DOOM Reviews

AuthorReview
Slam Shot Sam
787,548 (420,644)
Slam Shot Sam
TA Score for this game: 2,096
Posted on 20 May 16 at 10:56, Edited on 24 July 17 at 11:18
This review has 31 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Doom | Xbox One

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Well, that was a nice surprise. Everything from its reveal, to the dividing multiplayer beta, to the recently withheld review copies had us feeling slightly sceptical about DOOM. With some degree of pleasure, we can say there was no reason to be - we were wrong.

According to Bethesda, DOOM’s three modes play equal part in establishing the game’s value proposition. Whilst they do each bring something interesting to the table, the campaign is head and shoulders above any multiplayer offerings and single-handedly provides reason to invest.

Finally making good on the promise of next generation hardware, DOOM runs at a gorgeous and buttery-smooth 1080p/60FPS on all formats. It handles like a dream; the frantic pace and perpetual momentum not only complemented, but afforded, by a precise level of control.

Little stands to hinder your fast and fluid traversal, with story largely conveyed during gameplay through brief holographic projections and audio communications. It’s exceedingly rare for control to be wrestled from your hands in aid of a forced cutscene. What narrative there is serves its purpose in justifying the mute protagonist’s killing spree, whilst highlighting unending corporate greed as the UAC attempt to harness the power of Hell for their gain. Things are simple, which is great in a game where most players just want to feed a demon their fist, but for those who yearn for deeper engagement, there’s a codex absolutely packed with backstory and universe lore.

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Outside of the super shotgun, there’s no need for reloading, a design decision that again serves to maintain breakneck pacing. A sizeable arsenal comprised of explosives, automatic weapons, a chainsaw and more provides numerous avenues of approach to fit the climate of any encounter. Weapons can be modified and upgraded in a myriad of ways, making for a sterling display of gun-porn. Whatever upgrade path you choose to take, firearms are endlessly satisfying to use thanks to a combination of their detailed animations, authentic sound effects and gory results. Release the trigger shortly before dealing the final blow and you’ll be presented opportunity to perform a contextual glory kill. The height of violence, each one provides a health boost to keep you in the fight and the short animations are varied enough to dodge becoming repetitive.

Finally making good on the promise of next generation hardware, DOOM runs at a gorgeous and buttery-smooth 1080p/60FPS. It handles like a dream.
Instances of combat most commonly occur in waves whilst confined to an arena. Though this might sound incredibly jarring, DOOM avoids that fate by integrating and contextualising them well. It isn’t your average cover shooter, so stay up in the fight or you’ll be mercilessly expunged. On occasion, temporary power-ups that include invincibility, increased speed, quadrupled damage and insta-kill melee attacks can be found to further fulfil your power fantasies and decimate Hell’s horde.

Outside of combat, it’s worth tapping the brakes and taking time to explore the rich environments that hold no shortage of rewards for doing so. Suit upgrades, collectibles, secrets, ammo, health and more await those who stray from the already refreshingly non-linear main path. Perhaps most enjoyably, hidden Runes transport the player to challenging trial excursions that when cleared unlock equippable boons for a further layer of customisation.

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Despite its newfangled modern features, DOOM is true to its classic roots in many ways. Coloured keys to open respectively coloured doors, no regenerating health, satanic imagery and a pulsating, heavy rock soundtrack that features motifs from the original all make veterans not only feel right at home, but also like the coolest one there.

During our playthrough on the medium difficulty setting, reasonably little care needed be employed to ensure survival, so we’d recommend diving straight in at the deep end with hard mode if you want a challenge. It adds real tactical death, nuances like the chainsaw turning enemies into bloody ammo piñatas, glory kills granting health, and preserving the BFG for only the most life threatening of occasions becoming integral to your strategy. If that isn’t enough, an unlockable difficulty mode couples this with perma-death. Yikes.

A long load screen is all that stands between you and DOOM’s other modes, so let's talk multiplayer. Just like the campaign, it finds a middle ground between old and new, playing as though Quake and Halo had a raucous one night stand. Whether it has legs really depends on how much you yearn for the competitive FPS multiplayer of yore.

With nine maps and six game modes, there’s a decent spread on offer at launch. The problem is that it’s all so forgettable; some tweaked variants of established modes and the ability to transform into an, admittedly badass, demon aren't quite enough to set it apart. The middle ground is a failing one when we’re left with an experience that matches up to none of it’s inspirators, and establishes nothing new of any great worth. Also - where’s free-for-all?

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Whilst DOOM’s peripheral modes are a mixed bag, the campaign is pure metal brilliance.
As you level up, cosmetic and loadout customisations become available. Everyone in any given lobby looks unique, with some higher level players even inspiring outfit envy. While tonally strange, there are also emotes that add a touch of fun to proceedings - we don’t mind losing so much when the victor celebrates with a Carlton Dance.

Speaking of seeming out of place, SnapMap already offers some absolutely bonkers levels. A powerful editing tool that’s incredibly simple to use and taught through quick, concise tutorials, SnapMap technically makes DOOM endless.

You’re able to produce and play solo, co-op and deathmatch game modes that currently run a bizarre spectrum from intense survival challenges to the likes of music maker, whack-a-mole, farming simulation, tower defence, memory tests and more. It’s easy to browse maps and download your favourites to revisit later, whilst dedicated matchmaking accommodates those without friends around. Quality is obviously all over the place, as it always is with user generated content, but with a little digging there are some real gems sure to provide many an evening’s entertainment for as long as the community is actively creating.

Whilst DOOM’s peripheral modes are a mixed bag, the campaign is pure metal brilliance. Packed with violent, fluid and fun gameplay, an uncompromising technical performance and gorgeous visuals, Doom is back, and ballsy as ever.

Pros

+ Refreshingly fast paced - no cover dwelling here
+ Fantastic complementary soundtrack
+ Elegant & rewarding level design
+ SnapMap provides longevity
+ 1080p/60FPS
+ Gory, satisfying shooting

Cons

- Multiplayer is relatively weak
- Takes some digging to uncover great SnapMaps
- Long load times

Score 8/10

DOOM is not a difficult completion - achievements only require you to dip a toe into multiplayer and SnapMap, whilst finishing the campaign on any difficulty and returning to mop up challenges, upgrades and collectibles (assuming you didn't get them all the first time around). The one exception is beating the first level on Ultra-Nightmare difficulty, but even that's very doable with some perseverance.

Originally written for Pass the Controller, a physical copy of the game was provided by Bethesda.

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