As the Godfather of first person shooters makes its return to the limelight, there are a lot of mixed feelings being reverberated from the fans, both new and decade old. From the initial E3 2015 trailer to the recent betas, fans have been bathed with bloody excitement over the reboot of DOOM, set to release later this month.
The franchise returns with Id Software pulling out all of their big guns to reveal Doom 4, or just ‘Doom’. The title was initially announced in 2011, but the development was scrapped with the creators being unhappy with where the game was heading. Since then, Bethesda Studios took Doom under its wing, and the game was fully showcased in recent Twitch streams to mind blowing results. As per its origin, the game is returning to its fast paced, rock and roll inspired and gory roots. The rigorous Unreal Tournament style multiplayer is visceral fun, blowing opponents left and right with the Double Barrelled Shotgun. The campaign holds the same pace, and showcased an over the top Hell scenario, with all the classic enemies and environments, and chunks of flesh everywhere.
To further sate the hordes of players, Doom had closed and open multiplayer betas in April. I did not get a chance to play the initial closed beta, so I was happy to hear an announcement for an open beta on Steam, PS4 and the Xbox One. The two betas included the same two maps and game modes but with a lot of technical improvements and feedback feedback coming to the second beta.
In essence, the gameplay could be described as a combination of Halo, Quake and of course, Doom. The visceral experience harked to a more Arena style shooter, with shotguns and rocket launchers right off the bat. Unlike the original games, players can only carry two weapons at a time, but you can customize the loadouts to any two, with new and classic weapons in the mix. There is an extra layer of strategy by the use of ‘hacks’ or ‘perks upon respawn’. I found the system pretty easy to use. A key aspect for them is that they keep the momentum of the match going for everyone, whether you are behind or not.
The beta included two maps, two game modes, one playable demon and several weapons. Heatwave and infernal were the two maps, providing a look at a factory and a Hell setting. Team Deathmatch is a staple and stayed as much the same, whereas warpath provided a more objective based experience. I found both the game modes enjoyable with fast load up and match times. I am not a fan of objective based multiplayer but Warpath was a pleasant change, because due to its nature of its moving objective, there was no element of camping. You and your team can blitz as you please. Quad damage makes its return as powerup, with many more featured in the game and the beta. Demon runes are a new inclusion, transforming a player into a demon to wreak havoc for a while; Revenant was the only demon in the beta but many more denizens of Hell can join the multiplayer experience.
The beta was well received overall and it was glorious for me – I grew up with this stuff with the original Doom and Quake being the first games I ever touched. The multiplayer beta did create a shift in the community though. The purists disliked the slow pace, compared to the original Doom, and new changes, quoting similarity to Quake arena and more generic FPS shooters. The multiplayer may be generic but my rebuttal is that this caters to the general gamers today aswell. If anything, the doom template adds a new dash of flavor to the generic multiplayer titles of today(1).
The announcement of paid DLC does not help this issue either as there will be a distinct gap between the people buying the game for multiplayer and single player. An important thing to keep in mind is that the multiplayer was outsourced to another team, notably known for Left4Dead and Halo MP, thus making zero impact on the vision of overall game and the direction ID wants it to take(2).I don’t think their worries will last for long though, as Single player and SnapMap will be the bulk of the game. (There is already a custom gamemode which increases the speed to 150%)
Speaking about the true meat of the game, the single player and Snapmap are looking fantastic. The campaign is set at about 12-14 hours in total, which is a reasonable amount of time for a FPS campaign. You re-enter the boots of a Space Marine, DoomGuy, and find hell breaking out around you. The SP holds classic hellspawns, with a multitude of different variations with each, a cache of weapons (and yes, you can carry all of them at once) and a breakneck speed, all the while looking amazing with the ID Tech 6 engine. Fans gave Id Software a lot of grief over the direction that Doom 3 took, being a lot slower and horror-based. Id Software has taken that multitude of feedback and made various changes to make this Doom that IS the Run and Gun gorefest that fans wanted(3).
Snapmap, its development being led by John Carmack himself, is going to allow players to create their own campaign extensions, co-op based missions, tower defense maps and much more! Extending the baton to a newer generation, this is an amazing new platform for the enormous Doom modding community to continue its work. The key aspect is how accessible and intuitive it is working with the game’s logic. You can construct any situation or scenario with this system.You want a Hell knight to spawn when you pick up the health? Sure. You want certain imps to stalk you before attacking? Done. If the developers can put together a playable version of Harvest moon, musical instruments and slaughterfests in the Doom Engine for just for a quick presentation, just imagine what the future and demented minds of fans will hold(4).
For anyone still preferring the old style or even being new to the Doom franchise, fear not! I have barely touched the surface myself but there are over 40,000 mods and map packs to date. With a Shareware copy of Doom and these notable Mods, (Warning: Explicit yet appropriate language), anyone can start playing Doom this very minute and see what the carnage holds for you.In the end of the day, this game is still DOOM! The same one we grew up with, and going to enjoy. Even if the MP doesn’t charm us, the single player and community will keep the game going ‘till Hell freezes over. A huge thank you to Reddit User: MUFFINCSGO(1234) for his input.
Bryan Salik is an upcoming writer who enjoys everything in-between creative writing and Science, or a quirky combination of both. I am an active gamer and hiker in the Greater Toronto Area so feel free to contact me via Facebook or Medium.