DOOM First Impressions: Hell is Back With a Vengeance

DOOM came out just a few hours ago, and after waiting patiently for the 46 gig download (I probably should’ve preloaded), I dived right in. Now I emerge, covered in gore and cackling like a madman, to let you know that DOOM is awesome fun. It’s got one foot planted firmly in the past and the other in the present in all the best ways.

Of course what first concerned me after launching DOOM for the first time was how long it would be before I was blowing the heads off demons with a shotgun. As it turns out, not long at all. Well, first I had to break out of a prison and shoot a few with a pistol first, and then wait through a brief cutscene. After that, though, it was straight on to the shotgun and demon sonata.

It becomes pretty apparent after, oh, five minutes, that a demon incursion inside this Mars base is simply another day at the office. All of the game’s alarms, and base-wide alerts, make sure to let you know, quite often, how badly everything has gone to shit. It’s strangely – and quite awesomely – hilarious. There’s not an air of “what the hell is going on?” and more than “well, we done messed up.”

Of course you learn pretty quickly that the base was intentionally tapping into forces that they probably had no business tapping into, and there were plenty of protocols in place in case the shit really did hit the fan, and boy did it ever. Thanks to the meddling, over 61,000 people are dead, and you, being the awesome DOOM guy that you are, are off to put a cork on the Hell-bottle. I had a definite Matrix vibe from the start of the game. You aren’t the first DOOM guy, and this isn’t the first base on Mars that has fallen to Hell. This cycle has repeated for eons (or at least since 1993).

I’ve barely scratched the surface of DOOM, but if the rest of the game resembles anything of the first hour and a half, then boy am I in for a ride. Everything just feels so good. Of course that’s always been id’s thing, hasn’t it? Rage – which was by no means a masterpiece – felt good. DOOM is fast, and responsive. You’re weaving around blasting countless, and actually dodging projectiles. It’s delightful. Glory kills, the melee ones available when enemies are low on heatlh, are varied enough to keep it interesting at first, and easy enough to forgo all together if you’d rather just kill the demons. The lack of any reloading what-so-ever took a little while to get used to, and I still occasionally smack “R” out of habit, but with as fast as the game is, and with as many enemies as you’re managing, having to reload would really slow down the flow.

Of course this is a game in 2016, and not 1993, so there is a full progression system, allowing you to upgrade both weapons and your predator armor through upgrade tokens earned in missions. I dumped my first weapon upgrade into an alternate fire for the shotgun that fires off a devastating three-round burst that mows down the lesser enemies. You unlock more weapon upgrades by completing mission challenges, like killing two possessed enemies with a single shotgun blast. Right before I stopped playing, I unlocked my first health, armor, or ammo upgrade.

As for the missions, DOOM moves you in and out of indoor and outdoor environments, and gives you plenty explore and discover, and secrets to find, all around. I think I prefer for the indoor stuff to the outdoor, but DOOM is no corridor shooter. You need room for the dance that happens when you’re pitted against many enemies at once. And when there’s a lull in the combat, there’s plenty of detours and areas off the beaten path. Mission markers on the compass will keep you going in the right direction, and if you get lost, there’s always the automap, which swivels around and gives you everything in all three dimensions.

I only played a couple rounds of the game’s multiplayer during the open beta, and haven’t touched it since launch, but it’s nothing to write home about. The single player campaign, however, has left a great first impression, both gameplay wise and technically speaking. DOOM runs impressively well, especially if you have a rig that can take advantage of the full suite of graphical features. The id tech engine has really come into its own in the 6th iteration, and fixes a lot of the faults Rage had when it first came out. Remember the pop-in? By golly.

I think it’s a fair bet at this point that DOOM, once all is said and done, will lives up to the game’s lineage. The single player campaign definitely feels like what the 1993 Doom would’ve been if it were made today, and is definitely one of the fastest AAA shooters to come out in recent memory.

About Josh Price

Josh Price is a writer who probably spends too many hours of the day playing video games. At some point he decided to put the two together to (hopefully) great effect. He also wrote some fiction. You should check that out if you're into such things, which you should be. Reading is FUNdamental.

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