That is the only word fitting for describing this game. So you better get used to the word now because I’m probably going to say it so much in this review it’ll start to look weird. (“Badass… as in bad and ass… what exactly makes an ass bad? And why is that a good thing…?” Those sort of thoughts.)
This title has been on the to-do list pretty much since 2016, and for whatever reason, I had put it off. Maybe it’s because I was waiting for MrZhangetsu to lend me his copy, maybe it’s because a small part of me was scared I’d have to play through it all on Ultra-Nightmare mode, but whatever the case, I’ve played it now. And oh boy, I should have played this sooner.
Rip & Tear
I really just wanted to dedicate a section of this review to talking about exactly how badass the game is and why. About how the developers set out to make a game which can only be described as badass – a game which can be considered the only true definition of a badass game – and everything they did which has successfully made the game exactly that…
Firstly, as everyone must know, Doom has one of the best videogame soundtracks in history. While atmospheric and sci-fi-esque music quietly adorns the backgrounds as you’re exploring the areas of both Hell and Mars, the second any sort of demon shows up, heavy guitar riffs and insane drum performances fill your eardrums, designed to send you into a frenzy.
The only thing that could possibly be better than gut-punching a demon’s stomach through its face is doing it to the sounds of “Rip & Tear”, “Damnation” or “BFG Division”. What’s more, the original composer – Mick Gordon – obviously needed to make these tracks dynamic so they could pop in and out at a moment’s notice, but he took the time to structure many of them so that they can be enjoyed as a separate article and you can listen to those 9-string guitars chugging away to help you get through an awful day’s work:
Of course, music alone isn’t going to make a game more badass, but that’s okay because the developers did several things to the gameplay to increase the endorphin rush.
First up, movement speed is insane! At first, it’s very weird because slowly pushing the thumbstick ramps up the speed in a strange way. It goes; not moving > moving through tar > moving through tar > moving through tar > sneaking through the house at 3 am > sprinting out of the alley where the bins are because the angry homeless guy is back and he’s angrier than usual.
It also feels a lot like Doomguy is skating at first because there’s no head bob or anything (you’ll come to see why as the guy moves so fast it would be impossible to see anything). Once you do get used to it, every now and then you’ll try to make a small micro-adjustment to attempt to grab a collectable from a tricky spot and it’ll feel like you’re suddenly stuck in honey.
But to be honest, the game doesn’t want you making micro-adjustments, it wants you to be speeding through the level like a bullet train, zipping up to enemies ready to rip their skull in half with just your bare hands. It’s about committing to your actions and not thinking too much. Mindless slaughter – that’s badass.
I’ve mentioned some of the brutal things you can do with your hands to a demon, these are real and are called Glory Kills. One of the greatest features of the game, which sees you pulling a tooth from a demon’s mouth and slitting its throat with it, or snapping a demon’s leg and then pulverising its face with its own foot, or pulling out the beating heart of a demon just to ram it straight back down its throat (which makes it explode for some reason? Who cares! It’s gory!).
Every single enemy in the game has a collection of gruesome ways to die, all depending on the angle from which you hit them with . They need to be staggered first, but this is a very easy thing to do, do enough damage and any enemy will become staggered at some point.
So yeah, you won’t always be using your hands, of course, what about guns?
Well, don’t expect an SMG or assault rifle here, those are baby guns. The smallest gun you’ll get (besides the initial back-up pistol you’ll never use) is a high-powered shotgun, from there you’ll have everything from a Heavy Machine Gun to a Gauss Cannon, all capable of hitting extremely hard and loud. It all goes a very long way to emphasise Doomguy’s power.
None of these weapons reload, either. Reloading is for wimps. You’ll have one clip and that’s it. But what if you run out of ammo?
Pull out the chainsaw of course. Doomguy keeps a backup chainsaw on his person at all times so that if he ever runs out of ammo, he can run his chainsaw blade through his enemies making them explode into a fountain of ammunition. Simply push at any time to have Doomguy pull out the chainsaw and then go to town.
