Doom Returns to Dominate Your Free Time & Haunt Your Dreams

Doom
Doom. Bethesda

Doom features so much carnage that it almost becomes numbing. “Oh, look, I just ripped another demon’s head off, spun around and sliced a chainsaw through some Cthulhu creature that H.P. Lovecraft would have called extreme. Back to work.” Over the course of the surprisingly fun single-player campaign of Bethesda’s reboot of the ‘90s classic, you will destroy literally hundreds of demons, some with your bare hands, most with a remarkable arsenal of customizable weapons that turn you into a killing machine that can survive not one, not two, but three trips to literal Hell.

And you will have a ridiculously good time doing it. Much like the reboot of Wolfenstein: The New Order, the developers behind Doom know why gamers were once addicted to this series and why they will soon be again. What’s most bizarre about Doom is that Bethesda kept it from critics pre-release, claiming that the multiplayer portion was so essential to the experience that they didn’t want us writing about it until the servers were live. While the multiplayer portion of Doom is fun, it’s nowhere near as enjoyable as the insanity of the single-player campaign. Believe it or not, especially given how much Doom 2 redefined multiplayer combat, it’s the campaign of Doom that’s the most memorable.

TO HELL AND BACK AGAIN

Doom wastes no time assaulting your senses. It is a heavy metal game through and through, a first-person shooter that incorporates not just demonic noises into its excellent sound mix but metal riffs that will make Metallica fans happy.

You are a soldier on Mars, seemingly the last human being alive in the universe to fight against the forces of evil. You see, experimentation on the red planet has gone too far, opening a portal to the netherworld. Yes, someone once had the brilliant idea to combine science fiction with a story of demonic creatures, and Doom was born.

The story here isn’t really as important as the action, but it includes a lot of airlock opening and closing, portal traveling, and, eventually, several journeys to Hell to close the door from the other side.

THIS IS MY BOOMSTICK

As I said, Doom isn’t really about storytelling—and the game’s weakness is when you’re reminded of that super-thin narrative by overly repetitive chapters, although one gets more forgiving of them as the game goes along and the firepower/enemies provide enough variety on their own. No, Doom is about two things: creatures and guns. Big, ugly creatures and high-powered, unbelievable guns. It starts as simple as a pistol and zombie-like creatures who don’t do much damage. As the game goes on, the developers brilliantly amp up the enemies as they give you a variety of ways to destroy them. First, it’s as simple as a really handy shotgun (which I never stopped using actually because it’s just so much fun), but soon you’re swapping to assault rifles, rocket launchers, pulse rifles, and, of course, the BFG (which fans will know stands for Big [CENSORED] Gun). Doom is as explosive a game as I’ve played on the PS4. By the end, after you’ve upgraded and enhanced most of your arsenal, you’re launching missiles, swinging to your shotgun, throwing grenades, etc.

like a well-oiled killing machine. And I haven’t even mentioned the chainsaw or the fact that you’re going to get really accustomed to actually physically killing demons with your bare hands. You shoot them, they stagger, and then you rip their heads off…or worse.

THE DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE

One of the reasons that you need this kind of firepower in Doom is because the game is constantly throwing new (and old) enemies at you. Many of the creatures from the original series—like those terrifying, screaming, flaming skulls—are back, enhanced for the PS4 generation. And they’re joined by new nightmares. One of the elements I love about Doom is that enemies never go away.

What I mean is that the lurching zombies you see on the first level, you’ll still be killing on the last level. They’ll just have a lot of new friends. So, as you get more powerful, the game adds more members to its nightmarish band. The teleporting, Medusa-esque creature who shoots lasers at you and the giant, red demons drove me the craziest. Although you’ll figure out which weapons work best on which enemies, and you’ll quickly find their weaknesses. Doom is a challenging game but is really brilliantly designed in that it never feels ridiculously difficult. You’ll be frustrated but you’ll want to keep going, all the way to the ending that leaves things open for a hopeful sequel.

WHAT ABOUT THE MULTIPLAYER?

So, Bethesda was so concerned about critics being able to play the game when the servers were active, so what about the multiplayer? It’s not bad. It’s pretty traditional in terms of modes, with most of the action centering on Team Deathmatch and a Conquest-esque mode. The map design is pretty dull, replicating sections of the game, which won’t really be known for its environments. There’s a relatively deep customization in terms of loadouts and hack modules (which allow for advantages like score streaks in CoD), but I guess I was expecting more from Doom multiplayer and less from Doom single-player. They balance each other out to a pretty darn good game. My life was once ruled by Doom 2. If the success of this game is any indication, I have a feeling it will be again in the not-to-distant future.

Disclaimer: Bethesda provided a review copy of this game.

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