Out of all of the titles that released this year, DOOM is without a doubt a stand out game and an excellent return for the series.
After the more claustrophobic, horror-oriented DOOM 3, this 2016 reboot offers the same fast-paced, non-stop gameplay that fans of the classic DOOM titles will feel right at home with. The constant rapid movement and lack of reloading means that the gameplay never slows down and you are constantly moving around avoiding the many enemies you will encounter. The lack of industry-standard regenerating health means that hiding behind a chest-high wall waiting to heal up is no longer an option, forcing you to get into the action. This adds a risk factor as health can go down rapidly if you stay in the same place and don’t take full advantage of the terrain that has been laid out before you.
The campaign has two settings you regularly alternate between. Starting on the UAC Base on Mars and then eventually teleporting to and from Hell.
The story begins with you waking up on the UAC base shortly before discovering that Mars is being invaded by the forces of Hell and it is up to you to stop them and regain control of the facility. Although the story takes a back seat next to the action, really DOOM is one of those games where the story doesn’t matter and is just there to join the dots between gameplay.
DOOM also heavily focuses on exploration. Going off the beaten track and exploring hidden areas can yield great rewards, from ammo and armour to weapon upgrades and praetor suit upgrade tokens. The newly included double jump ability makes for more opportunities for exploration (a change from the original which didn’t allow you to jump at all).
There are two new additions to the game. The first comes in the form of an underwhelming multiplayer mode which unfortunately is forgettable with a basic range of modes on offer and it gives you the impression it was only included because it is industry standard to have multiplayer modes in first person shooters.
The second feature is the SnapMap editor which allows you to create your own missions and upload them for others to play. You can either use the templates provided or start from scratch. You can add various different room layouts to your map. You can add a mixture of enemies, hidden areas, items and weapons etc. The basic design of SnapMap will be familiar to those who have played games such as the Little Big Planet series and also to those who have played games with user generated content within them such as Infamous 2 and the FarCry games. This feature is a unique addition to the game and there are some very interesting levels out there which are available to play now with regular competitions for whoever creates the best levels.
DOOM (2016) is a very welcome addition to the series. The open design and timeless mechanics make this game an instant classic and even a potential contender for my game of the year. After well over 30 hours of trying to find every secret and collectable the game has to offer I’m still not remotely bored of my experience and with the brilliantly crafted SnapMap editor I can guarantee that DOOM will be on my shelf for many months to come.