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This is The SHADESMAN, in the house!!!!

There are stupid things – some VERY stupid things – people can do to pass their time. Lighting firecrackers up one’s ass is one of them. Elevator surfing is another. Placing bets on if an electrical outlet will actually shock you when you stick a fork in it probably tops the list.

However, after having gotten my hands on the DOOM Beta – precursor to a game I’ve long awaited since 2014 – I can safely say, playing this isn’t one of them.

Is DOOM perfect? Hardly. But what game is? There have been some critics who have done nothing but bash the title, but just how much of that is rooted in personal opinion? I think it’s necessary to separate objective fact from subjective desire when analyzing what, exactly, DOOM is.

In my OPINION, ID software having only given us a taste of the multiplayer component thus far was a solid move – thirst for the singleplayer and SnapMap modes remains strong, and not a moment out of those two is spoiled in the least bit (not firsthand, anyway). This leaves us to speculate how the full game will be, in spite of having spent many hours with multiplayer until the teaser shut its doors on us. May can’t come soon enough.

That said, DOOM’s multiplayer is a sweet experience, though not without its faults. Is it addictive? Yes – thanks to some light RPG elements that do NOT in this reviewer’s opinion affect gameplay too much. Armor customization is done in a lobby – and as you gain experience and levels, you gain access to additional color combinations and armor model types. I have a hunch that SnapMap will operate in a similar manner – you gain access to more components as you, well, play the game. More on that later. But, perhaps, this is why we don’t have an RGB color selection system from the get-go, and it may yet be for the best.

[image] from an artistic standpoint, DOOM’s environments are varied and breathtaking. Here we see 2016’s ‘startan.’


The community seems divided on the nuances of DOOM’s multiplayer so far, and you can’t really blame them. DOOM seems to combine oldschool gun and gun gameplay with more modern trappings such as weapon loadouts. This is a potentially odd combination choice that is further subject to the various opinions of the DOOMers who play it.

Many people say the weapons pack a punch, other people say they LACK a punch, some people say the balancing is perfect, others say that the weapons are too nerf’ed. Do they sound ‘powerful’ or ‘plastic?’ While DOOM’s multiplayer is fast, it’s still slower than the likes of Unreal Tournament and Quake.

And that’s a FACT – physics for movement in the air still exist, but are limited in their manipulation by only being able to double-jump upward (though this is versatile, as you can perform the second ‘jump’ at any point during your first). Bunny-hopping won’t make you move faster and you can’t double-tap to dodge sideways. And certainly no slope-acceleration as done in Quake. And thus, DOOM is currently balanced in such a way that it gets tough to take on more than one or two foes, even for a seasoned player. Unless of course you pick up one of the various powerups or runes that respawn in alarming regularity.

While some game balance issues still certainly need work – the lightning gun’s primary is too week, as is the rocket launcher – these tweaks can be made easily, but they are ultimately decisions. We WILL be able to have our own multiplayer modes in SnapMap, where WE alter weapons’ damage values – again, more on that later – but the base game should come to a consensus as to whether, say, the Rocket Launcher is in a starting loadout balanced with everything else, or re-assigned to being one of the superweapons that come about later. It wouldn’t make as much of a difference if it were, say, a generic fireball spell – people wouldn’t complain at all since a fantasy ‘fireball’ is arbitrary, and they’d laud the mid-air detonation. But Rocket Launchers need to push people around darnnit – or blow them to smithereens - and since DOOM’s multiplayer rockets are balanced for a starting loadout, they can only be allocated so much power. A Revenant’s missiles are thus noticeably more powerful, and it takes a Quad Damage to bring player rockets to just above what you’d expect.

Some single-player weapons from the campaign will be absent in official multiplayer – why use a single-barrel shotgun if just having the double-barreled in multiplayer can ensure all starting weapons can be better balanced? Ditto with the demons – a Hellknight would essentially play like a nerf’ed Baron of Hell, and who wants to be an Imp when the multiplayer Prowler will fill the role of a strong-enough glass cannon far more effectively?

Speaking of which, the demons (well, just the Revenant atm) are a blast to play – even if they are a bit overpowered. And if sufficient players corner you and triple-team you, it’s still possible to be taken out even without one of them having a superweapon or powerup. But these instances are still few and far between.

