Rip and tear until it’s done
Oh boy, it’s been a long 4 years since we last saw a Doom game, and I’ve gotta say I’ve been waiting for this moment since I saw the announcement trailer back in 2018, and after 24 hours with Doom Eternal, I honestly feel that it’s time for all other first-person shooters to pack up and go home because this is it. We can’t do any better than this.
Game Name: Doom Eternal
Platform(s): PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch (TBA)
Developer(s): id Software
Release Date: March 20, 2020
Price: £50 / $59.99 USD
If you’re unfamiliar with Doom at this point, first off, where have you been for the past 20 or so years? But if you don’t know, Doom is considered the original first-person shooter that recently went through an excellent reboot in 2016, after Doom 3 all but killed the series. Doom Eternal is a direct continuation of Doom 2016, but there is enough space between the two titles that you don’t have to play Doom 2016 to enjoy the follow-up.
In the current era of games, you can’t help but notice things are getting a little complicated these days, with more and more focus being taken off the fun shooting aspect a more being put on everything else. Doom 2016 went a different route and took everything back to basics in spectacular fashion; Doom Eternal is more of that. I can imagine the meeting where they decided to greenlight Eternal, “What if we made Doom 2016…but better.”
Doom Eternal takes the foundation established in Doom 2016 and expands upon it in satisfying and bloody glorious ways. This means some of the issues I had with Doom 2016, such as once you got the Super Shotgun, there was no reason to use any of the other weapons. While you had access to hand grenades, they were pretty much useless. Gameplay that had no real depth to the combat, which made each encounter lose its punch as you made your way through the surface of Mars and Hell.
Doom Eternal has expanded by giving you a shoulder-mounted grenade launcher, which can fire one of two types of grenades, the standard Frag Grenade and the ice grenade, which allows you to control the flow of battle more effectively. In addition to the new grenade launcher functionality, the launcher on your shoulder also has a flame thrower function aptly called the Flame Belch. This causes enemies affected by it to drop armour pickups, which adds a little more tactical depth to combat. In Doom (2016), the only way to recover health and armour other than world pickups was to use the Gory kill system, but this just devolved into gunfights where you jump in, do damage, Gory kill and then rinse and repeat. In Doom Eternal, you’ll find yourself subconsciously switching up your tactics to what best fits the situation.
In addition to your equipment playing a role in how you engage the demons of hell, Doom Eternal has also overhauled the way weapons work. I mentioned earlier in Doom (2016) that once you had the Super Shotgun, there was no reason to use anything other than the BFG when it was appropriate. Doom Eternal has improved upon this by giving weapons separate roles on the battlefield that are effective against the enemies’ specific weaknesses. For example, the plasma rifle can overload shields and cause them to explode, while the heavy rifle’s precision mod can shoot off weak spots on certain enemies. Not only are all weapons viable now, they downright necessary to ensure that you survive.
Doom Eternal is also noticeably harder than its predecessor due to the increase in awareness of the enemy AI. The gameplay is also faster by a country mile, so it’s harder to keep aware of what’s going on until you are used to the newfound speed in play, occasionally you will be killed from what seems like nowhere, but that’s just part of the learning curve. This does make picking up those extra lives lying around is a good investment.
I can’t say much about Doom’s look eternal other than it’s better than Doom 2016’s focus on the dark brownish colours. In Eternal, you will find yourself hoping from planet to planet with each planet having a wide range of colours which can be pleasing. I’m not sure how you’ll have time to enjoy it, though, with the scores of enemies on you. The demons have also received a massive design overhaul, with each one having its own grotesque characteristics. A particularly nice touch is when you shoot more resistant demons, you can see their flesh fall off, revealing the meat underneath. It’s a tiny detail that adds to the feel of how unstoppable these demons are, and by extension, it just shows the player how much of an unstoppable force of nature the Doom Guy is. Speaking of Doom Guy, he has had a small design change as well, with the most notable difference being the slight change in colour and the lack of bicep protection. I like to imagine he just flexed them off.
It’s been about 3 hours since I put Doom Eternal down, and I can still hear the sound of shotgun blasts in my ears. The sound design is impeccable, with each weapon having a meaty sound, and each weapon’s impact has a real punch behind it, including the plasma rifle, which previously sounded like a squirt gun. The demons all have their own distinctive sounds and cries, and the sound of the slayer tearing them apart is all visceral and brilliant. One aspect of the sound design that steals the show is the music; legendary composer Mick Gordon was brought back on to do the soundtrack for Eternal, and it’s amazing. When it comes to the type of music, you should be slaying demons. Nothing comes to mind like good old heavy metal and Gordon doesn’t disappoint. I especially love ‘The Only Thing They Fear Is You,’ which can be heard in most combat encounters in Eternal. If there was any song that personified the sound of Doom, it’s that one.
I’m only going to briefly mention the multiplayer because my time with it hasn’t been extensive, so that I won’t claim any authority on the subject. However, if there’s one thing I can say with absolute certainty, it is far better than Doom 2016’s multiplayer mode. Which, to me, failed to be interesting or fun. There have been some claims that the multiplayer of Eternal is like chess, but I don’t personally believe that it’s that tactical, but there is an aspect of thought that goes into it.
The way the multiplayer works is you have one player in the shoes of the Doom Slayer with full access to all of his abilities, weapons, and mods vs. two other players in the shoes of powerful demons that can summon mobs. To win, you must kill the opposing team. Right now, I would say that the demons have an advantage over the Doom Slayer because not only can they respawn if the other demon is still alive. They also can attack the Doom Slayer from multiple angles while also having mobs that can distract and kill the Doom Slayer without the player-controlled demons even needing to intervene. That said, it’s not impossible to win as the Slayer, but it does require more skill on the Slayer player’s part to win, but when you do, it’s brilliant.
Here are a few quick tips for player’s who are playing as the Slayer in multiplayer. First of all, take out the flying demon first; quite often, you’ll focus on the demon on the ground chasing you down but keep in mind that the ground enemies have precision weapons, so as long as you’re always on the move, you’ll find it easy to avoid them. On the other hand, the flyers have AOE weapons that will punish you if you don’t take them out. The second tip is don’t forget each demon’s weakness, flying demons are more susceptible to the Balista, and demons such as the Revenant are weak to precision shots to their weapons. Utilizing these weaknesses can ensure that you take down the player demons more efficiently.
I want to mention that I have compared Doom Eternal to 2016 extensively and give it to you straight Eternal is better than 2016, that doesn’t mean that 2016 was bad. 2016 was phenomenal, and Eternal is just the natural progression of that style. Doom Eternal is just a fantastic game that I honestly see going down in history as its predecessors have. Well, except for several spin-offs and another game in the series that we won’t mention.
Rip and tear until it’s done in what is by far the best 1st person shooter out right now. id Software took all the good bits from Doom 2016 and expanded on them in the most glorious way possible. A must-play shooter of this generation.
- Brilliant Gameplay
- Massivley Replayable
- Best Soundtrack of 2020 so far
- Excellent Story Mode
- Slightly Unbalanced Multiplayer
- Random Difficulty Spikes
- Sporadic Server Disconnect Issues
- Doom Eternal