It’s taken two decades (originally, the release was in 2019), but DOOM Eternal is finally out.
It’s a tad ironic that the game was preceded by its art book (which was leaked online last month) showing off the game’s art and lore. That ‘release’, unplanned as it was, actually made me even more excited for DOOM Eternal, as it showed off tons of stuff that looked damn cool.
Well…damn cool art aside, how is DOOM Eternal the game?
Read on and find out.
What is DOOM Eternal?
DOOM Eternal is the sequel to DOOM (2016). It’s an FPS by id Software, published by Bethesda Softworks. It’s released on the Xbox One (reviewed), PC and PS4, with a potential Nintendo Switch version in the future.
DOOM Eternal continues the story from Quake Champions (which itself takes place after the events of DOOM), with the Doomslayer returning to Earth to find it in the midst of a demon invasion.
The plot’s a bit disjointed and jarring to be honest. I had to go online and read up to find that this isn’t a direct plot sequel to DOOM (despite this being a sequel to that game).
After all, the ending of that game had the Doomslayer being sent away, with DOOM Eternal picking up with the Doomslayer being in control of the Fortress of DOOM and about to start his assault against the demons on Earth. Part One’s ending really doesn’t make sense with Part Two’s opening act.
There’s no explanation on what happened in between DOOM and DOOM Eternal. I felt like I was watching a movie that’s in its second act instead of being eased in, despite having played (and finished) the original DOOM.
As annoying as that is, that’s just secondary to the main point of DOOM; its relentless action. That’s in full effect and then some!
This is DOOM but cranked up to 11! The gameplay cycle of kill, finisher, kill from DOOM has been tweaked to include even more possibilities; you can now set enemies on fire and kill them to gain armor, on top of finishers to gain health and chainsaw kills to gain ammo.
You’re going to ditch all notions of conservation to really enjoy DOOM. I kept hording chainsaw fuel, solely depending on environmental ammo pickups. The more I played, the more I realized that was wrong.
You’re supposed to use up everything you have, then replenish it by killing enemies in specific ways to refill on what you’re lacking. I learned this lesson in DOOM but DOOM Eternal makes it even more important.
It’s when you give in and unleash your arsenal that DOOM Eternal becomes a zen-like experience. You’re able to hurtle from one enemy to the other, shooting, chainsawing, burning everything in between. Ammo counts are just numbers to be ignored, a refill is just a chainsaw kill away.
Speaking of which, kills are even more visceral this time around. Enemies now have a deteriorating character model; they show visible damage as they’re hurt. This is awesome for determining when to use the big guns (after all, why waste them on dying fodder?) and also gives a unique visual element to the game.
There’s nothing more satisfying than watching chunks of flesh (sometimes right down to the bone) fly off from demons you’re blasting as you close in for a viciously violent (yet supremely satisfying) glory kill. It’s a visual tour de force.
The game’s certainly a visual treat in other aspects too.
DOOM Eternal’s stages range from the deliciously ruined Earth cities, to the pulsating, squirming mass that is Hell, to the corporate, industrial areas of UAC buildings and to the gloriously gothic/ medieval architecture of the Night Sentinels.
A one trick pony DOOM Eternal isn’t.
DOOM Eternal also introduces more traversal options. The Doomslayer can climb up ledges and double jump (like in DOOM) but he can now also do a dash (twice in a row), climb up certain walls or swing from exposed pipes.
The new movement options (particularly the dash), makes the game even speedier, as you’re now moving around the battlefield at lighting speed. On the Xbox One X, the console handles all that with aplomb; I noticed no slowdown at all, even when there were tons of enemies and stuff happening onscreen.
There’s also an Extra Life function, where you can resurrect at full health where you died if you’ve extra lives. These can be found floating around in levels, and are carried over from stage to stage. It really helps with the tough fights but DOOM Eternal has you covered too if you’re not too skilled.
Die too much at any point and the game will reward you with enhanced armor for that part, which allows you to absorb more damage than usual. It’s a useful feature that’s most welcome, especially when you’re unable to progress.
Reading is fun!
Weirdly, this is a DOOM that heavily relies on reading. id Software has generously peppered the levels with tons of lore, though you have to actively seek them out to unlock them.
It’s a smart move to do it this way; it rewards those who go off to explore, while not forcing the lore down the throats of gamers who just want to rip and tear through demons.
I still recommended taking the time to find the lore stuff (you can unlock a skill that makes unlockables appear on the map), as they add spice to the action; particularly to the background of the Doomslayer, his conflict with the demons and his background with the Sentinels.
Weirdly, there’s no Deathmatch mode in DOOM Eternal. There’s just Battlemode which pits 2 players (who choose demons) vs the Doomslayer (another player).
The demons have all the moves they do in the campaign, but with lesser health. The Doomslayer is pretty much the same as in the campaign. The goal is for one team to decimate the other though the Doomslayer needs to kill both demons quickly to win. Let one demon survive and he’ll resurrect the other, making it a tougher battle.
It’s a damn fun multiplayer mode, especially if you’re skilled. If you’re not, playing as the demons are fun too, especially since you have a ton of different attacks (and demon choices).
I just wish there were more multiplayer modes cause fun as Battlemode is, it does get old quick.
The bottom line.
There’s really no reason not to get DOOM Eternal, especially if you love the original. DOOM Eternal is a viciously entertaining sequel, one that is uncomprimising in its vision. It’s certainly not for everybody (those who hated DOOM won’t find anything to love her) but it’s a great addition to the series and one that shouldn’t be missed.
DOOM Eternal’s awesome visuals, with its slavish dedication to its brand of violence drives much of the game’s artistic direction. Luckily, that is handled by an engine more than capable of realizing the game’s vision, as there’s no noticeable slowdown at all on the Xbox One X, at 4K.
On top of that, the metal soundtrack hammers the point home. It’s a headbanging extraganza that’ll have you nodding your head in rhythm as you massacre everything on-screen with the Doomslayer.
The gameplay additions to the sequel only amp up the action already present, with all of them being welcome, well thought out implements…including the overpowered sword.
Multiplayer is a bit of a letdown, simply because there’s not much to play. I figure Bethesda’s going to add more modes down the road, so this might really get fun later on.
DOOM Eternal is DOOM amped up to 11. Get it!
- Awesome visuals.
- Battlemode is fun.
- Fast and furious action.
- Story is disjointed.
- Multiplayer fun but needs more modes.