‘Doom’ Beta Impressions: Arena Combat For The ‘Call Of Duty’ Generation – Tech Times

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Demons, blood and guts, double-barreled shotguns — what’s not to love about all that?

Doom‘s multiplayer beta definitely delivers all that and more across two maps and game modes. It’s a fun time, especially for those who have never quite experienced an arena shooter before. For those who have, well, you might come away a little disappointed.

Two game types are present in the beta: old-fashioned Team Deathmatch and a new game type called Warpath. Think of Warpath as mobile Capture the Hill, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.

In either game mode, Doom is likely much faster than most players are used to. Regenerating health is nowhere to be seen. Instead, players must collect health and armor pick-ups to boost or replenish their defenses.

Id software has managed to reimagine Doom‘s fast-paced combat for a new generation, but it doesn’t fully succeed in that mission from the time I’ve spent with the beta. Doom is fast, but not fast enough. Doom‘s weapons are deadly, but not deadly enough. Rather than fully embrace its heritage, Doom instead looks to also cater to modern FPS gamers who know little of Quake but all about Call of Duty.

It’s here where the game looks to have stumbled, at least on the multiplayer side of things. Doom is half-old-school, half-new-school, but the end result makes it neither. It doesn’t feel like a tried-and-true arena shooter of old, but it’s not like Call of Duty, either. It’s something in between.

This mostly comes as a result of gameplay elements like loadouts and hack modules. Like other modern shooters, Doom lets players bring two guns of their choosing into battle. Whereas a traditional arena shooter would place weapons like the Super Shotgun or Vortex Rifle on the map for players to fight over, Doom lets you spawn with them. Players can also spawn with hack modules, one-time-use buffs that can do anything from provide an armor boost upon spawning to revealing enemy locations. Having players spawn with an extra advantage (and having no way for other players to know that advantage) is discouraging.

These two modern additions don’t disqualify Doom from being an arena shooter. There are still pick-ups to acquire and power weapons to snag (like the Demon Rune and BFG), but the end result is that none of the loadout weapons feel quite as powerful as their old arena shooter counterparts. The super shotgun can take multiple shots to kill at close range, and it takes multiple direct hits with the rocket launcher to score a frag.

Whereas weapon pick-ups in arena shooters of old were more powerful, they also required more skill to use. That’s not the case with the demon power-up. In the beta, players transform into the rocket launcher and jetpack-equipped Revenant, a terrifying force to reckon with on the battlefield. Because of the demon’s extra health and improved weaponry, the team that controls the demon is most often the team that wins. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but there is very little counterplay involved. The demon is easy to use and hard to kill. There is little indication of when and where a demon rune will spawn, so it’s mostly just dumb luck whichever team acquires it first.

None of the above means the game isn’t fun. Rest assured, it is. Blasting opponents with the shotgun and seeing them explode into gory bits is gratifying as always, and the return of speed to a modern FPS is a welcome change of pace from other shooters on the market. Warpath is an enjoyable spin on traditional Capture the Hill gameplay, too. Some modern additions to the Doom formula, like character customization, are more than welcome, giving players a chance to stand out from the generic space marine crowd. While the game’s announcer often feels bored (an arena shooter is only as good as its announcer), Doom still manages to get the blood pumping.

Doom‘s open beta is a gore-filled good time for what it is, and it’s just a small hint at what’s to come in the full game. For those used to playing Halo or Call of Duty, Doom will feel fast and savage. For those in the FPS old guard, who grew up playing arena shooters like Unreal and Quake, Id Software’s modern take on the arena formula may feel more like a bastardization than an evolution.

Doom‘s open beta is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The beta ends on April 17.

‘Doom’ Beta Impressions: Arena Combat For The ‘Call Of Duty’ Generation – Tech Times