DOOM seems to aim towards both the oldschool fans and the newcomers to the series – does the mutiplayer component miss the mark? At the end of the day, I found it engrossing and addictive (and I STILL favored a loadout with the rocket launcher, it was still very useful), and as a company, ID and Bethesda realize that no matter how much a labor of love DOOM is, it still has to bring in numbers and sell. Catering to new fans, who are familiar with the likes of COD-type gameplay, will be necessary. And it’s not a bad thing.

[image] the ‘floating plasma’ bug is still a thing, however.


Besides multiplayer, another significant way to expand the life of a game is to have strong modding support. ID and Bethesda realized that the inherent problem with modding, however, is the fact that it takes frikkin’ FOREVER to create things. SnapMap seems to be a viable solution that saves both time and hard drive space, and will see a surge of user-created levels much like how the original DOOM saw a gagillion WADS.

Personally, I’m looking forward to this thing the most, in spite of its potential shortcomings. As a somewhat experienced mapper and environment artist, I can understand why many would be disappointed that they cannot manipulate vertices and design the environment to their exacting level of detail – no new textures, monsters and items can be added from the outside, and it seems at first glance people are afraid of being limited to the same, few, lego-esque rooms.
What people forget, however, is that everything DOOM has to offer IS new to us. It evokes the familiar, the oldschool, while being a completely new experience for a new generation of fans. That’s what the root of this new DOOM is, for better or worse, and personally I’m leaning towards that being a ‘better.’ We might think we know a Mancubus, but once you’ve fought one in the new DOOM (or one of it’s many variants), we can’t say.

We have only seen one tileset so far – the ‘Heatwave’ UAC mines also found in the E3 presentation – being snapped together, and it’s an early stage of the game. What’s to say that more ‘tilesets’ such as the UAC labs and even Hell won’t be ‘unlocked’ for us to Snap later (much like how you’d have to play more and more multiplayer to unlock Hack Modules, armor… even weapons and the like). While playing multiplayer, I stopped for a second and looked closely. Both ‘Heatwave’ and ‘Inferno’ seemed to have many modular bits – some used even between the environments – even if outdoor areas are still undoable, it’s a fact that we can tweak properties within each room such as overall lighting, mood lighting and fog.

And we can in all likelihood use ALL the content at our disposal – while we can’t use, say, the lightning gun in the single-player campaign, there’s NOTHING preventing us from making it into the necessary, forcefull superweapon to take the final boss Baron of Hell down in a SnapMap scenario. We can tweak this Baron to have even more hit points than usual, and if playing single-player does indeed unlock things in SnapMap – I can recolor him red and make him the ‘Belphegor’ boss I’ve always envisioned. Maybe color-change is there from the get-go – it’s a certain feature of SnapMap that’s already been confirmed, to be sure – it’s still possible to have the multiplayer level of armor customization, so maybe the critter can have alternate patterns and tattoos, and different areas of recolor. We’ll just haveta wait and see.

[image] After we defeat The Belphegor, we can BECOME him – our turn to the Dark Side will be complete.


Assuming you don’t somehow already own it – the answer is still a resounding YES. The art style, pacing and feel for the new DOOM is spot-on, the multiplayer is addictive and the single-player will be an engrossing challenge. SnapMap in my opinion will be the addictive touch to this gem, and it’s literally a Hell of a better use of time than lighting firecrackers up one’s ass. As it stands, an 8/10 – and that’s playing Devil’s Advocate over minor issues that can be further tweaked in time for release. Well, considering that you literally play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ throughout the DOOM campaign anyway – it’s looking promising.

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ShadesMaster said:

Some single-player weapons from the campaign will be absent in official multiplayer – why use a single-barrel shotgun if just having the double-barreled in multiplayer can ensure all starting weapons can be better balanced?

Actually, the regular Combat Shotgun will be present in multiplayer. We saw it in the recent Multiplayer trailer (skip to 0:15):

I'm assuming the Combat Shotgun will have a higher rate of fire than the Super Shotgun. It also might have a useful weapon modifier.

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Not an official reviewer (though I'd like to be), and am only going by what I know of course... but I have my style of writing! :Too bad my printscreens didin't remain, 'cause now I have to pull from existing screenshots online.... D

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ShadesMaster said:

[image] from an artistic standpoint, DOOM’s environments are varied and breathtaking. Here we see 2016’s ‘startan.’

Think you might have forgotten your image or something there.
I'd really love to see 2016's 'startan'.

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