Lastly, there’s the BFG (Big F-ing Gun) I’ll leave the details of this powerhouse out, but you need to experience it for yourself. It’s a god-damn treat. Simply hit when you have it and you can pull it out to ruin some Demon’s day.
To summarise, we have a huge, silent, walking freight-train of a man sprinting through hell hitting enemies with a Gauss Cannon and ripping their tails off to whack them in the face with them. Doesn’t all that testosterone get a bit stale? Isn’t it a bit too… gratuitous?
One of the great things about the game which helps to prevent that is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. It may be a gratuitous bloodbath of demon slaughter and heavy metal, but it is very self-aware and they will subtly poke fun at themselves or just throw in a little humour here and there. Even the way that one of the characters speaks a little condescendingly to Doomguy helps to throw a rational voice in the game and bring everything down to earth…. Or mars, I guess.
All that action comes at a price though, it seems, as the game revved up the fans in my PS4 Pro to the point that I began to think it might take off. I mean, for real, it was so loud that I practically had no choice but to play with headphones on. That or turn up the TV and terrify my neighbours with the sounds of demons getting punched through the chest at 4 am in the morning.
Due to this, screenshots would have a slight delay and take up to 2 minutes to save to my console and so it was a real struggle getting any decent snaps for this review. Not that it’s a bother to anybody else… Although, the same goes for trophy screenshots and trophies can take just as long to pop. And any good trophy hunter knows the fear of waiting for a trophy to pop and thinking it might be glitched!
To Hell and Back. Literally.
The game’s campaign sees you step out into the wastes of Mars to find demons everywhere. Doomguy doesn’t have to say it, but you can tell from the get-go that he does. not. like. demons.
Doing the rational thing, he wants to find out why they’re there and what he can do to get rid of them. Stupid icky demons. We don’t want them here. They smell funny and hurt people.
So eventually he learns of Olivia Pierce, a scientist on the mars facility who was in charge of studying demon artifacts from hell. Well, she got some voices in her head that made a few promises and apparently her resolve isn’t too strong because she happily nodded along to all the whispers in her skull.
From straight-up hell-spawn to possessed humans, the demon threat is everywhere and it was Olivia who let them in. Eventually we’re contacted by the Chairman of the facility, Samuel Hayden, who’s droid body makes him immune to the demon threat – though he’d like to save his facility.
He’s not much of a good guy, his facility uses “Argent Energy” from the very depths of hell to create sustainable power which I suppose is then shipped to earth or something – I don’t really know, I couldn’t really hear the story much over all the frenzied butt-whooping.
He is, however, the best you can get in the way of help on Mars, and he’s keen to offer it. With the help of the facility’s A.I, VEGA, Hayden is eager to help you rid his facility of demons so he can get back to profiting off ill-gotten power sources.
You’ll find yourself speeding through several sections of the facility, as well as the surface of Mars, in an effort to track down and stop Olivia. Along the way, you’ll also find yourself taking small vacations to Hell, where you’ll get to do more of the same… You know, brutal slaughter.
The story doesn’t take much of a centre-stage, it is more of a jumping-off point… A reason to be beating back hordes of demons. But for the player who likes a bit of lore with his beat-down breakfast, it’s all there, and the game doesn’t pander too much – it knows why you’re really here.
Halo, but better.
Now, bear with me here…
MrZhangetsu and I spent our high school years, like many kids from our generation, playing Halo 3 any time we could. It might be up there with some of our most-played games, Probably beaten only by the first year of Destiny on PS4 (Yeah, we know, it sucks now).
After growing up and growing tired of bro shooters and samey FPS games I was delighted when I got my first PS3 and was treated to a world of mature, story-focused gaming experiences. After that, I was hooked on PlayStation and would never look back.
I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t miss the Halo franchise. So upon playing Doom, I was surprised to see similarities not just with the Doomguy’s appearance but also the gameplay. One silent guy with big chunky guns and a megaton of brute force blowing his way through armies of enemies.
Everything from having no scope on the guns because accuracy isn’t important when you’re an absolute power-house, to secrets being hidden in places you wouldn’t expect, making you feel like you’re breaking something just to get there brings back nostalgic memories of bonding with MrZhangetsu just days after our first meeting. Even Doom’s multiplayer is less than shy about being a perfect reimagining of the Halo 3 multiplayer we once knew and loved.
