Wednesday, 18 May 2016

DOOM: PS4 Review

DOOM: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Bethesda and developed by iD Software

There's just something hellishly good about DOOM.

And yet, at the same time, with a racing heartbeat in its multiplayer zone, there's also something that's likely to push people right to the edge.

The first person shooter can't be unknown to many and this update is certainly on the money.

Set on Mars, you play someone who's caught up in a hellish conspiracy in a research facility on the red planet. Awaking to find yourself strapped down and with demons nipping at your toes, you break out of your sarcophagus and start shooting your way to safety while you fight through the hordes of bad guys heading your way. With a portal open and the hellhounds unleashed by a cult head determined to wreak havoc, there's little for you to do except blast your way to survival.

Fast-paced, perfectly crisply graphically executed and eminently playable, DOOM really is a heartbeating, pulse pounding blast that is as engrossing as it is gory. It really is a case of no guts, no gory, because the simple MO of the game's original DNA has been transplanted into a new century update.

The soundscape created is also terrifying too - with the hordes of hell gurgling as the world swirls around you. Redolent of the atmosphere of Alien, DOOM works on many primordial levels.

Chiefly though, it's about the gore and the dispatching of the bad guys. From chainsaws to the newly minted glory kills (where you can stun the bad guys, and then rip them apart for more health and power ups), the game never loses sight of its single MO - to pander to the bloodlust of the shooter.

It's not all about the shooting though - you have to negotiate the base's mazes and the external caverns of Mars too to get where you need to. You actually need a degree of strategy, because while there is plenty of health power ups and weapons refills stashed around, there's skill needed to ensure you're not caught short.

The game's rendering is totally fluid too, meaning that in the HD format, its hyper-real look is never anything less than terrifying. It's a game that wreaks of atmosphere and old school nostalgia and uses both of these to great effect.

While the single player campaign is exactly what you'd expect, the wealth of online multiplayer content is more than you'd expect.

Racing around as part of a team in the Deathmatch has pre-occupied my time in the early stages of the game - but it's been never anything less than fun, even if the skill level matching is occasionally skewed too far one way. Facing up against players of level 30 when you're on level 7 is difficult at best, given the opposition's access to upgrades, but to be fair to the 10 min games, you usually end up with someone of a higher calibre on your team also. Equally, upgrading and gaining XP is quickly done and in a few matches, my customisable character had hit the highs necessary. The levels aren't exactly complex in terms of mapping, but occasionally, I've actually lost players in the myriad of blood-spattered walls - despite their size, it's easy to lose the action.

Along with Soul Harvest (where you collect the souls of those you've sent back to hell) and community made maps, customisable characters and mods, there's more than enough in the multiplayer to keep you away from the solo game - and with more to come, it's certainly something to get lost in.

While it's still early days for the great multiplayer (more on that to come in a future piece), the signs are that this DOOM has it all correct.

It embraces the core DNA of the original and updates it very nicely.

DOOM won't win awards for subtlety but for its brutality and ultra-violent edges, this reboot for the 21st century is likely to plague your gaming nightmares for a long time to come; simply put, DOOM is bloody fun.

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