One day. A useless bundle of hours, that’s all we have standing between us and Doom. Usually, I’d be ankle-deep in demon giblets by now, striking a heroic pose atop a mountain of Mancubi while I stare off into the distance with a dramatic plume of hellfire blazing behind me. But not this time. Bethesda is withholding review copies of this lovely-looking game until the servers go live, so even us fork-tongued critics have to wait until launch day to get our greasy paws on it.
You can bet I’m going to haul ass through the campaign as soon as I have my copy. After that, I’ll probably spend a few tremendously painful hours getting my butt kicked in the multiplayer — after spending far too much time customizing my very own Doom Guy so he represents my views and opinions — then I’ll use SnapMap to make some dicks before getting to work on the review.
My job isn’t always black grapes and rainbows, but someone has to do it.
Our very own Mr. T isn’t convinced this game will live up to the hype that’s been building around it for more than a decade. I’m not either, but there are still some very specifically awesome things about what id Software is doing with the reboot that I am very excited about.
Take the multiplayer, for example. I’m rubbish at it, always have been, but I still have loads of fun even if I occasionally find myself hop-running away from player-controlled Revenants who always seem intent on blowing me to bits. It’s startling how often I’m marked for death first. I could be surrounded by a team wielding fully-charged BFGs, one point short of a victory and they’ll still find a way to tear me from this mortal coil before anyone else.
It happens often enough that I’ve had to accept it as a hidden feature of the game, a cruel inside joke id Software is playing on me for not having enough LAN parties in high school. Whenever the announcer lets me in on the fact that a demon rune is about to reveal itself, I accept my fate. The announcer probably has too. For all I know, he says it with a smirk on his face, or worse, he may be the one who’s pulling the strings.
Anyway, the point is, I’ve been forever cursed and I can still have loads of fun with the Doom multiplayer, so certainly you can too.
Maybe multiplayer isn’t your thing. That’s okay. It isn’t mine either, for the most part. That’s why our Lord and Savior, Gaben — Godking of Valve, Lord of Steam, Slayer of Threequels — invented the single-player campaign (don’t bother Googling any of this, it’s all true).
Doom caused a bit of a stir when it was revealed its story mode wouldn’t support co-op. There might’ve been rioting in the streets, but our kind prefers to stay indoors where there’s food and a strong Wi-fi signal. Knowing we could create our own custom co-op campaigns using the game’s shiny new SnapMap modding tools also helped.
But nature should still consider putting power outlets on trees.
The nifty thing about something like SnapMap is you don’t have to do anything with it to get something from it. The community-created content benefits everyone, including sad saps such as myself who can confidently erect elaborate genitalia-inspired towers with considerable girth and detail, only to choke when it comes to anything one might deem ‘playable’.
Fortunately, there’s a small percentage of the game’s player base that we can consistently rely on to carry the rest of us. These wonderful individuals are what kept me coming back to LittleBigPlanet years after its trade-in value had fallen to that of a budget bin title, just so I could see what those strange and wildly underappreciated engineers had been up to when I was busy neglecting the game.
Doom is more than capable of fostering a strong modding community around its SnapMap utility, thanks to its developer’s unique understanding of the PC Master Race, as well as the series’ already established history of being stupid fun to mod.
For me, it’s mostly about the campaign. I’ve always preferred a solid story mode to most other things in the games I play. By choosing to build the campaign sans co-op support, id Software saved precious time and resources that would’ve had a noticeable impact had they been spent on co-op friendly level design, enemy encounters, etc. That’s not to say its story mode will be good because it’s single-player — that level of witchery has been mastered by a select few game developers, like Valve and Naughty Dog.
The underlying theme with this game has been about taking something that worked twenty years ago and bedazzling it so it appeals to newcomers without startling the easily-startled old folks.
This idea can be seen everywhere, from the arena-based multiplayer where it looks like a blockbuster video game should in 2016 but it feels a lot like a 90s shooter, to the campaign, which has more or less the same thing going on. Everything is either bigger or there’s more of it — or in some cases, both. There’s a story, but the scope of it has changed and it’s brought with it a slew of “modern” enhancements like character customization, gruesome “glory kills”, and silly point-based awards to satisfy our lizard brains.
It introduces these tweaks while staying refreshingly close to its roots. Doom won’t force a regenerating health system on you, nor will it make you carry a “realistic” number of weapons or burden you with the hassle that comes with having to reload them. It’ll even have key cards, and if we’re lucky, they’ll be colored to match the door they unlock.
So will the new Doom be any good? Only our tomorrow selves know the answer to that. Until then, let’s do a bunch of push-ups so we can all be stupid ripped when it gets here. You game?