Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: March 20, 2020
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Doom Eternal is one of the best action first-person shooters since Doom (2016). Originally slated for November 22, 2019, the game was delayed to March 20, 2020 to ensure “the best experience possible.” Now that the game is released, fans can be assured that Doom Eternal is definitely the Doom they’ve been looking for since 2016. Players will fight, rip, and tear through enemies with the most intense combat an FPS veteran can experience while enjoying the setting of a Hellified Earth.
After the Doomslayer fought his way out of Hell and destroyed the Argent Energy Towers on Mars, Hell made its way towards Earth. The demons have devoured 60% of the planet and are increasing at an alarming rate. As the slayer attempts to fight back, it turns out even Humanity’s creators have turned against them. Unswayed by this, Doomguy will do the only thing he knows best to save humanity: rip and tear through every demon until they’re gone.
Doom Eternal does a great job with making a great story while getting straight to the point that the Doomslayer needs to destroy all of the demons. Players are originally dropped straight into the game with zero context and plenty of demons to kill. When the story moves on in-between the levels, however, players are greeted with all of the details they need in concise cutscenes, which are easy to follow.
Additionally, players can find various lore pages to further explain the overall plot of Doom. Also, Doom Eternal isn’t afraid to put in bits of humor within the cutscenes, as small pieces of dialogue and character reactions referencing the Doomguy will make anybody smile.
The gameplay is not only about cutting and gutting, it’s also about being fast, strategic, and smart. In Doom (2016), the Doomslayer could only double jump to reach high places and dodge demons mid-air. Doom Eternal kicks the maneuverability up a notch by giving the slayer a full-fledged dodge, which can be used twice before it needs to recharge. With this new ability, Doomguy is able to dodge attacks in an instant, cross gaps, and solve puzzles in the air.
The game doesn’t get easier with the dash. Instead, it adds some new depth to the enemies that makes combat more challenging. On higher difficulties, demons will do their best to shoot with precision, take damage, and run at the player to slap them. Since the ammo at the start of the game is criminally sparse until he upgrades it, Doomguy has to use everything in his arsenal to obliterate the hellspawn.
In-between running, gunning, and shooting the demon horde, true demon slayers will have to match the demon’s weaknesses with their weapons. The Cacodemon is one of the tankiest enemies in the game and appears in groups. They do have a fatal weakness in which they will eat a grenade whole, dealing massive damage to them. While a normal grenade throw will do the trick, a nifty underbarrel grenade launcher from the shotgun works as well. If using the right weapon, an enemy can be disabled, such as destroying a Revenant’s shoulder cannons to turn him into a regular skeleton.
Players will inevitably be hit by the massive amount of enemies they need to kill. Doing Glory Kills, Doom’s version of finishing moves, can brutally finish off a demon and have them spray out health. Glory Kills are also used to charge up Blood Punch, which sends a powerful shockwave of power, instantly destroying enemies in front of the Doomguy. The trusty chainsaw is used to obliterate a grunt and have them explode in a rainbow of ammo. Bigger enemies can be killed with the chainsaw as well, as long as the Slayer keeps the fuel filled. If armor is needed, then the new Flame Belchis is used to set a group of enemies aflame; these enemies will drop armor while taking damage.
The levels serve as great environments in which to annihilate monsters. They are both lengthy and contain many secrets and a few puzzles to keep the gameplay going. The only problem is the levels can be up to an hour long, if the player is looking for all of the secrets. Additionally, some of the gameplay gimmicks in certain areas don’t mesh well with the fast-paced gameplay. Certain floors will prevent Doomguy from jumping and dashing while he fights the demons nearby. Fighting in these parts plays horribly as the player walks slowly while being swarmed by 3 Arachnotrons.
Battlemode is Doom Eternal’s new and only multiplayer mode. It pits one Doomslayer against two player-controlled demons in best-out-of-five round matches.
The Doomslayer has all of his perks and weapons from the campaign, which gives him a good start. The demons in the hands of good teamwork can also have a good chance to defeat the slayer due to their base abilities and ability to summon allies. The goal is to use the summoned demons to slow and widdle down the Doomguy’s health until the demon team manages to kill him.
When the round ends, both the demon team and the Doomguy get to choose one helpful perk, which range from buffing minions, getting lifesteal, and summoning a stronger demon. The perks continue in usefulness until the final round.
The demon selection has all of the cool enemies from the campaign, including the Archvile, Marauder, the iconic Revenant, and Pain Elemental. The selection between all of these demons is interesting, as a few of them have a lot added to their arsenal that makes them feel unique. The Revenant’s rockets are a blast to use in many situations and both the Archvile and Marauder are probably the most fun and powerful of the bunch.
Battlemode mostly serves as an extra way to get experience for earning badges, titles, and costumes, but it’s fun when two demons team up against a professional demon slayer.
Doom Eternal looks like Hell and that’s perfect. Everything from the environments to the gore on enemies looks visceral and malicious. Players will be amazed by the hand-crafted environments with hellish backdrops that tell the tale of a failed battle against the demons with humongous corpses off in the distance. Even with how fast the game wants players to run and dash, explorers will find themselves simply looking around at the impressive-looking levels.
Additionally, as the Doomguy shoots and bores holes through enemies, they can see destroyed pieces of flesh and bone hang off the demons as they attempt to return the favor. This works exceptionally well with the high-quality Glory Kills, which show the gore tech up close.
In Doom Eternal, no music goes best with murdering monsters than Mick Gordon’s masterfully metal soundtrack. If DOOM’s (2016) soundtrack fit the theme of a lone space marine tearing through a hellish Mars base, then Doom Eternal fits the style of a man killing legions of demons in the most metal ways possible.
Heavy guitar riffs will play while the Doomslayer dominates the battlefield and deep-voiced chants plague the atmosphere of the Hell priests’ cathedrals. These songs make the environments stand out from each other, even when no demons are present, making it easy for players to listen. Additionally, as players search for secrets, they may come across soundtracks from other ID Software titles such as the original Doom’s E1M1 to play within the Fortress of Doom while exploring. It’s a small but nice touch.
Doom Eternal is the gore-filled adventure for which fans have been waiting. There is plenty to see, from all of the Glory Kills in the campaign to watching the story of how Doomguy will save humanity unfold. The game is bloody beautiful and it’s clear the developers put their hearts and souls into it.