Doom | PS4
Released: May 13th 2016
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Pawl Schwartz
Doom is a game that deserves the self-titled reboot, which, when dealing with a game as historic and genre-changing as the Doom franchise, is saying a whole hell of a lot. It’s a name older and bigger than Half-Life, that actually delivers sequels at a slow but steady pace, putting so much work and industrial-love into each edition that we never have to worry about a Duke Nukem Forever type situation happening, despite id Software’s long and messy history.
Everything about Doom is just so viscerally loud, violent, and smooth, all delivered with that un-nameable Doom-ness about it, updated quite perfectly from the graphical hell that the original game looks like nowadays.
Bethesda doesn’t get in the way with long cutscenes, or really many cutscenes at all. The ones that are there are under 20 seconds. The action is the point, and every bit of it a kill-happy joy. The real Bethesda touch on this iteration of Doom is that there are actually myriad navigation puzzles when getting place to place in this game, a much needed update from Doom’s previous approach of running through a rat maze of halls and maybe having to obtain some keys to get through to the next gut-sploding kill-fest. These puzzles give the single player storyline the heft it needs in today’s multiplayer focused world. For the first time, our space marine main character actually feels kind of nimble — you can jump and cling to or climb up ledges, and many puzzles rely on these vertical navigation techniques to give the game a very real open-world feel, despite it not being open world at all: a very difficult trick to pull off.
I adore the balls Doom has (heh) in terms of iron sights vs no iron sights. For years, every FPS or updated FPS has you squinting down the sights of the gun every time that you wish to shoot a creature, and while realistic and for the first five years, pretty fun, Doom has never subscribed to this, and for good reason. In this iteration of Doom, movement is key. If you do not stay moving while shooting, you will quickly become hell-food. Thanks to an acrobatic marine, doing this is a sheer joy and a fun-to-acquire skill, which would be near-impossible to pull off with iron sights clogging up your view every second. Some guns in Doom, such as the machine gun, do have iron sights as a secondary fire function, but that’s just a good call. They have their time and place.
You will also notice when playing Doom, that there is no reload button or need to reload, ever. Huh? Yeah, remember back in the day having to reload your gun was regarded as standard level realism and a required mechanic in any FPS game? Pepperidge Farm, err... Doom remembers. And Doom says “fuck reloading” — it only gets in the way of the beautiful (and these graphics are fucking beautiful) blood geysers exploding around you. No run button either.
Multiplayer? Don’t even make me tell you how awesome it is. With the setup offered by Doom, the multiplayer is a treasure of a madhouse that reminds me of the FPS days of old, setting up Quake and Doom on 56k modems for madcap death and destruction. The days of precise aiming and hax that dominate the FPS online community are all forgotten in Doom, and the days of Unreal Tournament fast-paced gore is back.
The soundtrack is also back — and much improved, sticking with the strobed-out Industrial nightmare and metal theme that Doom has always carried a flag for. Playing Doom is like waking up drugged and violent on the set of a NIN music video — something everyone should do at least once.
Put simply, you need to get your hands on this milestone of a gem of a game as soon as possible, and however you can. It’s no hyperbole to call it an absolute masterpiece, even within the canon of Doom, which is now officially one of very, very few game franchises to have never made a shitty game.