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When our parents brought home PCs in the 90s, we couldn't wait to play id Software's DOOM. The developer's previous first person shooter, Wolfenstein 3D, kept us glued to our monitors for hours and deserves credit for revolutionizing the genre, but DOOM took the one-man army approach and ratcheted up the intensity several notches. Slaughtering Hitler's army was a fun way to pass the time, but blasting demons to bits with a shotgun and using a chainsaw to shred them to pieces blew our young minds. Were we supposed to play a game this violent? No, probably not, but considering this was the age of Mortal Kombat, virtual gore was the norm and difficult to avoid.

Suffice to say we grew up with DOOM, from DOOM 2 to Final DOOM and then the horrifying DOOM 3. Now it's time to rev the chainsaw once again for DOOM 4, or as Bethesda calls it, DOOM. Full circle indeed!

Welcome back to Mars

While technically the fourth instalment to the franchise, this DOOM is somewhat of a reboot. The game was announced as DOOM 4 when id Software revealed its existence in 2008, but after years of development, rumoured mishaps and Bethesda buying id Software, DOOM 4 went through some revisions. What apparently started as a cinematic FPS similar to games like Call of Duty and Battlefield eventually wound up digging into its bloody roots.

That said, the estimated 13-hour single-player campaign once again casts you as a space marine battling demons on a Martian base. Based on what we've seen, you won't go on escort missions or team up with other heroes to fight the horde. Instead you're a one-man army, a monster-killing machine with a variety of awesome weapons at his disposal, from the classic double-barrelled shotgun to the rocket launcher and the chainsaw.

Instead of taking cover to regenerate health, the developers encourage you to push forward through the different environments. Run, jump and continue firing at whatever moves while gathering ammo, armour and power-ups along the way. The game moves incredibly fast and there appears to be a constant flow of enemies, to the point where you'll struggle to catch a breath while turning monsters into bullet-riddled corpses.

Classic DOOM villains make a welcome return, including low level imps, the heavily armed Revenant, pinkie demon and the humongous Cyberdemon. What's especially cool this time around is the ability to perform fatalities on these guys. The chainsaw looks especially brutal, as the blade gnaws through flesh and bone, but you can also yank out a Cacodemon's eyeball or remove a pinkie demon's tooth, then jab the brute in the eye with it.

Become the monster

Whereas Ubisoft ditched multiplayer in Far Cry Primal for a more in-depth single-player adventure, DOOM will feature online play. The traditional four-player deathmatch will return, but also other modes like domination, clan arena and freeze tag. Additionally, players will locate a pentagram on the maps that allows them to transform into a monster, similar in nature to the heroes in Star Wars: Battlefront.

When it comes to multiplayer, though, the DOOM SnapMap feature is by far the most intriguing. Available for every platform, this level editor lets users design new modes, tweak the maps and include pre-defined rules from id Software or go with custom gameplay. Such features are usually a big selling point for PC versions of games, so the fact that SnapMap will also appear on DOOM for PS4 and Xbox One feels refreshing.

Bloody incredible

Considering DOOM 3 set a new standard for graphical excellence, it's no surprise DOOM looks amazing. It's the sort of game where after seeing it in motion you won't believe your eyes. Everything moves fluidly, but the exquisite detail in both the character models and the research base define what "next-gen" is all about. Once you see the Revenant appear on screen or a pinkie demon charge (along with all the head-splattering, body dismembering fun), you'll definitely want to pick up a PS4 or Xbox One if you haven't already, and if you purchased one ages ago, there's a good chance you did so for this type of game.

If anyone thinks the DOOM franchise is too old to appeal to the newest generation of mature gamers, Bethesda already discredited this opinion with its smash hit, Wolfenstein: The New Order. If B.J. Blazkowicz can dust off his machine gun and stick it to the Nazis, then certainly our favourite unnamed space marine can resume battling the forces of Hell, one gooey carcass at a time.

Published: 26/02/2016

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