This is a new style of review that will be appearing every now and again where Rikki and I will be playing and reviewing games independently of each other and then placing them into one post. After we have gotten our thoughts down on the page, we will look at each others review and come up with a consensus between the two reviews. This week, we had a look at Doom for the PS4. -Steve
Let me start by saying that I have never played the original Doom, so apart from seeing some playthroughs on YouTube, I have no background or nostalgia with this game series. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the game. Let’s just boot it up here and play.
What is even on this disc? Is there even a game on here or did I just download the game by purchasing the disc? Anyway, getting past this annoyance and actually looking at the game. You get thrown into the game without any real idea of what is going on with the area apart that it went to Hell. Literally.
This is one of the true high points of this game in my opinion. A good shooter doesn’t really need a whole lot of story to get it going as long as the gameplay aspect of it makes up for it. The last shooter that really drew me in with the story was the first Call of Duty: Black Ops, but it is such an unneeded thing for a shooter in my opinion. I expect a good story when it is something along the lines of an RPG or some other adventure game but when there is a shooter, I don’t really need a good story to draw me along.
The story of Doom is definitely as crazy as you would expect from a game with demonic invasions. There is a woman who brought the Demons to our world in order to use as a power source or something along those lines. Honestly, I cared so little about the story that it was really hard to write anything about it here. Doom Guy has the exact reaction that I had about the story. He doesn’t care about what’s happening. His hate for Demons is the only thing he cares about and the only thing keeping him going. His family wasn’t killed by Demons, he doesn’t have some kind of deep investment in the technology. All he wants to do is kill Demons. This was so refreshing to have a character in the game to actually act out what I was thinking. When Doom Guy was checking out his armor and one of the characters (honestly, don’t even remember his name) is trying to tell me about what happened, all I could think of is how I wanted him to shut up. Then Doom Guy tossed the monitor aside. I laughed at that for a solid few minutes.
This aspect of the game is a double edged sword, however. Yeah, seeing the character not care about the story was amazing. But, by not having the player get invested, the game lost any staying power that it might have made with me. After playing 3 missions, I thought that I wasn’t going to see anything else regarding the combat that I hadn’t already seen. There are some collectables that sort of have you wanting to explore and go back to previous areas. But it wasn’t really enough to keep me coming back. So I stopped playing. Plus I got lost multiple times thanks to the bullshit map.
This game has a lot of things going for it. The shooting is quick and precise. The player feels like they have a lot of control of the character. The glory kills were absolutely amazing. The enemies are varied and require some amount of planning and skill. However, there isn’t really enough to keep me going past a few missions. And there is not a thing wrong with that. I may go back a few times and play it but it’s not really the type of game I’m going to sit down and play for 4 hours.
Total time played: Around 8 hours.
Distance into the story: 3 Missions.
There are good games. There are great games. And then there are legendary games. The first two Dooms fall under the latter. Along with Wolfenstein 3D, they changed video games forever and just about every shooter today owes something to id Software. Remember, before the genre became known as first-person shooters, any similoar games were called Doom clones. Both games played a huge role in my younger years and I still consider Doom 2 one of my all-time favorites.
Unfortunately, it sure seemed like the franchise was dead. There were rumblings about a fourth game in the series being stuck in development hell for years on end, which almost always ends in disaster (see; Nukem, Duke). My expectations were incredibly low when an actual release date was set. Then I saw some gameplay and was pleasantly surprised. Could it actually be good?
After hearing a lot of good things about Doom (why not just call it Doom 4?), I decided to give it a shot. After playing through the first mission, I couldn’t believe it… It was everything I wanted. It was a 90s shooter in 2016. You want a big story? Go play something else. Low on health? Go kill some enemies and heal up. For some reason you feel the need to reload? Too damn bad. Aiming down the sights? Nope. Just about everything that has become standard to the genre is tossed aside, bringing everything back to the basics. Nonlinear levels with secrets abound, waves and waves of demons, no rechargable shields, and carrying an inhuman amount of weapons at once.
That’s not to say Doom plays exactly like it did in 1993. It’s impossible for a lot of younger gamers to comprehend, but essentials like being able to jump and look around vertically weren’t in the first two games. On top of those obvious changes, there are plenty of other welcome additions that make Doom feel like the natural evolution of the series, rather than just any other generic modern shooter. Weakening enemies to the point of near-death allows the player to initiate a glory kill; short, close combat kills. Each enemy gives a different animation, as does the angle the player is attacking from. You’d think they’d get old after doing so many, but the fact that they’re practical (enemies killed this way always drop health) and only last about a second really helps. The chainsaw is now a useful weapon that can one-shot any enemy (aside from bosses), but essentially uses ammo. A far cry from being just a basic melee weapon. Most of the classic demons return (where were the arch-viles, arachnotrons, and pain elementals?) with familiar, though updated appearances and attacks. There are even a few new guns and enemies that feel at home in the Doom universe.
