The 2016 reboot of Doom was quite a welcome change of pace in a gaming scene where most FPS games started focusing on realism or pseudo-realism, placing an accent on realistic movement and firearm handling.
In stark contrast to such games, Doom cared nothing for realism. It was fast, brutal, and unapologetic in its graphic depiction of gratuitous violence against demonic hordes.
A diverse arsenal of weapons, fast movement, double jumping, and g(l)ory kills are all part of what makes Doom 2016 such a standout game.
So, are there any games like it?
Well, apart from Doom Eternal, Doom is a pretty unique experience. But, it is heavily influenced by old-school FPS games from the 90s and the early 2000s, so there are quite a few similar games out there, new and old, that you may not even have heard about.
Without further ado, here’s our selection of the best games similar to Doom!
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Release date: December 10, 1993
Developer: id Software
Well, you probably knew this one was going to be included on the list, so we might as well get it out of the way – the original Doom from 1993!
Seeing as Doom, along with Wolfenstein 3D, was among the first titles to define the FPS genre in the early 90s, you can expect a visually dated and somewhat clunky, yet remarkably engaging game that is still enjoyable in 2021.
From a technical standpoint, Doom was quite a marvel back in the day. While its low-resolution textures and enemy sprites look very dated today, it’s fairly easy to appreciate them for their nostalgic retro aesthetic.
The game features a selection of weapons and enemies that you’re going to be familiar with if you’ve played Doom 2016, though understandably, there isn’t that much variety in either category – after all, this is a 1993 game.
Doom II (which is more like a standalone expansion than a sequel) adds an extra weapon and some more enemy types, so it’s definitely worth playing too. However, we feel that the first game ultimately has better-designed levels that rely less on gimmicks and artificial difficulty.
But speaking of levels, keep in mind that you’re not limited only to the maps designed by Doom’s developers, as new levels and mods are being developed for Doom and Doom II even in 2021!
Moreover, if you’re interested in playing Doom or Doom II in 2021, we advise you to download a good Doom source port for free, as it’s bound to work better and provide a more enjoyable experience than the original game running in DOSBox.
On a final note, we should mention that you might also like Doom 3. However, that game became rather infamous among the fans due to shifting to a slower-paced, more horror-oriented approach that is very different from both the original Doom and from the 2016 reboot.
Release date: October 18, 2005
Developer: Raven Software
The Quake franchise was created in 1996, soon after Doom, and it was intended as a sort of spiritual successor to Doom. And sure enough, the similarities were readily apparent since the first game, though the series has experienced some major shifts over the years, both from a plot and from a gameplay standpoint.
A total of six Quake games have been developed over the years, though the one we’ll be focusing on here is Quake 4, a 2005 title, which is also the last single-player focused Quake game to be released so far.
It is a fair bit slower than the 2016 Doom, but the weapons arsenal is very familiar, and so are the rustic alien environments that characterize its levels. However, Quake 4 is a 100% sci-fi game, replacing demons with the biomechanical Strogg, who are less mystical but just as grotesque and ferocious.
Of course, if you like Quake 4, you should also try out the original Quake and Quake II. The first game is more similar to Doom, as its aesthetic is steeped in the occult, and it is only with Quake II that Quake got its own distinct sci-fi look.
Apart from those three, the rest of the Quake franchise (Quake III: Arena, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and Quake Champions) are all multiplayer-focused and lack a single-player campaign.
If you want to give Arena a try, it is available as “Quake Live” on Steam. Quake Wars, however, is no longer playable as of January 2020. Still, it was a decent class and objective-based shooter with vehicles and asymmetrical teams, more akin to Battlefield than to the classic Quake multiplayer.
As for Quake Champions, it is the most recent release in the series, and it is a more modern take on the Quake multiplayer experience, complete with different “champions” who all have different abilities that help define their playstyle.
In any case, we feel that Quake 4 is most likely to appeal to fans of Doom 2016, but the first two games might also be worth trying out if you also like the original Doom and could appreciate the retro aesthetic.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Release date: May 20, 2014
As mentioned before, Wolfenstein 3D and Doom were the main two games to define and popularize the FPS genre, and the Wolfenstein franchise has also evolved over the years.
When it comes to which of the Wolfenstein games are most similar to Doom 2016, we’d have to go with Wolfenstein: The New Order, though its expansion and sequel (Old Blood and The New Colossus) are also a must-play if you end up liking The New Order.
In contrast to Doom 2016, The New Order is more story-driven, focusing on the post-WW2 era in an alternate reality where Germany had won the Second World War, so the main enemies are Nazi soldiers and various mechanical constructs that accompany them, rather than demons or biomechanical aliens.
