Here Comes the Boom
I don’t know how the people at Bethesda did it. I really don’t. If you’d asked me a couple months ago if it was possible to somehow combine the fast-paced, jerky moving and shooting action of the original Doom and other FPS games from the mid-90’s with the graphics, gameplay, and advanced systems of now, I would have told you to have fun on your unicorn hunt.
Well, that unicorn has decided to stab me in the butt.
And that unicorn’s name is DOOM.
When word first reached me that Bethesda was remaking DOOM I admit I didn’t pay much attention. It had been done before, and while DOOM 3 was pretty good, it didn’t have the vibe I missed from the first two. Then my friend told me to give it a try, download the demo while it was still available. So I did, and I played.
An hour later I was at Wal-Mart, picking up a couple of Playstation Store cards to purchase the game.
The story for the game is a little hard to find at the beginning. My first thought was that you played as the original Doomguy, and that this was a pseudo-sequel to the original games. Research on the internet proved that to be wrong.
Still, you are the Doom Marine, a soldier who wakes up in the middle of a demonic invasion in a human facility on Mars, and it’s your job to clean up the mess. Most of the story is filled in through holographic recordings and voice communication.
But who cares? We aren’t here for story.
This is made painfully clear when you wake up on a slab of concrete, your arms chained to it. In the first minute your character breaks the chains and smashes an zombie-like enemy’s skull against the slab. You then leap from the slab, grab a pistol, and from then on it’s all up to the player.
The speed of combat is pretty amazing. You won’t get bored easily with this game. The demons come in fast and agile, making it an actual challenge to hit them. They don’t just stand there like some games. They’re also smart enough not to hang out too close to explosive barrels—most of the time. The maps are sprawling but still linear, much like the original DOOM games, and enemies spawn only in certain areas giving you time to search for those hidden goodies you don’t see often in a lot of FPS games anymore.
These goodies include Doomguy action figures, special bonuses items and power-ups, and weapons. Speaking of weapons, this game has upgraded the awesome weapons found in the original game while also bring more modern fair into the mix. The old stand-bys are there, shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma rifle, and pistol. Added in are the rail gun – a sniper rifle that uses the energy cells same as the plasma rifle – an assault rifle that uses bullets from the chaingun, a super shotgun that uses—you guessed it—shotgun shells, and of course no DOOM game is complete without the BFG 9000. The BFG and the chainsaw, staples to the DOOM series, have their own dedicated buttons on the controller, allowing you to switch to them with ease. They also have independent ammo pick-ups that are scarce and give these weapons a more strategic edge. You can’t go around vaporizing enemies, nor slicing them to bits with the chainsaw. Also, larger enemies can withstand the BFG blasts, and it takes more fuel cells for the chainsaw to cut through something like a Hell Prince than through a standard Imp.
Enemies from the past games return with staples such as zombies (called Returned), imps, cacodemons, lost souls, Barons of Hell, and even the Cyberdemon. Several new enemies are mostly variations on the Returned, making them stronger or giving them arm-mounted weapons. New to the game also are Rune Challenges, giving the Doom Marine the chance to unlock runes that can be equipped for bonuses during the game. These challenges are often things like ‘Kill X demons with only the super shotgun’ or ‘Survive for three minutes without dying’ or ‘Kill X demons before time runs out; you can only move for three seconds after killing a demon’. That last one was difficult.
In addition to the secret areas on each map, there is also a lever hidden in each area that opens a door revealing a part of a level from the original DOOM. The enemies found therein are the modern versions, but the map looks just like it did back in ’95. Even the music is very similar to the original games, offering nostalgic flashbacks every time enemies decide to show up.
Pretty much the only big downside to my time of the game was the fact that there isn’t always the best of directions on where to go next. Most of the game is pretty linear, but sometimes there’s areas where there are several paths out but only one is right, the others are dead ends or lead to secrets. The map isn’t always clear on where to go next, and once in a while the platform hopping was difficult enough that it felt like Mega Man 2 for the NES all over again.
Still despite this, the DOOM remake is one of the better games I’ve played in recent years, and this isn’t even touching on the multiplayer aspect. I haven’t played multiplayer, in truth, because it’s rare that I will buy a game for the multiplayer. For me, playing online or with other people is a bonus to a game, not the reason to buy. If the game doesn’t have a good single player game, it doesn’t belong in my library. (Not going to mention World of Warcraft or Overwatch…)
Is this game worth $79.99? (In Canada) Maybe not, but I say that mostly because I’m cheap and I have pretty much no money. Ever. But if you can find it on sale, like I did, it’s definitely worth picking up or downloading. The game on the Playstation Store is a little over 30 GB, so make sure there’s room on your hard drive. If you want a great first person shooter with enough story to be interesting but not overpower the ability to enjoy the game, then this is the one for you.