I praised the previous DOOM. I almost said “the original DOOM“, and while I did enjoy that one, I’m referring to the Bethesda and id Software reboot. So when I mention DOOM, I’m meaning the DOOM that released in 2016, unless I’m not.
Naturally, when the announcement for DOOM Eternal came, I was giddy with excitement. I waffled a few times about buying it, but I realized I had the opportunity to actually play something awesome on my PC, and I was sold (and subsequently, DOOM Eternal was sold to me… funny how that works). However, while I do love my new DOOM, it still doesn’t seem to quite meet my expectations set in the previous game.
I can’t believe I’m saying this… I really like the lore and story presented in DOOM Eternal. To be perfectly honest, one of the things I loved about the previous game, was the complete apathy the DOOM Marine towards anything but killing demons. That apathy carried over into the rest of the of the campaign, and while I had the opportunity to read up on the lore in the menus, the game I played mostly consisted of being directed towards the next thing to blow up or kill. I just wanted to play DOOM to slay demons; DOOM Marine and I were of the same mind, and it was good.
In DOOM Eternal, I was consistently bombarded with lore and monologues from Hell Priests and my AI companion, and it was just so boring at first because I had no idea what the hell was going on. It sucked, because I love storylines and lore, but I didn’t play DOOM to learn about the lore of the reboot. What I loved about the first in this new series of games (because you know they’re going to keep making them) is that while the background and story was present, you weren’t forced to consume it.
“But Shelby!” you might be pondering. “If you don’t like the story, you could just ignore it!” You are right, me who is having a hypothetical conversation with himself in order to make a point. I could just ignore the story, and I basically did. I still don’t know why the DOOM Marine has an orbital palace complete with a demon torture chamber, and various high-powered weapons that are locked up and inaccessible to him for some reason. I do understand the purpose of the Sentinel Batteries (even though I don’t get why there are ghost knights locked up in the space castle), but the Ballista is just there until I met some arbitrary goal in the campaign? Why couldn’t I just have it right away?
Well, I do know why… It’s because reasons. At least, I’m sure the developers didn’t want you to have a ridiculously powerful weapon right away. But why put things in plain sight in my own base if you aren’t going to let me use them?
Basically, the DOOM Marine space mansion functions as the hub for you to start new missions or repeat them, test yourself in fights against various demons, and allow you to view the various collectibles in the game. It’s basically a fancy menu. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary to include, but it’s kinda cool to say the least, and it’s fun to see the DOOM Marine’s quarters. The Sentinel Batteries are used as a way to spread out some of the things you can unlock as you play through the game, like additional cosmetic armor options, and extra upgrades for your armor and arsenal.
About halfway through the campaign however, I started to really get interested. At that point, you stop having names thrown at you, and the story actually begin to not only make sense, but also drew me in. It’s just a shame that it took so long for them to hook me because I was rapidly approaching the point of stopping my playthrough. However, once I got to the point where you’re sent to back to Mars, it all started to click with me. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that it’s exceedingly cool to get some backstory on the DOOM Marine.
Plus, you get a ton of big guns to play with… not to mention that you get to shoot a planet.
I mean, I guess you can shoot Earth if you want to in DOOM Eternal, but it isn’t that satisfying when it just leaves small bullet holes or scorch marks. I’m talking about really shooting a planet. Trust me, it’s awesome.
Rip & Tear
If there’s one thing that DOOM Eternal does extremely well, staying in line with the previous entry, it’s the gameplay. It’s still the high-octane, gore-fest that I remember DOOM always being. Even though I really suck at the game, it’s still intense fun. I’ve had to take it only a few hours at a time, because despite it being a blast to play, I still find myself getting a little worked up. Maybe not slamming my keyboard against the desk kinda worked up, but I definitely rage-quitted a few times.
I do enjoy that it doesn’t feel like you get the usual drip-feed of weapons and abilities like before, as by the time you make it just about half-way through the game, you’re already using just about everything in the game to be as destructive as possible. There’s no weak-ass pistol you start with because you begin with a shotgun, and it’s all gravy from there on out. Early on, I did find myself at a significant disadvantage, as I was constantly running out of ammunition, and basically scrambling to find anything to survive the fight. However, as I spent my skill points to upgrade the Praetor Suit, I found that it became easier to stay stocked up for battle.
