24 years ago, I had a moment in my gaming life that changed everything.
I had sat with a PC and played the original Wolfenstein for the first time. Killing Nazis in 3d. It was a great time in gaming. I remember running around the mazes, finding treasure and just going insane when you found secrets.
There was just tons of great enemies and it was always challenge.
But I wanted more… I wanted so much more.
Just a year later, I got a bundle of shareware from a PC Trade Show. In there, were some floppies, different ones, some copies of copies. The important thing was half of them were labeled “Doom”. I remember even calling id Software to get my registered copies of Doom v1.2, it came on 4 black floppies, and I was ready to dive deep into the depths of hell.
It changed everything for me.
Fast forward 23 years.
I knew it was coming, it was in literal development hell for years. Bethesda finally got angry enough at id Software to say, “Release this game or get out of the game making game” (not an actual quote, quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve typed in a while). Then it was released.
Great, Doom, finally back right? I kind of blew it off. “Another reboot of my childhood games… great, probably lame with cover mechanics like gears of war and stupid crap like health regen. I will pass.”
I even watched a few trailers and was more impressed by the return of the iconic e1m1 music re-imagined as some glitch metal.
I was a little excited, but not overly hyped. There were much better games coming out in the next year from that, Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3, etc.
Well, I waited a full week. And I am sorry that I did.
I fired it up, and right from the intro into the gameplay. I felt it. It had been missing for nearly 20 years. Not since the days of Quake, the last bastion of proper id Software FPS gaming.
It was fast, fluid (even when my aging video card couldn’t handle high at 60fps and dropped to 30fps), frantic, and other adjectives that start with f.
I stopped playing every other game I had and only wanted to make it through hell and finish Doom.
There was no faux game time increase by forcing you to play from cover, taking pot shots while you regened health. There was no regeneration of health at all. In fact, if you were low on health, you are encouraged to get up close and personal with your enemy for Glory kills to get some health back. There was you, guns, health packs and relentlessly running around like a kid who dove face first into a 5 gallon bucket of sugar. It was dark, foreboding, but not creepy in the terms of Doom 3, but more, “I am Doom Guy, I must DESTROY EVERYTHING BEFORE IT DESTROYS ME!!!”
It was exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t know that I needed it. Each area filled with demons, and you had to kill them.
The game basically became a death match arena against a large scale wave of demons until you killed them all and could advance in the area/story/etc. As repetitive and boring as that sounds, it wasn’t. Every time I would get to a new area, I’d be excited for the fight, the music would ramp up and cause my adrenaline to start pumping.
That is when you would get swarmed by enemies. Circle strafing, jumping, dodging, shooting, finding health. Until every last demon was dead. Gather up ammo, health, maybe a new weapon, and your jaw from the floor after being covered in blood and guts in insanely detailed environments.
I could just stop there and give you a thumbs up to go get it, but there is more to all of it. By performing tasks, challenges, finding secrets, and what have you, you are awarded with points to upgrade your guns. You don’t even need to do this, but it makes the game way more fun when your assault rifle is turned into an automatic mini missile launcher. Or your Super Shotgun can down shoot twice before reloading, and all the shots pierce all enemies in front of you, or a personal favorite, having your rocket launcher be able to lock on to a target and fire a barrage of 3 rockets at them.
You can also upgrade your armor with additional skills like, climbing ledges faster, switching guns faster, scanning for secrets easier, and even things like taking no damage from exploding barrels (that one saved my ass more than once). You also get runes from completing rune challenges. They offer an array of buffs when you level them. All in all fun side things to do with your character if you are into collectibles and being a completionist.
The story is pretty basic and without spoiling much? Well, there really isn’t anything to spoil if you have played Doom before. UAC is an evil corporation that learned how to harness the power of hell with interdimensional portals, shit goes wrong, demons do things to mars where the UAC has their base of operations. Doom Guy is a space marine you play, kill all the demons, win the game.
There is a twist in Doom 2016 that we didn’t have in the original, however, all in all, it’s about surviving. And I had a damn blast playing this game. It was short, I beat it in about 7 hours on Hurt me Plenty.
The multiplayer was surprisingly lacking straight up Deathmatch. The originator of the damn play type, Deathmatch, did not have deathmatch. There is Team Deathmatch of course and a slew of other game modes. Overall, it was ok, but it was stuck to simple loadouts, and odd choices. If you have played Halo’s Multiplayer from Halo 4 on, the you know what you are in for. Except it’s MUCH faster and more frantic.
There is a really simplified version of their level builder too, it is easy to use and good to create a ton of maps fast and easy to share with friends for fragging fun.
Overall? I enjoyed every second of it, I didn’t find all the secretes, though I will go back on an additional playthrough to find all the goodies. If we were a huge accredited review site, I would give this an 8/10. It scratched the itch I didn’t even know I had from 2 decades ago. It won’t be for everyone and I never want to be elitist, but I have no idea how someone can play this on a console.
Below is my complete playthrough over 3 nights of this game.