The First Few is a series where we take raw unfiltered first impressions of the game and write down exactly what we think within the initial hours of it. Whereas a review covers the experience as a whole, The First Few focuses on the opening act of the title or more commonly known as the “hook”.
The First Hour – Back In Hell
Doom is probably the most hyped game of the year and marks the return of one of the originator’s of FPS. Bethesda and ID have already proved they were up to the task with the recent and fantastic Wolfenstein games. I’ll admit that I was hesitant to purchase the title since reviews of the Beta were abysmal on PC due to a lot of problems I usually see in ports. However, after some mental gymnastics and reassuring words from the developer, I went ahead and snagged it.
The title menu interface was smooth and with little to no loading as I tweaked some options most games forget we want. Little things such as turning off boss health bars or pesky achievement progress pop ups. While I’m blasting demons I don’t want my screen blocked by text telling me “Ten more and you get a silver medal. Yay you!”. It’s QOL additions like these that show the developer has respect for its players, although if it wasn’t hidden in the menus then it would show even more respect. After tweaking to my usual settings of maximum difficulty for myself, I began the game and, as usual, was greeted with an oh so epic
opening cinematic… in-engine scene?
Surprisingly, Doom ditches the usual long winded explanation and setup to give everyone exactly what we wanted from it, a big gun and monsters to slay. Immediately, the sense of speed was something I wasn’t used to since FPSes have slowed themselves down to retain steady frame rate across all consoles. Doom throws that away and speeds the game up both in actual play as well as when educating the player. I’m happy to say I bumped into no overly huge tutorials nor did I want any.
Making my way out of the first room, the next thing that struck me was the visuals. The game is fairly dark and foreboding and even though I was within a research facility, I could feel there was something far more sinister at play.
Within the first ten minutes, I was introduced to the stun and Glory Kill system which lets you shoot a dude up and then execute him. Always fun to see bits flying BUT it did detract from the difficulty as I learned that Glory Kills made enemies spurt health out of every orifice. As I finished off the first “area” and walked towards the door to what looked to be Mars, the title introduction flashed accompanied by some guitar riffs and ended with the sound of a shotgun cocking. After the huge pump of that tiny sequence, I was ready to head back into the abyss and face the horrors that awaited me.
Teaching An Old Dog… The Same Tricks
As I begin to near the age of 30, I’ve noticed the reflexes and hand eye coordination necessary for a game like this have started to leave me. However, something about the fierce firefights (which was basically most of the game so far) awakened something primal within me,
As I encountered new demons to shoot, some old FPS staples that had been lost long ago popped up. As an enemy closed in to melee range, I jumped up and over them while throwing a punch to dodge the attack and then finish them with some bullets. For another enemy who shot a huge ball of energy followed by a volley of regular bullets, I utilized the ol’ circle strafe to much success. This game launched me onto Mars with just my wits about me and asked if I would step up to the challenge or turn the difficulty down. I stepped up. It invokes this muscle memory that all players of the original have and proves that it is trying to stay faithful. Well… maybe.
After running down a dusty corridor looking for more demons to purge, I found that the game actually provides you with markers leading to the next objective in the form of flashing green poles in the ground. This is a simple touch that really helps with the immersion as you kind of glance around looking for them without needing a mini-map or your objective marker.
Another surprising gameplay addition was the return of key card locked doors. As I ran around like an idiot looking for the first blue key card, I was pretty annoyed. As I opened it up however, I felt a sudden rush of sweet nostalgia.This wasn’t the Doom I had tried as a kid but it was definitely similar enough to bring out some old feelings.
A new tweak I discovered was a little helper robot who gave out parts to modify my Shotgun with either an explosive shot or a triple shot… there wasn’t a clear sign if this was permanent or could be changed later but I chose quickly. The explosive shot upgrade allowed me to alt fire a round at a group every few seconds at the cost of a regular bullet. Not bad for getting what was basically a baby grenade launcher.
Before storming the next interior location, I felt myself relax and get ready for even more head smashing since this game does get one thing right. Doom doesn’t need a major story or cutscenes to be good. It’s all about grabbing a shotgun and kicking demon ass… so far it’s doing a great job at that. Let’s see if it can hold its appeal for another 2 hours.
Oh, There’s An Upgrade Tree?
So there I am in my last hour, staring at my map and then realize there are four other tabs that I have yet to browse through. I felt pretty dumb but excited.
Much to my surprise, the little robot upgrade was just the beginning. The true glory of Doom’s arsenal is the ability to fine tune them as you see fit. Each “attachment’ give you four areas of the gun you can upgrade. When I finally got my hands on a machine gun, I picked the scope attachment and was given the option to spend a weapon point to add “shots penetrate when scoped in”, “damage is increased on headshots,” and one more that I can’t remember off the top of my head. It’s not surprising that this game offers an RPG like element since so many games require that to be a staple. To gain these points, it looked like I needed to complete mission specific challenges which weren’t too hard to do outside of shooting people. Neat.
Continuing with my trek on Mars from an interior location to the exterior orange dusty terrain and vice versa, I began to wonder if the whole game would be like this. Since it wasn’t set on Earth, there was little chance of bumping into oceans, rivers, or lakes or even trees. However, I do distinctly remember a different locale in the trailers so I suspect we’ll be in actual hell before too long. At the moment, that is my only gripe with the game outside of the ledge grabs.
When you jump towards a ledge, your marine automatically pulls himself up. Great touch. However sometimes it’s not clear if the ledge is jump-able or not leading to instances of jumping like an idiot trying to get up on something you’re watching an enemy shoot down from. It may be a little nit picky but was something I noticed.
All in all, my final hour with Doom definitely did not spell the end for me. The game has a full multiplayer suite as well as a custom creation area to play with but the campaign is really fun. I mean really fun. The rock anthems playing as you dispatch dudes in a very bloody fashion, the customizable weapons to fit your play style better, and best of all the reward for not following the beaten path makes it quite a return for Id’s baby.
Platform: PC (Steam)
Control Method: Xbox 360 Controller
Time Spent: 3 Hours
Andron (or Ace as he likes to call himself) is the so called "Head Honcho" of Bombchu.com. He has a deep passion for video games primarily RPGs, Fighting or Adventure. When not gaming, he's furiously typing on his keyboard or coming up with new schemes.