PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Two and a half stars
Before Halo, before Call of Duty, Wolfenstein and Doom defined the trigger-happy first-person shooter genre more than 20 years ago.
While the former received a thoughtful reimagining in 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, the same can’t be said for Doom.
The new game sticks closely to the wacky plot of the 1993 original. Once again, players take on the role of an unnamed space marine crudely blasting his way across Mars, where hellish demons of all shapes and sizes are pouring out of gaping interdimensional holes.
Best not to think too much about the story, then. This is a game about shooting everything that moves until nothing is left moving. There are no moral quandaries, no battlefield allies, no brain-teasing puzzles and no interactive cut scenes. This updated Doom has the high- definition polish of a modern- day shooter – but in all other respects, it is unapologetically rooted in the 1990s.
All the weapons a diehard Doom devotee could desire are present.
There’s the rocket launcher, super shotgun, chainsaw and – of course – the BFG (for the uninitiated, this is the signature weapon of the series – a really big gun).
Other than allowing players to upgrade their arsenal and armour, the only innovation to the point-and-shoot approach is a new melee-combat system that makes this already gory franchise even more violent. Now, players can recharge themselves by initiating a “glory kill” when adjacent monsters are close to death.
While hardcore shooter fans may balk at needing to holster their weapons to snap a succubus’ neck or rip off a devil’s horns, frequent and fast dismemberment is key to keeping the action frenetic and your health bar filled – and it is not any more monotonous than repeatedly shooting zombified hordes in the head. It’s sort of grotesquely thrilling, actually.
The levels are well designed and filled with fun secrets to discover between firefights. Alas, they are not very visually interesting to look at when your finger is off the trigger. There is little variation and they all sport a colour palette that one might find inside a bathroom stall at a dive bar.
The soullessness extends to the soundtrack, which sounds like it was crafted by someone holding out hope for a Korn reunion. Composer Mick Gordon’s score is a hot mess: a disjointed mix of industrial guitar riffs bordering on parody, when paired with the guttural grunts from the hellspawn.
Looking beyond the single-player campaign, a multiplayer mode feels more like a Quake clone than the latest in a series that pioneered the way gamers play together online.
The exceptions are the promising “snapmap” level creation tool, and the compelling “freeze tag” mode in which teams must work together to simultaneously encase opponents in ice and thaw out friends.
Overall, Doom isn’t a bad game. This revamped instalment definitely captures the frenzied, bloodthirsty spirit of what made id Software’s original Doom and Doom II hallmarks of the genre. It’s a heck of a shooter – unfortunately, it’s also stuck in the past.
Source: art & life