Ever since I unfortunately reached the end of DOOM merely a few days ago, my life feels like it’s been missing something. There’s a demonic, hell sized hole left in me, and I’ll be damned if I can ever find something that can satisfy me quite like DOOM did.
Is all this insane hyperbole? Of course it is, but insane hyperbole would also be a perfect description of DOOM itself.
During my roughly thirteen hours spent with nu DOOM thus far, I lost count of the exploding appendages dominating my TV screen, instead choosing to sit back and let the entirety of hell coming running at me like it was just another day at the office.
Graphic violence is such an intricate part of what lifts nu DOOM above any first-person shooter within the last five years, and I’ll admit I’m incredibly impressed that id Software had the nerve to place the unrelenting violence at the front and centre of a big budget, triple A title.
The violence and overall combat loop is exactly where nu DOOM excels, but I’d also be doing the game an incredible disservice if I failed to mention DOOMGuy. The silent, shotgun wielding protagonist of the DOOM series makes his triumphant return with a resounding bang in the 2016 iteration of DOOM, and the game is significantly enhanced from him being there.
Have you seen that GIF currently making the rounds, where DOOMGuy fist-bumps one of the DOOM Marine in-game collectibles? If you haven’t, seek it out right now, because that single GIF will give you more of an understanding of the personality of DOOMGuy than the past three years of Ubisoft writing for Assassin’s Creed characters will.
DOOMGuy actively mocks the modern traditions of the first-person shooter genre enforced by more recent iterations within said genre. He’s presented at one point with a screen that tells the player everything they need to know on the backstory of nu DOOM. However, rather than allow the player to read the screen, DOOMGuy angrily pushes the screen away, giving exposition a massive middle finger in the process.
id Software grabbed my attention in a vice-like grip with the opening level of DOOM, but with that instance with the tablet, they undoubtedly earned my respect. id openly mocked forgettable expositional scenes through DOOMGuy, the likes of which you’d usually see entrenched within recent Call of Duty or Battlefield games.
The shoving aside of the expositional tablet simultaneously resembles not only DOOMGuy’s disregard for the plot, but also how id themselves handed the plot of nu DOOM: they just shoved it all aside.
The plot of the game is actually there, if you want to find it, but it’s all spread out across various item and personnel descriptions within the Dossier of the game. Which in itself is hilarious, by the way, as it implies DOOMGuy is carrying around a fucking briefcase with him wherever he goes.
So there is actually a plot buried within nu DOOM, but id have buried it knowing that a plot isn’t the reason why anyone in their right mind picked up a copy of DOOM.
This sidelining of the plot and backstory of the game allows nu DOOM to excel at what id knows makes it great: the shooting, and everything to do with the shooting. The game never wastes time forcing the player to understanding the events of the game, as DOOMGuy smashes a demons head in within literally the first ten seconds of the game.
So hats off to id, for understanding exactly what makes their game so utterly mesmerising, and sticking with perfecting that for the player to experience, disregarding all the excess baggage that other first-person shooters have recently been so weighed down with.