My relationship with Doom is rather unusual. I played the first game only once Bethesda released it as part of the BFG Edition and didn’t like it at first. By then, it looked and felt dated, and the inability to move the target reticle across the vertical axis puzzled me.
I barely finished the first level, but once Bethesda announced the reboot of Doom, for whatever reason, I thought the original deserved another fair try. And somehow, it finally clicked with me; I appreciated its simple, carnage-oriented nature: blasting enemies from the shotgun, sawing them in half, and launching dozens of missiles at an imposing Cyberdemon boss.
Not only did I finish the original Doom, but Doom 3 as well, and got pretty far into Doom 2. Perhaps, I overestimated my abilities by choosing the Ultra Violence difficulty setting for my first run.
Given all of my recent experience, when a demo for the new Doom became available, I didn’t hesitate. But history decided to repeat itself and once I downloaded the demo and played it, guess what? I didn’t like it. I played through it multiple times, and with each, enjoyed it slightly more, but not to the point where it would truly hook me.
However, a year or so after release, against any common rationale, I ended up getting the game anyway. And once again, I fell in love with its relentless action-packed gameplay. With possibly months until release, we’ll examine the main selling-points of Doom 2016 and why you should be looking forward to its sequel – Doom Eternal.
Killing and Chilling
Several levels into the game I understood the reason behind my initial reaction – the demo was short and didn’t fully accentuate the game’s strengths; it felt too tame. But the full version rectified all of my doubts and brought back a familiar experience.
Imagine a particularly long day at the office or school; most of us have been there. After that, we seldom want to delve into complex stories or relationships between characters. Sometimes, I don’t feel like contemplating the purpose of life or saving the world. Sometimes, I just want to unload a minigun into a horde of demons and create stairs out of their remains to get to the next level. And traditionally, Doom provides just that: no complex plot or character development, no lengthy cutscenes, just kill everything and proceed.
Not many games feel as empowering and tension-relieving at the same time. Nothing distracts you from the action – a video game in its purest form. Like Tetris; it doesn’t matter whether or not the blue block loves the red one, or that the yellow one feels jealous. And while Doom Eternal, much like its predecessor, does feature a story, it plays a second role to action. This simplicity makes it all the more important in the plot-driven gaming landscape of today.
With more weapons, enemies, and a new setting – Earth – Doom Eternal primes itself to build upon the fundamental values of its predecessors. And the new “Invasion” multiplayer mode might become a welcome addition as well. In essence, it allows players to invade each other’s campaign as one of the demons and fight. While it undoubtedly takes cues from the invasions in Dark Souls, think about the possible scenarios: taking on the role of a Revenant or a Baron of Hell to ruin another player’s day.
Mick Gordon’s Demonic Chainsaw Riff
This non-stop action requires an equally adaptive musical score: energetic tunes to bang your head to. Its modern, unlike-anything-else soundtrack made Doom of 2016 stand head and shoulders above its predecessors. And luckily for us all, Australian musician Mick Gordon returns as the game’s composer; his phenomenal work on the reboot earned its soundtrack numerous awards.
To provide more insight, at GDC 2017, Gordon explained the long and challenging process of creating the soundtrack for the reboot of Doom, and the curious involvement of a chainsaw. Fans of the series already know the iconic status of a chainsaw within the game, but it played an equally important role during the creation of some of the tracks.
In order to create certain sounds, Gordon resorted to using the noise of the chainsaw from the original Doom and morphed it with the sound of a 9-string guitar. Tracks like “Flesh and Metal” and “Rust, Dust and Guts” will give you the overall idea and clearly audible segments of the chainsaw. This unusual addition imbued Doom’s soundtrack with something inhuman; after all, sounds like that don’t exist in a regular orchestra. And that lack of normality created a believable sense of an actual struggle against evil in hell.
It goes without saying that Gordon takes a novel approach when composing his music. However, it also means that whatever he comes up with for Doom Eternal, will likely further blow our minds.
In the MooD for DooM.
For years, it seemed like Doom was part of a dying breed; games like Battlefield and Call of Duty dominated the market. Games which focused on war, realism, and multiplayer above all else. Contrary to that, the reboot of a more than two decades old franchise promised something different – something focused on a single-player experience.
And it delivered on that promise; with fast-paced combat encounters and a devilish soundtrack to complement them, the reboot of Doom brought first-person action to its roots.
Doom Eternal is currently set for a 2019 release and I can’t wait to not like it again. And then fall head-over-heels in love. With more enemies than ever before and a new multiplayer mode, it promises to become the best Doom experience since, well… Doom.
And once it comes out, we will make sure to do a thorough review and find out if all the growing hype around it was justified.