DOOM. A franchise near and dear to the hearts of many gamers that spent their formative years in the soda induce haze of the 90s. I can vividly remember booting up the 386DX that I’d cobbled together from a combination of found parts and Radio Shack shopping trips, and playing games like Star Wars: Dark Forces. And DOOM. The first iteration of this fabled franchise was really something special, and not entirely because it was hyper-violent and involved undoing the hierarchy of hell with little more than a shotgun and a chainsaw. But honestly, that was most of it.
For those of you unfamiliar with this franchise, I’d invite you to leave if I didn’t sorely need the audience. For those of you who are familiar with DOOM, you once again take up the mantle of the nameless Marine and set out on a quest to rid Mars of demonic infestation. To their credit (mostly), id really tried to inject a robust narrative into the game this time around, with story bits that bordered on the kind of self-aware wall breaking we’ve seen in things like Deadpool. But basically, science has yet again overextended it’s reach on Mars by creating Argent Energy, a limitless energy derived from the Hell dimension. Greed eventually leads the scientists to reach too far, and demons manage to make their way into our world.
I feel like the most important thing I can impart to any of you in this review is how fantastic the shooting is. Given how much of it you’ll be doing throughout the course of the game, this weighs very heavily on my opinion of the game, and they absolutely nailed it. The combat in the game in general is fun, fast and frenetic and the various guns at your disposal only add to this fun and the unbridled carnage. Your arsenal consists of the old DOOM standbys such as the rocket launcher, plasma rifle, and the super shotgun; though there are many more included throughout the game. Where DOOM 2016 diverges a bit from the standard DOOM path, however, is in it’s upgrade system. Weapons can be equipped with one of two mods that affect how they behave in combat; for example, the rocket launcher can either be fitted with a manual detonation ability so that you can detonate rockets you’ve fired, or it can be fitted with a “lock-on burst” mod that allows you to lock onto a demonic enemy and launch three rockets at them. Both can be purchased and swapped to at will, so you will never feel as though you’re locked out of one path or another.
Similarly, your character’s abilities can be upgraded in a variety of ways, but primarily these will be through the use of Argent Cells and Demonic Runes. Argent Cells give you a flat boost to either Health, Armor or Ammo, and can be found throughout the levels in hidden spots. Demonic Runes are gained by accessing Trials that require you to complete a specific goal in a timed environment; for example, you’re teleported to a room where you must kill 15 demons with the super shotgun in 30 seconds. Success will reward you with a rune that will have one of several effects, and you can equip up to three at a time. Praetor Tokens are also found throughout the game’s levels, and allow you to change things like your ammo pickup radius, aerial control over double jumping, and so on.
If you’re a fan of FPS or action games in general, then you really need to look no further than this gem of a shooter. It seems fitting to me that DOOM should have such a strong return to form, and even more fitting that I found it so incredibly enjoyable. I was instantly reminded of the fun I’d experienced when booting it up back in the day, and now I get to enjoy that same fun with fantastic visuals and a killer soundtrack. It’s my opinion that this game is worth at least every penny you’ll spend on it.