My earliest memory of gaming is my dad letting me stay up late to play DOOM when I was around seven years old - on a school night. I remember the raw power surging through my fingertips as I typed IDDQD on the keyboard and watched my portrait's eyes turn gold. God mode - what more could a first grader ask for? With my feet dangling high off the floor, I slayed my enemies with a ferocity you wouldn't quite expect from a tiny human that still saw walls as giant canvases for crayon art.
I really loved the game then, and I revisit those distant memories often. No matter if you were a teenage gamer intrigued by the FPS genre or a dad that wanted to share a passion for gaming with his daughter, DOOM left a mark on all of us.
When I saw that the Doom Open Beta was taking place this weekend, my interests were peaked and my heartstrings were pulled. Would this new take on such a sacred franchise live up to its name? Would it call upon my nostalgic memories while still feeling current and fresh? The entire gaming sphere was buzzing as we all rushed to download the beta and dive in on Friday.
Then, we dove. We dove headfirst into the game with high expectations, and many of us quickly discovered something - we'd made a mistake. The nostalgic, deep waters we anticipated ended up being three feet deep with chlorine that burned our eyes.
Should we have known we were diving into a wading pool?
For the gamers that sought a nod or two to the original title, this new game is disappointing. The myriad of guns that were once available are replaced with loadouts and unlocks. The expected grunts and groans of the DOOM character are replaced with “taunts”. The original game’s insane player speed is gone. This new game doesn't feel like DOOM at all.
And, before you ask, it isn't just the DOOM fans that are disappointed. Gamers that had never been introduced to the franchise are complaining. The new game’s armor looks very similar to Halo, the weapons feel underwhelming, and the demon runes (which transform players into a demon with one-hit-kill rockets) are overpowered. What was supposed to make this new DOOM special? What void is it filling in the first-person shooter genre?
If you know, please enlighten me. Enlighten us all. Because right now, the vast majority of gamers aren't happy.
With over 10,000 reviews on Steam, the Open Beta has a “Mostly Negative” score. The consensus names the new DOOM a generic, monotonous shooter that doesn’t live up to its namesake. Even though we’ve only seen the multiplayer version of the game, it’s hard to imagine that the single-player campaign is enough to warrant the $59.99 price point.
As for my own experience with the beta, my sentiments fall with the majority. Not only was this not the DOOM of my childhood, but this wasn’t anything worth being excited about. By attempting to attract Call of Duty and online FPS fans, id Software and Bethesda lost sight of what made DOOM special to all of us. Instead of trying to revive a title that many hold near and dear to our hearts, perhaps we should preserve its namesake by leaving it as a fond, first grade memory. Because, if there's one thing God Mode can't fix, it's a broken heart.