A new generation of Doom is almost upon us. That fabled day written in the scriptures will soon come to fruition. It is the demonic rebirth of a classic. Doom is back, and it will shake the very bedrock of your soul!
The closed beta for Bethesda's latest edition to its lava-spouting shooter entered into its final day today and the overall gameplay impressions so far have been pretty good. Players from across the world came together in bouts of unholy blood sport as they racked up that demon kill count.
But What Did We Think?
OK, so the best place to start is with the opening game sequence; the art is rockin'. The game loads up first with the Bethesda and id Software branding, which then leads into a real blood-pumping, adrenaline-inspiring image of the mighty Revenant. Great start.
The gameplay is fast and very furious. Just as I would expect. It would seem that movement combined with firepower is the key to winning games in this new Doom. Despite still being in beta phase, the colors were vivid and the graphics were clear. Players were given access to a small selection of weapons and allowed to battle to the death on two of Bethesda’s newest multiplayer maps.
Aside from the very few game glitches you would expect in beta session, it feels smooth and free flowing. The maps seem to be well pieced together, with multiple options for many a dynamic battle. There is a certain lack of choke-point installation, but I am sure this element will develop as the game becomes more populated come May. Players are able to wage war within several levels on each map — molten plasma and rockets were coming at me from all angles, which certainly ramped up the tension throughout each bout.
Players are able to level up via in-game achievement and XP progression. Doom has adopted a similar loadout mechanic to that of other modern shooters, allowing for players to customize their in-game experiences. Upgrades for weapons, perks and in-game characters are also available. A bold move from id Software that I think will work out nicely with the modern shooter fans. Quakers (as I call them) may differ in opinion in this area, however.
Surprisingly, tactics do play a major part — getting the right loadout combo can be critical — something I did not expect in Doom. Personally, I opted to primary the lightning gun and combine attacks with the siphon grenade. The lightning gun provides an uninterrupted damage stream, while the siphon grenade has the effect of almost doubling the damage dealt. Once considerable damage has been meted out, it's time to switch to the super shotgun for a gooey finish. All this happens in just seconds, of course, and is incredible fun.
The use of taunts and glory kills provided me with some sorely needed vindication when caught up in those inevitable personal battles. Doom allows for players to perform certain melee attacks called Glory finishes that allow for a gritty hand-to-hand fatality takedown. Follow this up with a cocky dance move or a humping gesture from the Taunt menu on the D-pad and you have all the ingredients required for some serious retribution-fueled gaming. More details to come via full game review.
It was a welcome return to the pickup style of gameplay. Players will need to monitor health, ammo and armor in Doom to have any chance of surviving. The maps were easily navigable and pickups are aplenty so this isn’t as daunting as it sounds. In terms of weapon pickups, the beta allowed for players to grab one power weapon from the map, which was the gauss cannon — a single-shot body demolisher.
I would have liked to see a few more weapon pickups dotted around the maps, however, it seems that this latest Doom has opted for custom loadouts as opposed to the traditional in-game weapon pickup. Both work, and after an hour or so I was loving experimenting with the various combinations I had created.
Player movement is slower than expected, but this grew on me as I explored the maps a little more. The ability to double jump is great and is not overpowered; if anything a little more juice would be preferable. No wall running — bonus. I would have liked to see some lateral movement in the double jump, but again once I was used to the mechanics, I didn’t miss it.
And the demon rune distribution seems well placed. The Revenant itself (as played in closed beta) was monstrous. Not indestructible, though. If too reckless the beast can be taken down in seconds. Again a considered approach will ensure maximum obliteration when playing as the demon.
The Not So Great
One thing I didn’t like at all was the in-game damage readout — at least I assume that that is what it was. It works in a similar way to [Tom Clancy's The Division](tag:2684169)— instead of blood, Bethesda has opted for numbers to come out of your target. Yes, some blood comes out but not enough to totally quell my lust for blood. It’s Doom — we want blood and guts not numbers, right?
The gameplay is too fast for the numbers to have any impact on the firefight. You duck, bob and weave while hammering that trigger as hard as you can until either you die or your enemy dies. Information indicative of damage given in twos and 10s is way too insignificant when most encounters last less than two seconds.
Another thing that got to me was that the power and accuracy ratios just seemed way too inconsistent. Let me hit you with an example real quick: I had a rocket launcher, I scored a direct hit on my target but all I see is a 10 pop out of his head as he continues to run at me — “Shit” — I fire off another. Direct hit but still no messy explosion; the guy is still running at me. Then — splat! — one shotgun blast from him and I am the dead one! Come on?!
In Unreal Tournament or Quake, I would have been wading through guts after the first direct hit of my launcher. I sacked the rocket launcher off soon after — too slow with no damage benefit to counter the disadvantage of the slower projectile.
At times, Doom gameplay seems to be too reliant on the numbers than the core value. I want to see more blood and less accountancy in this game. Don’t get me wrong, people do explode, but you barely notice it as it happens so fast, with very little in terms of bloody remains. This might change in the full version by the time it's released in May.
So far it is looking like another stellar addition to the ever-popular arena-based shooter. The game draws from its roots brilliantly — from the heavy metal themes to its demon-heavy architecture — and you would have to be crazy as hell not to want to get involved.
Not yet as over the top as I would want from a Doom game, but there is still plenty of time left to tinker. The overall feedback so far has been positive — I already find myself nibbling at my fingernails in anticipation as I consult my calendar. We have experienced just a snippet of what Doom has to offer, and in reality it will most likely feel like a different game entirely come May 13.