When you reach a certain age you think more about where you are investing your time. What this looks like in videogame terms is that you tend to choose shorter experiences over longer, more drawn-out encounters. You rationalise that if you only have half an hour that night to play games then you don’t want to be dipping your toes into the Legend of Zelda, you want something quick and satisfying. This is where Doom comes in. It was my February to March; my fiancée is out for a run game.
He showed me Doom, which was surprising as he’s not the typical First-Person Shooter fan but this game had managed to appeal to him, so I gave it a go.
It was a game that had crossed my path a couple of years before, after a long Resident Evil session with a friend from University. To protect his identity, we shall call him Pizza Man. He is the reason that I jumped back into Resident Evil and didn’t file it under, ‘frustrating item turner’. He showed me Doom, which was surprising as he’s not the typical First-Person Shooter fan but this game had managed to appeal to him, so I gave it a go.
It was good. The controls were easy to pick up and the destruction felt satisfying, with picking up health a nice addition and not a chore. It was a nice nod to the Doom universe and paid homage to its roots. The hour I played was enough to know that it would be worth purchasing and at the discounted price of £9.99, it was a steal. Purchasing quickly, I filed it under the ‘need to play’ and then forgot about it until this year.
A surprising re-boot
Firing it up again, I was instantly transfixed and continually surprised as to how easily each level flowed. It was like a dance. Waltzing between areas with a chainsaw as my conductor, the dance was captivating from the moment your character awakens in the first room, to when he is punching the final boss. It was surprisingly good all the way through and only felt a little repetitive in the latter stages but this was because Final Fantasy had just arrived and I was itching to load up. At this point, I was conflicted as to whether to pause or push through.
Thankfully I pushed through as whilst I was longing to play the remake, Doom was more than enough to capture my attention. It never felt like too much of a grind and the odd moments in when I did feel that way, I was quickly transported back to the enjoyment. Little moments spread the tension and help break up the levels, with one famously transporting you back to the original.
Doom from 2016 is a great use of videogame time. If like me you are into your 30’s, work, have a partner and social activities (pre-Covid-19 that is) to fill your time, then Doom is perfectly created to fill those singular hours you get to game. Whenever my partner would go for a run I would fire up Doom and be captivated for a level. Roughly averaging between 45 minutes and an hour for each level, it was an instant grab that I wish had been loaded up sooner.
Why did it take me so long?
Doom fell into the latter category and as other games were released such as Resident Evil and Death Stranding, it fell into the ‘play when I have a moment’ box.
That is a very good question and one that requires a tale to do it justice. As I brought it whilst it was in the sale, there was no pressing need to play. What I mean by this is that it wasn’t a premium purchase that deserved immediate attention. A premium purchase is when you buy a videogame when released. At £50 this deserves immediate attention to justify the purchase but if you only spend £10 in a sale then there is no such hurry.
Doom fell into the latter category and as other games were released such as Resident Evil and Death Stranding, it fell into the ‘play when I have a moment’ box. With the turn of the year and move for my fiancée into the world of running, I suddenly had half an hour or so extra videogame time and I needed a game to fill this void.
This is where Doom came in. The levels are perfectly compatible with half an hour of gaming. Most levels take an hour or so and even when you reach a tricky point, you can nearly always make progress. This helps to avoid frustration and keeps you focused, with levels easy to dip in and out of, you never feel short-changed. It is perfectly placed for the busy professional with the added bonus of appealing to the rock generation also.
A perfectly rock-filled soundtrack
Back in the year 2000, Linkin Park alongside Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and Foo Fighters dominated my musical catalogue. Listening along to their albums each day on my jog-proof Walkman I was captivated by the beats and listening to the soundtrack in Doom transported me instantly back there also.
It’s a little bit of a spoiler in many ways that as soon as enemies appear, the decibels increase and a pumping heavy metal track appears but I’m not going to complain too hard. You can always see the enemies coming and so it's not really that much of a spoiler and I still found myself walking into nests of enemies at times.
The music adds to an already great game. It takes it from good to great and if you are a fan of heavy metal, first-person shooters and games that you can pick up and play, then what are you waiting for? Doom is the perfect companion for those of us who love gaming but have little time to invest these days.
A disappointing sequel
With all the praise I am laying on Doom, it will be no surprise for people to hear that the sequel was pre-ordered with the excitement usually reserved for children at Christmas. Eagerly I awaited the delivery like a child awaiting the arrival of Father Christmas and I was bitterly disappointed, much like the day you discover that Santa is not real.
First and foremost it looks bad. My fiancée disagrees with me on this one but Doom worked so well with its muted colours and angry soundtrack that this one appears too happy in many respects. The characters are too simplistic and take those angry models from the first one and make them appear like the developers got the work experience child to design them.
The pacing of the game is also stunted when compared to the first and whilst I don’t hate the game, I am in no way enjoying it as much as the first. I can accept that my television is not high enough in terms of resolution to display as intended but the gameplay cannot be blamed on the graphics. If I wanted to play Doom from 20 years ago then I would load up the original version on the Switch.
The 2016 remake of Doom is great. Perfectly formed to those who have anything up to an hour spare to play each day. The quick pace, rocking backtrack and moody, enclosed maps make the pacing of the game quick and easy to get lost in. It was a pleasure to play through and makes me want to play through again one day.
Rather than do so, I wanted to get stuck into the sequel but with the muted visuals, slower place and disappointing enemy design, I am no longer enthused. The game will be completed as it was purchased on release day but the pleasure taken from playing through will pale in comparison to the 2016 game.
My personal recommendation would be to buy the 2016 remake today and while away the hours that you have for gaming with it. Then if you insist on looking into the sequel wait a couple of years and purchasing when available for less than £5 as that is how much I wish I had paid for it.