Doom Guide – All the info about Nu Doom's multiplayer!
The one game this year that I’m looking forward to more than any other is Doom. I’ve been a fan of id Software’s no-nonsense fun-with-tight-level-design-first philosophy since Doom II, and that was in the days when the FPS genre was PC-focused and every year was packed with imaginative colourful classics. In 2016 we’ve just got a few military shooters and the fourth official Doom. Sorry to the ultra-serious jingoistic FPS, but I prefer to shoot demons in the face. And thanks to the recent Closed Beta we’ve had a chance to play it too.
Well, the multiplayer at least. There were two maps, two modes, a lot of customization options, 15 Levels to Up, and an extreme reaction to attempting to skip through the opening movies that crashed the game. There wasn’t much in the way of options, at least of the Advanced Visual kind, so the true next-gen stuff was locked off.
While the single-player is my personal taste I was happy to play a sneak-peek of my current Most Wanted Game. But did I enjoy myself though?
There were two gameplay modes available: Team Deathmatch and Warpath. In Team Deathmatch of course it’s kill or be killed… as a team! Yes I’m excited too! Seriously though, it’s a load of classic no-nonsense fun. Teams were generally 6v6 with no problems filling that roster, with the round ending after a certain amount of time or more likely when a team hits the kill count. If you’re looking for a straight-up test of skill, this is where to go.
Warpath on the other hand is a little different. It’s like a moving King of the Hill or Domination. There’s a single paltry area that you team needs to control, and as long as they’re in control they get points. Get enough points and that team wins. Simple? Yes, except the area moves slowly around the map and it’s impossible to predict where it’s going to go, so the full enemy team could be waiting around the corner… or something worse. The whole thing is hugely unpredictable and, most importantly, doesn’t necessarily need superior twitch-reflexes and quick-aiming to win.
There were only two levels on offer and of course they were designed exclusively for running around in circles blowing the s**t out of people (“arena based” in other words), so it’s rather difficult to judge what the level design quality of the final game will be like. Nevertheless, I liked what I played. There were multiple ways in and out of every room, including “secret” areas. And while the design was mostly flat there was an element of verticality and a constant need to look up that plays to one of new Doom’s strengths: parkour.
id Software is well aware that the current taste in shooters is to offer free-running capabilities, as Brink, Titanfall and Dying Light have touted, and with Doom they’ve made this as natural as possible. Hold Jump at a ledge and you’ll climb, at a barrier and you’ll vault over it. Combined with a Double Jump this makes getting around really fun, and players will have to master climbing to play Doom effectively. This is possibly why Doom feels a little slower than the hectic likes of Quake III Arena, which won’t be to everyone’s tastes but I personally preferred it that way - it’s a little bit closer to Unreal Tournament. With free-running, obviously. There’s still no regenerating health, just medkits and armour pickups. Yes, one of those “classic” FPSs.
Now weapons are the one major concession Doom has to modern shooters, and I can accept it in multiplayer (but if they try this same s**t Duke Nukem Forever-style in the story I’ll be pissed). Basically players only get two weapons and a grenade at all times, and for the most part there is no ability to pick new weapons during matches. Players can customize their loadouts and change them in-game when dead, but there’s no scouring the map looking for the sniper rifle or rocket launcher here.
The Super Shotgun seemed to be a weapon of choice for many, and if aimed right and true it’s devastating. It does however have an unbearably slow reload if missed. The Rocket Launcher is the other weapon of choice, and is probably the weakest bazooka in the history of videogames. There’s surprisingly little splash damage or force behind it, so while it’s a noob’s best friend it’s a more luck than judgement weapon - plus there’s no chance for Rocket Jumping. Right Mouse Button detonates a rocket early though, which is hugely helpful for surprise attacks.
The Lightning Gun is a holdover from Quake and spews a constant stream of electricity, and frankly is more devastating in some players’ hands than others. I played several matches and didn’t get a single kill with it, then others killed me at full health within a second. It’s range and accuracy, basically. The Assault Rifle and Plasma Gun are for those who want fast-firing weapons, and while the Plasma Gun is a little more powerful it’s also slower than the immediate hits of the Assault Rifle.
