DOOM is id Software's return to the iconic series and Bethesda's first attempt at arguably one of the most well-known and beloved classic franchises in gaming history. While still a month away, I recently had a chance to play the closed multiplayer beta, getting to see what the online hype will be about.
Honestly, if it weren't for the revenant demons and some of the weapons, I wouldn't have been sure I was actively playing DOOM. That's not to say the game wasn't fun. Quite the opposite actually, since I did thoroughly enjoy getting online and going toe to demon claw against others in the online modes. It was more along the lines of "the game didn't feel very DOOM-y" in regards to the classic games I remember playing. If anything, it felt like a generic twitch shooter with the ability to turn into a demon thrown in for good measure. While it was fun becoming a revenant for a short period and blowing everyone up with rockets, the core aspect of the multiplayer felt like any other FPS game and it was disappointing in some ways.
The multiplayer came with access to two separate modes: Warpath and Team Deathmatch. Team Deathmatch was your standard affair of red team versus blue team-go-kill-each-other. It was a solid show and felt like it should. Warpath was a much more interesting concept as it acted like a King of the Hill match with a constantly shifting zone following a specific path. The path was laid out by arrows across the map, but it was easy to get around and get back into the slaughter. Complementing the modes were the two very diverse maps. One was set in what seemed like the bowels of Hell itself, full of rivers of blood, skulls, and teleportation magic. The other map was some industrial smelting complex with crazy machinery and scientifically driven teleporters sitting around.
The new (and odd) additions to the online multiplayer were the leveling and unlock systems, much like other current FPS series Call of Duty and Battlefield. Rather than picking up weapons on the go, players gain access to new levels of badassery with each progressive level they gain. Leveling also grants additional stuff, like new paint schemes and armor pieces, but I'll get to that shortly. Once a weapon has been unlocked, players are free to select two from the many to bring with them into the fight. That's right: just two guns. Make sure you know what you're doing, and you have a good feel for your weapons, because while you can switch between load outs mid-match, you'll still be stuck with only two at any given time. You'll no longer be stockpiling the sought after rocket launcher ammo.
The game also introduces new unlockables in the form of modules that can be activated after death. The ones I found the most allowed me to see item respawn timers, enemy health, or increased armor, but each has a set duration before it expires. Thankfully, that duration may last more than just a few deaths, so you'll continue to have it potentially after a few respawns. The other unlockable aspect is armor pieces to customize your avatar, as well as both armor and weapon paint schemes and patterns. This seemed odd considering DOOM never really struck me as a game where I could customize my avatar for his killing frenzy, but damn did I look good in hot metallic rose and cyan.
I'm on the fence about the new DOOM, and this multiplayer beta did not help me settle any of my concerns. While the beta held its fun points in allowing me to run and gun as I wanted, it just didn't feel like DOOM and no amount of beta time may change that.