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Doom evaluation: Glorious guns, gibs, and more weapons

You're on Mars. There are demons. The devils need to die.

That's all the story you need, and it's pretty much all the story you're getting. This is Doom in 2016-- not done up like Wolfenstein: The New Order, artfully blending the absurdity of '90s shooters with modern-day storytelling and bombast, but just straight-up Doom.

Big arenas, lots of weapons, waves of satanic forces, wailing guitar solos, therefore much in-your-face violence that your own eyes may begin bleeding by the end. Hell, there isn't even a button for reloading your weapons.

If it bleeds we can eliminate it

And the insane part is? It works. Doom (available for $60 on Amazon) joins the likes of Rise of the Triad and Shadow Warrior, resurrecting long-buried arena shooter style for a generation that's grown accustomed to regrowing health and the features of "realism."

Not here. This is a breakneck trip of a thousand fight arenas. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: "We shall battle on Mars, we will fight on the jump pads, we will combat in the fields of (20-YEAR-OLD SPOILERS) Hell. We shall never ever surrender."

It's a pulsing rhythm of Corridor-Arena-Corridor-Arena, duplicated a hundred times in a hundred locations. Satanic forces appear, you shoot them till they're dead.

You have actually got your laser pistol, your shotgun, your heavy assault rifle, your rocket launcher, your larger shotgun, and more than a couple of others-- plus the iconic BFG, of course-- and you sort of sprint around like a lunatic pinball, leaping and double-jumping and lining up Kodak Minute headshots.

I'd call it zen, except for the fact the outcomes are bloody and chaotic. This is a game where you remove a satanic force's heart and require it still beating down his (her?) throat, and then it takes off. When the so-called Barons of Hell show up-- twelve-foot tall minotaurs-- you dupe their horns so as to impale them.

If you showed this game to the very same individuals who worried about violence in the original Doom, picture.

It's all so ridiculous. I do not know. Doubtless there will be some who will push away their half-eaten meal of gibs and blood splatters and say "I cannot. This is too much." Me? I put it in the very same box as Mortal Kombat. It's theater of the absurd or cartoon violence, the (much) bloodier associate of Tom and Jerry.

And in spite of looking like nothing more than shallow pandering to your lizard-brain, the violence here is in fact a wise piece of design-- a core part of the pacing, in fact. Doom's bloodiest moments are connected to a brand-new "Splendor Eliminate" system. You shoot satanic forces till they're staggered, then you add and melee-kill them in the most gruesome fashion possible.

It keeps the game moving. Getting in close isn't simply advised, it's required, which means you're constantly dodging and strafing and jumping from target to target. Shoot a Cacodemon, then punch out its eyeball. Shoot an Imp, then stomp on its head. Shoot a Hell Knight, then wring its neck. And et cetera. Stop to think and you're dead.

That's in direct contrast to modern shooters, where you're innately fragile and spend the majority of your time cring behind cover and popping off shots at vaguely-head-shaped pixels a half-mile away. Which is not to state those shooters hold no appeal. It's just different. Slower.

Regrettably Doom's pacing winds up being its own worst opponent. The game flies like a bat out of (into?) hell and does a damn great job of it up until about two-thirds of the way through the twelve hour project, at which point it simply ... lacks surprises.

You begin to realize you've seen every enemy, seen every environment. The levels, which early on are huge and branching, end up being more and more direct and pack less secrets.

And by the end, Doom sacrifices its exceptional pacing on the altar of larger arenas and increasing waves of opponents. The last levels are a shadow of the opening half, filled with drawn-out engagements and few corridors to prod. A fully-decked toolbox will still chew through waves of opponents, however it's not quite as pleasing when a lots more appear soon thereafter.

Long live id Tech

We cannot talk Doom without likewise speaking about id Tech. Long story brief: It's unbelievable. Last week I discussed I was seeing over 100 frames per second on a GeForce GTX 980 Ti at 1080p/Ultra, and those numbers held true for pretty much the whole game. Provided how good it looks, I'm surprised.

I don't expect id Tech to make a substantial resurgence. Unreal has quite much cemented its hold over the majority of non-proprietary studios, with Unity taking the remainder. Even if id Tech is easy to work with, I do not see it acquiring a foothold.

But damn, does it look wonderful. Given, it remains in service of developing battered commercial platforms and barren hellscapes, but still: Wow.


Ugh, whatever. It's there if you want to play it, but it's no place near as great as the single-player game. Like each game in the series, you shouldn't purchase Doom entirely for its multiplayer.

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