Hell’s Hordes: An Hour Of DOOM Singleplayer

“This isn’t Doom 4. This is actually Doom, straight up, from the beginning.”

That’s part of the introduction to an hour-long walkthrough of DOOM‘s singleplayer campaign. The video divides into three main sections, with the player jumping forward to later levels in order to show various features, and the whole thing has commentary. The combination of that commentary and the video itself has eased my concerns after the disappointment of the multiplayer beta. I want to play this. I’ve explained why below, as well as providing handy links so you can jump to interesting points in the video rather than watching the full thing.

That’s the whole video if you want to start from the beginning and see all that there is to see. It’s worth nothing that you’re going to see maps and monsters that you might not want to have spoiled in a video. I’m not sure how deep into the game they go but the final jump, in particular, isn’t anywhere near the opening hour.

The first thing I noticed – because I am exactly that kind of nerd – was the colourful glows around enemies. How pleasing, then, that they’re immediately explained. The blue glow shows that an enemy has been staggered, meaning you can move close and activate one of those up-close-and-personal glory kills; when you’re close enough to trigger that, the glow becomes orange.

Ugh, you might be thinking. UGH. Well, you can turn all of that off. I’ve grabbed a screenshot of the menu screen that shows most of the HUD options and the commentary itself explains that objective markers, health bars and all the rest can be switched off should you want to play with a clean display (you can fiddle with FOV as well, even on the console build they’re presumably playing with here)

The map is dealt with in a similar fashion. Some secrets will be revealed if you find an automap station – and there’s one near the beginning of each map – but they won’t reveal everything. And you can ignore them if you’d rather fill in the map as you explore.

This first section also has some story beats, delivered through video screens and codex entries. Two important things I noticed regarding the codex entries: there are 36 slots for monsters and there’s a reference to some banal bureaucracy that I decided to read in full, for some reason. I had to pause the video to do that. My reward was a reference to a suggestion form called WAD-E1M4 which must be filled in and submitted to a “Command Controller”. Hey-o!

The most pleasing information in this section is the description of combat area as abstract arenas, “like skateparks” for demon killing. That certainly seems to be the case and even though I’m not entirely convinced by the rapid disintegration of enemies (gibs should be earned, not a default death), the demon count on screen seems healthy, and the fights seem suitably kinetic.

This next section contains discussion of difficulty settings and jumps forward to a later stage in the game.

The main morsel of information here concerns the existence of an ultra-nightmare mode, which is essentially Nightmare difficulty plus ironman. You die, you start over. We’re also told that on a normal difficulty level, the campaign is around 13-15 hours in length.

Progress through the game is described as “climbing a ladder”. Every step you take, finding a bigger gun, the demons throw out something nastier to counter you. Along with new guns, there are suit upgrades, weapon modifications and runes, which provide buffs. There’s some talk about the changes (reloading still not in; jumping in) from the original, along with the upgrade system and ‘challenges’ right around here.

The final part of the video takes us to Hell, or at least a part of it. Hell has areas – ‘fractures’ – presumably with their own environmental features. I hope there’s a civil war happening in Hell and the players gets to drop into the middle of it with a chainsaw. That would be just fine.

All in all, I think this is a damn good showing. It’s fast, bloody and packed with monsters. Those melee kills also seem a lot less intrusive now that I can see how they’re aimed at parts of a monster rather than defaulting to a specific animation. Much less chance of breaking the flow this way, I reckon.

I’m excited again. I want to punch a mancubus in the face.

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46 Comments

  1. p30SiNa says:

    After I saw SnapMap on Bethesda’s Twitch, I pre-ordered the game instantly! Snapmap is really cool. I’m really hyped for SP and Snapmap!!

  2. DaftPunk says:

    It sure is gory,but whats with cartoony style :| I’m still not convinced..

    • Spacewalk says:

      Doom’s always been cartoony. Space marines in candy green armour with big guns fighting colourful monsters in bright environments to a soundtrack of heavy metal guitars (although due to the music being all midi it sounded more like wailing accordions than guitars).

