Gamers all over the world needed to wait a long time to get their hands dirty with DOOM
. The game was announced all the way back in May 2008. DOOM
has been on a very rocky road since the announcement, with multiple delays and even a complete developmental restart. Now the game is ready for release, and an open multiplayer beta has just concluded to let players get a taste of the game before its true debut.
The open beta featured two game modes, Team Deathmatch and Warpath. Team Deathmatch is the standard most-kills-win team-based mode, while Warpath is most reminiscent of the Crazy King game mode from some of the Halo
games. The difference between Halo's
Crazy King and DOOM
's Warpath is that the hill in Warpath is constantly on the move after the first capture. A funny detail is that the hill's direction is determined by the team who captures the hill first. Warpath was also my favourite mode due to it demanding a bit more strategy from the player. Team Deathmatch felt like a "been there, done that" experience. All game modes will have a stage for the three best players of the game, to showcase the round's best players, like a lot of online modes now do. I included an image featuring this stage -- and yes, I picked the image with me in the number one spot.
The movement system in the game is nicely done, with thrusters in your suit enabling you to double-jump and the constant semi-sprinting. This is key to the fast-paced combat the series is known for and what the developers had in mind when designing the multiplayer. The combat itself holds up very well, with seven different weapons and three different utilities for the players to use. All weapons perform consistently in their optimal situations (i.e. short range for the Super Shotgun and Lightning Gun, long range for the Vortex Rifle). A weapon clearly showing the developer's multiplayer intentions of near-constant movement is the Static Rifle, which charges by simply moving. Standing still causes the charge to drop. The addition of Glory Kills is nice and it feels very satisfying to take down an enemy with a glory move, although they reminded me a lot of the executions from the Gears of War Series
. It's nice to test all the weapons available to players, but eventually you'll find yourself with a specific set best suiting your playstyle. I bet the Super Shotgun will be it for most players.
The maps were distinct, with Heatwave having a human facility theme and Infernal having a more demonic theme. There isn't a safe place for players to camp, although I encountered a one person trying to do so near the Gauss Cannon spawn, but I could deal with him easily by going along the other side. There are some challenging movement routes for players on both maps, but they reward the daring players with big boosts. I committed suicide multiple times when trying to get these power-ups and sometimes at very unfortunate moments, too. Overall map design is solid, it keeps the action going and there are many spots where fights will occur during a match. The graphics are adequately current gen. Every detail stands out, like the gruesome blood flowing down the walls on Infernal and the fiery lava lake on Heatwave. It definitely seems like id Software fulfills its promise of 1080p/60fps, too.
When you say DOOM
, you say demons. In multiplayer, you can play as a demon for up to 60 seconds when picking up a Demon Rune. Only the Revenant, a demon wielding a jetpack and dual missile launchers, was available for player use. Playing as the demon is fun since you become overpowered for a short time, being able to wipe out groups of enemies in seconds and turning the tide of battle for your team. However, the Demon Rune announcement comes only five seconds before the rune spawns, making players who happen to be close to the rune very lucky. This is quite a short time for the strongest power-up the players can get and it would maybe work best if the developers would lengthen the amount of time between announcement and spawn. If the developers would change that in the full game, the fights over the rune can become routinely exceptional moments across game modes.
Overall, the beta felt like a polished experience, though, rather than feel like its own unique suite, it was perhaps more reminiscent of several other games, with major elements from other franchises, like Call of Duty's
leveling system and a movement system quite similar to Halo
's. It does some things that make it stand out, though, like non-regenerating health, which makes the fast-paced combat feel even more frantic. The beta was just a small portion of the game's multiplayer offerings, but it was enough to see that DOOM
is working on two levels: trying to pay respect to its own history, while also aiming to appeal to the multiplayer masses. It still remains to be seen which of these inspirations takes precedence. The game arrives on May 13th.