Having previously bought Doom (UAC Pack Edition) from GAME for less than £38 on launch, I quickly discovered that it adheres to much of what typifies a conventional iD game – ie it looks great and has great combat mechanics that only reminds one of iD’s status as the pioneers of first person shooter gaming, but lacks an engaging story so as to hook players in further. Well, at least that’s my experience with the game as I find that it only really lends itself towards quick “pick up and play” sessions, and isn’t really designed at all for extended play-throughs. Doom‘s not Fallout 4 in other words.
Now don’t get me wrong… Doom is a fine game, and as people have already mentioned on forums, is a welcome return to back to basics old-school gaming. But as someone who loves Wolfenstein: The New Order, ZeniMax Sweden AB (formerly Machine Games) were also able to prove that you can take a legacy franchise (one that was created by the masters of the FPS genre) and give it enough modern bells and whistles so as to ensure that it comes across as a work of art. Indeed, Arthur Gies (of Polygon) stated that “The New Order‘s got all the workings of a classic shooter. But in their trip back to the well, Machine Games has brought all of its talents to bear. The New Order is held together, even rocketed beyond the basic sum of its smart levels and effective mechanics, by its characters. That humanity takes what would be a good shooter and makes it something truly memorable“.
That “humanity” isn’t something that’s so easily found in Doom, although this glaring omission is really something that I should have already anticipated as the studio isn’t really renowned for emphasising story or characterisation in its games. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because as Cal (from GRcade) states, Doom is “just an appreciation of a simple idea executed near-perfectly. There’s a lot to be said for stripping the whole FPS thing back to basics and then dressing up a few simple but endlessly enjoyable game mechanics in all that contemporary game tech has to offer. I guess it’s just refreshing, in large part, to an audience that has perhaps become a little jaded and cynical in the past few years. iD bat one out of the park from leftfield and suddenly everyone remembers what it is they used to love about a certain type of game. It won’t ever have the same resonance as it once did, but I think it’s nice to be reminded, every so often, that sometimes the old ideas can still work. Perhaps Doom (2016) is a guilty pleasure in that respect“.
I probably expected too much, as I’d already been spoilt with what ZeniMax Sweden AB was able to accomplish with Wolfenstein: The New Order. Indeed, as my favourite games reviewer Simon Parkin (in his 4/5 Star review for The Guardian) so eloquently said: “Temper your expectations, accept that you’re essentially blasting cans off a fence, and Doom is, unexpectedly, the best shooter of 2016 so far“.
Doom is a good game, and I would also give it a rating of 4 out of 5. Because at the end of the day, and even if the game doesn’t have a great story, what it does have is really good shooter mechanics. Doom‘s also got a really good soundtrack. Not to mention a custom map-making tool (called SnapMap) that potentially allows gamers to experience hundreds of hours of user generated content, with some of those maps being really good.