DOOM (2016)

Dane Dorius, Academics and Arts Editor

DOOM is a kind-of-sort-of reboot of the venerable first-person franchise where you play as a soldier man who kills every demon he can find. The new game delivers on the singleplayer, having a no-nonsense gore extravaganza with plenty of eye candy. The weapons are all satisfying to use, the sounds are fantastic, and the levels, not just content with looking great technically, have designs ripped straight from a cheesy hair metal album. However, its multiplayer falters significantly.

The game’s knows what you’re here for as much as you do- Doomguy tries to avoid the game’s plot as much as he can, and even when his objectives align with that of the Mars base’s CEO, he does his best to perform the most destructive version of the tasks possible. Despite having no dialogue and no face (other than the one barely seen on the front cover), Doomguy’s one of the most expressive and entertaining protagonists of the year.

But in the end, the game could have the original’s two-dimensional graphics, MIDI soundtrack that rips off Metallica, and story that’s about three paragraphs long, and it’d still be fantastic. The guns all have their its own niche and the relative lack of ammo for each of them encourage getting familiar with all of your arsenal, the Glory Kill system is a way to have the increased survivability of regenerating health that instead speeds up gameplay, and the way secrets show up on the Automap without showing the actual path to them encourages exploration of levels without scouring every inch of the level for a sliding wall.

Despite my heaping (deserved) praise upon the singleplayer, the game falters in its other aspects. The original Doom literally created online multiplayer, and the lead level designer John Romero’s trash talk is legendary (he actually trademarked “Suck it down”), which makes the new game’s anemic multiplayer all the more disappointing. While the singleplayer is a fantastic return to form and modernization of old-school FPS games, the multiplayer is a checklist of modern multiplayer games’ follies. Instead of learning weapon placements and balancing around how hard to get they are, you pick out a loadout of two weapons inbetween spawns. Instead of basing the matches on player skill, the team deathmatches are instead mostly determined by which team gets the (intentionally ludicrously overpowered) Demon Rune several times. Said rune spawns in random locations, removing any hint of needing map awareness.

However, Doom’s legacy didn’t end in 1993. Since 1995, devoted fans have been making incredible creations that far exceed Doom in scope, graphics, and more. Whether it’s by fighting ten thousand demons, quad-wielding four-shot shotguns, turning the gameplay into a speedy, over-the-top swordfight, or by making an actually good Aliens game, fans have gone above and beyond for over two decades. This game has not risen up to the challenge. SnapMap, the new game’s level editor, is limited to game-only assets, has content limits that max out before you can remake  the levels contained in the actual game, and includes a pseudo-scripting language that increases said limit.

DOOM/Doom (2016)/NuDoom is a fantastic game for its singleplayer that manages the difficult task of toeing the line between its roots and modern games admirably, the great-for-modern-games level design, and the simple dumb fun of watching a demon’s head explode. Unfortunately, it’s not great, and arguably not good, if you’re interested in multiplayer or level editing. If you want a fast, fun, and fantastic singleplayer campaign, it’s worth $60. If you want a good multiplayer experience, you should stick to Halo or Unreal Tournament/Quake.