Developed by id software, the studio that pioneered the first-person shooter genre and created multiplayer Deathmatch, DOOM returns as a brutally fun and challenging modern-day shooter experience. Relentless demons, impossibly destructive guns, and fast, fluid movement provide the foundation for intense, first-person combat – whether you’re obliterating demon hordes through the depths of Hell in the single-player campaign, or competing against your friends in numerous multiplayer modes. Expand your gameplay experience using DOOM SnapMap game editor to easily create, play, and share your content with the world.
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If you were to ask Doom fans what the least successful entry in the franchise is, the answer would probably be Doom 3. Its excessively dark environments have been endlessly mocked, the lack of fast-paced gun battling has been criticized, and the rerelease made significant changes to correct these supposed errors. However, the popular recollection of it being a failure is far from the truth. At the time, Doom 3 was iD Software’s most successful release, not only in selling a record number of copies, but in setting a new standard for visual atmosphere. What I find interesting about Doom 2016 is that the developers were able to look past the knee-jerk reactions and improve the template in a measured way. They may have lampooned the third game’s frontloaded talkiness in the intro, but the rest of Doom 3's narrative presentation was left essentially unchanged. There’s still a strong focus on atmosphere and environmental storytelling, with logs and lore entries that players can access whenever they want without disrupting flow. The encounter pacing is almost identical, with distinct sections between combat arenas where enemies are minimal and players are expected to explore for upgrades and secrets. The humor is also more like the 3 than the originals, being in the tucked-away details rather than direct absurdity. What ended up making this same structure work in 2016 was by balancing these elements with appropriately high peaks in excitement, bolstered by more energetic enemies, higher intensity fights, and universally improved weapon designs. Where 3 may have gone too far in the direction of atmosphere and minimal combat, Doom doesn’t overcorrect by focusing entirely on combat, but by balancing its priorities. The downside to that approach is that some people would genuinely appreciate twelve hours of almost nonstop combat (as evidenced by Doom Eternal’s positive reception) and some will wish that the atmospheric exploration aspect wasn’t so streamlined. Balancing diametrically opposed priorities is a difficult task, and only a small percentage of players will feel fully served. Even so, the game’s rejuvenation of the franchise speaks to how well it was handled overall, and how compromise isn’t always a bad word.