      • RecklessPrudence says:

        Indeed. Although if you want to hear non-accordion versions of said heavy metal, try the OverClocked Remixes of both Doom I & II. Doom I’s E1M1 is , and Doom II’s is . They were done by different groups, so they do have some difference in styles, but they both work.

      • Napalm Sushi says:

        Yeah; the notion that Doom’s tone has ever had nuance and maturity beyond the level of “cathartic Pat Mills comic” is a pretty absurd one.

        • automatic says:

          That’s not true. The design was limited by system resources but neither Doom nor Doom 2 had cartoony style. Look at wall textures for hell levels for example: that classic mashup os disfigured skull faces, flesh walls, dismembered bodies, marble statues drooling blood, the demon head on a pentagram, that last boss from Doom 2… a demon head with the skull split open. All those pictured as realistic as a few kb sprites could hold. Imo this new style was just to make the game more appealing to younger audiences, not to make it consistent with old games.

          • zxcasdqwecat says:

            Can’t be sure but, just like half life and portal games, it could have cartoony character designs mixed to realistic textures.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            As a person who plays doom2 pretty much daily, all of the things you mentioned come across as pretty cartoonish to me. Maybe that’s not exactly the right word. But if you think Doom takes itself seriously, yeah, no. It’s stupid and loud and vibrantly colourful and just… like someone spilled comicbooks and metal album covers into a nukage pit, honestly.

          • wcq says:

            Neither “realistic” nor “cartoony” are words I’d use to describe the style.

            “Comic book”, perhaps. Or maybe “metal album cover”.

          • automatic says:

            The bright colors are a technical limitation too. You got to have more contrasting colors because it’s an action game so unless it’s intentional like in dark rooms or invisible enemies, stuff players can interact with must be distinguishable. Plus the characters are far from cartoonish like this new Doom. Check out that new Cacodemon from the posters, no matter how detailed and well designed it is, it looks more like a pokemon than a demon. Imo this new Doom is going down the same path as Diablo III. Guess they are too afraid to miss the spot again like they did in Doom 3.

            And oh, yeah, the old Doom is indeed directly inspired by metal culture but regardless of how silly it seems now back then people took those stuff a lot more seriously. I’d say it has B-Movie aesthetics instead of a comic book.

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            ffordesoon says:

            So it’s a cartoon for teenagers, then.

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            ffordesoon says:

            Commenting again due to lack of edit function:

            Also, Doom’s always appealed to “younger audiences.” That was, in fact, key to its success. It is the distilled essence of adolescent male power fantasy: satanic imagery, metal, explosions, guns, viscera, monsters, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, speed. It is loud in every sense, and proudly, irredeemably trashy. It was perfectly calibrated to scare the living shit out of concerned parents everywhere back in ’92.

  3. EyalLan says:

    Funny – the “skatepark” approach is actually my main concern with the campaign. I was sort of looking for a linear experience that will take place in a maze-like environment, sort of like Doom 3, minus the horror. The game seems to be real pacy, more so than the first games, and frankly, it bears a pretty strong resemblance to the multiplayer.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Yeah, the “skatebark” apperas to be nothing else then a combat arena, much like those found in Shadow Warrior 2, Bulletstorm etc. Not bad in itself, but not part of canonical Doom gameplay structure.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Actually I hope it will be nowhere near Doom 3. Tastes are different I guess. The “no cutscenes” approach gave me hope.

  4. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    The map editor looks really really cool. It reminds me of the timesplitters map editor from the ps2, which is no bad thing – one of the best content creation systems in a game to date!

  5. bit.bat says:

    I kind of feel sorry for the developers a bit, the amount of times he has to say that elements of his game are completely optional, probably in order to stave peoples disdain, is quite telling.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Like the glory kills – completely optional but tactical or how he words it exactly.
      Well if it’s useful in a tactical sense I’ll use it even if it feels disrupting to the game play. If I get achievements or extra score I’ll use it nevermind the arteficial pauses.

  6. cunningmunki says:

    I’ll be turning off those enemy glows, I reckon, but at least they’re better than ‘Press X to Kill’ button prompts. I sense progress.

    • Alien says:

      Can we really turn ALL HUD elements, for example “glowing” off?