The most important addition is the customization though. Even the most old-school of games can’t ignore something like that. It gives the player incentive to complete the sets of challenges each mission offers and search for secrets. Each weapon can be modded to have a secondary shot or secondary function. Then each of these mods can be further upgraded. The customization doesn’t end with weapons though. There is plenty to do to improve your defenses as well. Health, armor, and ammo capacity can be increased to the point of doubling by the end of the campaign. There are also Rune Trials, which are mini-games that, on completion, give even more perks to the player. Everything can be changed to fit your play style.
While I don’t have a ton of negatives to say, there are a few things that should be mentioned. This isn’t the type of game you’ll be playing for hours on end. There’s no major story to pull you in and keep you interested and gunning down monsters can only go so far. It’s something you’d play in bursts, maybe one or two missions at a time. Everything else involves comparing it to its predecessors. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded even less story. I’d prefer the old school approach of “shit’s gone belly up, kill everything in your way and find the exit, no questions asked.” Less objectives could have led to more, yet smaller scale levels. The music could have been heavier and more at the forefront. Obviously, the same songs probably couldn’t be used or id Software and Bethesda would be sued out of existence by Metallica, Slayer, and Pantera. Also, I know fighting the forces of Hell isn’t particularly uplifting, but I wouldn’t have minded a little more color. It seemed like each mission was 80% brown. Don’t get me wrong, the settings and imagery looked awesome and felt like Doom, but it could have been a little more vibrant and bright. Again, these “issues” are mainly just me complaining that a game released in 2016 is different than ones that came out over 20 years ago, so take them with a grain of salt.
As a lifelong fan of the series, I loved Doom. It felt a love letter to those of us who grew up with the originals, rather than as a quick cash grab trying to take advantage of a fanbase. It doesn’t break any new ground and is a simple, mindless game where you kill everything in sight. If you want depth, look elsewhere. If you want to relive the fast-paced, fun 90’s shooters, you can’t do much better in this day and age. With a cliffhanger ending, I’m looking forward to the sequel. Just… don’t name it Doom 2…
Total time played: Around 12 hours.
Distance into the story: Story completed.
S: So I thought that the game was good for what it was trying to achieve but the lack of replayability really killed it for me.
R: I partly agree with Steve. I thought it was great, but not the type of game I’d play more than once. It was a really fun nostalgia kick but didn’t have a ton of staying power. Good for what it is.
S: And I think that you hit it on the head there with nostalgia. I had literally no background with this game or any of the other Doom style games growing up. So coming from more of a Call of Duty background into this was honestly jarring.
R: The times have changed from frantic, fast paced shooters to more strategic and tactical games that require a little more thinking.
S: Not only the shooting but how you just moved throughout the levels was very different. Most modern shooters are more linear in their approach on how to progress but this one had you traveling all over a map. I couldn’t even imagine having a map in modern shooters. That being said, the shooting in Doom was much better than the shooting in most modern first-person shooters I feel.
R: Older games were all about exploring. Not much story could be told, so traveling in a straight line wouldn’t have made for a very fun time. It was all about finding the end of each level.
S: That is very true, and by what you are saying, Doom seems to be a pretty good representation of those older shooters. The people who would be purchasing this game would be in the perfect age range to really hit that nostalgia. At the very least, even if I wouldn’t necessarily play this game again, it made me interested in maybe looking at some of those older Doom games.
R: The first two pretty much set the standard for the genre and are always worth looking back on. They hold up pretty well, too. Gotta respect your elders, Steve.
S: Not only looking back on Doom, but I feel as though I missed out somewhat on what made this particular era great in terms of gaming. I really only played a handful of games growing up but I played them each many times. By playing this new Doom, especially talking about it with someone who played the originals so much, I feel as though I will be definitely looking back at some of those older games now as an adult.
R: It was a fun time. Shooters were extremely simple. Point your gun and shoot monsters. Don’t need to worry about reloading, managing your inventory, using items… Just run and shoot your way to the exit in each level. Nothing more.
S: So, as you can tell, we both had things we liked and didn’t like about this game. Some of these things weighed more on what we thought than others. Definitely check it out if you grew up in that era of gaming and maybe check it out if you aren’t. Either way, you are going to have some fun killing demons.