I played a couple matches of the new Doom over the weekend at QuakeCon. I come to you bearing Thoughts.
Doom is fast and brutal, so I’m gonna deliver my impressions in the form of RAPID-FIRE BULLET POINTS. Warning: if you get too close to your screen, I can’t be held responsible for what might happen (probably eye strain or something).
- It’s solid. The six vs six TDM matches I played felt good and looked nice. At this stage, Doom is not horrible. Hurrah!
- It’s fast, but not quite old-school fast. Heck, I’d say that even Quake IV was faster. Nu-Doom (not to be confused with Nude Doom, which may or may not be an actual thing and now I’m afraid to look) attempts to rocket-jump the line between old and new, and it lands in a pretty nice spot, speed-wise. Old-school evangelists might object, but I liked the way movement felt. I was able to get my bearings and feel competitive quickly. I even managed to pull off a sweet 360 spin shotgun kill once, and I felt like the coolest person on Earth as some kid on the other side of the table shouted, “THAT’S BULLSHIT.” (Note: I am not actually very cool.)
- It’s vertical. Oh how I missed you, jump pads and levels with more to them than “ground floor” and “slope that could be mistaken for a large pothole.” Boost jumping and the ability to grab surfaces and hoist myself on top of them left a fair amount of room for improvisation, too.
- There are health kits! You know, like from the Before Times. Thank goodness.
- The static cannon is a cool embodiment of what the new Doom is all about. It’s a gun that charges up as you run. If you stop moving, its single, lightning-bolt-of-Zeus-like blast is kinda cruddy. If you dart, dodge, sprint, and strafe until its meter is topped off, however, you’re suddenly packing a one-shot kill cannon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t super useful on the constrained, corridor heavy level in the QuakeCon demo, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with it more.
- I didn’t really dig the new loadout functionality. In the new Doom you can only carry two guns and one item (say, grenades or a teleporter) per loadout, and in the demo we could only switch between two custom loadouts per game. I’m all for meaningful gameplay choices and constraints breeding creativity, but Doom’s limitations felt constraining and arbitrary—like they were detracting from my tactical versatility, not helping me devise new strategies. It struck me as a modern shooter trope that got tossed onto Doom’s sacrificial demon altar because, you know, that’s how all the cool kids are doing it now.
- No John, you are the demons. On the level we played, there was a power-up that temporarily turned one player at a time into a demon. Whoever became the rocket-spewing Revenant was pretty much guaranteed at least a few kills, so the power up was hotly contested. It gave the level a nice focal point, which immediately became a “fuck it all” point as soon as someone on the other team turned into Mr Jack Hellington and wreaked havoc. The net effect was a nice ebb and flow, a noticeable churn in the sea of combat. That’s a tough thing to achieve in a deathmatch mode, and Doom’s way of making it happen was very, you know, Doom.
- Melee? Meh. I think Doom’s melee splatter-splosion kills look rad. Right now, though, they seem like a better fit for single-player than multi. In team deathmatch, I felt like I was asking for a thrashing every time I rushed in to knee someone’s head clear into space god’s lap. Even if I thought I’d isolated one of my enemies, their teammates were usually waiting in the wings to punish me for getting that close.
- I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I came away from the Doom demo satisfied, but I didn’t feel that tingle in my fingertips, that tug at my soul to play more. Granted, I only played a couple matches, and it’s still far from finished. Given this one’s developmental ups and downs, it could’ve been a fucking disaster. Instead, it seems to be on a right-ish track. That’s certainly something.
- It’s still not the right color.
So those are my Doom BULLETTHOUGHTS. I hope you enjoyed them and did not die of eye strain or shrapnel. Did any of you get a chance to play Doom this weekend? If so, what’d you think?