Can the New ‘Doom’ Match the Excitement of the Original?

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Doom 2016 revives what was arguably the most iconic first person shooter game of all time, the one that many of us were introduced to the genre with, the one that many of us stayed up late into the night playing, can this new iteration bring back the excitement many of us got from playing that first version that came out over 20 years ago? After playing the new release the answer is: it depends.

The new version has everything you would expect from the Doom franchise, screaming demons, lots of weapons, and plenty of blood and gore. There isn’t much plot to speak of, you are the only Marine on Mars and must kill all the screaming demons and possessed souls that were experiments gone wrong. Once you kill them all you can escape the planet.

The fun of Doom is in the gameplay. As opposed to many other games there aren’t fancy key/button combinations to remember, no sprinting, fine aim, or reloading, just shooting, running, exploring, and more shooting.

You move from environment to environment to kill the demons and accomplish goals like restoring communications, preventing demons from being created, and terminating their creator. To do this you move from abandoned factories, to the planet’s surface, and yes, there is lava on Mars, and it will kill you!

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You have a variety of weapons. As any good Marine you are not only crazily strong, but you are proficient in the use of all weapons including the shotgun, the rocket launcher, the chainsaw, and the famous BFG-9000. Weapons, ammo, and health drop along the way as you defeat enemies or you can find them hidden along with power-ups, maps, and shields. Drones appear occasionally to give you goodies and there are several Easter Eggs, including a tribute to the Terminator movies.

One thing that you may like or dislike is the new “glory kill”, where you brutally finish an opponent by hand after weakening him with your weapon. It Is a throwback to the gore featured in the original, but it can slow you down from your running and strafing. The glory kill will give you extra ammo and health, plus ripping off an opponent’s arm and beating him with it is always fun!

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What the game is missing, as was pointed out to me by my teenager, is lack of a detailed story like Call of Duty or Assassins Creed. Sure there are achievements, secrets and action, but there aren’t long cut scenes explaining the backstory or goals that must be attained before moving on to the next level. With Doom, you have to just have to kill all the demons and find a key to move on, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds, and sometimes that confounded key is pretty hard to find. Some people may like it for this reason, others won’t.

I was just fine with the lack of a storyline. Moving from room to room and dispatching demons has an unusually calming effect at the end of a busy day. One thing I missed from the original was the creepiness and tendency of demons to jump out at you from nowhere. This new version has plenty of opponents but with a few exceptions most of them are pretty much where you expect them to be, no big surprises.

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There are 5 difficulty levels ranging from “I’m Too Young to Die” to the “Ultra-Nightmare” mode, a multiplayer mode, and even a mod mode where you can create your own maps, all which promise to keep the game fresh and challenging for a long time. Available for PS4, Xbox, and PC. Play it in a dark room with the speakers turned up for best effects.