It can't be said that DOOM (2016) didn't take a a lot of players by surprise. Nobody expected the reboot to to be so successful, and it has gone on to breathe new life into a historic franchise.
With DOOM Eternal, it seems that id Software wanted to go one step further. The studio appears to be going all in on what makes DOOM great, but with a modern twist.
- Genre: FPS
- Release Date: March 20, 2020
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Google Stadia, to be release on Switch later in 2020
- Developer: id Software
- Publisher: Bethesda
- Price: $59.99 on Amazon
- Played on: PC
We're All Doomed
Our adventure takes place six months after the end of DOOM (2016). The Cyberdemons wiped out mankind and Doomguy, seemingly in an effort to save his rabbit companion (probably), has taken over an ancient orbital stronghold and has found an updated version of the VEGA AI.
While 60% of the world's population have already perished, it's up to us to repel the invading force led by the three infernal priests and Khan Maykr, an angelic figure who seems to command the infernal forces.
While Doomguy cuts a path through countless demons on his journey, we are able to learn more about his origins and the DOOM universe itself. We're not really sure if this was completely necessary, especially since you'll need a good knowledge of the series' lore to understand everything, but fortunately it never gets in the way of the gameplay.
DOOM Eternal uses this backstory to embellish upon the myth of the game's protagonist, a sort of modern day juggernaut, all the while offering justification for his superhuman abilities.
This is a fun take on the origin story which fits in nicely with the spirit of the series, and the plot acts as a pretext for the gameplay — which, at times, manages to be both comical and impressive at the same time.
DOOM Eternal is a game that prioritises fluidity and readability across all platforms. You shouldn't expect anything extraordinary on max graphics, even on PC, because that just isn't what id has set out to do with this release.
In Eternal, horror takes a backseat to action at first glance, but Doom Eternal clearly embraces its roots, with its menus that just scream "video game", and pays equal attention to each genre as you progress through the story.
Rip & Tear
If you've played any other game in the series, you'll know what to expect from DOOM Eternal. This release takes the core gameplay from the franchise and adds to it, offering even more intense gameplay that delivers an immensely satisfying experience. It's numerous zones serve as temporary arenas where you scamper around fighting hordes of teleporting demons.
This is a great point to mention the heavy arsenal of weapons available to our protagonist. Knowing when to use each weapon will serve you well, as will mastering your abilities, which include flamethrowers, grenades, and ice bombs. You can also pull off "Glory Kills" on weakened demons, allowing you to execute them with your bare hands in a variety of excruciating manners.
These short cutscenes reward the player with a bit of healing and armour if you set the target on fire. Ammo is a hot commodity, so you'll have to take regular detours to take down enemies that are known for hording bullets.
Enemies are livelier and greater in number than in the previous instalment, and you'll find yourself quickly backed into a corner right from the off. Although DOOM Eternal feels very arcadey and players have a lot of tools and mechanics acting in their favour, this game is not easy at all.
You need to constantly move, all the while dodging the arena's traps. And with the addition of the dash and blood punch abilities, you'll quickly realise that these abilities require a lot of skill to be used perfectly.
Lesser skilled players will be relieved at the introduction of additional lives at checkpoints, but players seeking a challenge can always test themselves against what might be best described as a constant abattoir.
And if Glory Kills weren't enough for you, your enemies will show damage as you're shooting them. You can see how their flesh is disfigured by your shots and how their bones poke through their skin as you deal more and more damage. This new addition is equal parts grotesque and satisfying.
You'll come up against a good variety of enemy in Eternal, with each monster having its unique strengths and weaknesses which can be exploited by the right weapon or mod. This feels immensely satisfying and is a great incentive to really learn what works against each foe.
For instance, unloading an entire clip into a Cacodemon may not be enough to kill it, but throwing a grenade into tits mouth will certainly do the trick and will give you an instant glory kill to boot.
The exploration and secrets that characterised previous instalments has been scaled back for this release and has been replaced by platforming elements. You'll have to navigate your way through climbing walls, horizontal bars, and gigantic gaps that can only be leapt across with a double dash.
This didn't sound particularly appealing at first and even gave us traumatic flashbacks to the some of the first person platforming sections in the original Half-Life. However, this is nowhere near as bad in reality.
On the other hand, this serves to offer up unlimited options during combat, as elite players have the chance to show off with some mid-air 360 no scopes.
The campaign is roughly around the same length as DOOM (2016), clocking in at around 10-20 hours for a first playthrough. There aren't a lot of missions on offer, but they are long and intense enough to make up for it. Some enemies and bosses will make life difficult for you, even on normal, and will certainly ruin your day on higher difficulties.
It's clear that id Software have developed DOOM Eternal with replayability in mind, as there are a bunch of cheat codes hidden within the game that allow you to replay missions with additional abilities or restrictions in certain cases.
The biggest potential addition to Eternal is the new Master level system, which allows you to replay missions with an updated list of enemies. This mode pits you against the deadliest enemies in the game right from the off. This is a novel way of making things harder without increasing the level of difficulty.
However, getting your hands on these levels is another thing entirely, as one is an exclusive pre-order bonus and another is only available to players who launched the game within the first month of release.
This isn't just a serious mark against the game, but it's just another addition to Bethesda's long list of deplorable business practices.
See You in Hell
Unfortunately, given that the multiplayer servers for DOOM Eternal were not up before its launch, we weren't actually able to try out the game's Battle Mode during our playthrough. We were however able to take part in some gameplay demonstrations, which really felt quite enjoyable, but we're not able to definitively summarise Eternal's multiplayer experience.
This new gamemode replaces the one from DOOM (2016) and allows players to take part in asymmetrical 2v1s in a variety of lineups. One pits a player controlling the overpowered Doomguy against 2 player-controlled demon elites. The solo player must kill both demons at the same time, otherwise they will respawn after a 12 second timer. The player piloting the game's protagonist has nearly their entire arsenal and abilities from the campaign at their disposal, which does its bit in offsetting the player disadvantage.
The demons are no joke either, as players are able to control improved versions of the Revenant, Pain Elemental, Mancubus just to name a few. Players piloting these monsters can access special abilities such as being able to temporarily prevent the Slayer from picking up loot, or summoning demons as backup. Their objective is simple: kill the Doom Slayer a single time.
Our first impressions are that balance might be an issue initially and it might take a few weeks for everyone to become acclimatised. Then, and only then, will it be possible to really see DOOM Eternal's multiplayer mode for what it is.
DOOM Eternal jumpstarts its gameplay to offer up spectacularly combat of an unparalleled intensity. Players are immediately thrown into the action and will have to run, jump, shoot, chainsaw, and demolish demons in all sorts of ways to live up to the moniker of Doom Slayer.
This is no easy task, but it offers up a satisfying experience for all kinds of players. The solo campaign provides fans with exactly what they're after, and even if it is a bit on the short side, Master Levels offer a welcome change of scene.
Even though we weren't able to experience the multiplayer mode, it has the potential to be an excellent way to cut up your friends.
Just like DOOM (2016), DOOM Eternal is a continuation of the core gameplay you can expect from the series. After years in the doldrums, there's never been a better time to be a DOOM fan.
Full of secrets, the new DOOM allows you to have fun redoing missions by cheating. By collecting all the floppy floppy disks with the codes, you can also install the classic DOOM game on the old computer in the Fortress of Destruction and play it in theory.