DOOM review round-up: Early judgements praise shooter’s combat and pacing

To stoke the hellish flames of publicity Bethesda has released another trailer showcasing the game’s cavalcade of guns and gore. There’s nothing unexpected here. You’ve got your metal soundtrack, your fast-paced editing, a sinister robot, some shooting, some explosions and lots of demons. Chekhov it ain’t.

Not that Chekhov would be much good against the cyberdemon. 

When DOOM lands it’ll come with the SnapMap level editor, giving players the opportunity to craft their own gory, old school hell romps. It promises to be easy to use, but with enough complexity to script scenarios using a full in-built logic system.

Outside Xbox has put together a video on 5 of the most impressive maps built using the SnapMap editor so far, including a co-op story mode and a version of Harvest Moon called…wait for it…Harvest Doom.

The featured maps give a nice indication of the various directions players can take their creative energies when the game eventually launches. Making deathmatch maps is one thing, but building experiences that go against DOOM’s shooter DNA seems like the most interesting aspect of handing tools to the players. Here’s hoping we get a DOOM-built point and click adventure soon.

DOOM: Everything you need to know

“Badass demons, big effing guns, and moving really fast.” That’s how id Software executive producer Marty Stratton described the reboot of the DOOM series. For many that grew up playing first-person shooters in the ilk of DOOM, Quake and Unreal, those listed ingredients will come as a refreshing callback to an age before regenerative health, cover mechanics and moody origin stories.

DOOM is an old-school game, and from what we’ve seen so far of id Software’s 2016 iteration, that’s exactly what we’re going to get. While 2004’s DOOM 3 pushed the focus towards survival horror, 2016’s DOOM looks to be a Technicolor, over-the-top bloodbath.doom_2016_2

DOOM: At a glance

  • A reboot of the first-person shooter series, which started with the eponymous DOOM in 1993.
  • Emphasis is on speed and momentum over cover, and it will feature both campaign and multiplayer modes.
  • Released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows on 13 May 2016.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=KSZ4tSoumNk

DOOM: Release date and platforms

DOOM came out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows on 13 May 2016. 

DOOM: Gameplay

The state of first-person shooters has changed enormously since id Software first released DOOM in 1993. The intervening decades haven’t seen only graphical improvements, but a vast shift in mechanics and pacing. Whether it’s Halo’s regenerating health, Fallout 3’s fusion of RPG and shooter mechanics, or Battlefield’s focus on vehicles and sprawling maps, modern-day AAA shooters play very differently to their forebears.

While 2004’s DOOM 3 made concessions to this changed landscape, the upcoming DOOM is both a throwback and a parallel history. What would modern shooters look like if things continued as they did in the 1990s?

Things would look gory and fast, is the answer. The game will feature what its developers are calling “push-forward combat”, encouraging the player to fight instead of take cover. There will be no health regeneration or cover system, while old-school mechanics such as the double jump make a return. There will be health and armour pick-ups, and players will reportedly be able to regain health by killing enemies. A similar mechanic in FromSoftware’s Bloodborne – albeit in a very different guise – helped keep the player on the front foot, so here’s hoping that it encourages flow in DOOM.

doom_2016_4

DOOM will come with a cartoonish-sized arsenal to fit its OTT gore-splatter action. Shotguns, BFG 9000s and chainsaws will all pop up, with a new melee execution system bringing an added sense of intimacy to all the decapitations and eye-gougings.

DOOM: Multiplayer and beta

In addition to the game’s campaign mode, DOOM comes with a multiplayer mode. From the trailer released by publishers Bethesda, it will have more Unreal Tournament in its DNA than Call of Duty.

DOOM will include a number of classic multiplayer modes, including deathmatch and domination, as well as freeze tag and clan arena modes. Seemingly taking influence from contemporary multiplayer games such as Evolve, there will also be a humans-versus-monster mode where players can transform into one of the game’s various demon classes. The game will also have its own map-maker tool, “Doom SnapMap”, which will let players build and share custom maps and game modes.doom_2016_3

DOOM: Controversy

The DOOM reboot has had a difficult gestation period. Originally slated as DOOM 4, the game was due to take place on Earth during an uprising from Hell. Shortly after Kotaku published an exposé on the difficulties plaguing development on the game, id Software went back to the drawing board – deciding to scrap the sequel’s direction and pitch the game as a reboot.

Bethesda put out a trailer for DOOM at E3 2015, which was lauded in some quarters of the internet as a return to old-school form and criticised by others as too violent. That reaction says a lot about how the games industry, and games criticism, has changed over recent decades. Does uninhibited hyper-violence sit uneasily in a medium that is shaking off its adolescent image, or is condemnation of gore a prudish overreaction to a company that is literally called id Software?    doom_2016_5

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