Of course, as I’ve already established, the game’s focus on being badass brings a whole new level of adrenaline-pumping entertainment which just cannot be found anywhere else. Except maybe the game’s recent sequel, Doom Eternal.
My Doom Trophy Experience
A-killin’ and A-Collectin’
My Platinum trophy journey started off exactly as you might expect, I just booted up the game, loaded the campaign on “Hurt Me Plenty” difficulty and then went to town.
Working my way through each level was definitely fun. I was looking forward to each fight as it approached, knowing what delightful brutalities the game had in store for me and while I was occasionally intimidated by a new enemy type or a larger horde than last time, I would be lying if I said the challenge didn’t only aid in making it all feel so much more badass.
I scoured each level as I worked my way through it, looking for collectables and secrets, which luckily is my strong suit so I didn’t struggle too much. The hardest things to find by far were the levers which opened Classic Maps – straight-up ports of original Doom and Doom 2 maps – hidden in each level.
One thing I disliked about this was that it meant I spent a lot more time looking for secrets than I did actually pulverising demon-flesh. I think on some level they were aware of how this pulled away from the game, though, so they added in the Auto-maps.
Auto-maps are secrets within themselves and, once found, will populate the game’s map with icons denoting the locations of secrets, collectables, and even pickups (which often counted as secrets).
In addition to this, you can eventually get an upgrade for your Praetor Suit which will automatically populate the map from the start of the level. I managed to have this from around the game’s mid-point and highly recommend you get the same.
Once I had that, my secret-hunting was a lot quicker and I was able to just take a quick glance at the map to reassure myself it was safe to move on. A couple of times, in my attempts to find secrets, I was able to even glitch myself out of the map – thinking I was onto something.
As well as secrets, each level also had challenges to complete. Sometimes the challenges were as simple as “find 3 secrets” which, you know, I was already doing. Other times the secret would be something more difficult like “Kill a Revenant while it is in mid-air” or “Kill two Barons of Hell with one shot”.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I was able to figure out most of the challenges. Some which required you do a certain thing multiple times handily preserved progress between checkpoint loads. So, for example, killing 10 enemies by exploding a barrel is easily completed by finding a good spot with a barrel and a few enemies and then re-loading the checkpoint after each explosive barrel kill until you have 10.
I didn’t actively pursue the challenges on my first run, though, and I feel like I probably should have, just to reduce overall time-to-plat. On pretty much every level, there was 1 out of 3 challenges which I would need to come back to complete later.
As well as the above, there were a lot of trophies which I thought I would need to farm at a later point – such as “Kill 150 enemies with the chainsaw”, “Kill 100 enemies with exploding barrels”, and many more – that I ended up being able to complete naturally, without any particular effort to complete them, which was a relief as I foresaw them being a bit of a pain.
After about 10-12 hours of scouring every map for collectables and putting my fist through some skulls, I reached the end of the game’s campaign and killed the last boss (second attempt, that mother-lover was tough).
I figured I’d take a small break from the single-player campaign and jump back in a bit later, first I wanted to get the multiplayer stuff out of the way. I hate online multiplayer these days, the communities are always toxic and people get so invested that it gets unpleasant very quickly. I hate them even more when I’m forced to play them for a trophy, so I knew this was going to suck…
Multiplayer and Snap Maps
I started with Snap Maps because it seemed like I’d be more likely able to play them alone, rather than relying on other people’s abilities, personality and internet connection to get the trophy.
The first snap maps trophies I went for were the tutorials. The snap map builder is an awesome in-depth level designer which I would have LOVED when I was younger. I haven’t seen anything like it since the level creator in Timesplitters and I got so into creating levels on that, that I ended up using the grid paper in my math books from school to draw up complex level designs.
Nowadays though, I don’t have enough time and patience to lose a day or two building a complex map for no reason, so I just appreciated the complex tools available via the game’s tutorials and moved on.
