With Bloodfall, Bethesda released the final piece of premium DLC for one of 2016’s most heralded shooters. So far, each piece of Doom’s premium DLC has simply contained new maps, demons, guns and customisation options. Predictably, Bloodfall follows suit.
Bloodfall’s new playable demon is a familiar one, mainly because it’s one that gave players a great deal of grief in the campaign. The ‘spectre pinky’ demon is low to the ground, vicious and able to become invisible. These traits certainly encourage a new play style, but it’s a style that’s inefficient. Pinky is difficult to control and lacks the punch that previous demons packed. By that same token, he’s still a bit of fun. But then again so are children’s toys. And just like kid’s toys, this demon’s novelty wears off.
The DLC also features three new maps: Empyrian, Boneyard, and Outbreak. And if it’s not clear from the names, the developers are definitely running low in the demonic/gory ideas department. Truth be told, it’s always fun – to one extent or another – to play new maps on a familiar game, but I couldn’t stop feeling that it wasn’t just the game that felt familiar: these maps did too. This was particularly true of Boneyard, a map made entirely of flesh, teeth and demon bones. Carnage is, irrefutably, an important part of Doom, but at the same time, it’s an aesthetic that is best used to decorate a map, not to entirely construct one.
Similarly, the overrun UAC facility on Outbreak is almost identical to maps we’ve seen before both in multiplayer and the campaign. Demonic gore scattered across a grey science facility is a familiar site this far into Doom’s lifespan. Were it free, I’d see no issues with Outbreak. It’s functional and well designed, and it can play host to some amusing matches. But as an inclusion of DLC at this price, it’s a definite letdown. On the contrary, the Colosseum that comprises the Empyrian map, is remarkable and it’s a fitting host to the violence of Doom’s multiplayer. It does echo environments we saw in Argent Breah (a map from Doom’s second DLC), but the interactive, crumbling battlements create new gameplay opportunities and make this map truly spectacular.
Speaking of new gameplay opportunities, Bethesda finally bit the bullet and offered up a grenade launcher. In all candour, I can’t say too much about this weapon. It functions exactly as expected. If you’ve mastered trajectories and the grenade-dip you can play for direct hits with Doom’s newest device. If not, you’re able to bounce grenades off the walls and down the tunnels of the (now) myriad of multiplayer maps. Bethesda also offers players lateral thrusters, which gives Doomguy a third jump and greater control of the airborne trajectory. Both are long overdue additions to the game, and they’re probably the highlights of Bloodfall.
There’s plenty of fun to be had with Doom’s latest features if you can find a game…
This is a problem I mentioned in my review of the Hell Followed DLC: the Doom multiplayer scene is clinging to life by a thread. Of the small portion of gamers playing Doom online, there’s an even smaller portion that have this latest DLC. What I’m saying is that, on the whole, Bloodfall provides a few bonus features and a few worthwhile maps for a multiplayer scene that’s just hanging on. As I said with the previous DLC, this isn’t Bethesda’s fault, but it’s still a pretty sizeable downside. The decision you face, at the end of this all, is whether the content and limited play time is worth the cost. And it pains me to say this – because Doom was one of 2016’s most impressive releases – it’s not.