I’ve been holding off for a sale on a Collector’s Edition of DOOM 2016 for about 6 months now, but upon finding a physical copy in the crappy Walmart PC game section for a measly $20, I had to pull the trigger. It’s $60 for a digital copy, for Christ’s sake!
I’ve read plenty of reviews praising this game and, as I may have mentioned before, DOOM and Quake II is where I got my start in the PC video game world. I absolutely needed to play this. As the less than well-received DOOM 3 was still on my mind, I think I speak for everyone when I say we all needed a redemption. And a redemption this certainly is!
I don’t remember the last time I’ve been so fond of a first-person game, but if I had to think back, I’d say it was probably the first Dishonored. My tastes changed a bit and took me in the opposite direction of the genre as I became more enamored with handhelds, and you may remember my brief return to FPSes on a handheld did not go as planned. But DOOM has recaptured the love of violent shooters that got me into PC gaming in the first place.
First, a word about physical copies in general. I’ve been trying to exclusively purchase physical copies of PC games where possible, and I was happy to see this on store shelves. I believe in voting with my money and “I want you to keep making physical copies,” is the message I was able to convey in this situation.
DOOM comes in a flimsy case made of what I can only assume is slightly above-average strength paper with a thin coating of plastic, with nothing besides some ads for garbage products and DLC inside, along with the disc of course. Naturally, the disc didn’t do a whole lot, as it required a Steam account, Steam activation, and an additional massive download to actually install the game. Well terrific. 80 GIGABYTES LATER and about an hour of my DVD drive sounding like a grindstone sharpening a broadsword is what it took to actually be able to launch this thing. Hooray, it’s the future of gaming! Here’s a disc that does nothing, have fun, asshole!
Anyway, small qualms with the presentation aside – let’s get into what really matters here. DOOM is a fast-paced, heavy metal playing, chainsaw-slinging bullet storm of fire and brimstone and death. The eerie atmospheric backing soundtrack interrupted only by shredding guitar when monsters are present, waiting to meet their end in the most brutal way possible. They attempt to flank you, spawn out of nowhere and are not shy about rushing you in a groups. Seriously, there’s nothing subtle here – monsters will appear absolutely everywhere and try to murder you. And, depending on your difficulty level of course, you will go down quickly when you inevitably get overwhelmed.
You are armed with nothing but a pistol with two fire modes: a normal shot, and a charged shot alternate attack. The alternate attacks have cooldowns and several of these attacks can be unlocked for most of your weapons. They unleash devastating attacks that annihilate most of the trash enemies on impact. You can also upgrade these alternate attacks, decreasing the cooldown time, weapon recovery time, or raising the damage dealt, and these upgrades are found around the game world in each level.
One of the most satisfying and defining parts of the combat in DOOM is that it has more of a focus on melee, in the sense of Glory Kills. Glory Kills are my absolutely favorite part of the game in that they really get the blood pumping and change the core gameplay entirely. When you injure an enemy enough, you can press the F key to rush into them and rip them apart with your bare hands. Sound insanely brutal? Yep, that’s a good way to put it.
Much in the way that Bloodbourne encourages aggression by giving you health back for attacking an enemy within seconds of being hit, DOOM does the same by guaranteeing a health drop from the enemy if they are finished off with a Glory Kill. This encourages you to be aggressive and rush everything in front of you before you are drained of health from enemies out of melee range. No longer is hiding behind a wall a good strategy – being quick on your feet and smashing the crap out of everything around you is almost always the best plan of attack. It didn’t take me very long to figure this out, and as I’m playing on Ultra-Violence, the more health, the merrier. Even though you take more damage rushing into hoards of monsters firing shotgun rounds, you get a lot of health back by finishing off mobs with Glory Kills.
Low on ammo? Well than why not take out your trusty Chainsaw and ruin the day of every monster around you?
Chainsaw assassinations will spill, along with a pile of blood and guts, a huge pile of ammo for all your weapons, so when you inevitably run low on ammo, just chainsaw a few monsters to death and you’ll be back in action for the foreseeable future.
Where DOOM really succeeds in bringing me right back to the original games is in the exploration. I’ve spent 3 hours playing so far, and I’ve only cleared the first two levels, because I’ve been wandering around exploring every little nook and crannie like the whole level’s a damn English muffin of secrets. Secret areas are abundant, well hidden and well rewarded – spending the time figuring out how to open door #1 can open passageways to secrets #2 and #3, which can lead you to a lever to open another area and find secret #4. They all seem intelligently interconnected in ways that you probably will not discover on your first playthrough of a level, giving the game a nice amount of replayability.
Players who are fond of collectathons (I consider myself one of these players) will enjoy digging through the worlds and finding all that they have to offer. Most of the collectables function as upgrades, finding “Elite Guards” that give you +1 upgrade points for your weapons and armor. You can also find floating machines that allow you to install new mods on to your weapons that change the alternate fire mode.
Of course, not all collectables have to have purpose. Enter the Doomguy.
A few of these little fellas are scattered throughout each level, and serve the purpose of looking super neat and giving you a little 3D model to play around with from the main menu. There are a bunch to collect and as I love little tchotchkes and trinkets, these just hit a chord with me.
To me, DOOM 2016 has that perfect DOOM vibe and charm – brutal, goofy, fun, and most importantly, never takes itself too seriously. These kinds of games of course aren’t for everyone – it’s an over-the-top massacre of the finest order. But if you like taking out your day on monsters with all manner of weaponry, this is a surefire way to raise your heart rate and have some good old-fashioned fun.