One trophy required I published a map, so I just loaded a pre-built template and then published that, making sure to make it clear what I’d done, so as to not confuse or disappoint anyone in the community.
The final snap maps trophy wanted me to play 5 other people’s maps. So, I did that. There were some very cool ones such as a very complicated tower-defence game which saw you and a partner fending off waves of increasingly-powerful demons and stopping them from leaving out the other side of the room. You would get score for each kill which could be spent on ammo and more powerful weaponry – it was very cool!
Another saw me stood at the end of a very long hallway, with a BFG and infinite ammunition. I could fire the BFG down the corridor as enemies spawned along the edges, being killed by the shot as it travelled from one end to the other. Not exactly a practical or technical map, but a lot of satisfying fun, nonetheless.
With those done, it was time for multiplayer. Not looking forward to it, I looked up how many matches I’d need to play to reach level 5 for the trophy. I saw “4-5” so I buckled in for that and headed into a matchmaking lobby.
Let me say right now… This game’s multiplayer mode is awesome. I had so much fun in the little time I played it that if MrZhangetsu and I weren’t sharing the same copy of the game I would totally play it with him frequently and maybe even get 100% completion with the additional Multiplayer trophies which were added.
It’s just like Halo 3’s multiplayer, right down to the armour unlocks and customisations, except way more badass and fueled with adrenaline.
What’s more, I actually seemed to be quite good at it. I kicked so much butt that the 4-5 matches I would need to play ended up being only 2 matches. After that, I’d garnered enough exp to reach level 6 and my team had won both matches.
You have to understand that this is a huge deal, because I flat-out refuse to play online multiplayer anymore because of loot-boxes, awful communities, poor sportsmanship and just general bad times. But I genuinely enjoyed Doom’s multiplayer, there were no loot boxes in sight, no kids screaming down their mics, it was just good old-fashioned halo-style multiplayer and it was great!
However, with the trophies done and a review to write, I moved back to single-player for the rest of the trophies and, who knows, I may just go back on Doom’s multiplayer mode in the future.
Challenges and Masteries
All I had left to complete campaign-wise were level-specific challenges, weapon upgrade masteries and some of the rune upgrade challenges too.
To explain, each weapon has two special firing modes which can be switched between via and activated with . These firing modes can be upgraded using weapon points you get from challenges, collectables and combat. Once you have bought three upgrades (sometimes only two), you’ll unlock another upgrade by completing a mastery challenge.
Sometimes that’s as simple as killing 5 enemies in 5 seconds with the minigun, other times that’s as annoyingly complicated as using a remotely detonated rocket to kill 3 enemies at once, 15 times.
Runes, on the other hand, are passive abilities which can be activated by locating a “Trial Rune” on each level and then completing a small challenge such as killing enemies under a time limit with a certain weapon or movement restriction. The trials are not difficult and I was able to get each and everyone in my initial campaign playthrough.
Their effect can be increased, however, by completing a small challenge – similar to weapon masteries – while each rune is equipped. These will be things like Glory-Killing demons in 25 different ways or killing a certain number of enemies while in mid-air.
So, while I was working my way through each level to complete each level-specific challenge, I was doing my best to complete the 4 weapon masteries I had left as well as the 5-6 rune challenges.
Occasionally I’d find a spot which was good for completing a mastery, like a cluster of possessed perfect for the aforementioned remote detonation challenge. So I would just farm that spot by killing the enemies and then reloading the checkpoint since challenge and mastery progress persists between deaths and checkpoint reloads.
Again, not many of these were all that difficult, but I do have a few tips later on in the review which should help you with some of the ones I struggled with.
UAC on Ultra-Nightmare
And here it was, the final trophy.
My plan here was to switch the difficulty on my save and then just jump into the level, fully armed and upgraded and laugh as I slaughtered them all. So I did, I changed my difficulty to the highest (Ultra-Violence… You see where this is going, I’m sure) and I blew through the level in mere minutes.
Obviously, that wasn’t the right difficulty and I began to understand what was at stake here…
Ultra-Nightmare mode is a deathless run mode, in which there is hardly any ammo, enemies can cut your health in half with a mere tap on the shoulder, and health is as rare a commodity as Toilet Paper is IRL right now.
