DOOM Reviews

Titanium Dragon
Titanium Dragon
TSA Score for this game: 473
Posted on 17 May 17 at 10:21
This review has 3 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
DOOM is a reboot of DOOM, one of the first really popular first person shooters from, oh, the early 1990s. The original DOOM blew people away with its pseudo-3D graphics and gameplay. The 2016 DOOM is hoping to blow audiences away with a game with amazing graphics and gameplay which harkens back to the 1990s.

It succeeds, albeit incompletely – as while the game is quite good at times, it also reminds us all of exactly why things changed, and it isn’t nearly as memorable as I would have expected.

DOOM has a very old school aesthetic in some ways. Gone is reloading – you can fire all of your weapons until you are out of ammunition. Gone is a limitation on weapons carried – you eventually tote around ten primary weapons, most of which have two weapon attachments which change their alternative fire, as well as three equipment items, two of which are grenades and one of which is a hologram used to draw enemy fire. There is no regenerating health – instead, ammunition is lying around the levels in boxes lying on the ground, there are health packs and armor packs lying around, and in a few areas there are temporary power-ups such as quad damage, invincibility, haste, and similar things which make you that much more powerful for a short period of time.

Coupled to this is always running around the level by default, the ability to pull yourself up to platforms, the ability to double jump (eventually), and a general run-and-gun style of gameplay as the demons try to close in from all angles due to the design of various areas, forcing you to keep moving if you don’t want an enemy to attack you from behind. Some of the later enemies have pretty high health as well, further encouraging you to run around as if you stay in place, they will get to you before you kill them.

The enemies in the game have okay if not amazing variety – there’s over a dozen kinds of enemies, from agile imps which throw ranged attacks at you and attack you sometimes, to enemies with shields, to a couple varieties of flying enemies (one a suicidal kamikaze, one a ranged attacker), a few big ground melee demons, a couple big ranged demons, and some big mixed-ranged demons. While these are okay in terms of variety, it isn’t great, and the game stops introducing new demons about halfway through. This is unfortunate, as beyond that point, the only “new demons” are a couple of remixes of older ones (which aren’t that new feeling), as well as three bosses which, while okay, are not exactly amazing.

Sadly, this leads the game to feel a bit stale after a while – once you’ve unlocked all the weapons and fought all the enemy types, there’s about half a dozen levels left in the game for you to fight through. Worse, the game gets quite a bit easier at that point, both because there’s nothing new to throw at you, as well as because you just continually get more and more overpowered as you unlock more powers for your weapon secondary fires and various static bonuses continue to accrue in the forms of adjustable powers from unlockable runes which you acquire in various levels, as well as the upgrades to your armor abilities and base health and armor. The BFG is almost comically overpowered, and the chainsaw, while limited in ammunition, ensures that you never run out of ammo of anything important. Indeed, in some of the later portions of the game you can unlock rune combinations which effectively give you infinite ammo and make it very easy to maintain tons of health and armor, making the game almost trivial in some places, while the BFG can be used to bail you out of any seriously difficult situation – including the bosses.

Additionally, running around and picking up ammo and health and armor, while it feels novel at first, is actually kind of tedious. Worse, it actually highlights one of the problems of many modern games with collectables – secrets seem like this really cool thing, but in practice they end up slowing down gameplay as you wander around hunting for them. This results in the game’s pacing, which is pretty solid if you just play through, being interrupted at times by wandering around looking for resources and secrets.

This really just kind of highlights why some of the old DOOM things aren’t done anymore – hunting down ammo, armor, and health packs just isn’t that fun, and secret hunting can interrupt the flow of the game’s otherwise pretty intense gameplay.

That being said, this game is pretty fun for a good chunk of its run. The story, while nothing special, works pretty well, the DOOM Marine’s attitude towards mission control is kind of amusing as he starts off by smashing a few screens which try to deliver exposition at the player, there are only a limited number of cutscenes to interrupt the flow of the game, and the actual run-around-and-shoot-demons-that-are-spawning-constantly gameplay works pretty well, forcing the player to keep moving to avoid getting flanked.

Alas, I think this game outstayed its welcome – I had to force myself to beat the last few levels, which just didn’t do anything terribly fresh or interesting. Worse, I feel like the game is not actually particularly memorable – I remember a couple of things from the game, such as the introduction, as well as the first boss in the game, but a lot of the game is something of a blur. While aesthetically pleasing, there weren’t very many moments from this game which were actually memorable, and in retrospect most of the game is a bloody blur of blood-stained halls and ripping demons apart with my armored hands.

Still, I can’t say that it was bad. It was just not amazing. If you’re looking for something that looks great, plays in a sort of updated retro manner without being too attached to the past, and think that chainsawing demons in half and ripping them apart with your bare hands is fun, this might be up your alley. If you’re looking for in-depth character motivations, or are annoyed by games sort of stalling out a bit about two-thirds of the way through in terms of enemy variety, this might not be as optimal a fit.
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The Horror Network
The Horror Network
TSA Score for this game: 504
Posted on 16 June 17 at 02:26
This review has 1 positive vote and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Doom is a franchise that needs absolutely no introduction. It is id Software's title that revolutionized the shooter genre, and made way for the future of PC gaming. It's hard to imagine that we have gone from an early 3D MS DOS game that was released in 1993 on 4 floppy disks, to a 50GB, fully decked out, OpenGL bloodbath of carnage in 2016. For fans of the game like myself, this is a concept that is beyond all thought recognition; in a sense, it's simply a dream come true.

