I’m not sure how to feel about those “reboots” that simply steal their name off the original game. It’s not a big deal but it always brings a picture to my mind about a kid who never played the original seeing the reboot at a store getting the impression that it’s an original game when it isn’t. It certainly can be misleading. For example, the only indication that this is a review on the 2016 game is the fact that I didn’t call the article a retro briefiew. To avoid any confusions some people would put the year the game came out between brackets, I personally would go for the usage of some sort of suffix instead. Something like “resurrection” or “reloaded”. That would also make the game title sound more like 90’s extreme cheese so it’s a win-win.
Inevitably, this Doom reboot for PS4 is a 3D first-person shooter. There’s an abundance of ample arenas with overwhelming quantities of enemies spawning in for you to take down as good as you can. The gameplay’s core doesn’t really invent anything new, it feels very classic at that. Strafing in this game isn’t just a mechanic, it’s a way of life.
The game does offer new features that the classic doom never had though. The stand-out mechanic would be the executions. Lower some enemy’s HP enough and they’ll start flashing, come close and hit the melee button and you’ll be able to execute it right away. They’re useful because they’ll let you finish the enemies faster and because upon death they’ll drop health for you. I guess that this mechanic is similar to God of War’s executions but in this case, these aren’t followed by any QTE and the animations are short enough that they’ll never become tiresome. What they share with GOW’s executions though is how gory they are.
Another added features of this game are ones that bring this experience closer to how games are nowadays. That is the inclusion of weapon modifications (which can be upgraded), learning abilities, powering up your suit to have more health, armor or ammo… and there’s even runes that grant special powers that you’ll be earning through optional challenge arenas. All in all, it makes the experience feel deeper than in the classic Doom game but it never diverts the attention too much from the core of the game which is the shooting.
You don’t need to read the manual to discover the game’s story. The game’s plot is told in a way that expands in multiple layers of depth. On one hand there would be the story you’d get just by the few cutscenes of the game and your own judgement regarding certain events.
The game starts with you waking up in what seems a mix between an operating table and some sort of religious altar. You’ll soon discover that you’re on mars where the scientists have made a way to extract the energy from hell itself and turn it into usable power. However, a strange cult have stepped in and screwed it up for everyone and now demons and possessed humans roam the facility.
That is the basic premise and by the end of the game it all has a resolution in itself. However, if you seek for some deeper plot elements the game provides it through different logs you’ll find in the environment that will clarify where all the characters come from and more especially, yourself.
The game’s graphics are good. If you look at the walls close enough you’ll see some textures that could be better defined but it still is a great looking game. The lighting is superb and the designs of the creatures you’ll be facing is great as well. Those are designed after the classic look they used to have back in 1993 with some being more faithful to the original concept than others though. It also has to be mentioned that the game runs buttery smooth on a standard PS4 which is very important for a fast-paced twitchy shooter like this.
As for the audio department I have nothing more than praise. The heavy metal inspired tunes of the title couldn’t be more fitting to the hellish action you’ll have on screen. The dialog during the story bits, if not overplayed, is well acted. And the sounds the weapons make is incredibly satisfying.
Things I liked
- Satisfying combat: Shooting those demons feels just so right. From the weapons you get to use which are all great, the sound they make, how the enemies react to being hit with dismemberments included… the developers clearly put an effort into making the combat feel good and they absolutely succeeded.
- Level design: It’s not just about they looking good (which they do) it’s about the level of detail they have. If you were a player of the classic Doom games you’ll know that a part of it was to explore every nook and cranny to discover as many secrets as possible and that is also into this game.
- Technically solid: Plenty of enemies, bullets, fireballs and more going all over the place and all in all it looks great while also running very smooth. This PS4 port of the game is flawless.
Things I didn’t
- Too “platformy”: At some point in the game you’ll be given some special boots that will let the character double jump. That isn’t bad in itself but it happens that the couple levels after you get that ability rely a little too much into the usage of it giving too much weight to the platforming in my opinion. Not a big deal as it’s just a couple levels and it’s not like the platforming is really bad, it’s just that I don’t dig first-person rock jumping that much.
Things that eh…
- Multiplayer: I’m not a multiplayer kind of guy and I certainly didn’t buy this game for its multiplayer but I tried it out anyway. Five matches were enough to make me realise that Doom wouldn’t make me change my preferences. It’s not that it’s bad (though I encountered lag in some matches), the problem is that it’s not very inspired either and… that I really don’t dig multiplayer personally.
Who’d like this?
Fan of the old games? You just must have this game. This is the prime example on how game reboots should be made. It totally respects what made the original game great while incorporating some of the advancements of games nowadays to make the overall experience truly worth it.
<You can see this game in action here>