Game Review: DOOM

Release date: 2016
Version played: PlayStation 4 in 2019/2020

The fourth mainline entry in the long running id Software series, DOOM is a 2016 first person shooter published by Bethesda Softworks. Somewhere between loose sequel to (the underappreciated, in my opinion) Doom 3 and a reboot/re-imagining of the first game, DOOM is a throwback to the first person shooters from the past, with no regenerating health or armour or weapon reloading, and a reliance on keeping things moving: standing still for any period of time will almost certainly result in death. Various collectables scatter the dozen-plus levels, ranging from fun Easter eggs to items needed to upgrade weapons or unlock armour, health or ammo capacity upgrades.

+ simple but gratifying combat, which is as basic or complicated as you want it to be. The entire game can feasibly be completed by blasting demons into chunks with the shotgun, but mixing and matching the weapons is what separates the basic players from the artists. Enemies have a good variety, though none really require any special treatment
+ incredible heavy metal soundtrack that ramps up as your battles begin, and mellows out dynamically as you traverse the hellish landscapes (including literally hellish landscapes). Mick Gordon’s entire soundtrack is a thing of beauty, and has become a staple of almost all of my transits. Personal highlights include “Rip & Tear”  and “BFG Division
+ every level has a plethora of collectables, including little Funko Pop-esque models of the Doom Slayer in various costumes, weapons and entire levels recreated to look like the original Doom game and its sequel

– the game is very easy, especially if you take the loading screen tips into consideration that you should be constantly moving. An over-reliance on the (admittedly cool) Glory Kills does hamper the gun play mechanics
– I was not a fan of locking weapon functions/alternate fire modes behind upgrades which had to be purchased, especially since a first run through of the levels would not necessarily yield enough points to upgrade the weapons you wanted. Please note, I don’t mean the Easter eggs/collectables, just the various ‘currency’ type items needed for weapons
– similarly, the demonic Rune bonus ‘boosts’, such as greater item pickup range or the ability to stagger enemies easier, felt gimmicky, and using a certain trio of Runes made the game even easier than it was

> Yes, where I wrote ‘Doom Slayer’ above, that was correct. He is no longer called ‘Doomguy’.

Should you play this game: Not all games need to be challenging, and this certainly isn’t, but it is so satisfying to rip and tear through the hordes of hell that I can’t really fault it. Any fans of first person shooters, the DOOM franchise, heavy metal or fast paced, visceral combat will get a lot out of this game.

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