I don’t think anyone expected much from the new DOOM game that released last week. For starters Bethesda didn’t send copies out to reviewers, which is usually a surefire sign that a game is either going to be outright bad or perform below expectations. Yet once DOOM went live almost everyone reacted with pure joy. “DOOM is back!” people were saying.
I’ve never been really into DOOM, but I recognize its importance and its impact on the modern FPS genre. I could never bring myself to play the game back in mid nineties, but I did enjoy watching others play and it was a stressful experience watching them try to survive through each level.
I was able to get a copy of DOOM for the Xbox One on release day from Redbox, and after it installed I jumped in, still not knowing quite what to expect. I was impressed by how quickly the game gets you going, and I’m glad there’s no tutorial or slow start that most games feature these days. The game basically throws you into the thick of it while offering helpful information via tips that pop up on screen in the early moments. Hopefully this is something more developers will replicate as I had more enjoyment during the first few minutes of the game than I have just about any shooter in the last ten years.
The shooting and non-stop action of DOOM are incredibly solid and it was a joy to mow down enemies while keeping in constant motion, grabbing health packs and armor as quickly as possible. You won’t get very far trying to take cover and play it safe in DOOM, you need to run in head first and be moving constantly if you want to succeed. DOOM plays differently from most modern shooters in this way and it’s actually quite refreshing (despite it being a throwback to how FPS’s played 20 years ago).
The music and environments in DOOM are exceptionally well done and help continue the throwback to classic shooters. You won’t find lengthy dialogue or cut scenes while you’re playing and the game is divided into actual levels with entrances and exits (and also plenty of secrets to find in between).
This brings me to the one thing that kept me from truly enjoying DOOM, and that’s the puzzle nature of its maps. Quite a few times during the first three levels that I played I found myself lost and going in circles again and again trying to figure out where I needed to go next. True there’s an objective indicator, but I still couldn’t figure out how to progress in the direction I needed to more often than I should have. Even looking at the map didn’t seem to help, as the 3D overlapping maps made it hard to figure out how I could get to where I needed to be.
I got so lost on Foundry that I ultimately decided to give the game a rest for now. I had killed all the enemies I could find, and yet couldn’t figure out how to get to where I needed to be. I went in circles at least seven or eight times before I decided to end it all by jumping into the lava and taking the game back to Redbox.
DOOM is definitely a great game, I’m not trying to say it isn’t. If I didn’t have the issue of getting lost I probably would have finished it in one sitting and would be telling you that it’s one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in years. Unfortunately, I can’t sit here and say that just yet. I get frustrated easily with games, and after having so much fun shooting and tearing apart enemies, the lull of trying to figure out the puzzle of the map just took the joy out of the game for me.
I’ll probably end up giving DOOM another shot in the near future (probably on PC this time), but for now I think I’ve had my fill.