Doom has had us shoot demons in the face with hot lead since 1993, and the formula rarely changed since then.
Up until 2016, all previous Doom titles was the legendary shooter most of us grew up with. Doom 2016, as it is now known, wasn’t reinvented, it was ripped open, got its DNA torn out, adapted and presented with sheer unbridled rage with a Heavy Metal soundtrack to match.
As the saying now goes…
The Slayer’s Time is Now.
DOOM ETERNAL(LY) IN MY HEART
I wouldn’t go as far to call myself a lifelong fan of Doom, but I have had the love for it. Back then it was because of the retro gameplay. When Doom 2016 came around, with the Heavy Metal soundtrack of Mick Gordon, suddenly something stirred up inside that made me want to headbang to this music, but just a little so I can actually play the game. The weapons, the glory kills and the intenseness of to keep moving just to stay alive translated to one Hell of a thrill ride. (Mind the pun)
Now, we have Doom Eternal, and that thrill ride is present as ever. Still shooting demons with even hotter lead and more rage from Doom Guy aka The Doom Slayer, and he has some new toys and tricks to show off.
Keep in mind, Doom Eternal is not your typical just run and gun shooter. You can try that tactic, but it will quickly remind you by handing your ass to you while smugly laughing at you. Relying on your Chainsaw that turns monsters into Ammo Vending Machines, is no longer the only way getting out of a fight as not all enemies are now vulnerable to it, but does not make it any less effective.
You got to keep track of what you are facing, where they are, what is staggering for a quick Glory Kill and what will make sense in terms of what pick-ups to use. Making use of the environment is also now in the mix with climbable walls and monkey bars giving you the height you need to get out of a rather soon to be turned on blender.
Being quick on your feet and changing positions on the fly is still once again your best chance of survival because the monsters will follow you in an attempt to corner you. I lost count how many times I was literally on one life point away from death, so making oneself a harder target is essential.
As for the new tech, Doom Guy has a shoulder-mounted Flamethrower that doubles as a grenade launcher, which in itself presents the Ice Bomb as a new addition in case you need to “cool down” the situation. The Flamethrower makes armour shards pop off enemies like corn on a cob, and given you got the right upgrade, popping a grenade in a group of monsters on fire, will resemble something like a Piñata being cracked open with a firecracker.
Glory Kills returns, and rightfully so, with the added benefit of recharging your Blood Punch ability. This is another lifesaver, and also best used at the right time, and to give a short description of it, basically, it is Doom Guy’s Pimp Hand. It kills smaller enemies easily and pushes back larger ones enough to get out for breathing room.
Sadly, the arm-mounted blade is merely a cosmetic for Glory Kills by showing us how to get the best T-bone cut from an Imp and how to skewer a Mancubus in record time.
(Wonder what Doom Guy can do with a salad tong?)
BLOODY GOOD FUN
Doom 2016’s DNA carries over to Doom Eternal equally as good to its Glory Kills as it does to the weapons. A notable difference when shooting monsters is how you chip away at their bodies, shooting pieces of flesh right off the bones.
Not much has changed in the style of the guns, but they come with some slight variants in how they function. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The Combat Shotgun is usually the go-to weapon when things need to be sorted in an orderly fashion, and by orderly we mean blasting their faces off. The sticky bombs are back and they are rather useful when the Blue-mouth Floating Ballbag, I mean the Cacodemon when launching a spicy treat into his gaping hole to finish it off with an Eye-Popping glory kill. The Full-Auto mode works well, not going to lie, that is if you developed sudden hate for shotgun and need to dump it into the nearest group of Imps.
The Chaingun aka The Room Clearing Device does what it says on the box, clearing any room with immediate effect. This is especially true after acquiring the Turret mod, amplifying the business end of the weapon times four. The Shield mod turns you into a mini bunker of sorts, giving you some cover in a world where cover mean jack. Another point worth mentioning, the Chaingun now fires indefinitely with no need to spin up first.
Replacing the Gauss Cannon, the Ballista feels like the proper answer to dealing damage, and knocking off a fair amount of meat chunks of larger demons, turning smaller ones into mince packets. The Arbalest and Destroyer Blade both need charging up, but the difference is, Arbalest is a single bolt of energy exploding after invading the skull of the big monsters it’s intended for, and the Destroyer Blade launches a wide blade of energy reducing the job completion time in half…and the job itself.
The fan favourite, The Super Shotgun, is practically a staple in Doom, and also the most satisfying method of taking out demons. Killing them, not on dates! The only mod for this Twin Barrel Death Dealer is the Meat Hook, pulling you towards the enemy and introducing them to what a double shotgun blast to the face feels like, even though I am certain it is a very short-lived experience as the target is turned into chunky ketchup.
Last, but not least, The BFG 9000. The real name is Bio Force Gun, but as fate would have it, it was baptized with the “Big F**king Gun” title, and rightfully so as anything between you and whatever the giant ball of energy hits, is instantly churned into fresh Red Cherry mush.
(Not going to spoil that if you are yet to witness it)
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND DOOM SLAYER
The major new change up to Doom Eternal is The Fortress of Doom, a hub of sorts holding a fair chunk of upgrades behind unlockable doors that are opened with the use of Sentinel Batteries (not your average 9 Volt ones either). Upgrades include those for your weapons, your suit and general Ammo, Health and Armour. Will found them in the levels you play, with the exceptions of ruins being found in levels only.
Speaking of ruins, these are the ones to play around with that help with your general style of play. There is one that gives a short speed boost after Glory Kills, one that gives more airborne manoeuvrability and one that slows downtime after a bitch-slap making you Doom Neo giving you a chance to get the hell out of Dodge.
Doom Eternal does not have a traditional Multiplayer Mode but instead has Battle Mode, where one player takes on the role of Doom Guy and faces off against two other players as demons.
It all feels pretty balanced as The Slayer has full use of all normal abilities, including the use of jump pads and monkey bars, whereas the demons tend to be the weaker ones, has the advantage of having summoned minions and other abilities.
Being either does not put one above the other, but I will say playing as a demon is quite fun. The fast-paced nature of the model makes for fun quick rounds of gameplay and certainly comes in handy to take the tutorial before jumping, unlike me who go turned into Crème de-la Demon in the first 30 seconds.
ANY FINAL WORDS *COCKS SHOTGUN*
Doom Eternal has quite a few surprises lying in wait for you, from the hidden collectables that are mini figurines and songs from other id Software titles to just the general layout of the Fortress of Doom.
The soundtrack is now competing for the top spot of Favourite Game Soundtrack of the Current Generation, with the competition being that from Doom 2016, but I will say Doom Eternal has a song that puts me in the mood for Doom Eternal really bloody well.
The game has this amazing way of kicking you in the head for playing it like Just Another Shooter in the same way it makes you feel like a total badass when taking out a large group of monsters when playing it the way you are supposed to.
I haven’t covered much of what the story is about, but I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell you like a fair amount of it is on picked up text pieces. Don’t let this discourage you, Doom 2016 had a similar style of storytelling if it could tear us away from the fun of shooting all the demonic monsters trying to use you as a scratching post.
There seems to be this lives system in place, that at first gotten me quite suspicious, but after the first few times being brought back to life instead of just, you know, dying, I could honestly say it works as it doesn’t break the pacing of the gameplay at all, and wasting about 3 saved up lives can easily be a spent if ducking and diving like a headless chicken.
Doom Eternal had us waiting 4 years, and its save to say it has been worth it. Mick Gordon’s musical genius gave Doom its identity in the industry for Not Giving a F**k.