There are multiple upgrades to collect as well, with Praetor Tokens you steal from the undead knights, Runes absorb the energy from, Sentinel Crystals you smash to pieces to extract the upgrades from, and weapon mods you find being held by random bots in each level (though sadly, DOOM Marine is less punchy this time around).
Speaking of weapons a little more, you’re going to need to learn the ins and outs of each of your guns, because some enemies are particularly weak versus certain weapons. For instance, the Cacodemons and Arachnotron are vulnerable specifically to the Shotgun’s Sticky Bomb upgrade, making almost any other attack pretty much pointless. Similarly, the Mancubus doesn’t care for having his (her?) gun arms shot off by the Heavy Cannon’s Precision Bolt, so again, not much point using anything else. Take it from me, you’re better off switching things up rather than sticking with one gun until you run out of ammo.
The structure of each level follows similar beats as the previous DOOM, with a few more larger open areas, and a little bit of backtracking to obtain collectibles. Since the much of the game takes place on Earth essentially, along with some previously un-visited dimensions, you’ll see a number of varied environments. A select few are rather icky, like the Super Gore Nest. Come to think of it, these demonspawn remind me a lot of the Zerg from Starcraft.
Rage & Pain
DOOM Eternal is no joke. The demons invading Earth and the other realms of space-time are unforgiving to say the least; especially Marauders, of whom you’ll thankfully only run into on rare occasions. Good lord are the Marauders a royal pain; you get a split-second window to attack them before they either cleave you in twain with their giant double-bearded axe, or spawn one of their glowing canine companions that will ruthlessly bite your face off.
I will outright admit that after a particularly difficult fight, I lowered the difficulty. DOOM Eternal is hard. It’s a combination of enemies doing a ton of damage, and easily overwhelming the player. Staying on the move is a must; this is no cover shooter. I found myself running out of ammunition in some of the bigger fights early on, but thankfully the chainsaw comes to the rescue. By sawing demons into bits, you can recover ammunition, armor, and health. Even though it comes in rather small amounts, anything helps.
Further along, you’ll come across The Crucible, which is basically the DOOM Marine’s laser sword. Both the sword and the chainsaw require you to collect “charges” to be able to use them. While it’s easier to get your hands on gas cans for the chainsaw, the number of charges used by the chainsaw depends on the difficulty of the enemy, so larger enemies can use up more than one charge. The sword on the other hand doesn’t care about the size of your foe, but the refills are much more difficult to find. I suppose it’s a trade-off.
Then, there’s the BFG-9000…
Each of these “super” weapons have limited uses in comparison to the rest of the arsenal, but they’re god-sends in the bigger fights. As a bit of a bone thrown to the player, the developers offer tips when the first encounter with an enemy crops up, letting you know what works and doesn’t work against bad guys. I mean, sure… You can probably kill everything with one weapon, but it’s best to diversify; like with stock options, except much deadlier.
Confirmed: DOOM Marine Is Dangerous
I didn’t completely enjoy DOOM Eternal at first. It’s probably due to the fact that the story didn’t meld with my consciousness at first. There’s only so many times that I could have a character start spouting a monologue at me for which I had almost zero context other than I was supposed to kill that character for some reason, before I found myself almost skipping cutscenes so I could get to the next killing field. Thankfully, I stuck with it, because the gameplay is fantastic, even if it’s punishing at times, and the story really started to grow on me like the Super Gore Nest grew on Earth, though without demons involved (I hope at least).
While I don’t think that this new DOOM lives up to what I expected after playing the other not-the-first-but-sorta-the-first-since-it’s-a-reboot DOOM, I think if you enjoyed 2016’s DOOM, then DOOM Eternal is right up your alley.
Have you played DOOM Eternal yet? Did you enjoy the previous DOOM? Is this something you’re looking forward to trying?