Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The king of first person shooters is back!!

Doom 2016, aka Doom 4, is the the game we always dreamed of. And then some!

id Software really worked hard on this one, making a best of the Doom series for fans and newcomers alike!

Hell awaits your soul, will you dare face more id Software reviews through the following links?

VGR: DOOM (2016) also lovingly called by fans DOOM 4
From id Software/Bethesda Softworks/ZeniMax Media
Played on PS4
Also available on PC & Xbox One

Type Satanic/Over-the-top/Science-fiction FPS
Year May 2016

After a small break from game development since RAGE back in 2011, id Software finally returned in full and due form with DOOM 2016. Aka the long-awaited DOOM 4 (which can be seen as the 6th installment in the franchise if you count these games like I do...). 

The team had shown interested in returning to the world of the Doom with a small comeback to the series with the release of the Doom 3 BFG edition. Which really was a collection of Doom I, II and 3 in a shiny new package while another external team worked hard on updating the Wolfenstein series with the games Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Old Blood.

The beautiful UAC PACK Edition. Without the Collector Edition's statuette.

After such a long wait, Doom is finally back!

And sort of like recent installments of the Wolfenstein series tried to tie the entire disjointed series together (see my Wolfenstein reviews on that point), this new Doom tries its best to bring everything together to modern "next gen" systems.

What I mean by that is that it's a complete graphical overall of the series running on a modern 60FPS engine, while taking the frantic arcade-based nature of the classic Dooms and all of the classic demons back while keeping some of the aesthetic of Doom 3 as well as some ideas and monster designs from it as well.

I even found some distinct ties to the plot of Doom 3 and even nods towards Doom 64 in this!

This is clearly a love letter to the fans of the series as well as a tribute to the entire series, the granddaddy of the First Person Shooter genre! In one sentence, a "reboot" done right.

The story is pretty vague and nebulous. The game makes a lot of fun of heavily-scripted and CGi-filled "cinematic" games with too much story like you often see nowadays, such as games like Half-Life 2, Gears of War or, heck, even Doom 3 itself! But for anyone that wants to look deeper into the in-game texts, data logs and lore of Doom there's actually a decent story hidden in there. 

It's the future. 

The UAC has successfully mastered inter-dimensional travel and tried exploiting the resources of what they refer to as Hell, another dimension parallel to our own where demons roam the devastated scarred lands. Of course, something went wrong during their experiments. The entire complex is now under lockdown by this artificial intelligence in charge, "Dr. Samuel Hayden". 

As a last means to regain control of the Mars base, Hayden awakens the "Doom Slayer", a legendary marine that survived various past encounters with the demons in the past (which sounds like a great way to both allude to either Doom 1 or Doom 3 while keeping details vague). He was found in stasis in Hell by previous expeditions (which kind of ties to Doom 3's ending).

Once equipped with the "praetor suit", the Doom Slayer is quickly unleashed in the UAC and starts ripping and tearing through the hordes of various demons found in the labs. Hayden stays in contact with our Doom guy and sends him from the foundry to the Argent facility, to a first trip through the hellish "Titan's Realm" from the Argent tower to other parts of this advanced research labs. After exploring this other AI VEGA and the Lazarus Labs, the main labs studying Hell, the Doom Slayer finally reaches the Necropolis and the heart of it all.. Argent D'Nur!

There's also a subplot revolving around Hayden and the head of these studies, Dr. Olivia Pierce (who kind of mirrors Dr. Betruger from Doom 3, which kind of hints she might be related to him or a distant descendant of his).

Finally, one epic conclusion against a certain "mastermind" behind it all...

Not only is the game great-looking and a stunning work of art, the gameplay is also top notch, tight, frantic and fast-paced!

This is how FPS should always feel! Fun, fast and natural! It's kind of a return to old school shooters in a way. The Doom Slayer is basically an entire army on foot, able to carry a ton of weapons, move pretty fast and indestructible! 

It's all sort of inspired by the excellent recent Brutal Doom mod for the original game. It's even a lot bloodier than it has even been compared to any past id Software game! You even get to have finish moves to end monsters once they are low on health with Glory kills (a feature pretty similar to Wolfenstein The New Order's stealth kills)! 

Most of the classic Doom weapons returned in full glory, redesigned but pretty close to their original forms. The classic shotgun and the super shotgun, the chaingun, the rifle, the rocket launcher, the plasma canon.. even the chainsaw! The BGF-9000 arrives really late in-game, it's no secret but takes a lot to get new ammo for it (it's still totally overpowered and totally awesome!). Actually I'm kind of sad the only actual new weapon seemed to be the Gauss cannon, basically the railgun from the Quake series.

They found a great compromise between old mechanics and new ideas from recent games. There's a whole upgrade system to customize the Doom guy, his weapons and a select few abilities like better defense, weapon range/damage, etc. You collect various sort of points in-games which you can spend on these upgrades. 

Maps are non-linear and basically filled with huge fight areas, ambushes, respawn pits and even light puzzles. They're very close to the original Doom games (or even closer to Duke Nukem 3D's in my eyes). They're huge, cover all sorts of different "themes" and are all pretty different, unique and challenging.

There's even some "Runes" challenge to obtain said abilities which you can equip.

Basically once upgraded and selected a few of those options the Doom Slayer will get even more indestructible, no puny demon will stop him! It does take a lot of play time and replays to get better, so it's not that easy either and demands some involvement from the player!

