Picking up where the last game left off, Doom Eternal tasks you, as the Doom Slayer, to continue the unholy crusade against demons from hell, who have managed to expand their invasion from Mars to Earth. It’s hard not to be lured in by the loud, metal soundtrack and sheer brutality of Doom Eternal’s combat, but is this more of the same or an evolution of one of the best first-person shooters of the generation?
The game definitely leans on the foundations set out with the 2016 reboot, but adds some exciting new tweaks that’ll have longtime fans squealing with joy.
Eternal gives players the standard fare of weapons, and when we say standard weapons, we mean standard Doom weapons, i.e. super shotguns, plasma rifles, and the like. But they’ve all been enhanced with great alternate-fire modes, allowing you to shoot sticky-grenades with your shotgun or pull off a precision shot with the heavy cannon, for example. These are justified seamlessly with the need to target the tougher demons’ weak points in order to nerf them a bit before taking them on directly. You can just blast the enemies at will, but if you utilise the precision shot to take out the mounted gun on the Arachnotron (the giant demon spider-thing), for example, you give yourself a greater fighting chance when things go sideways. This added strategy really highlights the variety of Doom Eternal‘s arsenal and enemy-types, keeping you switching guns and adapting from one moment (or shot) to the next.
While the demons, guns, and slick animations are all sublime, the real star of the show here is level design. In classic Doom style, you fight your way through elaborate hallways with belching flame torches, mechanised fortresses with giant moving pistons and parts, and open-air cityscapes with crumbling skyscrapers and colossal beasts roaming in he background. The tone and immersion that id Software has managed to capture with the brilliant world design is unparalleled, and elevates Doom Eternal beyond its frantic yet excellent gameplay.
But the levels don’t just look pretty – they’ve been specially designed to act as playgrounds to supplement your demon-killing antics. Much like the arenas in Quake III or Unreal Tournament, you’ll find each area to have a unique layout, with gravity-jumps, multiple escape routes, hidden spots, and traps such as blades and fire pits which you can trigger at the right time. This attention to space adds a fantastic element of strategy during battles, requiring you to observe and think on your feet in order to utilise space to get an upper-hand on the hellish monstrosities trying to turn you into minced-meat.
Speed is also incredibly important in Doom Eternal. If you stop moving, you die. When standing or hunkering down in a corner, demons will easily overwhelm you, so the importance of being kinetic and remaining on the move is crucial to survival and gives the fights a fantastic sense of momentum. You also have a handful of traversal tricks up your sleeves to help out, including a dash/dodge move, and a your trusty double-jump to get out of trouble, which adds some agility and evasiveness to the brutal combat.
Doom Eternal does feature an enhanced multiplayer mode over its predecessor, expanding its asymmetrical 2-v-1 Demons-vs.-Slayer Battlemode, which is a fun spin on the usual deathmatch set-up. However, while it won’t set the world on fire, it is great to see id Software utilising the game’s monsters and doing something different.
If you were a fan of 2016’s Doom, you’re in luck. Doom Eternal delivers more of that slick, crisp shooting, along with upping the ante of the demonic entities trying to kill you. There is a familiarity to the formula, but the larger levels, new tricks, and attention to story will grapple-hook you in until the credits roll.
Doom Eternal is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Find the best price for Doom Eternal here.