Review | Doom Eternal
"Are you the Doomguy in real life? I sure hope not! But you can be one in the new Doom, alongside of all the neat stuff (well, one being the ultimate asshole towards demons) this title brings to the table."
by Foggy, 15-05-2020, Edited by: Jim Tepedino
2016. The year when we kicked all demons’ asses while one of the best soundtracks guided us on that mission. It was lovely. What has changed in the past 4 years and did we get the ideal Doom once more? Let’s find out!
When I say Doom, many Doom titles come to mind. This franchise is so old that many of us don’t even remember how it all started. We can meet half-way and agree it was about making life hard for our enemies in the form of the pure FPS and meat rain. Last Doom perfectly incorporated that retro feel with perfect heavy music from the one and only Mick Gordon. Personally, Doom from 2016. was and still is my favorite FPS (I don’t really play them much).
Welcome to Hell...I mean, welcome to Earth.
Doom Eternal starts with your favorite recipe – you as the Doomguy versus 3 weak demons and one shotgun. Guess what goes into what (or better who)? The first level will show you, better to say remind you, about what this game will be about. If you didn’t play the last one, don’t even worry, everything will be perfectly clear. You will make your way through carefully constructed levels while looking for secrets and all of that while breaking necks, spines or basically anything that comes to mind when you think about ways to break your enemies in half.
Story-wise, you will find yourself on the planet Earth (last encounter was on Mars) as a part of resistance against the hordes of demons which invaded the planet. This title will focus more on the story, more than any of the predecessors, which is fine, but I personally don’t like it as much. Doom was always about feeling like a badass and just moving forward until everyone and everything is dead. I guess Bethesda wanted some direction like the newer Wolfenstein titles, so Id Software developed it that way.
If I had this in my hub area, I would spend much more time here.
There will be a hub area where you mostly end up after every level. In there, you can open the portal towards new levels, unlock locked upgrades with batteries you collect on your journey, get new weapons and not much more. Depending of the difficulty, you can use cheats you find, repeat the missions and even join online matches.
Not much I can say about the story, it is simple and even though it’s longer than all the titles combined, I find it still unnecessary for this franchise. I will just say that loading times are one of the best I’ve ever witnessed in a game that shifts you to other levels and load as you get game over. Everything loads so fast you will not even think about different approach they took. Great job for this!
Unrelated, but the point stays - kill everything, even when it carries you back your weapon.
I’m such a huge fan of the music in Doom. That will get a small section in this review. For me, that is the game seller, I love metal and I love the vibe you get here and in the previous game, the one you get by combining such a heavy music with mass destruction. What is better than combining these 2 while you cut through demon meat with your chainsaw, shoveling their arms in their own mouths and stabbing them through their spines?! Not much I’d say.
The atmosphere as you explore is great. Spooky and very doom-like. As you enter some section with enemies, the real music starts. The only thing I disliked was the fact that you get just a few songs, not whole songs, but riffs and parts that circle as you fight. That made the experience somewhat less enjoyable than the last game. This has to do with the fact that Mick and Bethesda terminated their cooperation and that he apparently delivered only certain number of the songs they originally agreed upon. Even the fact that Mick never mixed the music resulted in a missing piece in this area. I loved my first playthrough, but the second and repeatable music parts got on my nerves a bit, I wanted more and got tired of same riffs after 20+h.
Overall great, but not as good as it was. Also, some fights have issues, the music never started and that made me feel angry, I need my metal man!
And the winner goes to...Rip and tear. Glory kills will make you feel like you should feel.
You will soon notice that the level design got much better here. The levels are carefully designed; the graphics are nice and everything runs perfectly fluid. All that makes it a great addition.
It all comes down to killing hordes of enemies, pressing some switches and jumping the platforms to reach new areas. You can double jump from the start, new weapons come at decent pace and you will grab on walls often. I only have one minus here and that one is when you climb the walls. When you are about to jump, the camera is very strict and you can only rotate in somewhat limited angles. Half of the time I just fell into oblivion as I had no idea what I’m looking at. For sure, it was not easy to jump and navigate in mid-air with controller. Add killing and shooting around when you do so - you will not handle it well at first. Oh yeah, there is a speed boost that you will use to reach distant areas. All in all, I liked this part of the game.
