Doom (2016)

In an age where video games have a heavy focus on the narrative aspect, Doom hearkens back to the days where it was all about the action. It was a refreshing experience to load up the game and immediately jump into the action. I thought killing hell-spawn would grow old after a couple of hours, but the constant additions of new enemies, weapons, and upgrades kept the game feeling fresh throughout. These factors combined with the overall polish made Doom extremely entertaining. While I really enjoyed Doom, I do not think it is for everybody.

Doom was extremely well made, but there was nothing really groundbreaking or super innovative about. To me it was just a modernized version of the classic Doom from 1993. That is fine if you are satisfied with just moving from room to room killing hordes of enemies, but many players want a little more from games these days. I could see how people may feel that it is repetitive or a worn out concept. Doom is all about one thing, but it does that one thing very well.

There is a level of polish on Doom that indicates that it was heavily tested before it was released. I played on the hard (ultra-violence) difficulty and nothing about the game seemed unfair or unjust. The arenas were intelligently designed to flow and never feel stagnant. Items and power-ups were placed strategically throughout the rooms, and all the different enemies were manageable once I got the hang of it. With the amount of different enemies in the game I expected at least one of them to be frustrating, but they all had clearly defined strengths and weaknesses. What really makes Doom great is the speed at which it is played. The game forces you to move around the arenas that you fight in, which is definitely refreshing after playing military shooters in which you just sit behind one piece of cover for an entire battle. In Doom, if you stand still for more than a couple of seconds you will be overrun. As long as you keep on the move you will be able to dodge most of the damage coming from the demons, and you can constantly refresh your ammo, armor, and health with items scattered across the maps. Also the glory kill system was great at incentivizing fast paced gameplay: executing low-health enemies at melee range would have them drop health and ammo. I needed to constantly utilize this mechanic to keep my health and ammo topped off. You need to keep on the move to have a hope of surviving. The constant action kept the game very intense and energetic. This was complimented by the soundtrack and how it matched the mood and intensity of the game.

While in between action packed arenas Doom did have some other things to offer that did not involve slaying hell-spawn. There were plenty of hidden nooks and hallways to find secrets. Finding these secrets was actually rewarding, as they allowed me to upgrade my weapons and suit to be better prepared for future encounters. There were even some mini-games that would allow me to equip special power-ups. The weapon upgrade system was pretty great as well. Every weapon had two unique upgrade paths, for example the shotgun could be upgraded to have a grenade launcher or have a tighter spread of bullets. You could further power up these upgrades and you could switch between them at any time to fit a particular situation. To earn tokens to upgrade these weapon systems there were certain tasks to complete in every level, like glory killing five enemies or killing two enemies with one bullet. You also earn upgrade points just by killing enemies, so there was always a sense of progression as I quickly powered up my character and his arsenal of weapons.

All in all, I really enjoyed Doom for what it was. I loved the constant action and just bad-ass feeling of the game. I also enjoyed taking a breather in between arenas to explore and find secrets and upgrades. Doom is really good at what it does, which is being high energy arena shooter focused on taking on hordes of hell-spawn.  Do not expect anything groundbreaking or anything that is not blasting through swarms of demons. For these reasons I give Doom a 8.5/10. It is a really great action game, but that is all that it is.


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