      It will be much more atmospheric if all this HUD stuff is gone…

      • Zach Fett says:

        Yeah you can turn off the glowing stuff. There’s quite a bit of HUD options it looked like, thankfully.

  7. dethtoll says:

    Doom fandom is pretty notoriously whiny, though the worst of it is on Doomworld’s Facebook page. I had to unfollow it before I throttled someone via TCP/IP.

  8. FroshKiller says:

    I hope it’s a civil war in Hell, and I hope you wind up working for a boisterous, turncoat cacodemon who just wants to end the hostilities and bring the focus back to where it belongs: inflicting eternal suffering on the damned. Voiced by–and partially modeled on, a bearded cacodemon–Brian Blessed.

  9. Kaeoschassis says:

    Yeah, alright, that has me feeling pretty good. This could be a lot of fun after all.

  10. zxcasdqwecat says:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzxx

  11. derbefrier says:

    After seeing this and the snap map thing this will most likely be a day 1 buy. I dont have too much interest in multiplayer (though I thought the beta was ok, it had had its moments). This single player looked like doom, the level layout looked fairly large with several different paths and the more I hear about snap map and how you can change things like player movement and get rid of load outs makes me think that while they made it console friendly the tools will be there to really make it shine on PC.

    With this and Shadow Warrior 2 on the horizon as well. As old school fps fan like me is going to have a good year.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Sadly, the pistol being pathetic is actually in keeping with Doom tradition. Although actually the pistol in newdoom seems to be pretty damaging – it just looks and sounds weak.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Ahem. That is not where this comment was meant to go…

  12. Michael Fogg says:

    One of the more iconic things in Doom was the Doomguy, whose face was generally visible at the bottom at all times. Alert, grim, sometimes mischievious. And that unforgettable warpaint – rivulets of blood. A seven year old me would draw page after page of this visage in various configurations in his sketchbook. Now the face of the doom Marine appears to be hidden at all times under a generic Halo motorcycle helmet. One of the decisions I can’t comprehend. Also, the basic pistol is a pathetic pew-pew laser.

  13. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I wonder how these actions like forcing the door open will fit in the gameplay. At least it’s not like Batman -a game of press x repeatedly. Also I’ll switch off the irritating glow.
    Guess I’ll get it though, looks solid enough, there might even be mods.

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    Ridiculous Human says:

    I can’t ignore that Marty Stratton looks like Fat Chandler

  15. tonicer says:

    Showing this off with a gamepad is terrible. The turns and movements looks so weird. But whatever people nowadays buy even the crappiest of games and play them for a couple of weeks and forget them afterwards. In 4 to 6 months nobody will have it still installed and play it.

  16. Sinjun says:

    It looks fantastic. The haters seem to just want a 1:1 remake of Brutal Doom with modern graphics.

  17. vorador says:

    It actually turned me off. I had a preorder and i canceled it.

    I might buy when it’s 10$ or something. Otherwise i will put that money towards Shadow Warrior 2. Shadow Warrior (2013) was fantastic, and the sequel seems even better.

    • Unclepauly says:

      I don’t like your post. And I’m never going to explain why!

  18. DevilishEggs says:

    If this doesn’t work out, there’s always zdoom + goingdown.wad.

  19. syllopsium says:

    Hell looks nice. Before Hell – it just looks like one arena, doesn’t it? I’m not against arenas, they’re probably more realistic in some ways, but surely DOOM should include more enclosed corridors?

    Also seems to have smaller numbers of hard to kill monsters, than larger numbers of easier to kill monsters.

  20. Dave3d says:

    Anyone know if it is campaign coop or not?
    2 player campaign coop?
    4 player campaign coop?

    I was really MEH about the game, since I was in on the beta, but THIS is where the game is really at for me, and now I am super hyped for it!
    My 2 friends would also get it IF we could all play together.
    :)

  21. C0llic says:

    I know a lot of people disliked DOOM 3, but to me that felt far more like the first games than this one. I’m probably not remotely the target audience anymore though.

  22. Pizzzahut says:

    I loved the cough at around the 24min mark though, just as the interviewer said ‘console’. hahahah