Hell on Earth, hell in DOOM. Talk about viral advertising, right? I probably shouldn’t joke about this, but there is also nothing wrong with some healthy (no pun intended) humor in our everyday lives. You know the usual; wash your hands, practice social distancing and stay safe. And you know, play something while at it. We’ve been preparing for this our whole lives, at least when it comes to being isolated. But speaking of playing, do I have one good game suggestion for you or what! DOOM Eternal is finally out (well for me, thanks to the press copy but not for you till Friday) and it’s absolutely perfect. Yeah, I’m not beating around the bush, the game is a perfect 10, I’ll just drop this right now. Now sit back and I will explain everything in great detail how and why 10.
With previous DOOM ending on a horrible cliffhanger (which can be forgiven on an account of being a hellishly good game), this one picks up on the plot instantly. Like a weekly episode of your favorite TV show. The forces of hell are still spreading destruction on Earth and trying to conquer it all and it’s only in the hands of the DOOM Slayer to stop it once and for all. This time game story is easier to follow, it gives us more background on the DOOM Slayer and expands on the overall lore. The novelty in DOOM Eternal is the inclusion of a hub. You get your so-called Fortress of DOOM (fitting name), the main hub for taking on missions, replaying previous ones for collectibles and other stuff, as well as practicing your gunning skills on the enemies deep below the fortress in a makeshift prison. But let’s go one step at a time.
If you’ve played the previous DOOM, you should know that this one is also always-on-the-move, take-no-prisoners, rip-n-tear-through-everything shooter. Now you have some handy new moves and gadgets to help you stay alive and rip apart the hordes of demons. There is a shoulder-mounted flame belch for damaging demons (but incredibly hard to kill them with) and then they drop armor shard in return for killing them, a freeze grenade to stop some demons in place while you focus on the more dangerous ones and lastly, more parkour shenanigans since our slayer can now grab onto pipes and teleport himself to enemies with a patented shotgun hook. That last part is as crazy as it sounds but also incredibly fun. Another thing that’s amped up in DOOM Eternal is the enemies. Sure, you might think, it is to be expected from a sequel, but not like this. Not like this…..
Since I am but a simple gaming journalist, I decided to pick the easiest difficulty for my review. And everything went well for the first level or two. After that, it became obvious that playing on the lowest difficulty has no effect in the long run. If anything, enemies on the higher difficulties are only more aggressive with heavy attacks but everything else stays the same. And I mean everything. Your damage to them, their damage to you, speed, etc…In the end, I realized that nothing will help me. I actually had to git gud. Flame belch demons to get armor, chainsaw them for ammo and glory kill for health. After a while, I managed to stand my own ground against a small army of demons, zipping from one spot to another, tearing through them, evading them and staying alive – while steadily lowering their count. And this is where the beauty of DOOM Eternal gameplay lies; you actually feel like a hero because you earn it over the course of the game with your skills. Not because the game is gonna go easy on you and shower you with health and ammo on every corner. You have to fight for it. Earn it.
Same engine, same things to expect, right? Well yes but actually no (see how up to date I am with the current memes). What’s the use of a good looking game if the locations are all bland and uninspiring? Good thing that’s not the case here. From the angelic Taras Nabad to the gothic Nekrovol and the snowy hell of Cultist Base, you’ll be astounded with the visuals as well as the level design. Some fan-favorite enemies from the franchise are making their return and they’ve also received new looks and attacks. Weapon models are improved as well and sometimes just standing in the quiet landscape near the erupting lava and pitfalls will fill you with awe. That is until some pesky imp starts to scratch you and you realize it’s time to move on and rip ‘n’ tear.
Weapons still attain the same level of loud and malice but that’s not why we’re all here, right? I’ll just answer it now: yes! Mick Gordon’s soundtrack is as amazing as it was in previous DOOM and as someone said to me recently “I can’t believe that the new Gordon’s album comes with a free game”.Amusing but true. There is nothing as catchy and blood pumping as BFG Division this time around, but his music is sure to keep you at the edge while you’re being cornered by two Pinkies and one Mancubus. Or perhaps it is them that are cornered?
One bonus point for DOOM Eternal goes to the game length. Without delving too much into getting every collectible and consider that I replayed some levels maybe 2-3 times, I did manage to snoop around every corner but my main focus was to follow the story. Regardless, after taking down the final boss I realized I clocked just a bit over 20 hours of pure story gameplay. And yet, what’s commendable is not the game length but how in those 20 hours it doesn’t get tiring even once, it doesn’t drag or slows down. DOOM Eternal is high octane adrenaline filled rampage all the way to the very depths of Hell. Buy, don’t think. Stay inside, stay safe and make this month of March a bit more exciting.
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.