Doom is one of the most important touchstones in the history of games. But as we took a look back at the evolution of this venerable franchise that forever changed gaming, we realized that it’s been more than 10 years since a mainline release in the series. Given that time lapse, it’s pretty likely that some of our readers have never actually played a Doom game.
Developer id Software is banking on that changing, with today’s release of Doom. They’ve certainly designed the latest edition of the game with returning players in mind, but they also want to open up the action to gamers who can’t fathom what “BFG” might possibly stand for (hint: Your first guess is probably the correct one!). You’ve got nowhere to run and nowhere to hide in this latest iteration of the classic first-person shooter – and that’s precisely what makes it so intense.
Blasts from the Past
To hear id Software tell it, think of Doom as what a 15-year-old would’ve scribbled in their notebook while a math teacher droned on and on about integers, square roots, and differential equations – particularly back in the early ’90s, when metal was all the rage. But don’t worry about this Doom feeling dated: Big demons, big guns, and big explosions are all timelessly awesome, and the game makes a welcome transition to 2016 by bringing classic confrontations front-and-center.
When you encounter an enemy in a typical first-person shooter these days, what’s your first instinct? Well, the crazy-brave among you might immediately rush your foe – and you may well pay for it with a proper pounding. The rest of us, however, usually find the nearest cover and safely take out the enemy with a series of carefully calculated head shots.
Doom is having none of that.
The developers at id Software are taking players back to the freewheeling days of the first-person shooter, back when the player had only two options: fight or flight (and that latter option is on an emergency-only basis).
Doom director Marty Stratton has said that movement has always been the one thing that separates the franchise from other shooters, and it’s really the only way to outmaneuver the game’s deadly pack of lethally efficient demons. Thankfully, Doom is built to provide the player with all the necessary tools to make it a fair fight. You don’t have to worry about reloading, and Doom encourages you to unleash your arsenal on any and every hellish foe – no rationing missiles here. And in the off chance that you’re running low on ammo, you can rush right up to foes with a chainsaw and deliver a brutally satisfying melee attack. Again, it’s all about forcing the player to confront the enemy on a up-close-and-personal basis, not allowing them to cower behind a rock or tree and wait for the perfect moment to unload.
The series has always been about big guns and bombastic combat scenarios, and Doom vets will be happy to hear that’s all on display here, particularly when it comes to the game’s Glory Kills – stylishly violent finishing moves that end confrontations with a satisfying flourish. What’s more: The game’s progression system allows you to customize for strength, speed, or balance, and you can switch things up if the situation demands it.
Unleash Hell Itself
More than two decades ago, Doom became one of the first shooters to build an online community of competitive players – one whose influence can still be felt in every aspect of online play to this day. Those pioneers blazed a trail, and id knows that it has a legacy to uphold when it comes to Doom’s multiplayer. And rather than try to slavishly mimic the shooters of today, the developers took a welcome page from yesteryear.
Doom’s multiplayer is fast, frenetic, and tailored to revolve around confrontations between two equally matched players. Are you tired of multiplayer where a single shot can take you out – a blast out of nowhere you didn’t even see coming? Doom knows that part of the thrill of competitive combat comes from true showdowns between two bitter rivals, and these one-on-one duels won’t be over in an instant.
Of course, that’s not to say that you won’t be able to unleash terror on an unsuspecting online opponent. In fact, Doom’s multiplayer offers one of the most intimidating game-changers we’ve ever seen in an online shooter. Instead of simply battling demons in the single-player campaign, Doom allows you to become them and unleash untold carnage on the battlefield if you’re fortunate enough to come across a Demon Rune.
And this isn’t just a rare, one-off occurrence, either. Doom offers several different demons, all of which require different strategies for both predator and prey. The Baron of Hell looks like Lucifer himself has entered the arena – and when you see this horned menace come your way, you’d better run unless you’ve got a buddy (or two) nearby. Meanwhile, the Prowler lurks in the shadows and delivers a jump-scare that’s sure to startle your opponent and make them easy prey, while the Mancubus is a massively intimidating wide-body that will be familiar to players of the original Doom. Finally, the Revenant brings a healthy amount of speed to the equation – along with a jet pack that allows it to fly around the battlefield for a short time.
So, even if you haven’t played a second of Doom in your life, this is your chance to run roughshod over the opponent as a hulking demon. You might have thought of it as a name from the past, but it’s primed to deliver plenty of innovation and draw in scores of new fans on Xbox One and Windows PC. Doom is available now, so go get some!