Doom 2016 is a massive reboot of the original game that finally adds a detailed plot and story. Sure, back in the day there were book fillers for these unrefined aspects of the 1993 title, but to actually have it implemented into the game itself is glorious. The Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) facility on Mars has been overrun by powerful demons. You are the lone Doom Marine, half of your crew is dead and the other half have been possessed, and it is your task to put a stop to these forces of Hell before they reach Earth.

First off, the optimization in this game is incredible. Even playing with an R9 290x 4GB card, I was able to maintain a consistent 80-120 FPS with everything on high settings. Even when I did end up finding my FPS dipping into the 40's, there was zero stuttering; if I hadn't been looking, I would've never even noticed the frame drop. Everything is so fluid and smooth, it's hands down the best optimized AAA release that I've played on PC in years. Yes, the game has had some bugs within various missions at launch, but they have since been ironed out of its initial release, and quickly I may add. Now with Vulcan support, those with older hardware can still enjoy amazingly butter-like frames.

Both the environments and enemies are lavishly detailed, and it showcases just how far our current gaming generation can push itself while still being able to run on graphics cards that are 4-5+ years old. Although initially I felt that the UAC facility was entirely too pristine and shiny, it makes sense in the long run for the area to be so clean; not enough time has passed for it to become corroded and broken down. As well, it really clashes against the latter levels where you actually venture to gore-soaked, blood-drenched areas that house rotten carcasses and all sorts of skeletal remains. Not all of your adventure will be in doors, either, and you will get to step your virtual feet onto the surface of not only Mars, but Hell itself.

At first I was worried that Doom 2016 would be nothing more than an arena, wave based type reboot, but the gameplay here does hold up strong. At some points, it does feel somewhat wave based, as hordes of enemies shove themselves through spawn points and portals in hopes to tear you limb from limb. However, there are plenty of areas where there are just a few foes scattered here and there. Almost all of the combat segments are a fast flurry of adrenaline pumping mayhem, and you must stay alert and focused if you truly wish to outlive the onslaught.

All of the fan-favorite demons from Doom 1 and 2 have returned to this reboot. There are a plethora of Imps and Lost Souls that will haunt your every movement, Cacodemons will blur your vision if their powerful projectile hits you, flying Revenants are ever at the ready, may the odds be ever in your favor if you get both a Baron of Hell and Mancubus after you, and the newly named "Summoner" is really an Arch-Vile in disguise. There are some new additions though, primarily the deadly Hell Razer and Hell Guard. Each foe is deadly in its own way, even the weak Possessed, especially if you get caught up within a group.

Along with the enemies, Doom 2016 houses all of the original well-loved weapons, including the BFG, and even some new ones; the one-shot, one-kill Gauss Cannon, multiple grenade types, a lightning gun, heavy assault rifle, and many more including multiplayer exclusives. Multiplayer itself can be quite fun, but as always it depends on the group of people that you get paired with. I've only tested out the Team Deathmatch personally, as it's one of my favorite online match types. Multiplayer is fast and ferocious, where it's every man for himself. There's a leveling system, and the further that you level-up, the more guns, armor, loadouts, taunts, and more that you unlock. Beware, as it is not your standard online shooter, in many instances Demon Runes are spawned and players can then transform into a variety of entities that are, again, unlocked based upon your level.

The fun doesn't stop there, id Software and Bethesda have ensured that you will not run out of fun after you've experienced the 10+ hour campaign and multiplayer grinding. There is a Snapmap mode, wherein you are able to not only build your own custom Doom maps, but play maps that other gamers have published. While the market is saturated with bad ones, there are hundreds of top quality maps that range from emulating old Doom 1 and 2 levels, to custom built story maps. There are literally hundreds of hours to be spent with this title, in one way or another, depending on what you feel up to doing at the given time.

I should also mention that the single player campaign has a multitude of collectibles, and none of them ever feel like a waste to acquire. There are action figures that unlock in-game models, rune trials, data entry logs that unveil more of the history behind demons and characters, and my personal favorite, there are hidden original Doom 1 and 2 rooms in each of the 13 missions that, when unlocked, allow access to a fully remodeled level from the original games. On top of all that, almost all of the missions have 3 challenges to meet; if you miss one, you can simply go back through the mission select screen and give it another go.

Without a doubt, there is no shortage of stuff to do in Doom 2016. The main campaign will last about 15 hours if you collect everything, upgrade all of your runes, and master all of the weapon upgrades (two per weapon). The rest, well it's up to the player to decide. I'm not a huge multiplayer fan, but I really am digging the custom maps in Snapmap. The game looks great, it feels great mechanically, and it's overall smooth as butter. The only complaint that I have is that there is a massive absence of horror. Although there is a juicy amount of gore, carnage does not equal horror. This title is strictly an action FPS bathed in blood... and that's alright with me.

Rating: 5.0/5.0 - An astonishing achievement, this game must be played.
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