You might have expected to find a Doom review here this morning, what with that whole ‘Game actually being out’ thing going on. Unfortunately, I’m not currently in a position to provide one to you. You see, Bethesda has decided hold back review copies of the game until today, in the interests of giving Doom’s online-enabled components a proper critical viewing.
I don’t currently think there’s any reason to panic. Yes, certain publishers have, in the past, held back certain games in order to avoid negative reviews before launch, but this generation has also seen some tweaks to the culture of games reviewing. Increasingly, the general impossibility of properly reviewing games in live, online conditions has become a prevalent problem. Between the rise of persistent, long-term, MMO-style shooters such as Destiny and The Division, and the simple likes of half of Halo’s Master Chief Collection just not working, it’s becoming obvious that online play – the real thing, not the kind simulated through pre-release LAN parties at publisher-run events – needs to be handled properly.
And online play looks to be a big part of Doom. From the no-regrets all-nighters I’ve spent with the Alpha and Beta tests, the multiplayer component could end up being a big deal. And of course, there’s SnapMap, Id’s FPS spin on LittleBigPlanet-style content creation. It’s a big component of the game, and already looks like a mighty powerful creative suite. Bethesda certainly seems to consider it big enough to brand it the third pillar of Doom. From what I’ve seen of it, I reckon it should be taken into account too.
Of course, none of this means that all reviews of Doom are necessarily going to do the job properly. If the likes of Destiny an The Division have shown us anything, it’s that some people are always going to jump the gun and rush a verdict, under the impression that being first is where the big traffic wins come from. At GR+, we’ve never been like that. We took a couple of weeks to review both of the above games, and we’re going to continue with that sort of methodology – as a matter of voluntary site policy – whenever we deem it necessary.
As such, I’m happy to take my time with Doom, and spend as long as required going deep under the hood to find out exactly how good (or not) its various constituent elements are. I can’t currently give you an exact date for the review – I’ll have to gauge how long it’s going to take on the fly – but I will be updating impressions on the site as I go.
Meet you back here some time next week?