It’s been a long time coming, but the latest entry in the DOOM franchise is finally here. It’s always been a bit of a big ask, to translate what made the original DOOM games so fun to play into a 3D AAA experience, and DOOM 3 was a bit too serious for my taste. It felt more like a Dead Space game than a DOOM game, whereas what I’m looking for is fast paced, blood-soaked combat with a little exploration and keycard collecting thrown in.
I’m only an hour or so in, so take these opinions with a few grains of salt but -l for those of you still waiting with bated breath, breathe that sweet sigh of relief because I’m here to tell you that my early impressions of the game are good. Maybe even great, but it is still a little early to tell. It’s a tremendous amount of fun moving around the rooms and areas, blasting demons and ripping off their arms to beat them with. I was initially a bit worried that the glory kills would detract from the pace of the game, but it’s actually a nicely fluid mechanic that adds a sense of woven order to the mindless killing.
The way the enemies have been redesigned to operate in a 3D space feels very natural and is a great step forward for the franchise. The fireball slinging imps now pounce around and cling to pillars to try and gain an angle on you, meaning you’ve always got to be moving and paying attention. Even the explosive barrels feel distinctly familiar - the area of effect is huge and the damage is disgusting. If you’re standing too close, be ready to watch your health bar plummet as the enemies surrounding the barrel get gibbed into clouds of blood and meat.
Each weapon has upgrade paths that allow you to beef up your armoury, which seems to be the standard for AAA games these days and a new addition to the franchise. Whether that’ll detract from the DOOM experience or add a layer of complexity that has been missing for too long, it’s hard to say as I haven’t really gotten anywhere with it.
If you’re a DOOM fan, and you’re even remotely interested in how the new game looks, then I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have an absolute blast. It really does feel directly descended from the classic games, the lack of which was my biggest gripe with DOOM 3. The final say will come down to how the game layers its difficulty and enemy types, which so far have been pretty undemanding, but that’s to be expected. It seems there really is a chance in hell that this DOOM will come remotely close to the golden days of Romero’s bountiful hair. Check back here at GD for our full review next week.