There's something utterly charming about developer id Software's DOOM. A little bit of an odd thing to say about a game which relishes in your opportunities to blast your way through hordes of demons, each possessing their own abilities and certain powers to make your time within the universe as difficult as possible. But, charming it is - and this from somebody who didn't play the original games in their younger years.
Upon starting the game, you're thrust into a world you may know nothing about and immediately forced to protect yourself from invading demonic forces. Armed only with the small amount of weapons and ammo you find scattered around, the game presents a relentless yet refreshing challenge through its fast-paced combat, gun fights and questing. This isn't the same old campaign you'll play through in most games. In fact, you may be wondering if there's anything deeper than the will to survive when it comes to story, but that doesn't make this any less of an enjoyable experience.
There aren't cheap jump scares here, but that doesn't mean you won't be terrified at times. I thought I was doing incredibly well surviving through my first couple hours of gameplay without dying. "This is easy!" I thought to myself. It seemed what I had played through was more of a tutorial, with the next three quarters of the campaign acting as a punishing and vindictive teacher. Think your first few waves of enemies are tricky to get around? You ain't seen nothing yet...
Weapon modifications I'm told are a new addition to the game and you'll feel a huge sense of satisfaction when using and executing them properly. They can really set you up for the level you're embarking on, delivering devastating blows to waves of enemies when you're surrounded and saving my skin a number of times in just the first few hours of play.
Glory Kills are also new to the game. Here, you can finish off an opponent melee style after making them stumble, allowing you to save on your ammo and bring some versatility to the way in which you're taking demons down. There are a variety of different Glory Kills, each bloody, brutal and glorious, all extremely effective. They never get old.
Though it may all seem 'doom and gloom' with the content (excuse the pun), you do get your laughs. For example, the modifications for your weapons are guarded by drones that that don't want to give away their stash. So in beautiful DOOM fashion, your character tears it from the claws of the robot and hits it square in what I assume is its face for good measure. It looks deflated and defeated whilst you add to your weaponry and elicits a chuckle each time. Something you'll need.
Technically I haven't yet noticed a single problem with framerate or gameplay within the campaign mode. There's the occasional stutter I've noticed with multiplayer, but when it comes to playing solo everything has looked and ran incredibly well. The audio peppered throughout your game is another fantastic layer to the DOOM story - it acts as the perfect catalyst to drive tension and suspense, bringing your wits to their knees when you most need them.
Any advice I'd give for the campaign mode would be to break it down into chunks of gameplay. Never play DOOM's campaign for more than two hours consecutively, for example. Rushing through it means that each level blends together and, you're more than likely going to miss out on some secret areas, tokens and more. Take your time and enjoy the ride, remembering that you only get to play something new for the first time, once.
It's easy for me to see now how DOOM became such an iconic title and it's great to see so many people who did play the original happy with what's on offer today. Here we have a solid campaign mode which could test even the most seasoned of gamers and a multiplayer that, whilst isn't without its faults, can also provide a lot of fun and a challenge to master.
There are six multiplayer modes available, reminiscent of the ones we've seen in games in the past such as Team Deathmatch and a sort of Kill Confirmed which swaps tags for souls. There's also one where, instead of killing your opponents, you freeze them to the ground and force their comrades to come out of hiding to try and thaw them. It's the most inventive of the bunch and truly enjoyable.
This is my first journey into Hell. It's somewhere I intend to return to for quite some time, but a place I don't expect to master any time soon.
DOOM is available now on Xbox One (reviewed on this platform), PS4 and PC.
You can also check out Lee Hardcastle's brilliant Claycat DOOM video below: