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Doom Closed Beta Impressions

After a few hours with the closed Doom beta, I can safely say I am very much looking forward to the final product. Doom meets Quake 3 meets Unreal Tournament.

Gametypes

Just two gametypes were made available (which is fair enough); Team Deathmatch (TDM) and Warpath. TDM is pretty self-explanatory and is a great way of getting eased into the game as you simply blast through one opponent after another. Warpath is ultimately a control gametype, in which you must control a certain point of the map as said control point is constantly moving.

I personally found it was much quicker to simply jump into TDM as I was finding games much easier, however I did get a feel for Warpath. Whilst the control point is in rotation, there’s something called a demon rune circling the map – upon collection, you will be transformed into a Revenant, capable of taking down opponents with ease through powerful rockets, the ability to “fly” using the jetpack, and having a total of 300 hit points.

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I’d definitely put some sort of ointment on those arms, Mr. Revenant…

Chasing down a demon rune will grant you easy kills but don’t expect to get much time in the control point as the rune is constantly on the opposite side of the map. If you’re a kill chaser, go for it, but if you want to get stuck into the objective and try to win the match, ignore it completely and focus on getting those points. Other demons will be available in the full game, so that will certainly be interesting – imagine turning into a Mancubus…

Weapons

Staples of the Doom series make their respective appearance, including the rocket launcher, plasma rifle, and super shotgun. The plasma rifle, alongside the heavy assault rifle were my initial first choices as I knew both would be easy to use and could provide quick and effective damage. However, getting more and more into the game, I found myself trying out the new additions, including the vortex rifle, which is a lot like the shock rifle from Unreal Tournament, acting as an effective sniper-type weapon.

Using the super shotgun comes at your own risk; whilst it is extremely powerful close-up, don’t expect to get many kills from a distance as you’ll more than likely just be shot with a vortex rifle or rocket launcher. Speaking of which, the rocket launcher is actually a lot more balanced than I thought it would be – instead of simply blasting your opponents with a single shot, it can take a few when aimed correctly, which is fine by me.

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It’s often the case blood and explosions fill almost the entire screen.

Another interesting “weapon” is the personal teleporter (okay, it’s not a weapon whatsoever…) – this little device is capable of teleporting you to wherever you should throw it. Tricky jump you can’t make? Just use the teleporter, and you’ll be fine. I especially found this useful when playing Warpath as I could reach important points on the map much quicker than normal whilst avoiding damage.

Gameplay

The flow of each match is essentially the same; fast-paced arena mayhem as you try to out kill your opponents. Scattered around the maps are armour power-ups, health and ammo packs, alongside jump-pads and teleporters – this is what instantly made me think of Quake 3. Oh, and you can double jump. I found most players were using the super shotgun, which was to be expected, so I joined in and it was a good time – seeing who would dare get close enough to one another to either get an instant kill or be killed themselves.

There isn’t really anytime to breathe during a match as there’s more than likely a player always close or just around the corner. This encourages the type of gameplay that increases adrenaline as you’ll be making split-second decisions practically all the time – one guy is charging you with a rocket launcher? Probably best to pull off some double jumps to avoid maximum damage, and perhaps rain down shots with the heavy assault rifle or maybe you have a rocket of your own.

Don’t expect the bodies of opponent’s to stay behind once defeated, rather leave a trail of blood and guts.

Melee kills can be absolutely brutal, for example you can smash off an opponent’s head clean off with your knee. Alternatively, attack from behind for a quick snap of the neck for an instant kill. I’m more than positive other methods of destruction will be included within the full game, but this is a nice preview of what’s to come.

Maps

Infernal – this is a Hell-based map, complete with bloodspatter, demonic symbols, and large spaces – perfect for vortex rifle stand offs. There seems to always be an option to climb stairs or grab onto some sort of ledge in Infernal, making navigation often tricky at first but this environment can easily be used to your advantage to escape death or to simply outplay your opponent.

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The most Doom thing I saw in the beta. Just look at it.

Heatwave – this industrial map is crammed with tight corridors, plenty of places to hide above to jump down on unsuspecting opponent’s. Whilst Heatwave isn’t as visually striking as Infernal, it does provide great deathmatches thanks to the constant corners and small rooms, making for a chaotic experience. Just what you’d expect from Doom.

Concluding Thoughts

Doom multiplayer looks to be a chaotic experience, filled with well-designed maps and weapons that have been well balanced so far. With more demons playable within the final game, I imagine matches will get absolutely insane at some points. That, combined with additional gametypes such as Capture the Flag and Free For All should make Doom a fantastic game to jump right into when you just want to mow down people.

Its fast-paced arena style gameplay certainly breathes fresh air into what could have simply been just another shooter. Doom appears to be bringing back an old school vibe, one that’s reminiscent of booting up Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament for the first time back in the day, and I, as many others, are extremely happy about.

Make sure to join in on the open beta April 15 – April 17. Preload is available April 12.




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