Within ten seconds of starting Doom’s campaign, you murder your first demon. Great! That’s it—that’s the pace, here. Doom (available for $60 on Steam) is a game where you run by default and hold Shift to walk, a game where oftentimes the only way to score more health is to kill something and harvest little blue pickups from their body. It’s fast, it’s gory, and it’s fun.
Damn, is it fun. Even now, writing this at 3:30 a.m., I’m fully aware that I should be asleep, but a part of me wants to wrap this article and then head back to Mars. Actually, a fairly large part of me wants to ditch this article entirely and jump back into Doom. It’s the best shooter since Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Okay, let’s qualify that statement: The best-playing shooter. Wolfenstein had a whole second layer to it, a weird existential dread about war, that elevated it from dumb shooter to can’t-tell-if-it’s-dumb-or-really-smart shooter.
Doom is all dumb. I’m only through the second level (I’ve spent a lot of time hunting down collectibles) but so far the story is pretty much “Demons were unleashed on Mars and you need to kill them.” Same old, same old. It’s as deep as a puddle of blood, and no one cares. It’s Doom.
Going back to those collectibles: Yeah, they exist. It’s couched in the ol’ “Find the Secrets” nonsense that classic 90s shooters loved, but the modern twist is you’ll nab upgrade points to unlock new armor/weapon capabilities. The good news is you can pretty quickly upgrade your armor to just show you where the secrets are, which takes a lot of the tedium out of it.
But fighting you every step of the way is the map. It actually wouldn’t be too bad, except for the fact every time I open it, it’s three-dimensional mess of blue and grey lines has reoriented itself to an entirely unusable position, which is frustrating because it disrupts the pace of the game to sit and swivel and zoom each time.
Other than that, I’m having a blast. The game runs spectacularly—we’re talking 100-130 frames per second on Ultra on a GeForce GTX 980 Ti, which is incredible given how good the game looks. The shooting is tight, the guns are loud and in-your-face, and the demons are just smart enough to occasionally get you in a bad situation. I’d recommend playing one step above the Normal difficulty if you’re a shooter veteran, but you should definitely play it. If you’re a shooter fan, at least.
Doom, I’m sorry I ever doubted you.
We’ll have a full review soon, and at some point I should probably touch the (ugh) much-slower multiplayer. For now, though? Time to lose more sleep.