(Even more) Strife on Mars…
Doom is really good. Don’t just believe me, read this review by a very handsome and charming man. An unexpected return to form for the franchise, made even sweeter by Bethesda withholding review copies until launch and therefore leading people to assume it was awful. Cue everyone quickly realising this was a fine antidote for first person shooters’ current ‘gritty reality’ problem. Fast, darkly funny and gratuitously gory, it’s a contender for game of the year in the eyes of me and other handsome, charming reviewers everywhere.
Enter Unto The Evil, the first bit of paid DLC available for nu-Doom. As it stands, the only DLC planned for the game is multiplayer based, and that’s all you’re getting if you’ve got the Season Pass too. This is something of a shame, as the single player campaign is incredible and I want to see more of that like I want a tap that somehow dispenses Oreos. The multiplayer, on the other hand, was basically okay. Not groundbreaking or original, but fine. The environments in Doom aren’t particularly interesting, usually easily sorted into either ‘blood-spattered corridor’ or ‘literal actual hell’. This didn’t really matter in single player, as the game moves so quickly and throws so much at you in terms of enemies and new weapons that you didn’t have time to notice or really mind. However, when confined to an area in multiplayer the blandness becomes considerably more apparent.
It’s therefore with Unto The Evil that Bethesda are presumably trying to bolster this a little. It hasn’t really worked, as these new areas are indistinguishable from the rest. More corridors, more blood, a few flaming fountains and lakes of fire. So on and so forth. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you which ones are the new ones. I looked it up and I’ve still got no idea.
Aside from the new areas, there’s new weaponry too. Well, a couple of things, don’t get too excited. Firstly, you have the option to wield an EMG Mark V pistol. This is more filling a gap than an exciting addition, as there was previously no small pistol-type weapon. A fairly pointless addition to your armoury, it’s light and has a rapid rate of fire as you’d expect, but isn’t as powerful as any of the other primary weapons. While we’re on the subject of guns, it’s also worth mentioning the previous free update from June which, as well as adding a photo mode, allows you to instead have your weapon centred in the middle of the screen, a la 1993 Doom. Not part of Unto The Evil admittedly, but worth knowing about regardless.
You also get a Kinetic Mine, a proximity bomb which again feels more like it’s filling a gap than anything else as there was previously no such option in your inventory. Nevertheless, it does open up a new way of playing, slightly less direct than the run-and-gun the game usually encourages and bringing in an element of tactical thought. Or you can just throw them around and hope for the best. Whatever you fancy.
There’s a whole section of new armour, this time named the Robotic range, which all the Marines on Mars are wearing this season. This is a pretty decent addition, the armour looking very Giger-esque. The armour customisation on Doom was always brilliantly detailed, allowing you to even have different sleeves on your right and left arms and so forth. There’s also a wealth of patterns and colours to use, so this is just a further extension of that. Similarly, you’ve got a few more options for the Hack Modules, which are basically perks to give you a boost when you die. These basically amount to a speed boost when your health is getting low, getting more XP for a glory kill and increasing the value of any armour pickup you find.
Perhaps more interestingly, there’s a new form of Demon to become possessed by. Every now and then around the map you’ll spot a big pentagram thing, like what goths draw on their walls. Step into these at the right time and you can choose which beast you’ll morph into before you start each match. The newest one is a Harvester, but don’t expect a salad bar and nice alfresco dining in an established franchise restaurant here. This is instead a floaty thing that isn’t animated too well, and doesn’t look particularly convincing when drifting around. It’s quite powerful though, which is either very good or very bad depending on which side you’re on when it appears.
Frivolously, you also have new taunts to bust out. These in themselves are a good illustration of the game’s attitude, as you see bulky, armoured-up Marines doing the Charleston or throwing out double backflips. There’s quite a few, but most notable are the option for your player character to double over and mosh like Quasimodo at a Slayer gig, or mockingly drink a cup of tea from an invisible cup like a vicar on Sunday. Silly, but fun.
All in all, this is far from an essential update. If you are ‘really into’ the Doom multiplayer, this is basically more of the same and very much for you. Bethesda are also quite generous with the use of the maps; if you’re in a party with someone who has the DLC but don’t have it yourself, you can still access the new maps. Imagine Call of Duty doing that? No, me neither. But if, like most people. you thoroughly enjoyed the single player campaign and felt the multiplayer was fine but not compelling, this may not be worth the extra outlay. Come on, guys. Give us that single player add on and I’ll give you access to my Oreo tap.