Through sheer force of will, I made it through with beating heart and shaking hands. It was absolutely nerve-wracking. Just one stray fireball from an imp was enough to level me and the only way I could hit them from range was with a charged shot from the pistol.
The shotgun had only 20 rounds and I had to get up-close and personal to use it, something I was very scared to do.
In moments I’d gone from a badass power-house with the ability to take anything the game threw at me, to an absolute p*ssy, cowering around corners hoping to catch some respite from the Imps.
Every time I died I was taken right back to the start of the level. It was horrible, it was… An Ultra-Nightmare.
There was no way I was backing down this close to the Platinum, though, so around 20+ attempts in I managed to beat the stage, and I have some tips in the section below which should help.
Looking for Secrets
Kicking Demon Ass
Cleaning up Challenges
Multiplayer and Snap Maps
UAC on Ultra-Nightmare
Doom Trophy Tips
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
My first tip is one that I always employ in a game with collectables. Take the time to explore every crook and nanny on your first playthrough of the game. You run a decent chance of finding every collectable and saving yourself time for later, but even if you don’t find them all you’ll be in a much better place when you come to do clean-up later.
I actually recommend you do something here which I didn’t, but now in hindsight realise would have been very reasonable and possible;
Complete the challenges as they come up and save yourself some cleanup later. Since challenge progress persists between checkpoints, you should exploit that ability to complete them quicker and sooner by farming any opportunities you see for challenge completion as you progress through the stage.
Some challenges may be easier upon returning with better weapon upgrades or equipment, but I’d still recommend you at least attempt full completion.
Tips for Difficult Masteries and Rune Challenges
Any Death From Above Challenge
For the longest time I struggled with these challenges because whenever I downed whatever I was supposed to be glory-killing from above, I’d be trying to scramble up some stairs or a nearby ledge quick enough to be able to do it. Not necessary at all.
Once you have the V-Jump boots or whatever they’re called, which give you the ability to double-jump, you can simple double-jump right above an opponent who’s staggered and then, while looking down at them, hit to trigger the “death from above” kill.
Thread the Needle Challenge
On this stage, you’ll eventually come to an elevator shaft you need to jump down. Before doing so, switch to your Gauss cannon and ensure it is in Seige mode. You’ll probably want to attempt this once your Seige Mode is fully-upgraded because it gives it a wider range.
Now, jump down and then run past all of the enemies which are spawning, through the tunnel in the left corner in front of you. Once you see the possessed engineer (red flaming gas tank on his back), stop and let him blow himself up against you, this will stop him getting rid of the possessed who are gathering from the room behind you and also give the enemies time to group up.
Then, continue down the right-hand side of the tunnel, jumping over the boxes and stuff in your way, until you reach the end of the tunnel, two more guys should come running out, so circle around them and then aim your Siege Mode cannon right down the tunnel and fire.
There should be more than enough enemies there so provided you hit them all you should see the challenge completion appear. If not, just reload the checkpoint which – provided you didn’t go too far into the next room and kill the Pinkie who comes out of there – should be back at the top of the elevator shaft, with your Siege Mode Gauss Cannon already equipped.
Hold Still Challenge
For this challenge, you need to kill two Barons of Hell in one shot, and it’s easier than it sounds.
In the stage, there are 3 objectives you need to complete in a row. They’re the same objective each time, kill the enemies, climb the stairs, interact with the orb, head to the next location.
At the location fo the third orb, there is a Quad Damage powerup near the back. Do not touch it. Wait until you get near the end of the fight here and three Barons of Hell will spawn. At this point, jump up to the quad damage power-up and grab it, then switch to the BFG and try to group the barons up into the same corner. It shouldn’t be hard to herd them considering they want to smash your skull into dust, but once you have two of the three together, fire your BFG directly at them, the resulting explosion with Quad Damage will disintegrate them, completing the challenge.