The shooting is fast-paced, and there’s plenty of gore, though we feel it’s not entirely on the level of Doom 2016.
Apart from those three, you might also like the classic Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Moreover, the 2009 game, simply titled “Wolfenstein,” and the sequel to The New Colossus, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, might also be worth trying, though they aren’t entirely on the same level.
Release date: November 18, 2010
Developer: id Software
Rage is yet another creation of the studio that gave us Doom initially. Still, it is quite a change from the company’s earlier titles, as Rage features a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-esque setting that really stands out compared to the sci-fi and occult themes that were dominant in id’s earlier titles such as Doom, Wolfenstein, and Quake.
Rage is primarily an FPS game, and while the combat isn’t as fast as Doom and places a greater accent on the use of cover, as well as on ammo and supply management, it is still engaging and highly satisfying.
On top of that, Rage adds vehicular combat to the mix, and it is an open-world game, for better or for worse.
All in all, Rage definitely feels like an id Software game, though the open-world approach, the aesthetic, and the RPG elements do make it feel more like Borderlands than Doom.
A sequel has been released in 2019, too, so if you like the first Rage, you should probably give Rage 2 a go as well.
Release date: November 16, 2004
When talking about classic FPS games, we can’t avoid mentioning Half-Life 2. This 2004 title was one of the best games Valve ever made (as well as one of the best games in history), as it featured all the main elements that made old-school FPS game special while also introducing new innovations that refined the existing formula, which is the key reason why it has the status of a timeless classic.
On the surface, Half-Life 2 plays a lot like Doom in that it features an arsenal of weapons and places a high emphasis on movement, but it was also famous for how it used the Gravity Gun to weaponize the Source engine’s physics.
With its smooth storytelling, even smoother combat, creative level design, and graphics that look good even in 2021, Half-Life 2 is simply a one-of-a-kind experience.
But as with the previous entries on the list, the Half-Life series is comprised of many more games than just Half-Life. You can check out the complete list here.
But in short, the episodic expansions for Half-Life 2 (Episodes One and Two) are a must. If you decide to give the original Half-Life a go (either the original GoldSrc or the newer Source version), then its two expansions (Opposing Force and Blue Shift) would also likely appeal to you.
Serious Sam: The First Encounter
Release date: March 21, 2001
Serious Sam: The First Encounter is a game more similar to the original Doom than to Doom 2016, and it is known for its large arenas and overwhelming swarms of enemies that can be dispatched with a wide selection of firearms, all the while the levels boast a range of different themes, something that helps levels stand out and helps prevent the game from going stale after a time.
Many Serious Sam games have been released over the years, including an array of spin-off titles. However, the most important main series releases are:
- Serious Sam: The First Encounter
- Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
- Serious Sam 2
- Serious Sam 3: BFE
- Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass (to be released)
Naturally, the franchise has evolved over the years, although the fundamentals have ultimately remained the same. In any case, it’s one of those classic games that won’t be for everyone but is definitely worth trying out.
Release date: April 12, 2004
Developer: People Can Fly
Next, we have Painkiller, a 2004 game that was obviously inspired by Doom, Quake, and Serious Sam, as it combines very Doom and Quake-esque aesthetics and themes with the level design philosophy of Serious Sam, arming the player with a wide variety of weapons and pitting them against large enemy hordes in fairly large and open levels.
Again, much like Serious Sam, Painkiller’s levels showcase a variety of different locales that help keep the game fresh as it progresses. Painkiller has also received a total of five expansions over the years, though the game’s original developers made only the first one.
You can see more details on each of the expansions here, but needless to say, there are dozens of hours of content to go through if you decide to give Painkiller a go.
Release date: September 26, 2013
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
The 2013 Shadow Warrior has a lot in common with the 2016 Doom. First of all, they are both modern reboots of classic ‘90s shooters, and secondly, they are both filled to the brim with gory fast-paced demon slaughter.
Shadow Warrior, however, is defined by a more comedic tone, although it also tells a serious story that is simple yet effective in the context of the game. Moreover, Shadow Warrior features an east Asian aesthetic that works really well, and this is reflected in the level and the enemy design.
From a gameplay standpoint, the weapons present in Shadow Warrior are nothing too original, though they are all very satisfying when put to use. Most notably, this includes the Nobitsura Kage katana that can dynamically dismember enemies both in melee and at range.
Shadow Warrior has received a sequel in 2016 titled Shadow Warrior 2, which improves upon the foundation set by its predecessor in many ways. Mainly, it features more open levels and more extensive RPG elements, though the latter won’t really interest those who liked the first game mainly for its straightforward ripping and tearing.
