- - 9.5/109.5/10
Doom Eternal rips and tears any fears of the sophomore slump with an incredible new chapter.
Developer –id Software
Publisher – Bethesda Game Studios
Release Date – March 20th, 2020
Platforms – PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Sometimes the word sequel can carry a lot of weight. Sometimes it doesn’t carry enough. When Doom released to a slew of awards and raves, it was obvious it had to be followed up.
How though? Doom had the great gift of surprise. Not many were expecting it to come out of nowhere and deliver one of the most pure, exhilarating FPS experiences in years.
Doom Eternal embraces that familiarity and refines what all of us expected to a razor sharp edge. It’s faster and the combat is a whirlwind of metal, decision making, acrobatics and precision.
The platforming sequences are far more expansive. Almost as much time is spent platforming and exploring Doom Eternal’s much larger levels as you do shooting demons in them.
The story line grows in scope. Huge lore and major revelations are scattered through the games lengthy runtime.
Even the upgrade systems and secrets are expanded upon in a big way with extreme amounts of things to find, upgrades to collect and much more customization for the Doom Slayer throughout.
Special attention must be paid to the spectacular map, as it helps navigating these massive levels a breeze. It’s filled with useful information, and it is always great at showcasing where and what secrets you might have missed along the way.
On the surface it seems as if Doom Eternal just went with bigger, better, and more, but that’d be selling it short.
The combat refinements are keenly felt, as several layers were added to really make players learn it’s nuances.
While the combat may seem similar to a spectator, Eternal is not really a combat engine designed for run and gun, fly by the edge of your seat reactions without a second thought.
Doom Eternal isn’t too dissimilar from Quake 2. It’s not just about simple shooting, but heavy resource management at the same time. The Doom slayer has an expanded arsenal that includes a flamethrower, grappling hook, and a grenade launcher alongside his trusty chainsaw.
In almost every combat scenario, especially on the harder difficulties, these tools are NOT optional.
Ammo, armor and health are in short supply this time around, and at first the shift in combat focus was a bit jarring. Usually sequels revel in the power fantasy, and expand the combat to such a degree that challenge can be hard to come by. Even more rare, is when a game makes you rethink your entire approach compared to it’s predecessor.
Doom Eternal will quickly punish you for playing this like Doom. It only takes a couple of kills to run low on ammo, so using the chainsaw effectively is key to keeping momentum. Armor is almost non-existent, the new flamethrower will provide armor for anybody it marks.
Health will always be low, and sometimes making the decision to go for the glory kill might be what leads to a quick load in a hurry.
At first this change is odd, and early game I was growing frustrated at some encounters. After taking a little break and really looking at it, the combat puzzle id Software was speaking of so much really came into focus.
Memorization, resource management and skill all work together to create a cohesive ballad of precision, timing and execution.
By the end of the game, players across all skill levels regardless of difficulty will be a much better slayer, and the combat really clicks and feels rhythmic as you progress.
The visuals and sound also help bring all of this together in a big way. Mick Gordon is one of gaming’s best composers, and his work in Eternal is sublime. Heavy metal choirs, crunching guitars and soaring melodies punctuate every moment of this game.
On a technical level, Doom Eternal is hopefully a sign of whats to come with the next generation. Regardless of platform, a silky smooth frame-rate despite the jaw dropping visuals will be waiting. On PC, this is easily one of the most optimized games I’ve ever played.
The visual design is also nuts. Each new level expands and the sheer variety of environments are a treat. Hell, Earth, and some other places I dare not mention all come to life like a heavy metal cover from the 80’s.
The only downside to the overall package is the new multiplayer mode, Battlemode. Two players team up against one Slayer and honestly when it works it’s no more than a distraction. I’d actually love to see them try snapmap in the future again.
Doom Eternal is not just more Doom. It’s a tougher, more sophisticated take on the franchise and wisely avoids the number 2.
Doom Eternal takes some risks, but they pay off in spectacular fashion.