On April 15, 2015 iD Software and Certain Affinity released the Doom open beta for the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. This gore-filled first person shooter feels more fast paced than a modern FPS. Fans of the Doom series may complain that it is not a traditional Arena Shooter like the previous games and instead takes on more modern FPS mechanics. In my opinion, Doom maintains an old school feel while adopting modern FPS elements.
The Doom beta includes two multiplayer modes of classic Team Deathmatch and Warpath, on two maps called Heatwave and Infernal. Warpath is a mode where teams fight to control a moving zone. You can choose from three basic classes including Sniper, Assault and Ambusher. Players do not regenerate health but there are health, ammo and armor pick ups around the map. There’s no reloading or sprinting so if you’re accustomed to modern FPS this may take a bit of adjusting. I enjoyed this aspect because pushing forward without having to hide behind cover keeps every second of a match exciting.
Unlike traditional arena shooters where players fight over weapons placed around the map, the Doom beta includes loadouts, hack modules and you start off with two weapons of choice. Hack modules are one time use buffs that give you a timer for increased armor, indicate enemy health or locate power gear. The beta offers a limit of 8 weapons making it relatively easy to pick your loadout, which will most likely include the most iconic weapon in the series, the “super shotgun.” The weapons don’t feel as powerful as they did in previous Doom games.
For example, the super shotgun takes multiple shots from close range to kill your opponent and if you shoot an enemy with the rocket launcher, one would expect to see pieces of their body parts falling onto the ground. Instead your rocket launcher will produce a maximum damage output of about 55. Some traditional arena shooter qualities Doom sustains is that there are pick ups such as the Gauss Cannon and Demon Rune. Players with the demon power up transform into a rocket launcher wielding Revenant equipped with a jet pack. With increased health and improved weapons, the team with the Demon Rune is almost guaranteed to win. The Demon Rune’s will be placed on hard to reach areas of the map but it will be worth it.
Graphics & Sound: Blood, Lava & Halo
If you’re looking for familiarity, the level design in Doom will feel reminiscent of previous games in the series. While each map is small, they are splendidly decorated in blood and lava. The small maps flatter the fast paced gameplay, allowing opportunities to corner enemies at close range (preferably with the super shotgun).
The character design doesn’t feel as dark or gritty and the armor looked way too similar to Halo. On a positive note, there is character customization which is always welcomed. After unlocking more customization options I was able to make my armor look more dirty and worn to compliment the setting.
In terms of sound the matches are fairly silent with no audio in the background. Instead matches are limited to the sound of gunfire and the commentator.
If you are accustomed to playing old school arena shooters, Doom may feel like a downgrade with sluggish shooting and not as strong power weapons. If you are used to playing modern FPS shooters, this game will feel brutal and fast. Doom can be a disappointment if you’re aiming to feel nostalgia. Overall the multiplayer was entertaining, but I’m more looking forward to the story mode.
Doom will release for all platforms on May 13, 2016.