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How the new Doom patch dramatically improves previously flawed ports

What should have been a beautiful piece of retro fan service didn’t quite work out. Last year, fresh ports of the original Doom trilogy arrived across a range of devices and while Panic Button’s Doom 3 port hit the target, Nerve’s conversions of the original Doom and its sequel left a lot to be desired. Incorrect lighting, broken music, stretched aspect ratios and other issues impacted what should have been a joyous celebration of a genuine gaming phenomenon. However, it’s all changed now: while not quite perfect, I can highly recommend these revised ports and in fact, this is one of the most significant game patches I’ve looked at during my time at Digital Foundry.

To begin, it’s worth pointing out that while the new update contains a wealth of new additions and fixes, not every feature is brand new – the game’s first patch already managed to correct a selection of the more egregious issues. The incorrect lighting levels in the original release were fixed months ago in the 1.03 update, the mandatory Bethesda.net login requirement was removed and the speed and quality of the audio was also improved. Patch 1.03 basically delivered the game we should have experienced at launch and to be fair, Bethesda could have left things along at the point. However, the decision was taken to further refine it – and this is where things get interesting.

A crucial addition is support for additional WAD content packs. In its current state, both Doom and Doom 2 receive the WADs created for Final Doom while the original Doom also receives John Romero’s Sigil with Doom 2 benefitting from Nerve’s own No Rest for the Living. This is a huge bonus feature as these additional WADs are all of very high quality, bringing a lot of extra content to the game for no additional cost. According to the patch notes, the team is also curating additional WADs which will become available in due course. While the PC original has no restrictions on what WADs you can run, it’s great to see extra content arriving for the console platforms.

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