Rich Get Richer Rune Mastery
This rune mastery requires you to fill you Armour 12 times. Which would be fairly easy, except by the time you’re doing this you have probably upgraded your armour a fair few times meaning you’ll need to get 200 armour and avoid getting hit long enough to get more.
So, the best method that I found was to equip the rune which gives you armour for glory-killing an enemy. It’ll only drop about 12 or something, but it’s still fairly useful.
Now, go to the level “Advanced Research Complex” and load it up. The first enemies you will come across are a group of possessed being attached by a Mancubus. Run around the corner and hit the Mancubus with the Super-Shotgun, in the face or stomach, as much as possible until it dies.
Now, you will have lost some armour, but you should have saved the lives of the Possessed who were being attacked. Turn to them and begin glory-killing each of them, they will drop armour which will refill your armour bar, completing some of the “Rich get Richer” challenge. After each completion, let one of them hit you, you’ll lose a bit of armour which you should be able to get back by just glory-killing them.
Rinse and repeat from here, you can enter the security room just around the corner where there are about 6 more Possessed to do this on. This is also a fantastic location to complete the level’s Bottle Opener Challenge too.
Once you run out of possessed to farm, reload the checkpoint which will be just before you killed the Mancubus, so do it all again.
Saving Throw Rune Mastery
This rune is tricky. Essentially it makes it so that you get an extra shot at life if you die. Once your health reaches zero, you’ll receive 5 health points and the game will enter slow motion, allowing you to escape. If you kill an enemy during this slow-motion effect, you’ll receive bonus health letting you carry on.
Now, the mastery for this rune would like you to kill 10 enemies during the slow-mo effect. Now, to clarify, you don’t have to die and kill an enemy 10 times, if you die once but kill 4 enemies during slow-mo, you’ll get 4/10 completion.
The way I farmed this mastery was by reaching the location of the “Hold Still” challenge I mentioned earlier, and then letting myself get killed.
From the start of the checkpoint, you’ll see a trench down in the arena below, with a Hell Knight nearby. Run down into that trench and the Hell Knight will notice and attack you, this will draw the attention of 2 more Hell Knights and a Pinky, all of whom will come to batter your limbs into mush. Let them.
While they beat you up, get in a few cheap shots with the shotgun to weaken them a little for what’s to come. Once your health gets quite low, switch to the Gauss Cannon. If you’re feeling skilled you could also activate Siege mode for maximum damage.
Now, when you die and the slow-mo activates, move away from the group and then aim the gauss cannon at them, letting loose as many shots as you can – or one big siege mode shot – and it should kill 1-4 of them at once.
When the saving throw mode deactivates, let yourself be killed. If you load from checkpoint – for some reason – you won’t have a saving throw to use, and letting them kill you will just kill you. You’ll need to die for it to reset. So, let yourself die and then be respawned at the checkpoint. Rinse and repeat 3-5 times for the mastery completion.
Tips for UAC on Ultra-Nightmare
I’m no expert here, and I struggled with this a lot. A lot more than I saw some other people struggle with it when I was looking for tips myself. However, I did make it through, and I have some advice.
Firstly, whenever you reach a new area with enemies, you’ll typically be unreachable, at the top of a ledge or something like that, so use your pistol’s charged shot to pick off some enemies with headshots. This works on the Possessed as well as Imps (though be very careful of imp fireballs, just 2 of those and you’re toast).
Now, try to fight the enemies just one at a time, by baiting them over to you. If you can find a nice corner to hide behind, you can usually dispatch the enemies with a quick shotgun round to-the-face as they round the corner to get you. Just make sure you’re quick, you’ll want a very itchy trigger finger to take them out before they can shoot anything at you.
A lot of the time, I would move into the next area to activate the enemies, and then very quickly run back to an area I already cleared, this will cause the enemies to drip-feed themselves into the area, allowing you to take them out slowly one at a time, and get glory kills for additional health without having to worry about getting attacked.
The pistol’s charged shot is very good provided you can get a headshot, more often than not this will be a one-hit kill, which is an invaluable ability in this mode.
Keep at it, practice, get used to enemy spawns, enemy behaviours and health pickup locations and eventually, you’ll come out the other side victorious.