Release date: September 13, 2011
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Made by the same people behind the Shadow Warrior reboot, Hard Reset is another shooter following that classic ‘90s approach when it comes to level design and gameplay mechanics.
Drenched in a retro cyberpunk aesthetic, the environments of Hard Reset look quite good, if a bit bland and devoid of human presence, as all of the enemies encountered in the game are robots and cyborgs.
The player has only two weapons at their disposal – an assault rifle and a plasma rifle – but both of them have multiple firing modes, thus technically providing the player with about ten different guns.
Overall, the combat is fairly satisfying, though crackling electricity and exploding metal aren’t quite as satisfying of a payoff as the bloody deaths of Shadow Warrior’s and Doom’s fleshier enemies are.
Ultimately, the story and the boss fights leave some things to be desired, but in the end, Hard Reset is still worth giving a go.
Release date: March 22, 2011
This is probably a weird game to see on this list, but while Crysis 2 has a lot in common with modern military shooters, we feel that its level design and fast-paced action also make it similar to shooters that take a more old-school approach like Doom 2016.
While the original Crysis had more of a “high-tech commando” approach, emphasizing stealth, use of cover, and featuring vast and open levels, Crysis 2 usually puts the player in the midst of the action and utilizes a more linear level design that also makes for more tense combat encounters.
The signature nanosuit is quite versatile, enabling great mobility but also providing the player with a lot of resilience and melee stopping power. Granted, stealth and cover still need to be utilized in most sections, but overall, we feel that Crysis 2 might be just the thing if you’re looking for fast-paced close-quarters combat.
Space Hulk: Deathwing
Release date: December 14, 2016
Developer: Streum On Studio
Perhaps another game that might feel a bit out of place on this list is Space Hulk: Deathwing. Set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the game puts the player in the shoes of an elite Space Marine utilizing heavy Terminator armor as they advance through a derelict space hulk, purging all the Tyranid Genestealers along the way.
Now, Space Hulk: Deathwing isn’t a game that emphasizes fast movement, seeing as the player is essentially a walking tank in this one, it is simply bursting with gratuitous carnage and features a selection of recognizable WH40K weapons that are bound to impress both the fans of this universe and those who aren’t really familiar with it.
Truth be told, Deathwing isn’t a groundbreaking game, and it has received average reviews upon release. It’s nothing spectacular from a technical standpoint, and the single-player can get repetitive, but the developers also did some fixing and rebalancing with the 2018 Enhanced Edition.
So, all in all, we feel this might be an interesting game to try out, though, at the end of the day, it feels more like a Space Marine simulator than a proper game that would be able to stand on its own two legs outside of WH40K.
Release date: Summer 2020
Developer: Arsi “Hakita” Patala
Ultrakill is currently in Early Access, and it was created by a single developer, which makes it all the more impressive. The game fully embraces the retro aesthetic and places a heavy emphasis on player mobility, so much so that we felt the need to put the word “heavy” in bold italics.
Naturally, the game doesn’t look like much from a visual standpoint, but it is the gameplay that makes it stand out, as is often the case with indie games. Take the aforementioned mobility, combine it with some punchy guns, a Devil May Cry-like combo rating system, competent level design, and tense boss fights, and you end up with a very addictive game.
There are only three weapons in the game, although they all have different firing modes, and the game still feels very dynamic even with what seems like a somewhat limited arsenal. Moreover, it is fairly difficult and can be quite unforgiving, but we’ll refrain from making any “Dark Souls of” jokes.
All in all, Ultrakill is a very competently put-together game that places player skill above all else, so if it sounds like your cup of tea, go ahead and support the developer! You can get the game on the official site (linked above) by paying whatever amount you wish.
Release date: 2020
Developer: Saibot Studios
Hellbound is an upcoming single-player FPS game mostly inspired by classic shooters such as Doom and Quake, and the influence is evident and apparent from the trailers and all the screenshots.
That said, it’s obvious that Hellbound follows the same philosophy and design as other old-school shooters, prioritizing movement, situational awareness, and presenting the player with a diverse arsenal of weapons to dismember demonic enemies with.
Combine that with the game’s premise and aesthetic, and it is easily one of the most “Doom” games apart from Doom itself, though it remains to be seen how the final product shapes up.
At the moment, a free demo, Hellbound: Survival Mode, is available on Steam, and it has received very positive reviews from players thus far, so we are hopeful that the final game will be just as good.
And that would be our selection of the best games similar to Doom, but of course, there are many more games out there that might deserve a spot on this list.
We revisit this article now and then to make sure noteworthy additions are added, so make sure to check back again soon!