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MP Launch Review + Thoughts

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Coming all the way from MAP13, competitive Doom II superstar Xen decided to get his feet wet immediately on launch and jump right into Multiplayer.

First things first, let's talk about the elephant in the room. Doom 4's MP side was crafted by the same group of dudes that made the excessively popular Halo franchise, so it stands to reason this is why the Multiplayer, to some people, feels quite like Halo. Is this a bad thing?

Not necessarily! A lot of the maps feature a variety of situations, be it from open arenas vulnerable to snipers, or tight corridors where you should be wielding a chaingun or shotgun. This tends to even out a lot of weapon balance and mitigates a lot of the 'slow' feeling movement speed.

You end up having a lot to worry about at the current pace it operates, and it lends itself to how quickly players can end up dying. One thing that hasn't changed from the old Dooms, if you're smart about the map layout and picking the right weapons for the job, you can put up some good numbers!

You too, can be this great!

We did have that open beta that was more of a shock to everyone's system, especially those coming from a Quake background. One of the changes I saw between the beta and release were a much improved unlock system. You can get everything in under an hour of play now. Weapons were also tweaked and in some cases buffed in either fire rate or damage output, turning it into a crazy slugfest.

I've had plenty of times where I end up in the middle of 4 enemy players out of absolutely nowhere and proceed to slaughter them all. Or, I get picked off by some guy I lost track of in the hectic firefight and my marine's neck gets brutally snapped. All that usually occurs within 5 seconds. Doom 4's MP is not fast paced? I don't find that warranted.

Mix and match to your heart's content.

So, what engines of destruction do we have to work with?

The weapons are as follows:

  • Chaingun
    Alt fire will spin it up ahead of time so you can be ready to engage at a moments notice, with no noticeable downside that I could see, so remember that!
  • Heavy Assault Rifle
    Your typical machine gun, scoping in and training on some heads with alt fire will help a lot with damage progression, this is more of a longer range weapon, think of using it outside the Chaingun's close range capability.
  • Plasma Rifle
    Pretty good for focusing down enemies, but where it really shines is in modes with control points like Warpath and Domination. Altfire will unleash a blast that renders a single point a damage zone for a couple seconds, hurting anyone treading over it. It also does a pretty decent chunk of damage, allowing you to hurl one of those and follow up with a shotgun to control a point.
  • Rocket Launcher
    The RL is pretty alright, but not as strong as I'd prefer. Two direct hits will kill a player, and it's a solid weapon to help bring down a Demon Rune. Rockets do not inhibit other players' movement, so it's even better against tightly packed groups of enemies. I've taken out three enemies running next to each other in only a couple shots with it! Altfire will detonate your rocket mid-air, which is okay, but I've rarely found situations where I needed to use it.
  • Super Shotgun
    Other than the Combat Shotgun, this is the bread and butter of your close range conflicts. Its damage dropoff is pretty severe, but up close you can do 80+ damage in a single hit, then probably follow up with a melee for a quick kill. Great supplemental weapon for a longer range rifle.
  • Vortex Rifle
    The Vortex Rifle is supposed to be your sniper rifle of the game. Every weapon does headshot damage (Yellow numbers will appear), but this weapon is one that capitalizes on it. Fantastic for locking down a long route on modes like Warpath and to pick away at enemy Demon Runes from afar. It's only truly overshadowed by the Power Weapons like the Gauss Rifle, and is extremely aim dependant.
  • Burst Rifle
    Fires a quick three round burst on hipfire that's deadly accurate, or you can scope in with altfire for a semi-auto shot that does a chunk of damage. I've grown to like it over the Vortex Rifle for long range loadouts.
  • Hellshot
    It's an energy weapon, but it seems underwhelming from it's semiauto capability. Altfire will unleash a damage over time projectile that will burn enemies, but the damage output on both firing modes seems to be underwhelming compared to other choices.
  • Combat Shotgun
    Loving this one. It's got a little less damage output than the super shotgun, but it fires faster, and it has a tighter spread, giving it a longer effective range. Altfire lets you prep a grenade for launch, exploding on impact. I'm having a lot of success by nading an enemy or group of enemies, and then filling them full of lead immediately afterword. Not many other weapons available pack a 1-2 punch like this.
  • Lightning Gun
    This one is pretty interesting. Regular fire sends out a stream of fairly high damaging electricity with surprising range, while altfire is a short range seek-and-destroy that covers a pretty good potion of your crosshair. It's great for flanking and surprise attacks.
  • Static Rifle
    This one is a little tricky to use. You move a lot, and you charge up the gun's shot. A full power shot does some damage, but it doesn't seem worth it since you can get caught out of place and not have enough charge to slam them, making you rely on your secondary more than the power of the Static Rifle.
The variety of weapons really makes it easy to mix and match several potentially good loadouts, especially as the maps shift. I do enjoy the loadouts for one reason only: In objective modes you wanna get right back into that action, and that's what it's good for.

You will continue to fight over a variety of powerups in each round, such as the Demon Rune, where you can transform into a Revenant, Mancubus, Baron of Hell, or a Prowler. The last one there functions more like a flanking ninja-like Demon, where you can latch yourself onto walls and take out entire squads before then know what's going on.

