I had concerns this would be a similar problem with this latest instalment and that it would be the same levels from previous games only tarted up in HD. On both concerns I couldn’t have been more wrong. In its short but sweet campaign you get a surprising amount of variation per level, from the sandy exteriors of the UAC compound to the molten heat of the Foundry (itself gave me serious T2 vibes) to Hell itself which is a Metal fans wet dream.
Another concern had been harmonising the frankly ridiculous weapons I have come to love from the series. The previously mentioned chainsaw is now limited by fuel and can be access at any time by hitting square but unlike earlier games the fuel use now depends on the size and strength of enemies which works great for a tactical edge compared to Doom 3’s walking Konami code which had unlimited fuel and murdered everything in your path.
Other returning weapons include the classic shotgun and its beautiful older sister the Super shotgun, a silly name that sadly doesn’t do it enough justice; frankly ”Awesome McShoot your load gun” might have been more appropriate. Then we have the assault rifle, you have the option to scope and snipe you enemies or use a micro missile launcher to take them out Ironman style.
To be fair the majority of the weapons are great inclusions and work well with a variety of styles and can thankfully be customised on the fly; such as the main shotgun, once upgraded can shoot either a grenade round or have a rapid fire mode both handy. This is repeated for all other weapons while still keeping the action fluid and intuitive.
Interestingly enough Doom has decided not to bother with a reload button; the closest you get is the cock of the shotgun between rounds. This is genuinely one of my favourite features of the game as it doesn’t break flow and it’s a nice throwback to the original games as well.
Speaking of the original games Doom has so much of them built-in it’s like Frankenstein’s monster (but in a good way), really refreshing to have classic platforming and arena style strafe to win game play again. The inclusion of Glory kills has me giddy almost every time as it feels like the best combination of early 90’s violent video games. Even now after 3 plays I am still discovering new glory kills, some badass, others just downright genius, for example the standard grunt take down is to break the leg, twist and shove it down his throat before smashing in his skull. It’s a ludicrous over the top move but one that fits perfectly into the combat system of DOOM, which is remarkably robust.
There are upgrade-points handed out for doing challenges, runes for adding extra powers which can completely change a losing situation on its head and the glory kills being included into the boss battles is a particular favourite for me, nothing feels more satisfying than brutally destroying a boss with your bare hands after dying dozens of times. It’s a theme that runs throughout DOOM that continues right up until the end and works beautifully.
There’s a lot to love about DOOM but it isn’t all roses and hand jobs, the game does start to run out of steam towards the end and can be a little repetitive at those stages. The soundtrack and score (while fantastic) is very inconsistent, particularly in big fights. Sometimes the music is there to get the heart pounding other times it’s just absent. This led me to prematurely bring in my own playlists, just to keep the game continually exciting towards the end.
There are also a few game play bugs which break flow, one I encountered a few times was when the gun would just stop working and you couldn’t change to a different weapon, which meant that death is the only way you can get your weapons back.
However the few issues I have with Doom are forgivable because at its heart it knows what it is, a fun, hectic shooter with a variety of enemies to slaughter, each in more colourful and inventive ways.
If you are on the fence about getting DOOM and need a final quote to help, then imagine your life without having experienced slapping a zombie to death with their own arm or ripping a Mancubus’ heart and shoving it into its throat naming them Susan from HR optional.