What has become of today's society? These days, whenever I come across someone looking to vent from a stressful day, I see them either headfirst in an adult coloring book or listening to Deepak Chopra self-help audiobooks. Wherever did the era of the kiss-kiss bang-bang stress reliever go, and how can we get it back?
Thankfully, Bethesda and id Software have a lovely nostalgic solution for this lack of peacekeeping violence: the return of DOOM.
Yes, we all know how the story goes: billionaire corporation comes up with the idea to get everlasting fuel via opening a portal to Hell on Mars and stealing it from them. What could possibly go wrong? Well...everything! I mean, seriously, wasn't there at least one board member who said that it might be a bad idea to open up a wormhole that had massive demons and nonstop fire bellowing out of every part of the land's nastiest bunghole?
At any rate, you wake up as the classic Doom Slayer, and everything is as chaotic as the recent Brexit vote across the Atlantic. A man by the name of Samuel Hayden is trying to tell you about everything that led to this disaster, but in classic DOOM fashion you just don't care. There are demons and monsters loose all over Mars's research facility, and you need to just start killing everything and destroying whatever is keeping the two worlds attached. And believe me: when the killing starts, it never stops!
DOOM screams with bloody violence and chaos, just as any game in this series should. Watching as fan-favorites Pinky, Mancubus, and the iconic Cyberdemon reign terror upon their domain is a thrill; one that is capped by you taking matters into your own hands. How fortunately that -- even on the easiest of settings -- the demons don't back down without a fight. There were times when I was down to nearly one HP before the room I was in was sprayed with the blood of my enemies, causing this gamer to take a deep, long breath before moving onto the next part of the game.
When it comes to the weaponry, the best interests of classic DOOM fans were put first. You keep all the guns and rocket launchers, never swapping any of them like your usual Call of Duty wuss-outs. Watching as your shotgun blows a hole through a Revenant or seeing a Mancubus explode into hamburger meat thanks to your rocket launcher never gets old. It's the chainsaw kills that bring forth the best moments of violence, as the sight of a demon being cut in half in a rain of blood cannot be compared to anything else showcased in the game (well, except the return of the BFG 9000, a major give-in if there ever was on).
The world of DOOM is flat out gorgeous, in the most putrid of means. Moving at 60 frames a second on the Xbox One, the fires and bloody oceans that fill up Mars reach near-real levels. Most important are the demons, who not only look scary as the realm they're from, but also come apart in wondrous details. It's not afraid to be gory, and we wouldn't expect it to be.
What makes DOOM brutal is how fast-paced it is. You cannot stay still in this game, or else you'll become a demon's next meal. Whenever I came face-to-face with a horde of enemies I was always gunning on the move. Thankfully its control scheme is very easy to remember, even during the most dire of battles. Rarely did I misuse a weapon, and earning new ammo and HP during a battle is fairly easy. (After all, we have to have the illusion that Doom Slayer is nearly invulnerable.)
Surprisingly, the game's score steals the show at around every corner. Composed by Mick Gordon (with assistance from Richard Devine), the soundtrack booms with the same level of chaos and violence that you witness onscreen. The guitars shriek with madness and the drums call upon the gods of war to rain its destruction upon your screen. (In laymen's terms: I want it in my vinyl collection, dammit!)
While the main campaign lasts a good 13 hours, DOOM will have you coming back for more thanks to the hidden goodies that are found throughout each of the levels. There are also the difficulty levels that add more carnage to your gameplay, with Ultra-Nightmare mode having permadeath for those who fail. Of course, DOOM's story mode isn't just a great campaign; rather, it's a reminder of what made the original first-person shooter a classic for the ages.
Once the fun is over in the single-player mode, SnapMap mode will offer nonstop thrills thanks to either yourself or the rest of the fan community. Creating levels is rather easy to accomplish in this game, but you can tell that you still need to spend a whole lot of time if you wanna compete with some of the better creators. Still, the amount of cool levels and experiences you'll discover in SnapMap mode is near the tens of thousands, meaning that it'll be years before you find yourself remotely bored with these fan-made concoctions.
Perhaps the only weak part about DOOM is its multiplayer. It's not bad per se, with nearly a dozen maps and a good amount of modes like deathmatches and domination to keep you and your friends busy. However it comes off as being rather average, especially with the likes of COD or Battlefield doing the exact same things in their games. Multiplayer is not skip-worthy here, but it's still kinda disappointing.
- Beautifully violent single-player campaign
- Great assortment of weapons
- SnapMap mode
- Multiplayer is somewhat mediocre
This is the DOOM we as gamers have been clamoring for, erasing all the errors of Doom 3 and showcasing that being old-school with FPSes is the way to go. With this and 2014's Wolfenstein: The New Order, it's clear that Bethesda has the fans' best interests in mind when it comes to revitalizing their classic IPs. Take this trip to Hell, and enjoy it with all your might!
Reviewed on the Xbox One