DOOM Eternal Gaming Review: A Blood-Splattered Rollercoaster To Hell
I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but 2016’s DOOM wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea. While I enjoyed the game play, I never felt anything more than mild enjoyment of the game as a whole. DOOM Eternal is a completely different story. DOOM Eternal is a thrill ride all the way through and I absolutely love it! Now, why exactly is that? Simple. Eternal is a better game in every single way than its 2016 predecessor.
My main issue with 2016’s DOOM was the lack of a focused story. Why is Doomguy here? Where did he come from? I can’t even name a single character from 2016’s story. I felt disconnected from what I was making the Doomslayer do to these poor demons, turning the game into an overlong horde mode to me. DOOM Eternal returns with a much greater focus on the story, cutscenes and all. This change does a much better job pacing the game, so you’re not exhausted from fighting through hordes of demons for 12 hours with no breaks from that form of game play. The cutscenes in this are well-done too. The suit you’re wearing even appears, which is especially a joy if you’re wearing the Doomicorn outfit.
Now the story itself isn’t Shakespearean, but it does do a decent enough job of establishing a goal and even showing us Doomguy’s origins. Your mission is to hunt down all of the Hell Priests that have brought the underworld to Earth. When that’s done, you have to stop the Khan Maykr from sacrificing humanity. With 60% of the population already gone, I can see why Doomguy is so angry.
Doomguy is great in this game, by the way. Him and his Fortress of Doom where he keeps his vinyls, toys, and guitars do a great job of making the Doomslayer more personable and likable than before.
Speaking of helping the pacing, there are all-new platforming sections to get from area to area and they’re done incredibly well. The faster movement is definitely apparent as soon as you start the game, but it shines in this department as well. There are floating platforms, climbable walls, dash refills for long distances, and bars to swing from and I didn’t have a single issue with these sections. A huge part of that is due to the level design and variety of environments in Eternal. A part of my problem with 2016’s DOOM was that a lot of the environments looked and played very similarly, but that issue is definitely remedied here. There’s a wide range of colors, architecture, and each level is chock full of secrets and upgrades if you’re willing to do a bit of exploring to find them.
These levels are huge, by the way, like ‘there-are-multiple-fast-travel-spots-on-each-level’ huge. If you’re into exploring and being a completionist, you should enjoy the levels and exploration in this game. They’re honestly a breath of fresh air and a great reprieve from the fast-paced, extremely intense combat sections that occupy majority of the game.
If you enjoyed 2016’s DOOM, you’ll definitely enjoy the gunplay of 2020’s DOOM Eternal. Take that with this warning, though: it is much faster, much more intense, and much more explosive. The gameplay of DOOM Eternal feels like someone dropped 50 Mentos into a single bottle of coke and it’s your job to stop it from spraying or you die. That mixture of panic, fear, and adrenaline is DOOM personified. Every combat encounter is a great test of endurance and skill. There were multiple moments where I thought the game had me, but through sheer willpower and plasma, I snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
You get some new additions to your loadout this time around. With ammo scarcer than in 2016, DOOM Eternal offers you multiple new ways to dispatch demons at no cost, such as the new chainsaw having a rechargeable stock. This gives you the option of tearing through grunts for ammo when you’re low. There’s also a rechargeable flamethrower that makes demons drop armor if you need it. There’s an ice bomb, there’s new mods for your guns, there’s a ton of different upgrades, there’s a blood punch that literally obliterates all low level enemies and does huge damage on higher level ones. You just have so many viable options for combat and it reminds me a bit of last year’s Devil May Cry 5 in its “everything but the kitchen sink” combat philosophy.
With how the game works, it feels like it very much encourages you to experiment and regularly use all of your weapons and abilities. Especially with how scarce the ammo is. A good portion of the game is somewhat like resource management, you’re constantly using the chainsaw to refill on ammo, or using the flamethrower to refill on armor, just keep that in mind when you want to approach this game.
I also wanted to add how much I love how arcade-y this game feels. It reminds me of how creative games used to be before we got all serious in the HD era. There are even cheat codes you can find in the levels for when you go back to replay them and you even keep the progress you make with them. There’s just so much personality and it’s definitely appreciated in a genre that hasn’t always tried to achieve that.
I believe the only thing I really took issue with was the game’s multiplayer mode. There’s only one game mode, which seems odd, especially with how much the single-player experience offers.
The multiplayer mode is an asymmetrical deathmatch where 2 player-controlled demons and a horde of AI-controlled demons take on a single player-controlled Doomslayer. I did not enjoy this game mode at all. I played it about 3 or 4 times and it just wasn’t clicking for me. I much preferred the traditional modes they had in 2016’s DOOM like deathmatches. Why isn’t that here? There could even be some kind of horde mode for people to team up as Doomslayers and fight off hordes of demons. I’m assuming they’ll add more in the future, but what they have right now is a single, unfun game mode that I’m not going to touch again.
DOOM Eternal is an absolute joy ride that I could not put down. The gameplay is easily up there with some of the best to come from a first-person shooter. I 100% recommend this game at full price, the single-player experience is bursting with content and replayability, even if the multiplayer is lacking. I wasn’t even initially going to pick it up, so my expectations were low, but man, this game delivered.
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