With the coming of the new Doom game in May, Bethesda and id launched an open beta so that potential players could try the game out and also stress test the servers.
Well, we did a little playing, some fragging, and some frantic shotgunning, and when all the dust settled, three of us here at BG put some serious time into the beta in order to bring you our thoughts.
I have been looking forward to the Doom Beta since it was announced that there would be one back when Wolfenstein: The New Order came out.
When I was younger, I started on Doom 3 and fell in love. I have, since then, played the original classics and have spent a fair amount of time with Doom in its current iteration through the alpha, closed beta, and finally open beta. I had a lot of fun with the game overall, but I realize that there may be more to be desired.
The beta featured two main multiplayer modes and two maps. Players are able to select a load out with which to do battle. There are a number of different weapons to fit different play styles: The rocket launcher, super shotgun, and others are all here for some blood spattering action.
The weapons were a strong part of the experience for me. I felt that each weapon offered a different way to play. This diversity offered me enjoyable differences between matches and lives as I switched weapons to find the best one for me (Hint: The Static Rifle was the best gun in the beta!).
A common concern is the weapon damage on the rocket launcher. The low damage really didn’t bother me, but there is a strong chance that that is because I didn’t play any big arena shooters back in the day. If you don’t have any experience with classic arena shooters, the load out system and damage values shouldn’t be a problem.
The maps offered an interesting variety. Inferno was more wide open, while Heatwave (I believe) allowed for intense corridor based combat. Considering that the full game will undoubtedly include more maps, I am nothing but pleased with the current offerings.
The strongest feature of the game is likely the visuals. The game looks gorgeous on all fronts and I really can’t wait to explore a proper hellscape in this art style and realism.
When it comes to open betas, I feel like the conversation always circles around to what gamers think the game will be when it launches; in this case, in the beginning of May. The optimist in me is hoping for a strong single player campaign, and even though I haven’t played any of it, the gun play I see in the beta is really getting my hopes up. I have had a ton of fun with these preliminary chances to play the game, but even then, I don’t know how that bodes for the full experience. I just haven’t put in hours with it like I would if I owned it (and loved it).
Hopefully, the multiplayer is able to stay as fresh as it has through these three tests.
I didn’t need a history with the franchise to take to Doom- only a couple matches. After abandoning the play styles that have worked well for me in other franchise staples like Call of Duty and Battlefield, and opting to a pace more akin to my early 007 days, where I focused on quick movement and area control, I found not only great success in the Doom Beta, but great fun as well.
The difference in movement is everything, and the rate at which weapons switch hands means you’re often pulling off a sniper shot and a shotgun blast in the span of a single kill. This means your play style can be as fluid as you need it, even if you are locking into load outs at the start of a match. Couple that with the equipment- specifically the teleporter- and you’ll be adapting on the fly to make for some extraordinary plays. You only think there’s a range at which the shotgun falls off, until they appear suddenly behind you.
Blink, and you’ll die. But as exciting as the way the game plays are the promises of what’s to come: multiple demons, more maps, and endless customization options that include character, weapons, and a bevy of taunts.
As any reader of my articles can more than likely tell you, I have a very long history with Doom in all it’s varied forms. I started the obsession with Doom on the PC back in ’93 and then became completely engulfed in the franchise thanks to Doom II: Hell on Earth (also PC), which hit about a year later.
I’ve also played every version of the game(s), from the SNES and 32X, to the 3DO and -yes- the GameBoy Advance. And more or less, I’ve enjoyed them all (especially the PSOne and N64 versions – go play ’em!). Why am I telling you all this? Well, first, because I tend to blather on, and second… because the new Doom is both incredibly familiar and pretty different, all at the same time.
True, this is just a beta, missing tons of content and without the single player campaign, which is really the element that makes Doom for me. Still though, the differences between old and new are palpable.
For starters, Doom’s (2016 edition) multiplayer feels tons like Quake III Arena. Not that that’s at all a bad thing (I loved that game), but it’s lightning fast and, as my fellow BG’ers testified to, will have you switching weapons faster than pretty much anything else out there, and running ‘n’ gunning like you haven’t in ages (if ever).
As someone who hasn’t played a game that’s similar to this style in a long time, and is more or less not a multiplayer gamer at all, I can say that it took some getting used too… and it was also some of the most fun I’ve had in a FPS in years… since I poured hour upon hour into Halo 2’s multi actually.
Yes, the new Doom is different, but fans shouldn’t be afraid of that difference. You’ll get used to the pace in a few rounds, and the unlocks and customization elements, like tailoring your armor and securing your weapons load-out (you can’t pick up anything new in-match) will even give you something to do while you’re waiting in the lobby in-between matches.
So far, Doom is looking like two games in one to me. On the one hand, you get the fantastic-looking single-player campaign (crossing my fingers so hard that it’s good), and on the other, you get a suped-up Quake III Arena. And really, what’s not to like about that?
Doom launches on May 13, 2016, with an M for Mature rating from the ESRB. Doom will be available on the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.