Even bigger BFG. Prepare for some jumping on this level.
One of the things that bothered me is the design of the weapons. They are simply put, ugly. I disliked the design and I wish they had done a better job.
What I loved are the modes of those weapons and the ways you can use them in fights. Almost every weapon comes with 2 upgradable mods which you can upgrade further and unlock their full potential. Whether you hold 3 or 6 grenades with your shotgun matters a lot. Some modes are better, some are not, but you will soon learn what you like the most and upgrade that. Not to worry, there is plenty of upgrade points even if you miss some.
Other upgrades focus on your ammo, health and armor bars and certain combinations of some perks, like for example more armor drops from enemies. Those are valuable.
Kill everything to unlock a weapon point, spend them on your weapons to unlock final challenge and voila!
The game introduced fire tools which will burn enemies and make them drop armor bits. This is great addition as it changes the way you fight - if you want of course. I embraced it and played offensively with carefully planned usage of this mechanic as you need to wait for a cooldown to use it again. This combined with dodge boost makes it even more dynamic and fun when it comes to the core of fighting.
You can also upgrade your runes, which will grant some perks and upgrade terrain skills such as faster swing speed, but those are not even worth it.
The downside of this RPG part is that not many things change the way you play, which makes them not so important.
Overall, the fighting is almost perfect, with many new fun ways to desecrate a demon, many ways to approach the fight and all of that happens very fast. This is by far, the best part of the game, but that should be the case! It’s what Doom is all about. I was always like 10 steps ahead, planning my every bullet and using the chainsaw every now and then to replenish what I’ve spent.
Only a few decent ones here and the rest is just not worth it.
I miss those retro levels that the last Doom had. This is completely taken out of the main game. I also don’t care about some scenes that show Doomguy from the third perspective. I’m old school and I only need first person view and mass destruction.
Playing the game again made me feel a bit bored, as not much changes. I must praise the difficulty though, playing on 2nd out of four is not easy. Take a wild guess how it goes on higher ones. You can also play the classic mode, which will end if you lose all your lives. You can collect 1-Ups to save you from dying, so this will be your main thing on higher difficulty runs.
Also, they made the challenges through levels easier and not fun, plus those hell gates where you fight arena-style are less often encountered and much easier here. This is another minus.
I loved the vinyls collectibles! Gotta collect 'em all!
There are couple of extra things you can do if you find the main content lacky, like Master Level challenges, which will test your skills on preferred difficulty across mixed levels.
Another big thing is, of course, the multiplayer mode. You can play as Slayer against 2 demon opponents in a match, or vice-versa. I find it quite boring and not worth your time, but that is just my personal preference. You will need to win 3 rounds as chosen side (you can choose 5 different demons to play with btw) and you can select an upgrade after each round.
Maybe some will find it fun, as playing with demons you hated the most can be fun. You can also spawn minions and plan your win against the Slayer. They really wanted to justify the price of the game, but I would be happier if they invested more into side-content and RPG system of the main game.
How it all starts and how it will end. Doomguy is really something.
Doom Eternal is a lengthier game (12 hours for story approximately) with much more focus on the story. That can be a plus and a minus. The story part I mean. I liked it more when it was just the Doomguy, first person view (in some scenes) and total carnage. But that is just my personal preference.
The music was better in the last game, especially when you play Eternal a couple of times. The boss fights are cool, the ways to rip apart demons are great, the variety of enemies are decent and all the time the game progresses and never gets bland when you play.
Having that in mind, I would say both this Doom and the last one is a must-have to play. I still liked the previous one a bit more, but overall, they didn’t make many mistakes. This is a great game and represents Doom very well, runs smoothly and for sure gives your ego a boost. I always want more out of the game RPG elements, plus more side-content, so I will note this a minus as well. I’m curious how the next game will turn out without Mick on the music part.