The Vortex Rifle is the sniper rifle of Nu Doom, so it’s fortunate that neither of the maps had sniper-friendly areas or camping points. The Static Cannon sounded boring so I never touched it (sorry), being described as “increasing in power as you move around”. Bit too nebulous for me. Then there are the grenades, divided into Frag (quite powerful), Siphon (steals health from enemies), and Teleporter (tricky to use, cool if you can pull it off).
Of course there will be a lot more weapons in the final game, especially in single-player. There was one other weapon in the Beta, but I’ll save that for the next section.
What makes Doom a cut above other arena-based shooters is the Power-Ups… well, one in particular: the Demon Rune. This item spawns a few times a match, whereupon every player goes for it as it transforms them into a powerful demon. The Beta only had the skeletal Revenant, which sports a slow-moving jetpack and dual one-hit-kill rocket launchers. If used right the Rune can turn the tide of a match (or solidify a victory), and most importantly is hugely fun. If the enemy team can kill the demon player they get a shot at stealing the power-up.
It cannot be overemphazied how much the Demon Rune improves Doom’s multiplayer. Without it then the levels are just a basic arena shooter, slightly below a Quake or Unreal Tournament. But throw a playable Revenant into the mix and suddenly there’s a wild card that changes the game entirely! It’s awesome, and the full game will come with the option to play as a powerful Baron of Hell, lumbering Mancubus, or lurking Prowler too. I’ll play the multiplayer for this reason alone.
Other Power-Ups include such favourites as the Quad Damage alongside Haste (which only makes you run a little bit faster so is kinda pointless) and Regeneration (which applies to both Health and Armour, so cool). Then we finally get the few weapons which are available as pickups in-game: the Special Weapons. The only one in the Beta was the Gauss Cannon, a devastating Railgun-type with a wide hit stream. The final game’s multiplayer will also have the classic Chainsaw and BFG 9000. Nice, if you’re lucky enough to grab them.
There’s character customization in the Beta, and you unlock new cosmetic items, styles and colours as you level up. The final game will have an easy-to-use full game/level editor id Software are calling “SnapMap” which sounds impressive, and most importantly opens up Doom to an infinite bounty of user-created content - much like the original Doom, Bethesda hopes. It’s not quite full mod support (so no Aliens total conversion or XXX.wad for now) but for a major release from a major publisher to ship with a special powerful level editor is really commendable.
I don’t believe they’ve been finalized yet, but the internet’s saying that the Minimum Specs for Doom are an i5-2400/AMD FX-8320 with 8Gb RAM and a GeForce GTX 670/Radeon HD 7870 or better, with the Recommended Specs being an i7-3770/FX-8350, 8GB RAM and GTX 970/R9 290. I played the Doom Beta on my yes-I’m-getting-an-upgrade system with an Intel i5-4670, 8Gb RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 with 2Gb RAM, and even with the Advanced Graphics page turned off it played perfectly. id Tech is notorious for being systems hungry however, so I will be upgrading before the game comes out. Speaking of which…
The final release date for Doom is May 13th. Yes, just over a month from now. If you fancy a go on the same Multiplayer Beta I played however the Open Beta will be available April 15-18.
Suffice to say I enjoyed my time with the Doom Beta, and it’s definitely worth giving it a go when the Open version goes live shortly. Nevertheless it’ll be interesting how it fares, and whether players will flock to the multiplayer. Doom has a decidedly classic feel to it which I welcome, but players haven’t exactly been swarming to other “classic” arena shooters recently.
Hopefully the quirks such as free-running and the Demon Rune will allow Doom to have a place, but nevertheless I’m worried - particularly as the only DLC Bethesda have announced is for the multiplayer. It’ll come down to the other multiplayer modes really, as while Warpath is amusing it’s a minor twist on a well-established mode and Team Deathmatch is, well, Team Deathmatch. Hardly world-altering stuff.
However, it’s the single-player and user content I’m most looking forward to. The monster design in Doom still stands up today, and I’ve never bought an id Software game I didn’t like (despite the disappointing end to Rage). Still, this is the first id Software game developed entirely under Bethesda’s jurisdiction and their first one made without any of the original Doom team. Has the new id Software got what it takes? We’ll find out May 13th I guess.
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Most Anticipated Feature: The single-player!