Thursday, June 29, 2017

DOOM 2016: "Holy Hell, This is Actually Good."

The original Doom games from 1993 and 1994 are some of my favorite first-person shooters of all time, but I haven't really enjoyed anything that developer id Software has put out since. Quake (1996) felt a little too bland and uninspired to hold my attention and I quit part-way through its second episode; Doom 3 (2004) was alright but felt too much like a System Shock-inspired survival-horror game, and less like a Doom game; and Rage (2011) inappropriately and ineffectively tried to cash in on the open-world post-apocalyptic FPS-RPG fad that was already running strong with Borderlands and Fallout: New Vegas. So when id announced DOOM (2016), which was supposed to be a reboot of their beloved series and a return to the style of fast-paced, no-nonsense action shooter that they single-handedly invented back in the early-90s, I had little faith that it would actually be any good.

As it turns out, DOOM (2016) is actually a solid FPS. It's one of few reboots that supposedly "goes back to its roots" and actually delivers on that promise; DOOM un-apologetically bucks many of the trends souring modern FPS games and offers a gameplay experience that focuses on intense action blended with complex level design. It feels very much like the original games, but with the added benefit of some modern polish and extra features. Even disregarding the legacy of its predecessors and how it stands up against them, DOOM works great as a stand-alone game with a decently long campaign that offers a ton of satisfying variety, challenge, and progression. This is a quality game from top to bottom that, for once in a AAA game, deserves all the praise it's received.