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Players and reviewers blast Doom open beta

There’s a new Doom game due out soon, the first in 12 years and a potential must-have title for the Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4. Unfortunately, if feedback from the game’s now-complete open beta is any indication, the game isn’t going to win accolades for itself on multiplayer alone.

As of this writing, the game had 8,049 negative reviews and 4,992 positive ones on Steam, which works out to a shade under 40% positive reviews and 60% negative ones. The problem, according to those reviews (and as documented by multiple sites online) is that the game isn’t Doom in any meaningful sense.


The problems are legion. The rocket launcher is so weak, it’s beaten by the shotgun. The game uses loadouts and unlocks rather than dropping everyone into an open map with tons of guns to pick up and interesting ways to use them. It’s been heavily criticized as resembling Halo or CoD, which makes sense given that it’s built by different developers and has long been absent from the scene.

One aspect that nearly every PC player is complaining about are the controls, which don’t feel smooth compared with the original. It’s a game clearly designed for consoles, with PCs as an afterthought. This is, of course, entirely normal these days — PC players are rarely anything but an afterthought, and the state of so many PC titles these days is a testament to that fact. Nonetheless, it’s obviously angered many people that a franchise as iconic as Doom is treating PC gamers like a footnote.

Eurogamer’s Ian Higton summarized the problems thusly: “Rather than feeling like a throwback to days of old, the sad fact is Doom feels like a generic first-person shooter wearing a Doom skin. Id has tried its best to appeal to two markets by adding modern mechanics to an arena shooter, but by doing so it’s alienated its core audience and produced a shooter modern gamers will find mediocre at best.”

People don’t like leveling, they don’t like weapon loadouts, they don’t like damage numbers popping over characters, they don’t enjoy warmed-over console ports, they don’t want to play Halo, and anyone hoping that the single-player campaign is going to magically fix all this is probably smoking crack. The vast majority of games with separate single and multi-player modes tweak weapons and items to balance them for multiplayer, but they don’t completely redefine how the game controls and flows in the process. That’s not to say that playing single-player is identical to multiplayer, but the two are typically cut from similar cloth.

Certain Affinity developed the multiplayer in cooperation with id, but based on coverage to-date, the game needed to be fundamentally retooled. There’s zero chance of that happening before the launch next month.

Based on the reviews of the open beta, Doom is looking less like a brilliant reinvention of a classic franchise and more like the gaming world’s equivalent of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you want a classic Doom experience updated for the modern age, play Brutal Doom.

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