Doom on PC: The Way It's Meant to Be Played?

Doom on PC: The Way It's Meant to Be Played?

While we managed to spend quality time with the PS4 and Xbox One closed beta build of Doom last week, the open beta for the game this week has allowed us to take a look at the PC version of the latest instalment in this seminal first-person shooter series. Here's what you need to know.

  1. It looks sharp compared to the PS4 and Xbox One versions
    We weren't exactly pleased with id Software's decision to lock us out of the game's advanced graphic settings on the PC version, but it still looked a lot sharper than its console counterpart. We'd chalk this down to the game's anti-aliasing options. Barring this, there was very little difference between the versions. Textures appeared to take a little longer to load - be it the environments or the weapon equipped, there was a brief second or two of muddy, blurry textures that made the game briefly appear to be lower than console graphical fidelity, before the higher quality version eventually loaded. The overall experience was a decent-looking game. From blood and viscera that cluttered our vision to the hulking Revenant demon, it had cleaner visuals when we cranked up the settings available to us.

  2. Not too many options for now
    The game had graphical options for resolution, anti-aliasing, field of view, and chromatic aberration. Our test machine consisted of an i5 3470 processor (3.2Ghz), 16GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 980Ti, Asus PB279Q monitor, and a 500GB SSD on Windows 10. At 3840x2160 pixels we got around 35 to 45 frames per second, hitting a low of 29fps in its busiest sections. Dropping the resolution down to 2560x1440 pixels saw a steady 55 to 60fps, going as low as 45fps when the action got frantic. When we played it at 1920x1080 pixels we got a consistent 60fps. We felt that the game was locked to 60fps being the maximum frame rate, something that German site PC Games Hardware confirmed in its analysis of the game.

  3. It should (hopefully) look better
    It's a known fact that id's lineage is in the PC, but the last couple of games using the studio's tech, namely Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, maintained parity across platforms. It will be interesting to see how the complete release on PC shapes up. While the advanced settings are unavailable in the open beta, it appears that some of the series' more hardcore fans managed to unlock them in its closed beta. The full game promises support for frame rates above 60fps all the way upto 144fps. That's useful if you have a monitor that supports high frame rates. Other options include Directional Occlusion Quality, and usual suspects like Texture Quality, Shadow Quality, Post Process Quality, Particles Quality, and Effects Quality. All of this might mean we see a better looking game.

  4. The controls need work
    Although you can play Doom on the PC with a controller, using the keyboard and mouse is the preferred way to play. But it doesn't feel too good. There seemed to be a bit of input lag between firing a weapon and actually seeing the effect on the screen. The aiming isn't as smooth either. It lacked the sense of precision you'd expect from a first-person shooter on the PC. Granted, this is the beta and not the final game but unresponsiveness puts a dampener on the experience. Hopefully the retail release will fix this.

  5. Will you be playing it after the first two weeks?
    If you observe the last few big first-person shooters that hit the physical and digital shelves, you'll notice a trend of sorts. The multiplayer component tends to have a longer lifespan on PS4 and Xbox One, versus PC. We've seen this with several Call of Duty games, and with Star Wars: Battlefront as well. Despite being able to find and connect to a game in Doom seamlessly and have a low-latency, almost LAN-like experience, we're worried about the long-term viability of the game on PC after the single-player campaign. Sure, it's quite possibly the biggest game on the platform this year, but a lot has changed. More so when you consider that the last entry in the franchise, Doom 3, made an appearance just around the same time Call of Duty was gaining popularity.

As it stands, the open beta has us curious on what to expect when the full game hits the PC on May 13. What do you plan to play Doom on? Let us know via the comments.


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