So if you don't know, id Software is running an open beta for the new Doom (confusing, yes it's just called "Doom"). Doom is going to come out on May 13th, so it’s about a month away. I spent some time with the open beta, and I have to say it’s looking promising. Just like Wolfenstein: The New Order, Doom is looking to be a good mix of old and new styles of shooters. However, the open beta is multiplayer only, and is pretty light on content so it’s too early to say for sure. While there are certainly things I love about this open beta, there are also things I don’t quite like about it.
What I Like
First of all, Doom keeps a lot of what I loved about classic arena shooters. There is no regenerating health! I’m not sure why, but I’ve always enjoyed health fetching more than regenerating health. Maybe I feel like it makes you earn that health, I don’t know. In addition, there is no reloading, which means there's no break in the shooting action.
I love how focused on movement this game is. Your movement speed isn’t Quake 3 levels of fast, but it’s certainly faster than something like Counter Strike: Global Offensive. You have a double jump now, which I use all the time. It’s amazing being able to cross gaps, and dodge weapons fire using this. The Scout is one of my favorite classes in Team Fortress 2 who also has a double jump, so it makes sense I’d love this.
The weapon selection is absolutely classic. Lots of Doom and Quake staples return to the fray. Special mention has to go to the Super Shotgun, which in Doom 2 is one of my all time favorite weapons in any game ever. Its power has been sacrificed in the name of balance, but it still packs a meaty punch and I love it. Other favorites include the lightning gun, and the plasma rifle. The rocket launcher’s damage has been re-balanced, but it now lets you explode rockets mid-flight, and it’s a lot of fun to use.
The graphics feature lots of splashes of color, and is pretty appealing to the eye. These also serve a gameplay purpose: Health items are bright blue, armor is bright green, etc. and thus they all stand out from the environment. During the E3 showing, there was worry that the game would be desaturated (and feature a “piss-filter”). Well, I’ve seen no such thing while playing with the beta. Hopefully the single player will not be different in this regard.
What I Don’t Like
A lot of what I don’t like about Doom comes down to modern multiplayer elements: The game has passive upgrades you can get, which gives you abilities like seeing enemy health for a limited time. The abilities themselves are in-offensive to me, what I don’t like is that you earn them through a leveling system. I’ve never liked leveling systems in multiplayer shooters, it feels like you’re punished for being new at the game. Still, it’s better than pay-to-win.
The beta itself features no “advanced” graphics options on PC, which can be pretty annoying. My PC isn’t quite up to spec as it used to be, so in order to get better framerate, I had to run at a lower resolution. Thankfully they give you options to turn off thing like motion blur, which is much appreciated. I would have to guess they are testing the performance of the game, hence why they didn’t give these options.
While I love all the emphasis on movement, the level design has so many bottomless pits. It’s very easy mistime a jump and end up dead. I’m hoping other levels in the final version are more… filled in. The beta only features two game modes and two maps. I guess I can’t complain since it’s a free beta, but I really would’ve liked to have seen more of the game. I really hope the full game’s multiplayer has more content than this.
If you haven’t tried out the Doom open beta, do it now!