that gives you the ability to play as a demon and kill other players as that demon until you have been killed.

Now if you loved the campaign but finished it so much that it's gotten repetitive and don't enjoy PVP, then you have the choice to try "Doom's" snap map section. This gives players the ability to create their own maps and put in their own enemy spawns, pick ups and weapon drops, you also control the settings. An option to make your own "Doom" levels or PVP maps creates a huge amount of fresh content for the player to enjoy.

I finished the campaign and never really went back, I had other games to play and didn't feel compelled to play through it again. Ended up played a bit of the PVP but it wasn't to my liking, the custom class system retracted from it's old school arena styled multipayer and didn't suit it at all. Snap map was very enjoyable to play but is sort of cluttered with game types I just don't want to play. I'm not sure if it's due to a lack of a community, or the fact it's search system isn't the best. The game has potential replay value, it just depends on your preference and if you enjoyed the game.

Conclusion



From the moment I started playing Doom I knew I was in for a huge amount of enjoyable combat. The developers "id software" kept to their roots and added barely any story elements yet it felt like I was playing a modern version of the old "Doom" games. Combat was a constant factor in the game, never going into a cut-scene, just staying in first person view for the entirety of the game. The incorporated leveling system wasn't a hindrance for the game, it was well thought out and increased the speed of game-play more so than anything else. If it wasn't for Doom's exceptional graphics, it could have easily passed for an original "Doom" game. The soundtrack and audio in general is exactly how it should be, the music suits the setting, and the demons actually sound like demons.The replay value of the game is there, but it just depends on if you want it, but it just didn't seem to draw my attention. Although I would have preferred to have rented this game, or bought it when it was cheap, as I've only played through it once and barely touched on any other areas of the game. 

Despite all this, the game was extremely enjoyable to play through, considering it felt like a breath of fresh air in the FPS genre. For once, a game isn't trying to cater to everyone, instead "Doom" keeps its originality and takes advantage of it by being one of the most action packed FPS titles I've played to date. If you want an FPS to play and enjoy, I'd highly recommend this one. I think that "Doom" deserves an 8/10, because it is lacking in story, which is understandable since Doom games were never intended to be story driven, and it's replay value wasn't enough to keep my attention.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I played on the Xbox One, about 20-30 hours were played. I'm a fan of the older "Doom" games, playing through the first one when I was younger and playing some of the second one at a friends house. I've played plenty of FPS's and a lot of other classic games growing up, but have grown a huge distaste towards the majority of games released in the past few years, as barely any have stood out. The majority of games are a milked series with re skinned engines, boring games with little to no story, carbon copies of each other, as most developers want to take from other games and add it to theirs rather than making something of their own, and focus on story writing. Most FPS games have resorted to trying to be like each other which causes the result to be a combination of multiple games characteristics, in turn leaving them with close to no character. Doom was a nice change from this and I was glad to play it and see that "id software" kept to their roots. Easily one of the more enjoyable FPS games I've played in a long time.

Kalvin Yore
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