Doom Beta Preview: A Bombastic Journey Through Hell

Doom Beta Preview - Bethesda - id Software
| April 6, 2016

Over the weekend I had the chance to sit down with the Doom beta for PS4 and I rather liked it.

Featuring only two maps and two game-types: standard team deathmatch and warpath, a moving “king of the hill” game-type. I spent most of my preview time in team deathmatch. This is definitely something that I’ve been looking for to scratch that over-the-top shooter action itch. Since I jumped the last gen ship from Xbox 360 to PS3, I’ve certainly been missing the tight multiplayer action I loved from Halo Reach. While Doom isn’t exactly like Halo, it could certainly fill that space for me.

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The fast pace and assortment of weaponry is very welcome. There’s no sprint button, but at this run speed, why would you need one? The double jump works, but you don’t get as much height as I would’ve liked. The ability to pull yourself up on ledges is great but I would appreciate a gravity modifier in the full game.

The shooting is consistent and pretty tight. I gravitated towards the super shotgun and heavy machine gun, but the plasma rifle was also something I enjoyed using. The rocket launcher threw me off, though. It doesn’t do as much damage as I would’ve expected. To be fair, it’s a load out weapon you can swap in between respawns and not meant for heavy damage.

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Melee damage was another jarring feature for me. I believe I was dealing around 25 damage per hit and with armour, melees don’t seem like the most viable option unless coupled with the super shotgun. Glory Kills are those brutal moves we saw during the E3 stage show last June and can be performed when your opponent flashes blue and is under 25 health. Performing a melee attack will initiate one of these attacks with satisfying crunches, but it becomes an awkward moment when both parties are low on health and trying to go for the kill. In many of these showdowns I lost and I suppose I’m just not timing them properly. I think the melee range for these kills fluctuates too much though, as I’ve had my opponent cover several meters to latch into the killing animation.

Hack Modules are an interesting addition that I’ll probably enjoy sinking some more time into, properly customizing. They operate as a way to give you little buffs upon respawn or as you play, such as the supply timer. This buff shows you when map supplies like armour or ammo will replenish.

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Finally, transforming into demons is an absolute blast. The Revenant is a tall, hulking demon with shoulder mounted rocket launchers and a jet pack. Successfully grabbing the demon room power-up as it comes into play grants the player this unholy power. If you’re slain as a demon, any other player, enemy or ally alike, can nab the power up and continue the rampage until the timer on it runs out.

Out of the two maps we got to play, the demonic shrine was by far my favourite. The smelting facility didn’t do much for me. It’s not a bad level, just too generic to be interesting. The demonic shrine shows off some neat lighting and fascinating art direction. I’d like to see more like this in the complete package.

In-game music was strangely amiss; I would’ve loved to have some death metal ringing out in the background as I played. Again, hopefully something we’ll get to see in the final product.

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Customization of your space marine is a lot like Halo Reach, however armour unlocks, at least in the beta, are randomized and not purchased. I can’t say I like this system as I would prefer to unlock what I want instead of waiting to randomly unlock matching armour pieces. Colour customization was also something I thoroughly enjoyed. My nameless space marine was completely decked out in neon pink and purple armour and it was awesome. You can also modify how worn your weapons appear.  I don’t think other players will get to appreciate this in game, but it’s a nice touch. I would like to see some more colour tones as most go the neon route. It sticks out and clashes. Custom paint jobs aren’t limited to your armour, however. You can change things up with your weapons as well, which is something I had a lot of fun with. Neon purple super shotgun is the way to go.

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All in all, I had a great time with this. I don’t know if this is going to stick with me the way Rainbow Six: Siege has, but Doom is definitely something I can see myself playing on and off again throughout the year, even beyond the preview or review period. The map editor and the resulting community content produced with it are going to be on my radar as I play, since I loved the great forge maps from Reach. Hopefully they run another beta before the May 13 launch, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening. Until then, I’ll be looking forward to fight like hell again.

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