Id Software is back with the next installment of DOOM, and it’s exactly what you’d expect! A rip-and-tearing good time not for the faint-hearted.
DOOM Eternal will be released on the 20th of March but I was lucky enough to get my hands on it early so I can give you a heads up on what to expect in all the gory details. As with all my reviews, I will do my best to avoid any major spoilers so everyone can enjoy the game at their own pace. Right, let’s get into it.
From the minute you start there is no mistaking this game is the successor to DOOM 2016, the maps, the sounds, the movement all feel very familiar, only this time everything is turned to MAX.
You return to Earth as the DOOM Slayer, equipped with an advanced Praetor Suit only to find it’s suffered a demonic invasion, scared out of his mind, Slayer quickly retreats… I’m kidding, of course, Slayer takes it upon himself to single-handedly take the fight to the demons. It’s not rocket science people… it’s DOOOM!
For the uninitiated, DOOM was and continues to be a fast-paced first-person shooter where the protagonist DOOM Slayer, an ex-marine badass who has literally been to hell and back, tears shreds off an armada of invading demons. Armed with an arsenal of overpowered weapons (including a chainsaw) and up against seemingly impossible odds it’s your duty to stomp, slash, stab, tear, shoot and dismember your way to victory and save the human race.
DOOM Slayer has some additional movement mechanics in DOOM Eternal which are very welcome, including, dashing, wall climbing and of course the grapple which was teased in the trailer. The overall theme of these changes is to help keep you moving around the environment as fast as possible. Put it this way if you’re standing still you’re doing it wrong.
One thing DOOM Eternal does very well is enticing you to keep your momentum going. Zombies, aka meat bots, strategically spawn around the arena when you are in the midst of battle and performing a Glory Kill on them sees them spew out ammo and health. You’re rewarded in a similar fashion, depending on your loadout, for using different items in your arsenal. Using either Blood Punch, Chainsaw, Flame Belch, Frag Granade or Ice Boom will cause enemies to erupt health, shields or ammo. All these combined make the game truly brutal experience.
Something that I felt might divide the DOOM community is the addition of “skill base traversal puzzles” as game director Hugo Martin put it. Personally, I’m not entirely sold on them, being forced to slow down and plan a route or work out from what platforms you need to dash between to advance seems to bring the whole game to a bit of a screeching halt. Don’t get me wrong, the puzzles are well implemented and don’t necessarily feel out of place, it just seems to slow everything down and in a game that’s built from the ground up to be fast-paced didn’t bode well with me. I play DOOM for the blood guts and explosions, not the parkour.
As with DOOM 16 Weapon mods are back, with the exception of the Super Shotgun, BFG, and Crucible, every weapon has two unlockable Mods that alter the weapons functionality and the way you use it. Mods can be unlocked by locating Mod Bots during the game. On top of this mods can also be upgraded, bigger explosions faster reloads all can be unlocked using Weapon Points.
Your Suit has its own upgrade tab and offers benefits such as faster weapon switching and frag improvements among others. Suit upgrades are purchased with Praetor Suit Tokens which are also hidden in the levels.
Finally, you also have Runes, which, enhance, augment, and in some cases, grant entirely new abilities. A total of 3 Runes can be equipped at once allowing for heaps of combinations that you can tailor to your playstyle.
A total of 10 weapons find their way into Doom Eternal including the Doomblade, an arm-mounted demon slicing blade strong enough to sever demonic flesh and bone like butter. The Combat Shotgun is the first weapon you get your little slayer fingers on and when you outfit it with the Sticky Bomb mod you can cause some serious demonic carnage. The Heavy Cannon, Plasma Rifle and Rocket Launcher all get notable mentions for doing what the do best… cause destruction. But out of all the blood, guts and chaos my favorite is and always will be the iconic BFG. Nothing like vaporizing a group of demons in an instant my mother always told me…. I think.
Doom Eternal uses the new id Tech 7 engine which among other things has full HDR support, improved particle system and support for maps twice the size of that in id Tech 6. While the game looks and feels very similar to DOOM 16, The id Tech 7 engine brings a crisp experience as your rip and tear your way through the game. The environments range from corridor shoot outs to dashing, swinging and double-jumping your way across huge chasms and open terrain. DOOM Eternal comes with all the gore and dismemberment you’ve come to know and love.
One of the most gripping and intense soundtracks to ever grace a video game Mick Gordon’s choir of heavy metal vocalists hit you with a wall of sound the second you start the game and continue throughout rising and falling with the pace of the game. If your into that sort of thing do yourself a favour and check out the soundtrack, you won’t be disappointed, seriously there is a room full of heavy metal vocalists just going at it, its a site to behold. The weapon noises and snarls of enemy demons combine with environmental sounds to create organized chaos and layout a fleshed-out engrossing soundscape.
If you liked DOOM 2016, you’re going to love DOOM Eternal!
- GAMEPLAY - 89%89%
- GRAPHICS - 80%80%
- AUDIO - 91%91%
DOOM Eternal delivers exactly what you would expect from the franchise, and that’s fast-paced gory action. The new abilities make it easy to keep your momentum and really make you feel like the overpowered demon slayer you are.
While I’m still not sold on the puzzles, DOOM Eternal does a terrific job of using and reusing map space that rewards exploration.
For me, the upgrade system was more involved than it needed to be and I found in the earlier stages I needed to remind myself to use all my weapon mods and abilities to make progression easier. This does become more natural over time and the game encourages you to use each mod in a way that doesn’t feel forced.
I highly recommend this to any long term DOOM fan, it’s new mechanics and faster pace make for one hell of a game.
If you’re new to the series then this is a cracking place to start, while you might miss out on some of the storyline elements from previous titles I guarantee this thrashing addition will be enough to get you hooked.