Doom needs no introduction, not only is one of the most influential First-Person Shooters, which served as a turning point in the whole video game scene. Back when Bethesda first announced the return of the series, fans couldn’t wait to see what id Software was up to. The reveal was a proclamation of quality and a promise to honor and bring back one of the biggest series ever.
I think it’s impossible for any game at this point, to have the same impact as the original Doom had. With that said, This 2016 edition delivers everything we wanted, but still taking in consideration the current demand and trend of video games in general. The original Doom and its mods are more and more popular for a reason, thus comparing the future of the franchise with this past, is less and less relevant, simply because Doom Classic is not dead.
We take control of The Doom Slayer, brought back from Samuel Hayden, head of the UAC, with one and only goal in mind: To annihilate as many demons as possible. This reinvention (if we can call it that) does one thing amazingly well, and it’s how the events are displayed. It’s not entirely clear, therefore it’s possible to assume or believe in different theories regarding the story. This is a fantastic concept, delivering a simple opening and providing facts along the way to help the community dive into the lore.
Across the campaign, several logs are collected that describe and tell a bit of the events explaining what led Humanity to pursue Mars, as well as UAC’s work in exploring a new and powerful energy source. The lore is there, and so is the possibility to discuss it, and this is my favorite part. This almost reminds me of Dark Souls, and how every little piece comes together, even if it’s just in your own perspective.
Across our path of destruction, we come across different environments throughout Mars. Destroyed facilities, labs filled with infected beasts, and even direct contact with Hell. The art direction gives out the instant feeling of respecting every Doom title. For instance, the industrial structures of UAC are heavily inspired by Doom 3. The touch panels and overall styled labs are a direct influence from it, and this is a great thing, as it can even push the lore into a continuous sequence.
The art direction is really beautiful and Mars looks phenomenal. Outside levels have a fantastic color palette, one I wish I could spend more time on. The dark red skies, engulfed with the sandstorms covering the abandoned memories of powerful structures, now overrun by demons is something almost epic. Maybe I’m just too much of a fan, but the atmosphere is definitely well depicted.
Interior levels bring back the demon apparitions, but also the rooms marked with satanic symbols and writings, as well as sacrificial altars, blood, and overall trademarks of horrors. Enemies are also a good representation of their original ideas, and for the most part they remain original, aligned with the lore, but still adding some new design traces.
Although we all love a good dose of gore, blood and guts, there wouldn’t be any without the gameplay. it’s obvious the visuals take a huge piece of the cake, but most of us love Doom from its gameplay perspective, a fast, intense, and brutal experience.
We can safely say id Software succeeds in presenting just that, but not without a few tricks here and there. We have plenty of new features, with in-game challenges, secrets and a pretty cool map in 3D to collect and analyze the data. Levels offer a very similar experience when compared to the classics, but having modern design-wise features. One of the most impressive attributes since the very beginning was the finishing moves. Our Doom Slayer is capable of some extreme approaches. He’ll rip, tear, and smash every single demon with his bare hands, which is always brutal and satisfying to witness.
Weaponry plays an important role obviously, and the deck available is pretty damn cool. From the classic dual barrel shotgun, to the legendary BFG. They look and perform as expected. The Chainsaw is somehow limited in my opinion, and although it may be a bit of an overkill, I feel the refuel gas wasn’t provided enough, especially considering how amazing it feels.
While traversing and devastating as many beasts as possible, key cards based on colors will be required to advance and I actually expected to see this mechanic more frequently. It’s a nice homage to the classics. This is somehow a reflection of how easier the game is when it comes to level complexity. There are difficulty tiers as always, and those really spike up the combat challenge. Although the gameplay is really good, the heavily scripted combat encounters are super predictable, and most of the unexpected encounters are the ones that really made me feel like I'm in a Doom game.
Online exists and unfortunately is quite empty in 2020, with some intense unbalance matches and a persisting issue for those using Vulkan online. Team Deathmatch is still fun, but it’s clear Quake Champions took the audience entirely. Players can also create custom maps with an outstanding amount of assets, as well as share them among the community.
Doom’s soundtrack is well known and for a good reason. The synth metal fits really well during combat, making it an extra placebo to incentivize destruction. For fans of extreme metal such as myself, it’s nice to see this variant implanted, but I would still have preferred a genuine death metal approach without any synths in it.
Doom is a fantastic comeback. It won’t change the genre, but it delivers a solid campaign and remains as faithful as it can, while attracting and pleasing a new generation.