Huh. It feels kind of strange to talk about this game after reviewing Spyro and Sonic. Playing something so relaxing after two of the most intense games on the market is kind of jarring!
Today marks the release of Doom: Eternal (one week from now, if you’re reading on Patreon). Personally, I couldn’t be more stoked to finally get my hands on it! It looks sick as hell and just as gruesome! There’s little doubt in my mind that it’ll be a great time! I can’t wait to get a hold of it!
So, in order to prepare (and to satiate my demonic bloodlust), I went back and played the 2016 reboot of Doom. Why not Doom 1, 2, or 3, you ask? Well, the answer to that is quite simple!
I didn’t feel like it. I like those games, don’t get me wrong. But I like this game so much more!
Plot: Cyborgs and Demons on Mars, Oh My!
Believe it or not, this game does have a story beyond just ‘here’s a gun, there are the demons, go nuts.’ It’s just so bland that people forget about it and focus on demon killing.
The game immediately makes it clear what it’s about. “How?”, you ask? By making you break out of your own chains and murder some demons! After that, you figure out what’s going on. You’re on a research station built on Mars, one which harvests energy from Hell for fuel. One of the lead scientists made a bad deal, which has resulted in a demonic invasion. Now you, under the guidance of the totally-not-evil robot Dr. Samuel Hayden, must stop the hordes of hell once and for all!
Plot-wise, this game is super weak. None of the characters are interesting or memorable, undergoing no character development outside of a totally weak and predictable plot twist at the very end. The villain is weak, unthreatening, and completely done away with right at the end. The story itself boils down to ‘go here, do a thing, kill demons, rinse repeat’.
It is not a thrilling story. Honestly, it may as well not even be there. The only cutscene we needed was a random dude giving you a gun, pointing at a demon infested hallway, and saying “Go nuts!”
Luckily, it’s clear that it isn’t the central focus of the game. As it should be.
Presentation: HEAVY METAL!! BLACK AND SILVER!!
God damn this game looks good! The character models are incredible, the environments are gorgeous, it runs as smooth as butter, and the music is PHENOMENAL!! Never before has Hell looked so good!
Yes, I know this game takes place on Mars. But that doesn’t have the same ring to it.
First, the character models. Each one is incredibly detailed and distinct, whether it be an NPC or an enemy. No two enemy types look alike, and each one is uniquely badass and horrifying! Better yet: each one has its own unique death animation for the Brutal Kills. But we’ll get to those.
Each one also has an incredible amount of detail put into them to make them feel realistic. When you look at Doomguy’s armor or Dr. Hayden’s body, you can see the little breaks in the armor that allow for joint movement, the different parts that connect them all, so on and so forth. I’m no mechanic, so I can’t tell you whether or not it’s actually feasible! However, as a layman looking in, it certainly looks convincing! And that’s good enough for me!
The environments are also drop-dead gorgeous! The amount of detail poured into every single one is amazing! It makes each level a joy to explore! You never know what little details, whether it be a collectible or just a cool bit of world design, you’ll find around the corner. It makes the setting feel completely real and immersive!
But none of that even remotely compares to the music! Question: do you like heavy metal? Then this game has got you covered! Every single track gets straight into your head and goes right for the adrenaline! I’ve never heard a video game OST that’s gotten me as pumped as this one has! It makes me want to mow my dishes and fold my lawn!
I have gotten several complaints about that from my roommates and parents.
It helps that the game runs at a high and consistent framerate. Both on PS4 and PC, I can’t recall a single dip. Whether you’re dodging open fire from eight different demons or tearing one in half with your bare hands, the game runs as smoothly as blood on a wall.
Now, I can’t neglect to mention the gore. Because let’s be real: if you’re playing Doom, you’re doing it for the gore! And man does this game have some creative kill animations! Sure, there’s the typical ‘shoot them and that part of their body explodes’. But then there are the more creative ones, where it’s clear that the animators went fucking nuts! Wanna leap from the roof and stomp a demon’s head open with your boot? Go for it! Want to rip its heart out with one hand? Do it! JUST FUCKING MURDER THE FUCKERS AND HAVE A GREAT TIME!!
I’m not psychotic, why do you ask?
Gameplay: Ultimate Murder Simulator
Eat your heart out, Hatred. Remember that game? You shouldn’t!
Doom has a basic gameplay loop. You’re dropped into a massive level and given a certain objective tied to the story. You’ll murder demons, jump around difficult areas, and gather key items to unlock more areas. Along the way, you’ll pick up some collectibles, extra guns, upgrades, and anything else that might help you in your demon slaughtering quest.
Gameplay-wise, Doom actually has a lot of similarities to the Metroid: Prime series. An FPS sci-fi game all about exploring to get stronger and killing shit? Sign me the fuck up! And better yet: it’s incredibly well executed! The gunplay is solid, responsive, and satisfying, both for mouse-and-keyboard and controller alike! The platforming is rock solid, becoming incredibly fun when you put it together with the game’s high movement speed. This game is fast and intense, whether you be fighting or exploring!
Better yet, there’s more variety to the combat than just ‘run and shoot’! Once you deal enough damage to an enemy, you can run up and hit them with a melee attack, thus activating the aforementioned Brutal Kills. Not only are these super satisfying, but they also reward you with HP and ammo, thus encouraging the player to go for it.
On top of that, there are also various powerups scattered through certain levels. These do pretty much what you’d expect. One makes you faster, another lets you instantly melee-kill enemies, so on and so forth. While these certainly are fun, I found myself rarely using them. More often than not, I’d end up finding them after I’ve finished a fight.
Exploring is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s incredibly satisfying when you find something! All of the collectibles are totally worth it, whether they make your character stronger or they’re just fun little do-dads. However, finding them can be a bit tricky at times. If you don’t already know where to go, you’ll only end up running around in circles, scouring every inch of the map until you either succeed or just say ‘fuck it’.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about those collectibles! Some of them are what you’d expect from an FPS game. Upgrades to your guns, new abilities, extra health and ammo, so on and so forth. These, while rewarding, are the least exciting to get. It’s just a boost to your numbers. Not very thrilling, is it?
The other three kinds, however, are a total blast! You can find little bits of lore that fill in gaps in the world and history, which is fun for you lore buffs. Better yet, you can find little plush Doomguys of various skins and colors. These don’t have any gameplay benefit, but they’re cute and fun! Even better yet are the Classic Doom levels, small rooms with stat boosts that are designed exactly like classic Doom levels. Again, they have little gameplay benefit for the player. But they’re an incredibly fun little touch, as well as a nice little nod to the franchise’s history.
Now, let’s get back to the combat. Because I do have one minor gripe with it. And unfortuantely, it’s a big one. The boss fights. Not only are there less than five of these guys, but all of them are super disappointing. They boil down to ‘dodge their three repetitive attacks and keep shooting’. It’s a huge letdown, especially considering how badass the regular gameplay is.
Also, there was a multiplayer mode. I say was because it’s very much dead now.
Despite my gripes, I absolutely love this game! It’s a massive adrenaline rush that had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end! It’s a bloody, joyous ride that put a psychotic smile on my face every time I played it!
Does that say something bad about me?
Doom 2016 isn’t a perfect game. But it knows exactly what it wants to be and it hits the mark excellently! It’s a ton of fun to play from beginning to end! It’s a fantastic first step that makes me all the more excited for Doom: Eternal!
If you still haven’t played it, I’d recommend picking up Doom 2016! It is the ultimate ‘feel like a badass’ game! If you want a fun and challenging FPS game, I can think of no better pick than this one!
Or you could just jam out to the music. That’s a viable option too.