To be honest, I was really excited regarding the newest chapter of the DOOM series when Bethesda announced it last year. I mean, it was DOOM, a game that I spent the majority of gaming time as a young PC gamer. In fact, DOOM was one of the reasons why I got so devoted to PC gaming and while I took an interest in map design. However it seemed like the more I saw of the game, the more I was getting discouraged that the game wasn’t going to be any good. And then Bethesda went ahead and released a multiplayer beta of the game, which reminded me more of Quake than of DOOM. DOOM wasn’t known for it’s multiplayer unless you’re talking about co-op that was featured in several versions of the game.
So what was I to do? Either not get the game and be happy I didn’t waste my money like I did on some games which I simply refuse to mention anymore or jump on the bandwagon and snag a copy of DOOM for cheap, hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed. What to do, what to do. In the end, I did what any fan of DOOM would do, I took a chance and I’ve been grinning ear to ear ever since last night.
While DOOM has modern updated graphics and several new gimmicks, the underlying game that we all remember is thankfully intact. The game is fast paced, hectic and is very reminiscent of the old school DOOM. Combat is visceral and full of gore, there are tons of enemies to mow down and there is never a dull moment in the game, well unless you’re backtracking or looking for secrets. And with the addition of vertical level design, you’re also able to jump from a much higher ledge to lay waste to anyone below you or even if you need to get the hell out of the way before you die. Really happy how it turned out as I was really dreading the combat. Turns out its way better than most were expecting, especially since reviewers didn’t get access to their review code for the PC until today.
Similar to the other DOOM games before this one, there also includes multiple levels of difficulty, including a locked Ultra-Nightmare. In order to unlock it, you most beat the game in Nightmare mode first and let me be the first to tell you, it is really kicking my ass. Though I remember ID Software saying that they weren’t even able to beat the game on it’s hardest setting, so that should be a welcome challenge for the hardest of the hardcore gamer.
In addition, there are tons of secrets and easter eggs to find. I’m sure by now you’ve heard and seen the Terminator 2 easter egg, in which the DOOM marine falls into the lava and sinks, but not before giving the gamer a thumbs up. But getting back to the secrets, they’re really hard to find, but if you do you’ll be rewarded for going off the beaten path. I’ve managed to find several, which gave me access to guns that I wouldn’t have had until much later. The story isn’t anything super exciting but the narrative makes it easier to digest and for the most part, it works.
However what really has me excited is more regarding the performance of the game. Since I’m playing on the PC, I’m really happy to see that Bethesda and ID Software haven’t neglected the PC gamer this time around. Sure we’re running on the ID Tech 6 game engine, though there is a vast amount of options to choose from as well as widescreen monitor support. Yes, widescreen support! They’ve even included multiple ratios, ranging from 16:9, 16:10, 21:9 and even 25:16. I’ve tested all of those and they work surprisingly without any tweaks required from me. The game even supports an uncapped frame rate, something that 144mhz monitor owners will love to know. There’s even a built-in FPS meter that not only shows your frames per second but also how much strain the game is putting on your GPU, CPU, and average frame rate. This is something that every game developer needs to take some notes and make this more commonplace. Regarding SLI, it isn’t officially supported in the game, though it does work. However, it has been stated that official SLI support is indeed coming, which is fantastic. Fans of Wolfstein and Return to Wolfenstein will remember that there was no SLI due to the ID Tech 5 engine, but it’s looking like won’t be an issue with ID Tech 6. That’s freaking fantastic news!
Sadly, Vulkan didn’t make it into the game but it will be patched in at a later date.
SLI support is coming – stay tunned
— Tiago Sousa (@idSoftwareTiago) May 13, 2016
And don’t worry if your PC can’t handle the high or ultra settings, as the medium settings also look pretty damned good. I’ve tested this on a lower spec PC (Phenom II X4 945 + GTX 970) that I keep around for mid and low range testing and was able to hit a respective 1080p at 60FPS on medium. Being a father who games, I got kids who play with me and if their PC can’t keep up, they make sure they let me know. Since my kids also like to use gamepads in certain games as opposed to keyboard and mouse, that also means I had to test out how the game plays with a gamepad and it nailed it. I had zero issues aiming with the gamepad, so all you controller users will be right at home here.
Finally, be sure to update your graphic drivers. Both Nvidia and AMD put out new drivers today, so make sure you update them. At least on the Nvidia side of things there was some FPS improvement. However I don’t own any AMD cards anymore, so I can’t confirm if there has been any improvement or not. I’d like to think there would be at least.
It isn’t perfect, however, as I did experience multiple crashes while playing. After one of the crashes, the game ran like pure crap until I rebooted my PC and the issue went away. The frame rate is also inconsistent depending on what you change your settings to and how many enemies are on the screen at once. So for those are trying to min/max their gaming experience, don’t get too disappointed. Even my setup which is pretty beefy ran into some issues. I noticed that even on ultra settings that some textures weren’t either loading or looked low resolution and while it wasn’t common, I expect ultra settings to be just that. I also hate the fact that every time I start the game I have to sit through 30 seconds to a minute of logs and disclaimer text. Please add an option to bypass this.
Regarding the online / multiplayer portion, I haven’t tried it out yet as I wanted to focus on the single player campaign first. I wasn’t too thrilled with the online during the beta, however, I definitely will give it a try. However since this was merely an impression of the game after 5 hours, I’ll save that for the review which we’re working on and will have up later on. Though if you’re feeling lucky and want to go a few rounds with me, I’m always down for some co-op gaming.
All in all, I’m damn happy I pulled the trigger on DOOM. As someone who grew up on DOOM, this takes me back. Which is something that DOOM 3 didn’t do for me. So if you were on the fence about picking up DOOM, I hope that my impressions on the game so far have helped you out. And should you have a question about the PC version, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
Now if you don’t mind, I got to get back to the game.