What about those little colored powerup orbs scattered across maps? So far I've seen Haste, Quad Damage, Invisibility and Regeneration.
  • Haste increases speed by it seems 50%, which I find to be a little bit of a disadvantage in smaller maps. Blasting around top speed can land you in hot water really fast.
  • Quad Damage boosts your damage output considerably. Great with a rapid power gun like the Chaingun or Burst Rifle.
  • Regeneration will boost your health and it seems your armor as well, making you really hard to kill. That one is fun for bullying a server around.
  • The really powerful one though is the Invisibility powerup. You are almost impossible to see. It's a prime opportunity to chip away at a demon and steal that Rune away. I also love how it has the same color scheme as the Partial Invisibility orb from the originals.
Power Weapons include the Chainsaw, Gauss Cannon and BFG. All of them will kill in one hit, while the BFG staying true to form will send tracers as the projectily flies through the air, tagging anyone visible. A cool thing about the Gauss and BFG pickups is that their altfire acts like a sonar pulse, letting you plan your next ambush or to hunt down an enemy demon. They do stay in your inventory if you pick up a Rune and the timer runs out.

Don't forget about the mega-health powerup that a lot of levels tend to have in a fixed location. When you pick it up you will be boosted to max health and armor.

Safety not guaranteed.

Equipment you can pick in your loadouts are the Frag Grenade, Personal Teleporter, Tesla Rocket, Siphon Grenade, Shield Wall, Threat Sensor and Hologram.
  • Frag Grenade is pretty self explanatory. Fun to use, it makes a big boom.
  • Personal Teleporter lets you mark a location and zip back to it with another press of a button. Good if you like to get yourself in bad situations a lot.
  • Tesla Rocket flies through the air and zaps a buncha dudes for minor damage as it goes. Great for a leading distraction.
  • Siphon Grenade saps enemies health and gives it to you so long as they get hit in the area of effect.
  • Shield Wall is a super useful gadget for point defense, enemies and weapons fire cannot pass through it, but allies can come and go.
  • Threat Sensor will highlight enemies through walls on your HUD, and make a very loud sound if they come within the threshold of the sensor.
  • Hologram will summon a visual image of your marine to act as a distraction. You can even tell it to move with a key press!
The disappointing thing about some weapons and gadgets is that you'll be needing to level up by playing games in order to use them. As much as I dislike that, the unlocks happen very quickly (Far more quickly than the beta) and after a single game you get to build your own loadouts, which is acceptable enough.

The other thing to touch on is this new system called hack modules, that are given to you by diceroll at the end of every round. They provide an advantage when you spawn in some way, shape or form. I've been collecting them, but so far I haven't used one yet.

They're almost more fun to collect than to spend.

They come in three tiers: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each tier has either additional bonuses tied to it or it has a longer duration of its effect. Some of them will let you see Respawn timers for the powerups, others may let you spawn with 10 or so armor, or track the enemy that killed you last. They are fun little upgrades and add a bit of spice in your games.

The amount of customization you can do to your marine is incredible. You have a few options from the get go but by and large you'll be raking in new options every single game. From armor pieces to intermission taunts to new colors, you can play dressup for days.

I still have a lot more Barbie parts to collect.

All in all, I've been pretty impressed with how much fun there is to be had in the new multiplayer modes. I haven't been able to find a game in Clan Arena or Freeze Tag, but Domination, Team Deathmatch and Warpath seem to always have players when I try to join them.

I love the little categories.

So what else is there to touch on? The netcode seems to be pretty solid, handling latency almost seamlessly, or about as seamlessly as it can get for a modern game. I've seen worse, much worse. The engine seems to handle any hiccups well!

I have seen plenty of performance related questions. My computer is roughly on par with the recommended specs for the game, and I get anywhere from 90-144 fps on the default settings. I've never felt a need to change them, so I might not be a great source of technical details in helping the game run smoother!

In the end, I didn't expect to have as much fun in a multiplayer side of a new Doom release as I have. Being able to switch it up with a zillion weapons, customization options, and game changing powerups, you can bring back a team from the edge of defeat. Even if you bought the game for the single player and custom map capabilities, give a few rounds of Multiplayer a shot.

I will close this out by saying I wish it had CTF built in, and I wish there was a way to keep the hectic nature of the rounds intact while allowing you access to every weapon, but those may be questions that remain unanswered for a long time to come. Regardless, this should not drive anyone away from giving it a spin and enjoying the chaos that fills these maps. I give it a thumbs up.

Get to fraggin!

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Ralphis said:

ud on top

I heard that upping the fov can make the game feel a lot faster

I've been playing at 90, but you can jack it up to 130 if you so desire!

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Although I'm a bit bummed out by non-team deathmatch not being included, I'm still having loads of fun. As in, I almost can't stop playing.

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Clan Arena is fun, though I still find the wasted customizations silly, especially seeing that your look for MP doesn't transfer to SnapMap, where your armor colors and patterns can actually be seen in gameplay.

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Are you fucking kidding me? That should be an obvious inclusion, what's the point of the fancy clothes if you can only show them off for like, 5 seconds if you're good?

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