The new Doom launched in multiplayer open beta form last week - and it's having a tough time from Steam user reviews.
At the time of publication, Doom's multiplayer had a "mostly negative" Steam user review rating. That's from a whopping 12,267 user reviews. 7634 of those user reviews are "negative", as Steam puts it. 4633 are "positive".
Most of the negativity stems from id's new Doom not feeling much like id's old Doom. Common complaints include the weapons not feeling punchy enough, movement speed not feeling fast enough, and an objection to the inclusion of things like loadouts and progression. I've seen Doom's rocket launcher picked apart, too. It doesn't do enough damage, players say.
The "most useful" Steam user review, posted by someone who's played the new Doom for over four hours, says it feels like "Master Chief with a squirtgun on a shopping cart". Here are a couple more examples:
It's worth pointing out there are a sizeable number of positive reviews, too. Most of these look at the new Doom from the perspective of a newcomer to the series. Is the multiplayer fun? For many people, the answer is yes, even if it doesn't feel entirely like old-school Doom.
It looks like the Steam user reviews were driven largely by player expectations, then. Those expecting an old-school arena shooter may have felt misled. Conversely, those going in fresh may have felt pleasantly surprised.
It's a rosier picture on console. On PlayStation 4, the Doom open beta has a four out of five stars rating, from 8355 ratings. On Xbox One it's four-and-a-half out of five stars, from 2336 ratings. Perhaps the difference in user reviews on console compared with PC shouldn't come as a surprise. Old-school Doom was, for most people, a PC game, so PC gamers will have a different set of expectations than console gamers.
Eurogamer's Ian Higton has spent some time with the new Doom and offers his own impressions:
The multiplayer for the original Doom games was, in comparison to the multiplayer experiences that people are used to today, very bare bones. No health regeneration, no perks, just a simple kill-or-be-killed fight to the death.
Of course id would have to have made some changes to this formula in this day and age. If they want to attract an audience of people who in all likelihood weren't born during the days of the original, then it makes financial sense.
Trouble is the deluge of negative reviews on Steam seems to suggest that these changes haven't been well received. And that's putting it nicely.
The most common complaint on Steam is this new Doom is not Doom, that the addition of modern gameplay mechanics has ruined it beyond redemption. While I don't agree that this version of Doom is doomed - I had fun with it for the few hours I played it - it is beyond a shadow of a doubt a completely different beast to the PC original and not the nostalgic throwback to the days of old that many were hoping for.
For a start, the game feels tailor-made for the console audience. The controls are a perfect fit for gamepads but for mouse users, they'll feel sluggish and unwieldy. There's a great sense of speed here, it's faster than other modern shooters, probably on a par with Titanfall, but it's not the break-neck, white-knuckle ride that purists will remember.
2016 Doom feels more chunky and unwieldy - even with the added 'mantling' ability that lets you scale walls and make longer jumps - whereas movement in the old days was lighter and snappier.
Another massive change to the formula is the addition of load outs. Instead of having magic pockets, capable of holding however many weapons you would find in the area floor, in this Doom, players are limited to only two weapons each; with the exception of a special power weapon that occasionally spawns in certain areas of the map.
Not having weapon pickups dramatically changes the flow of the action. Instead of being encouraged to explore the maps and to own the whole arena, many players in the beta took to camping in areas where they knew the power weapon or demon rune would spawn. This had the adverse effect of creating small pockets of action while leaving the rest of the arena floor feeling empty and pointless.
Played in short, sharp, bloody bursts, Doom's multiplayer is a thrilling rush of gore and ultra violence, but it's a rush that quickly grows tiresome after extended periods of play.
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 its alienated its core audience and produced a shooter modern gamers will find mediocre at best.
With the Doom open beta coming to an end today, and the game out next month, it seems unlikely id will have enough time to make significant changes to the multiplayer ahead of release. And so many fans have turned their attention to the game's campaign in the hope it rekindles memories of the series' glory days. We'll have to wait until Doom comes out on 13th May to find out.
Did you play the open beta? If so, what do you think of it?