DOOM Beta Impressions

Posted on April 18, 2016

Luke: So here we are, another day, another beta. This time it’s DOOM! I’m actually pretty excited about this one. I mean, the trailer last year at E3 pretty much made this title skyrocket to the top of my wishlist. Violent, gory, fast-paced, CHAINSAWS… it’s everything I want from a video game.

Tom: That E3 trailer was epic! I’ll admit I’ve never been much of a beta guy.  But I grew up with the Doom series. And despite the fact I was a little disappointed with the reboot back in 2004, knowing that DOOM is being published by Bethesda is more than enough to have me eagerly awaiting this one.

Luke: Exactly. Ahh, Bethesda. I know they cop it from certain people for their glitches BUT I just love so much of what they’ve done that it’s hard to care about the flaws. So anyway, DOOM – well, I mean, we only got to try out a couple of maps and a couple of game modes in multiplayer… but I guess it was… fine?

Tom: I actually kinda loved it. Admittedly I don’t play, actually anything much online these days. But this was such a throw back to 2000s-era shooters I felt in my element. But shooters have come along way since then.

Luke: And I think that’s kind of the problem. I mean, there’s something charming about trying to go back to those early 90’s roots and just make a simple multiplayer mode with power-ups and stuff. But Call of Duty redefined multiplayer shooters so well back in 2007, and since then we’ve had some really great multiplayer concepts like Titanfall, Evolve – hell, even Gears has a super solid and unique multiplayer setup. This revamp was an opportunity for them to add so many great things but instead it just fell a little bit flat for me.

Tom:  Whats the saying? “It’s cute for a taste; but not for a swallow”. Cause yeah I did really enjoy it, but I think I’m over it already. The graphics when stationary were looking clean, but something I quickly noticed is with the blur of movement, that graphic quality dropped away real quick. And the whole point of these kinds of maps is to be running in circles chasing each other, rather than the more tactical play of modern shooters. But this also feels a little like a lose/lose scenario. I mean when they revamped titles like Battlefront, and then were accused of releasing CoD with a Star Wars skin. So the question I started asking myself was “what is it I was expecting?”

Luke: You’re right. I think that’s the problem with remakes though… I mean, there’s this idea that they have to be ‘retro’ to make sure that original niche audience is satisfied, but then that completely alienates the more modern market. Then if you add too much stuff it makes it feel wrong for those die-hards. You can’t please everyone. But given how fast paced and violent and awesome the campaign looks, I can’t help but feel like this multiplayer was lacking. And the Revenant thing was cool the first time I did it, but ultimately it’s a gimmick that annoyed me more than it motivated me. “Oh, someone is that monster thing? Ugh. Again?” It should inspire fear, not an eye roll.

Tom: Haha. Yeah. I tried to explain the concept to someone and it was “It’s kind of like capture the flag… if the flag was demonic possession, and you want to  be possessed?” It doesn’t really hold up to the scrutiny of logic but whatever. Doom for me was never about the multiplayer. Which is why I think doing an open beta like this was an odd choice. Betas are a first glance preview of a game, basically just advertising these days, so surely publishers want to put their best foot forward; and I’m just not sure this is it. At least I hope it isn’t.

Luke: And so far, let’s face it, fans have NOT liked it. I do understand the idea of doing a beta as a marketing tool, as we know that’s all part of the hype machine. I guess I just wish there was more to it. The maps could have at least looked slightly different. The moving capture zone thing was at least kind of cool, and look I did enjoy myself for a bit, just not for an extended period of time. You have to have a much better hook with your online multiplayer if you expect to keep peoples attention for more than just a fleeting moment nowadays. I am still looking forward to DOOM overall but this beta did leave me with concerns rather than confidence.

Tom: So far I am seeing a real disconnect between the trailer footage that we have seen and these beta levels.  The SP Campaigner in me says that they are completely unrelated and that DOOM is still going to be epic. The pessimist in me is starting to see it sitting on the shelf with Duke Nukem Forever and Alien: Colonial Marines;  the trailer of our dreams, for a game 10 years too late.