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Doom Review – Hell Ain’t a Bad Place

There have been a ton of first person shooters released over the years and all of them owe their existence to the one and only Doom. While Doom didn’t create the FPS genre, it popularized it like none before and was the basis of similar games for many years. This latest installment in the series takes things back to basics and is arguably the most fun FPS released within the last decade.

What was great about Doom and its sequel, Doom II, was their relative simplicity. You’re a space marine that has to battle demons on Mars and Hell itself. This new game doesn’t stay true to this formula. While this stunts the game’s depth, it does keep the experience nicely focused. I found this refreshing even though I generally desire more variety in games.

DOOM Cacodemons

Since killing waves of monsters is at the core of Doom, id Software made sure that this aspect was appropriately satisfying. Killing enemies with the shotgun never gets old, and each of the other weapons, save for the cheap handgun, offers similar degrees of delight. You haven’t lived until you take a rusty chainsaw and carve a giant demon in half.

The new glory kills — cinematic kills where you rip, tear, and stomp foes — is a great addition not only because of how gruesomely awesome the animations are, but because they give you a brief moment of respite from the madness. Since you are invulnerable during a glory kill, you have time to assess the situation around you and determine your next course of action. Glory kills offer health or armor so it’s also beneficial to do as many of them as needed.

Doom is known for its excessive violence but it had more to offer than that. In particular, each level was filled with many hidden secrets for players to discover. This new Doom is no different in that regard. Carefully examining every corner will often net you upgrades that will help you survive a bit longer. The game’s map is set up in a way that makes it easy to locate hidden items. Best of all, you can now jump (or double jump) to areas, offering up even more places to search.

DOOM - Boss Demon

As fun as the game can be, it does tend to get a bit repetitive 2/3 of the way in. The game settles into a predictable pattern of: enter new room, kill demons, find key to unlock next room, kill more demons, open up another room, ect. Though things do turn around with the final two stages, both of which have very cool boss battles, it would have benefitted the game if it were three or four chapters shorter.

If you need a break from the main campaign, you can spend some time with the game’s multiplayer mode and SnapMap level editor. Multiplayer has a total of eight different modes where you and others can blast the holy hell out of each other. This mode retains the frantic nature of the campaign and almost has a Quake-ish feel to it. You can also turn into a demon when you touch runes, something that is always fun. This mode isn’t exactly for guys like me who prefer the single player experience but competitive-heads will have a blast with multiplayer.

As for the SnapMap, it’s a rather robust level editor that lets you make your own Doom maps. For someone like me who isn’t into creating levels, this whole thing was very overwhelming since there are so many options. Not only can you make rooms in any configuration that you want and stuff it with all manner of items, you can also place demons inside of the levels and give them specific behavior patterns. For tinkerers, this mode will provide countless hours of entertainment. Best of all, you can upload your creations online and play levels from other players.

We haven’t had many FPS games like this recently so in that sense, Doom makes for a nice change of pace. Though it can become a bit repetitive, it is still one of the most fun experiences you’ll have with a game this year. Whether you’re a fan of the original or just jumping into the franchise with this title, you should definitely check out Doom.

This review of Doom is based on a digital copy for the PlayStation 4 that was paid for out-of-pocket.

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