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Doom (2016) Review: Must-See Details & Screenshots



Whether or not the Doom reboot is for you will depend a lot on your expectations. True believers who have waited for years for id Software to come back and reclaim the FPS throne with a new Doom game will find much to love, proclaiming its fast-paced, throwback mechanics as a revelation. Gamers weaned on slower-paced, cover-focused shooters such as Call of Duty and Gears of War will dismiss it as an overly simplistic throwback. But the one group the game is sure to please is the modder community, thanks to the well thought-out, fully featured level editor that lets creative gamers craft some amazing work — some of it likely better than the tepid campaign that the developers themselves cranked out.

Game: Doom
Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: id Software
Release Date: May 13

Doom works best when it plays to its built-in base of gamers who ate up the original Doom games as teenagers and now, in middle age, are looking to reconnect with their youth. It’s an easy audience to please, but the level of quality here is significantly higher than what you’d see in, say, the 2011 Duke Nukem Forever reboot. But nor does the new Doom match the creativity or relevance of the rejuvenated Wolfenstein series. There is fan service and gratuitous callbacks around every corner, up to and including a segment with retro graphics that bring back nostalgia for the clunky, choppy earliest days of multiplayer FPS action.

It’s one thing to hand longtime fans what they want, but way trickier to keep the old feel intact while integrating innovations that boost the franchise to modern standards. While the game looks as gorgeous as any shooter you’ll find on the market, its stiff mechanics are way too much like the older Doom games in the worst of ways. Cheap, nagging enemies, irritatingly distant checkpoints and monotonous level design have you shaking your head as often as pumping your fist. There are crowd-pleasing set pieces meant to match the best that Call of Duty has to offer and rapid multiplayer action that recalls Halo at its highest of highs, but as a whole, the game feels out of touch and sloppier than it could be. The result is a lukewarm effort that runs as hot and cold as id’s al-but-forgotten 2011 attempt at reinvention, Rage.

If Doom manages to find its legs, it will be in the mod community. SnapMap, which allows you to access the suite of tools that seems to be close to what id’s developers were working with, is bound to yield mesmerizing works of art and levels that will surpass most anything found in the single-player content on the disc. While paid expansions are promised, particularly on the multiplayer end, there’s little reason to believe they won’t be more of the same. There’s little doubt OG gamers who have a hard time hanging with youngsters in the Call of Duty or League of Legends arenas will have a joyous time messing around in what amounts to the shallow end of multiplayer shooters — complete with camper-friendly spawn points and corn maze-like free-for-all murderfest maps — but serious gamers will have a hard time finding a reason to put in time online.

Doom figures to be pegged as a flop by some, but that assessment isn’t quite fair. You know pretty much everything you’re in for here just by glancing at the trailers, and as long as you expect no more than a silly, old-fashioned romp you won’t be disappointed. Any hopes that Doom would be a grand reinvention were too far-fetched to take seriously, and it’s just naive to expect a series like this to suddenly evolve into something its not. Whining about the lack of depth or strategy in a Doom game is like complaining about a weak story in a Mario adventure or the lack of circular-shaped blocks in Tetris. Come for the simplistic campaign, dabble in the manic multiplayer and stick around for the promise of the SnapMap creations.

ORDER: Doom here

Doom Guide

For detailed maps of all the Easter eggs and other secrets in the game, check out Prima’s official guide, which also comes with an electronic copy. There are also multiplayer tips and a full campaign walkthrough. You can order it online here.

Doom Reviews Around The Web:

“It’s hard to shake the feeling that something’s not quite right.” –Kotaku

“It feels more like Halo than Doom.” –VG 24/7

“No shortage of demonic hellspawn exploding into bloody gibs.” –Polygon

Doom Screenshots

The publisher provided a review copy. 

COED Writer
Watches movies and games for work, then watches more movies and plays more games on his downtime. A movie and video game critic since 2001, Phil is the author of Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, Stormin' Mormon and Zeta Male. Twitter: @philvillarreal