I spent the better part of my weekend in hell, and I'm already itching to head back. I'm talking about Id Software's brand-new Doom reboot, of course, which gracefully guides the series into the modern shooter era while staying true to its brutally basic roots. Available now for PS4, Xbox One and PC, the new Doom is essentially three games in one: a sprawling solo campaign, a frenetic multiplayer experience and a map creator that could keep the game fresh for years. If that's not enough to convince you, here's why Doom is worth spending hour after gory hour with.
Refreshingly fast, impressively brutal
The first thing you'll notice about Doom is that it's fast -- really fast. Running and jumping through a demon-infested Mars feels incredibly fluid, which is super important considering that the game forces you to stay on the move. This is no Call of Duty or Halo -- bullets are scarce and you can't hide in a corner to recover health, meaning you'll have to sprint your way to the nearest medkit or ammo box while headshotting a few hellspawn along the way. If you miss the days of shooters posing a real challenge, Doom has it in spades.
Glorious guns, gory executions
True to its roots, the new Doom offers tons of cool weapons that are tremendously satisfying to use. And while it's fun enough decapitating demons with your shotgun, chainsaw or the series' infamous BFG (you can look up what that stands for yourself), the game's weapons really come to life once you start upgrading them. You'll unlock some ridiculously fun weapon mods throughout the campaign, meaning you'll eventually shoot rockets out of your assault rifle or launch a devastating stun bomb from your plasma gun, just to name a few examples.
But killing enemies with guns is just half the fun. Doom introduces a brutal new execution system that lets you rip your hellish foes in half with your bare hands once you've done enough damage to them. Each execution is wonderfully over-the-top, and you'll perform different ones depending on what angle you attack from (the jumping, death-from-above takedowns are my favorites). Executions don't just look cool -- they also give you some health back, making them a crucial part of Doom's relentless gameplay loop.
MORE: The Best Gaming Desktops
A surprisingly deep campaign
The typical modern shooter is content to walk you through extremely linear levels with lots of scripted moments, but Doom is not the typical modern shooter. This reboot is a throwback to the days of big, sprawling maps filled with secrets, which run the gamut from weapon and armor upgrades to special areas that let you play through classic Doom levels in all their pixelated glory. This is not a game you'll want to breeze through.
Doom isn't out to win awards for storytelling, but I'm impressed by the little bits of narrative that are there. You're still a generic green-armored soldier killing tons of demons on Mars, but you're doing so because an ill-intentioned scientist decided that tapping into the power of hell was a good way to move her research forward. Rather than bog you down with cutscenes, Doom lets its environments do the talking -- from the wealth of marred bodies on the floor to the charming AI allies you'll run into along the way, you'll unravel the game's plot by just walking around.
Multiplayer is a messy, arcadey blast
Multiplayer is perhaps Doom's weakest point -- it's fairly generic, and features a frustrating loadout system that forces you to grind away to get the best weapons. Still, the game's frenetic gunplay translates well to a competitive environment, and will likely scratch an itch for those who miss the hyper-fast multiplayer of classic shooters such as Unreal Tournament and Quake. It also has a nifty mode called Freeze Tag that lets you bring downed teammates back into the fight.
SnapMap promises endless, awesome community creations
If Doom's campaign is what reels you in, SnapMap mode might just be what keeps you playing the game for years to come. This easy-to-use level editor lets you create and share the Doom maps of your dreams, whether you want to build a hellish co-op level or the ultimate team deathmatch arena. I'm already blown away by SnapMap's potential -- so far I've played a fun tower-defense level, a few stages inspired by classic Doom maps, and even a fully-functioning whack-a-mole game that uses guns and floating demon heads. There's already tons to do in Doom, but SnapMap mode is the number one reason I see myself checking back in for the next few months.
What do you like (or dislike) about Doom so far? Let us know in the comments below!
- Check out how Doom is part of our list of the 10 best games you can play while you wait for Starfield
- Why You Shouldn't Buy a Gaming Console Right Now
- Our Favorite Gaming Mice
- PS4 vs. Xbox One: Which Is Right for You?