Hands-on with Doom Deathmatch: Six Minutes in Hell

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Before we dove into a beyond-intense round of Doom’s six-versus-six Deathmatch mode, Executive Producer Marty Stratton stressed the importance of speed across all the game’s modes. More specifically, he stated “really fast movement is one of the core combat pillars.”

Upon jumping into Heatwave, an arena-style map sporting an industrial look and lots of flowing lava, we quickly got a taste of what Stratton was talking about. Armed with a custom loadout that included a Static Cannon, Super Shotgun, and frag grenade, we took a moment to survey our surroundings. Our sightseeing tour lasted all of about two seconds, though, as a face full of buckshot quickly left us horizontal.

Following a quick respawn, we immediately began hoofing it for fear that we’d be punished again for ogling the pretty environments. Leveraging the map’s verticality, we alternated between running, double-jumping, and mantling. In other words: Not staying still, ever.  Coupled with the enormous punch of the Super Shotgun, this strategy earned us a few satisfying kills.

We saw even more success upon swapping to the Static Cannon, a weapon that’s actually more effective while you’re moving. Complementing the skyrocketing swiftness of the moment-to-moment gameplay, the gun, according to Stratton, “Charges up as you run through the environment; if you stop, it de-charges. So it’s kind of like a railgun that gets more powerful as you move.”

Of course, all of our guns combined felt about as powerful as a pea-shooter once the Revenant crashed the party. A jetpack-equipped demon shouldering twin rocket launchers, the table-turning terror is dubbed the “the ultimate power-up” by Stratton. You see, by snatching up a pentagram-looking Demon Rune that appears on the map, players can actually inhabit this menace of mass destruction. In addition to flying while unleashing flurries of rockets, the Revenant also has twice as much health as a normal player.

Thankfully, the Gauss Rifle – which appears as randomly as the rune – serves as sort of an equalizer to the map-devouring demon. This “super-weapon,” as Stratton called it, is a powerful hand-cannon that’s capable of taking players out with one shot… and draining the Revenant of its life-force quicker than any other gun available in the mode. While we weren’t lucky enough to become the demon (or arm the bad-boy responsible for sending it back to hell), we did witness the potential dynamic between the two. An already fast and frantic match becomes significantly more intense when both teams are fighting for these two game-changers.

Our match lasted a mere six minutes… but thanks to Doom’s speed-fueled take on the multiplayer staple, it felt like half that. More than just teaching us not to stop and smell the cooked flesh, though, the match gave us a new appreciation for playing a mode that’s existed since the dawn of competitive gaming. And, according to Stratton, this pre-alpha take on Doom’s online action is just a tease. Alongside the game’s story campaign and user-generated, content-driven SnapMap feature, multiplayer sits as one of Doom’s core focuses. In fact, Stratton assured us that fans who invest in Doom just to frag their friends online will get their money’s worth from the multiplayer component.

While we spent as much time dying as we did delivering death during our brief-but-breathless match, we’re already looking forward to spending another six minutes in hell. Doom drops like a skull-demolishing demon fist in Spring 2016.