Teased and awaited for years, Doom next chapter – simply called Doom – was announced last year during Bethesda’s E3 press conference, where fans finally saw it live with an engaging gameplay sequence. Now after the closed multiplayer beta – available for those who bought Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, from April 15 to 17 – and after a few multiplayer games in the Marine armor, here my first impressions.
This beta offered two maps, two game modes, one playable demon, and seven usable weapons. I will avoid the going into details for the traditional Team Deathmatch and go directly into Warpath. This mode is based on King of the Hill and Payload from Team Fortress, except that instead of bringing a truck from point A to point B, the capture-point moves around the map in a circle along a marked path, and a Demon rune rotates on the other end of the map. It’s a crazy way to have teams fight for a capture-point while being conflicted about of leaving the area and grabbing the rune to turn yourself into the only demon available in the Beta (the Revenant). Great tactical mode, and I’m sure it will be a favorite when the full game is out.
On the avatar side, the Beta allowed us to get a peek at the customization menu. There will be a lot of visual customization to unlock throughout the game but also loadouts and abilities. Wait what? Loadouts and Abilities? Reading these words might makes you cringe, if you are a Doom purist, but wait on before closing this page. Players will choose between two weapons and a grenade type, and then can select perks (unlockable throughout the leveling system) that offer significant advantages in combat. From simple armor for various Hack Modules (Single-use disposable items that reminds me of the Titanfall Burn Cards), these will obviously unlock as you level up with an experience gauge.
Now when it comes to moving mechanics, is Doom still the traditional fast paced shooter we all love? Well the answer is yes, but with a twist. Our Marines can run in all directions, and now use a jetpack to double jump. The jump is also accompanied by a wall-hang or ledge-grabbing function that will allow the character to climb over a nearby platform. Just don’t expect strafe jump, bunny hop or other rocket jump. In general this fusion of old school moving mechanics, fast-paced movement with a hint of modern techniques works fine for me, and will obviously appeal to the new generation of FPS players, but will take a while for purist to accept it.
Now we already talked about Demon Runes and the Revenant, but let’s get more on the details. Equipped with a jetpack tank and a dual-RPG on its shoulders, Revenant are fast-paced demons that quickly kill marines on the map. Weak on armor, a Revenant comes standard with a thermal vision (like Predator), which allowed you a short-sighted quick view to distinguish a target in the chaos of explosions and bullet. You will understand while playing, that taking control of the beast is a good option to a race to victory, thanks to its devastating power and of course using it wisely. That’s the thing, while good soldiers will know how to use a Revenant, getting killed as one will allow the opponent to take over the demon rune, which can turn the tide of the game.
On the side of weapons, Doom didn’t go crazy with that, and offers the classics: rocket launcher, shotgun, plasma gun or Gauss… in short, the fans will soon feel at home but will now have a new way of using them, with a fresh secondary firing. With this new Doom, it is possible to detonate a rocket in mid-flight, to project electric rays over a wider area, or to launch a big ball of energy with the classic BFG 9000. Players also have a slot for grenades, and in addition to the traditional fragmentation one, it is possible to equip a teleporter or the Siphon Grenade which if done properly, will be draining the life of your opponent and awarded to you. Their use is governed by a cooling time, making their use more tactical instead of spamming it like other FPS.
But there’s one thing I will point out being weak in Doom, and that’s the lack of violence and impact. The gunfights lack a certain punch and end up very often in confined spaces, providing some easy kills in exchange for one or two well shot rockets. There’s also over the melee takedowns which I couldn’t quite get how they work, but loathed looking at it, while the executioner is invincible when killing you, and your teammate can’t do anything about it. I guess that’s the new generation FPS self-gratification effect?
In any case, if we remove the Doom logo and some riffs of heavy metal in the menus, most people won’t think it’s id Software next game. Old school players will find an Unreal Tournament (2015) in both its gameplay and its intentions, but I don’t believe that’s a bad thing. This new Doom gives a more varied proposition, with a dynamic gaming experience that will appeal to a broader audience. Now we wait for next month as we get our hand on the full title on Friday the 13th of May – fitting date, don’t you think? – and get the full multiplayer experience, which probably will get enhanced from the Doom beta’s results, as well as the singleplayer mission.
Doom launches on the 13th of May 2016 worldwide for Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4. The impressions were made based on the Xbox One Closed and Open Beta access provided by Bethesda. Note that on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, you’ll need an Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus subscription to take full advantage of Doom’s multiplayer.