Why DOOM’s Reviews Are Unfair

Unlike most people who bought the game I feel like I was one of few who bought Doom with no prior knowledge of the original games. When I bought this game all I knew of the original was that it essentially laid down the basic fundamental foundation for what most new FPS’s (releasing after it) would follow. But I had never played any of the originals so I wasn’t sure what all the hype was about.

But after buying Doom 2016 and playing it for a respectful amount of time, I can honestly say this game is criminally under-rated. This is strange to me because all I hear, from the majority of people at least, is how amazing this game is; I hear how fun the campaign is, how diverse the enemies, weapons and locations are. But, for some reason, this games online community seems to be nearing death and the game has only been out a year, at the time of me writing this.

I think this is mostly due to the negative reviews critics gave the multiplayer. Doom’s multiplayer was heavily criticised for being new enough. A GameSpot review says the following, “By far you won’t find much in Doom’s multiplayer that hasn’t been done before” and , “There is very little new in Doom’s multiplayer”.  The link to this review is provided here. https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/doom-review/1900-6416432/

But I think there is more to it than that because what these reviewers don’t realise is that Doom was, at the time, one of the only Triple A multiplayer games offering a unique experience. Previously released before Doom in earlier years were games such as Halo 4 and Battlefield Hardline were criticised for their multiplayer mimicking Call Of Duty by some fans and reviewers. Though the formula of these games remained faithful to their respectful predecessors the inclusion lower skill gaps to accommodate new players and tropes associated with Call Of Duty, such as kill streaks, put both of these games in the firing line for some fans, though not all of them.

Yet when Doom comes out as the first Triple A first person shooter in decades to use a classic arena setting for its multiplayer and sets itself apart from the crowd by removing regenerating health, it gets reviews telling us it isn’t new enough. And yes, arguably, this game is just updating an old style of multiplayer games that everyone seems to have moved on from. But within the current market, even now, Doom’s multiplayer is unique.

Here is why:

This game has a big skill gap. If you come onto this game straight off of Call of Duty, Halo 5 or Star Wars Battlefront you will, most likely, get your ass kicked a whole bunch before you start doing anything helpful for your team. The game is incredibly fast paced; More fast paced than Call Of Duty’s maps forcing you into encounters, Halo 5’s new armour abilities and sprint, and Star Wars Battlefronts massive battles.

The reason for this is because your health doesn’t regenerate. So as you’re killing the enemy and playing the objective, you’re also on a constant scavenger hunt for health, armour and ammo. Because of this you’re not only battling the enemy for kills or objective points, but also for health, armour, ammo and more powerful weapons. As a result map control becomes an important aspect of every game because whichever team controls the map has more access to all of these things and is therefore, of course, more likely to get the infamous demon rune to gain the advantage with.

I am reminded of games like Halo 2 or the original Star Wars Battlefront games, which both emphasised map control because the more of the map your team held, the better weapons and vehicles your team had access too. Both of those games were received well. But Doom 2016’s multiplayer… Not so much.

What was received well regarding Doom’s multiplayer was the Snap Map mode, and rightfully so; The scripting and map building the game gives players access too is amazing. But, with all the creativity of Snap Map set aside, I think why this mode was better received was because it was easier. Very few multiplayer versus maps were made in Snap Map; Most were fun mini-games, mazes, obstacle courses and missions against the AI demons. These are all things that are, while incredibly fun, a lot easier than juggling your health, armour, ammo and demon rune spawns.

So what am I saying? I am saying that because this game offers a unique, challenging experience in an age where the majority of FPS’s have a low time to kill, small skill gap and no steep learning curve, that Doom’s multiplayer was unfairly given a bad review because it is hard. It’s a theory. I, of course, cannot prove it as definite fact. But I can try to get you to see things as I do.

Look at it from this angle… How can critics say this game offers not much new and, on that basis, give the multiplayer a negative review when a game like Call Of Duty has been farting out the most repetitive multiplayer of all time with very little changes with each release? I think it’s because games like Call Of Duty are easy. When Call Of Duty changes something in its multiplayer, it is to add something like an ability or kills streak, or gun that is over powered enough to allow you, the player, to kill more things faster.

Even games like Halo have been seeing changes that make them easier. Halo 3, for example, had a high skill gap and some-what reasonable learning curve but, as more games like Reach and Halo 4 (and now Halo 5) came out the games got progressively easier. Halo Reach killed the MLG scene for Halo, for a while, and Halo 4 decreased the time to kill and added sprint. Halo 5 introduced armour abilities; and all of these things make the game easier because they introduce an element of randomness into the game that allow new players to get kills.

Doom doesn’t do that, however. Doom does not offer new players free kills so they don’t get mad. Doom makes you learn. And I strongly believe that because of how easy the FPS scene has been recently, that Doom’s multiplayer was negatively reviewed because it made the critics who reviewed use their brains a little too much, and they couldn’t handle it. They had been conditioned to games that hold their hands and couldn’t comprehend the idea that a game would want them to learn how to play by themselves.

But I am in no way saying Doom’s multiplayer is perfect. In my opinion some of the demon types are overpowered and so are some of the weapons and equipment; Not game breakingly so, but enough to justify some concern. What I’m saying is that Doom’s multiplayer is good, even now when there are larger games, like Battlefield 1, out on the market, and that is was unfairly judged. This game doesn’t deserve to be dying.

Doom’s multiplayer is awkward to play upon pickup. You may find yourself playing and waiting for your health to regenerate before realising that isn’t going to be happening any time soon. But Doom is its own style of FPS. It’s old and new. It is heavily inspired and influenced by old arcade style shooters, but it is something fresh amongst the current line up of almost every major FPS title.

Doom is about speed, manoeuvring and out-manoeuvring your enemy depending on the weapon you’re wielding and grenade you have in your pocket, or by the amount of health or armour you have in comparison to your enemy. Your play style changes on the fly depending on how much health, armour and ammo you have scavenged. This game demands your attention. It pulls you in. It’s exciting, fun, engaging and thrilling.

Need something more stimulating than ninety percent of FPS’s on the market (Or Minecraft)? Play Doom.
Miss the ice-cream truck and got mad? Play Doom.
Recently broke up with a long-term partner over some cheeky banter? Play Doom.
Bored? Play Doom.

Not only will you be stimulated and having fun, but you’ll be learning and experiencing a different type of FPS.

 

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