Rip and Tear, Until it is Done.
DOOM Eternal drops you, the Slayer, onto a more familiar planet this time; Earth. No longer will you fight through a Martian colony, but rather a Hell-soaked Earth that is being swallowed by the merciless demons of Hell. The title kicks off with a bang, introducing you to your first adversaries (The Hell Priests) a few moments after you launch.
Now, I finished my playthrough on the Ultra-Violence difficulty, which is the second to hardest. I’m not all too good at DOOM games, but I wanted to feel the victory at the finish line for this title. DOOM Eternal challenged my skill, but mostly my sanity. I can’t even begin to describe how many times I got detonated and eviscerated. DOOM has always had a way of breaking the weak-willed gamers, inspiring many rage quits over the decades of its existence. I held my ground and ripped through the hordes of demons, and loved every damn moment of it.
Something DOOM Eternal did so right was the exploration on each level. Between your casual murdering of the Hell-legions, you may find yourself solving an environmental puzzle to obtain armor, an extra life, a challenge room or even some upgrades for your character. Let's not forget that exploring also allows you to find Cheat Codes throughout the levels. I personally never activated any of them, but I think it would be a fun playthrough next time to turn a few on.
This is my Boomstick
Fans of the series will feel right at home with the weapons systems favored by the Slayer. While new weapons are introduced, ‘ole faithful, the Super Shotgun is really all you ever needed, isn’t it? I know you love it; We all do. Every interaction in DE feels fluid and intuitive. From punching through walls, opening doors, exploding zombies, reloading, and even gaining upgrades. The flow of the visceral nature is never broken. Every action is violent and precise, every projectile fired holds significant impact and is shown through numerous forms of feedback.
The smoke leaves the barrel of your shotgun. The shell is ejected from the port. The enemy is ripped open or splattered against the wall. Every moment of gameplay is demonstrated to the player through unmatched feedback. Though I cannot say the same about the damage dealt to the player. I never felt like I was being struck, I only felt like I was striking back. Perhaps this is an intentional feature, but I never felt that I was “on the ropes”. I went from Slayin’ to dyin’, no in-between emotions.
Gorgeous Gorey Glory
DOOM Eternal has a wonderful art style. It's a perfect split between bright and recognizable assets and the bleak, evil setting of a hellscape Earth. I can see how old school fans of the series will find the “colorfulness” as a bummer, but it truly does fit this title so well. Every object in the game is distinct and recognizable. You can clearly distinguish between an area of treachery and an area of semi-safety.
The environments are incredible to observe, as well as the level design. Something DE does that many games attempt is a cyclical nature to areas of a level, without feeling like you’re literally going in circles. Many levels will have you “spiral” a certain zone, unlocking doors or defeating large swaths of demons. I enjoyed the level design more than any other aspect of this title, so kudos developers.
The environment also gives you a fair amount of “Environmental Storytelling”. This is probably a phrase you have heard before, especially if you follow the development of high-quality Role-Playing games. For those who are not familiar, this is the ability for the developers and designers to convey incidents and events within the game world without ever telling you, but showing you.
Early in DOOM Eternal, you will come across colossal human mechanized war machines. They will lay defeated, usually with a gigantic demon nearby. These moments made me stop my murdering and observe the world around me. Buildings are smashed through, the terrain is crawling with the growths of Hell and here lies a human war-mech, giant laser type spear still in hand. These are moments where I truly fall in love with titles. Let my imagination take the wheel for a moment.
The Not So Great..
My only real gripe with DOOM Eternal is the multiplayer. I have always been a sucker for the visceral multiplayer of DOOM and Quake. To me, it is simply the most competitive multiplayer to exist. Obviously, this is an opinion, and I miss it dearly in DOOM Eternal. The standard style of multiplayer has been replaced with a 2v1 game mode, where 1 player is the Slayer, the other 2 take the bodies of a demon of choice. You then will battle it out in an arena setting, the demons reinforced by loads of the regular demon baddies.
I didn’t find this to be very enjoyable. I would have liked to see this as an additional game mode for multiplayer, not the ONLY game mode. Perhaps we will see the return of my oh so loved deathmatch style gameplay. While this new game mode is an interesting idea, it just doesn’t feel like something I would play for a long time. I do however enjoy that within the game there is a “battlepass”-esque mechanic, allowing players to earn XP in the singleplayer and multiplayer to unlock numerous cosmetic items throughout their time with the title.
The Verdict: Excellent
DOOM Eternal offers a visceral, fast-paced, recognizable but fresh take on the DOOM franchise. For those who expect any form of the classic multiplayer, at the time of writing this is not present. However, prepare yourself for an absolutely enjoyable single player experience as you blast your way through your destiny. Rip and tear, until it is done.