Doom Xbox One Review

Shoot first, ask questions later… that’s something you know if you played past Doom games, and this one shows respect and continues with the tradition. Doom was one of the fathers of the first-person shooter genre and just by listening to the name, the PC game from 1993 comes to my mind. But what is Doom exactly? You wake up in a laboratory, in what it looks like a scientific research lab in the middle of nowhere – the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC). Some kind of monsters or demons are trying to kill you and you only have an energy pistol. By this moment, fans know that they are demons from Hell, you are in Mars and it’s your mission to destroy everyone of them. Even if you are new to this universe, the story itself starts to explain what is going on, so anyone can catch up and understand, or at least try to get an idea of what the “Hell” is going on.

This is a story that guides us through a station on Mars and through the dungeons and valleys of Hell, something that sounds attractive to me, and Doom gets it right… kind of. Armed with only a pistol, you save yourself from those demons and try to find out what is going on, dead bodies, fire and destruction is everywhere, but that doesn’t seem to bother the demons that are trying to kill you around every corner. Everything seems beyond help, but you’re not alone, the Praetor armor is there for and will help keep you safe for the rest of the journey. It’s not long until you meet the research chief, Samuel Hayden, who informs you of one Olivia Pierce, the crazy lady that started everything when she created a cult and made all Hell break loose. Doom has a well executed story but it can be confusing if you don’t pay attention. There is also scope for single player DLC to extend the story, or a potential sequel.

Demon artwork

Demon artwork

Once the armor is on, you will find your best buddy, the Shotgun, a strong, reliable and easy to handle demon slayer. Few levels later infamous Super Shotgun arrives – now that IS your best friend – a classic from Doom 2 capable of creating a hole in every lost soul and demon. The weapons featured are amazing, from the Heavy Assault Rifle to a Gauss Cannon, every weapon was made for different situations, and it’s down to the player to abuse them as much as possible. Often ammo is something that one needs to pay attention to, but here, Doom gets it right. Ammo is scattered almost everywhere and if everything seems lost, using the specialist chainsaw will slice poor demons into a pool of ammo drops for various weapons in the Doom guy’s arsenal. The better you kill, the more ammo gained to blast demons.

Using the chainsaw isn’t just for ammunition, there is no regenerative ability in Doom, so health is gained from picking up health packs or performing glory kills, an execution attack that will dismember, crush or destroy the enemy, making them drop ammo and health for the taking. Doom depends a lot on those executions, don’t get me wrong, they do look gory and fabulous, but if you don’t make an execution, it’s more likely that death will come.

Fighting of cacodemons with the shotgun

Fighting of cacodemons with the shotgun

In the last few years this genre has focused on two mechanics – shoot and cover – repeated until the enemy is dead. Doom has never been like this formula. Players don’t have any cover, nor do they have the luxury of spare time to recover breath. Doom is about constant movement and shooting until nothing stands in the way. Following this formula brings success, well at least with the regular demons, since boss fights are a completely different beast; a boss fight is more like a puzzle, since most of them have a variety of attacks and movements, making it harder to get back and shoot. It’s satisfying to overcome the challenge these bosses bring, no matter the difficulty setting Doom is set on.

You will be drawn in to play the story multiple times, since there are a few collectibles and secrets litter every map, such as little Doom Guy toys being one (cute little soldiers that jingle the old school Doom tune), but collectibles aren’t the only things to bring you back,  nor is finding out more information to understand the story plot. No, players will go back because every level includes a hidden classic Doom map. Yep, you can play the original 1993 Doom levels again with a shiny coat of paint, as these unlockables are done in Doom’s new engine.

The shotgun is always the answer

The shotgun is always the answer

Doom is packed full of secrets and really cool Easter Eggs, but none of it would be quite as amazing without the brilliant soundtrack and sound effects. Heavy Metal tracks are roaring during demon fights, and firing weapons has an effective sound on the destruction they deliver. Each sound differs across weapons, creating a unique orchestra of destruction with the tool of choice. Crushing a skull sounds brutally realistic, well, at least what I think it would sound like. Powerful soundtracks that add to the experience of playing a game is something missed in other titles, but here, the raw sound effects and heavy metal soundtrack are building on the legacy of past Doom titles.

No game nowadays is complete without multiplayer and extra modes. The multiplayer isn’t anything new, but it does have the essence of Doom. A new mechanic allows the player an opportunity to become one of the demons from hell to destroy the other team, transforming is something that makes Doom‘s multiplayer mode feel different. A focus should also be on the SnapMap mode. Here people can create, build and make a Doom level to play alone or in multiplayer. It gives the tools to create something cool, no matter if it’s the first time you have created something in a game or are an expert. With its friendly interface and easy-to-use menu, people can do anything that they want and then go take it for a spin.

The bigger they are, the more you shoot

The bigger they are, the more you shoot

Doom is a big name in gaming history, and this new entry offers a great and faithful encapsulation of its predecessors fast-passed shooting, trademark gore and infamous demons. Conquering Hell though Doom’s satisfying gunplay is what this game excels at doing. It might be a new Doom game in 2016 with better graphics and  a good challenge, but it still feels like the old classic. Fans of the first Doom will be very pleased with what iD software has brought to Doom to move it forward, while offering a taste of pure shooter action to pick up new fans and followers.

9 out of 10