After recently playing the Doom closed multiplayer beta, here are my initial impressions…
Write this down…
This is coming from someone who doesn’t even really enjoy playing online games. I coerced myself into trying it out because, “Hey it’s Doom,” I told myself. What ensued was actually a fun, frantic foray to the pits of hell. The closed beta was only open to those who received a code after pre-ordering Wolfenstein: The New Order. The open beta will be released on April 15th through April 17th.
The first thing I noticed was the incredibly fast gameplay. I can’t speak for the consoles, but running the beta on my PC yielded faster than 60 fps. This made all of Doom Guy’s movements extremely fluid. The graphics were on par with other top tier shooters on the market today, and different effects like exploding rockets have a gratifying, visceral sound.
Ah yes, the weapons of Doom are incredible. Each weapon used in the beta has a primary and secondary fire mode which is something new for the series. The beta only included 6 guns and 2 different types of secondary items to use. The rocket launcher was by far my favorite to use. I was actually surprised that the developers allowed use of such a powerful weapon right from the beginning of the beta. The other weapons include the plasma rife, repeater, super shotgun, vortex rifle, and static canon. The two secondary items included were the standard frag grenade and a personal teleporter that when used, will allow the player to throw it down and teleport back to that location later in the match. It works well for a quick escape in a firefight.
Doom clings to its roots a bit with how the game is played. There is are no sprint or reload options. However, the player moves fast enough that I didn’t even miss not being able to sprint. Reloading? There isn’t any option for it. I actually welcomed this feature because I’d rather fire a barrage of rockets at someone’s face than have to be nagged by reloading. It’s wonderful, nostalgic, and chaotic. The game also brings different loadout options popularized by the Call of Duty and Halo series. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of only being able to pick two weapons in which I had to commit. I’d much prefer to have all of the different weapons available to pick up within the level. However, this boils down to personal preference.
Another fun addition was the ability to become a demon. Every few minutes a demon rune spawns somewhere on the map. The first person to get to the rune turns into a demon. The Revenant Demon was available in the beta. It was a BLAST! Being able to mow people down with high-powered rockets while moving with a super natural quickness made me feel pretty invincible for a short time.
The beta came with two standard modes: Team Deathmatch and Warpath. The former is the standard deathmatch experience. One team takes on another team for a competition of who can achieve the most kills. Warpath is a version of King of the Hill. However, the area where the flags would be located are constantly moving. The goal is to occupy the space for as long as possible. The beta also included two different maps. One map is a location that resembles a large foundry. It was fun to jump to different platforms with a rocket pack while shooting at enemies below me. The verticality of the level made it very challenging. The other map seemed to be located in hell. There were a lot of small spaces that all led to a wide open area. It was complete with pools of lava, brimstone, and all the wonderful amenities included in hell.
Overall, the beta was a lot of fun and gives a good indication of what’s in store for the future of the Doom franchise. I personally can’t wait to sink my teeth into the single player campaign. Some may be put off a bit by the newer gameplay mechanics, (loadouts, player roles, etc.) Some newer players won’t enjoy the old-school aesthetic and movement. But, the beta did a great job of bringing new ideas into an old shooter. All generations can rest easy knowing that Doom is going to be an awesome addition in the series. In the end, we all have to give respect and pay tribute to the granddaddy of the first person shooter.