This "DOOM 4" had a pretty long and tenuous development. Basically said, id Software spend quite a long time working on a completely different version of the game which would have been closer to a direct sequel to Doom 3. Simply put, a modern remake of "Doom 2: Hell on Earth". The game was said to take mostly place on Earth, with survivors of an infernal invasion fighting the hordes of Hell across the world. Different factions fighting for survival. Closer to Quake 4 in terms of tone, but over the time it had barely anything to do with Doom anymore...

So the team did something you rarely see these days: the scrapped this entire game and restarted it from scratch!

Which resulted in a much more stream-lined game with a lot less emphasis on story-telling and a simple return to basics. A classic run-and-gun shooter done with modern graphics! And the result speaks for itself, it's a lot better than anything fans ever hoped for! I'm not even sad to not see Doom 3's story "properly continued". (I did love Doom 3, just look back at my review!)

And all that time spent on an entirely different game was not lost since id mostly spends their time working on and polishing their game engine, the heart of their projects. Doom 2016 runs on the brand new id Tech 6 - aka "id Tech 666". Not as huge a leap from the last engine as in the past, but it's still quite an impressive improvement from the past generation. No game ever looked this good, this dense and detailed with great physics and yet running on such high framerates! It's super fluid and dynamic! And despite some key developers of id resigning early on in the development (notably Todd Hollenshead and co-founder John Carmack) most of id Tech 6 still relies on some of Carmack's own code. (He still worked on id prior to 2014, early in the production.)

DOOM 2016 is such a fun and unique game! It's the perfect successor to the games that started it all, I personally prefer calling it DOOM 4 for this very reason.

It's a very simple, straightforward and fun experience. It has that very fun fast-paced approach like old school arcade-games. But the game's still huge with tons of collectibles, hidden secret and a lot of stuff to do!

It's easily much more complex than most modern shooters (I'm thinking both singleplayer and multiplayer experiences).

All classic demons make a beautiful return to Doom, including zombies, the Imps (not a big fan of their 2016 design, to be frank), Pink Demonds, cacodemons, mancubus, lost souls and revenants! Mostly taking cues from the classic games, but with some little references to their Doom 3 incarnations as well. I mean even Doom II's Icon of Sign has a cameo in the game!

It even has some great interesting platform segments as well, something mostly Quake would feature unlike Doom usually.

The rhythm is quite frantic and things get bigger and bigger, more ambitious and epic in scope.

The game is mostly designed as a true successor to Doom I & II (although I honestly felt it really ignored the 2nd game over any other entry of the series), with a lot of throwbacks to the classics. The exact same monsters, the same type of gameplay and level design. A story that seems to build over them. But it also actually incorporated a lot of elements from Doom 3 despite leaving the survival horror approach of the third game. The mood, the atmosphere, the visuals all seem taken from Doom 3 as well. The music seemed particularly inspired by Doom 3's main theme from Chris Vrenna & Clint Walsh. The Codex basically taking over Doom 3's PDAs. And even some designs from demons taken from Doom 3 (I'm thinking of id finally making Hell Knights and Barons of Hell distinct from one another instead of the usual recolors by simply taken their respective designs from Doom 3 and Doom II). 

There was a lot of cute fan services for fans from entire segments of level designs to those little UAC Marine toys you can collect. I loved some of the easter eggs to Doom/id Software, Bethesda and even pop culture (nice work with the T2 "thumbs up"!). They even used all of the UAC logos from all of the past games, even adding a new version depending which part of the UAC you are in!

Personally I even felt like there were some nods to the underrated Doom 64, specially the boss areas' designs, the mood of the game and the backstory of the Doom Slayer lines pretty well with the ending of Doom 64. Actually the game does seem to hint that all this is repeating itself over and over again, which would explain the tablets in Doom 3 alluding to Doom I & II. Now that I think about it I could see this game as a direct sequel to the infamous Doom comic, what with so many references to it...

And continuing the tradition started with RAGE, they included recreations of various levels from the classic Doom I and II to find and unlock in each level!

Multiplayer is an attempt to return to id Software's classic Quake III Arena formula. But it's not as perfect, there's still room for improvement. I can't say I really looked into it, but fans love the exclusive demon controls as well as the additional characters in it.

Finally let me say the music in this game was absolutely fantastic! It saw the return of The New Order/The Old Blood's Mick Gordon who really want all way with this beautiful score! A mix of metal and creepy atmosphere. Really close to the spirit of the original Doom games, only with beautiful institutionalization and synthetic sounds! It can both be suddenly epic, creepy, tense and rockin' hard!! It's easily my favorite video game score of the year!!

Overall, this DOOM 4 is the perfect fourth (or sixth!) entry in the franchise in everything but name! It's simply the perfect successor to the classic Doom games, blending perfectly elements from past and modern games!

This one comes, of course, Highly Recommended to any one who calls themselves a "gamer"! It's fun, bloody and brutal!

Long life DOOM!!

I sincerely wish id follows up on this one, kind of like Wolfenstein: The New Order received a direct follow-up (prequel) The Old Blood shortly after.

Currently id has not announced a return to Doom, but they're now working on Quake Champions. And Rage is also expected to make a comeback in the near future...
I give it:
3 / 3 Necronomicons!

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