I can’t quite believe it has been five years since DOOM, the reboot of the game widely regarded as the grandfather of the FPS, was released. Not since the excellent Doom 3 have we been treated to a full-blown, hellish, demon slaying adventure. But unlike Doom 3, the game shifted away from the survival horror and back to the run and gun spirit of the original.
DOOM was given a total overhaul and built from the ground up. The challenge, of course, was keeping the spirit of the originals alive whilst bringing the series up to date for the modern gamer. id Software achieved this by retaining the core elements of the series whilst evolving the gameplay.
DOOM is probably recognised most for its wide variety of demonic monstrosities which are relentlessly trying to tear you to pieces. Series classics such as the Cacodemon and Pinky returned, and were realised like never before thanks to the power of the modern day consoles. We also met some newbies, such as the incredibly irritating Summoner, but there was no sign of the ever frustrating Marauder here, thank goodness. DOOM featured returning demons from all of the original games, including some of the boss characters such as the Spiderdemon. Seeing these iconic demons brought to life in the current gen was a treat in itself for fans of the franchise.
The new demons point to the complete overhaul of DOOM’s combat, which is much more tactical than it was back in the day. Demons had different weaknesses which were key to exploit if you wanted to survive – simply running into the fray would immediately end in your gruesome death. You were able to harvest ammo, health and armor from your enemies depending on how you chose to slay them. All of this combined resulted in combat that was a fast, frantic, tactical but ultimately an intricate dance.
Of course, it wouldn’t be DOOM without some kick-ass weapons. Classics such as the Super Shotgun returned alongside some new firepower options such as grenades and the Gauss Cannon. This could take out most demons in just one shot, and was an incredibly powerful new addition to your arsenal. What makes DOOM special is its over the top weapons, and you weren’t let down here. The BFG returned (although you had to to fight your way to it), and as ever ammo was so scarce you had to make sure to use it wisely.
DOOM looked absolutely fantastic with well-detailed demon and environmental designs that realised the vision set out in the original, and then surpassed it. Whether you were zipping around the UAC facility or walking the plains of Hell itself, the world of DOOM had never been so absorbing.
Tying it all together was a stronger narrative (in a similar vein to Doom 3) including more complex characters such as Samuel Hayden who was the chairman of the UAC. In short, his series of expeditions into Hell lead to demons invading Mars, and it turns out only the DOOM slayer can put a stop to them. DOOM gave the player greater insight than ever before into the world and lore of the series, putting proper context behind all of the demon slaying.
DOOM also featured a fairly comprehensive multiplayer mode. There were several types of match to choose from, including deathmatch and domination. There were plenty of unlockables to play for, and you could customise your character accordingly.
The game also featured SnapMap, a level editor which meant players could create their own levels. Again, it was a fairly comprehensive mode which allowed players to test their creations before posting them online to share with the wider community. It was certainly a fun distraction from the main campaign and further evidence of the team’s attempts to innovate further within the DOOM universe.
I’ve always been a fan of Doom and the 2016 reboot walked the fine line between being accessible to all, but respectful to its source material and fans of the franchise. The changes to the combat system made DOOM a different type of FPS from the norm, as well as unfolding in a world which was visually exhilarating. It was a crucially successful stride forward for the series, bringing the classic series bang up to date.
Since then we have reached the conclusion of the DOOM Slayer saga, after DOOM Eternal and its DLC – Part One and Part Two of The Ancient Gods released. We’re not sure what’s in store next for the franchise, but based on the last five years we can be certain it’s in safe hands.
Let us know how you felt when DOOM rocked up back in 2016. And if you still haven’t played it, grab a copy from the Xbox Store for Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S. You’ll also find it available on PS5, PS4, PC and Switch.