In gaming, there are a couple of franchises that, when you hear the name, provide instant value. As time progresses, a number of franchises have created lackluster sequels, pointless spin-offs, needless changes and in some cases just desperately trying to make a buck by using the name on something. With so many titles going down this path, it’s hard to tell if the latest this or that will actually build on the game we love or fall short. DOOM initially had some struggles but it found a lot of success with the reboot and DOOM Eternal hopes to take it to the next level. Between countless amazing trailers, great impressions and more, it is looking to be one of the best games of 2020 but is it going to live up to the hype or will it fall short of greatness? Here’s our DOOM Eternal Review.
Taking place two years after the events of the 2016 reboot, things have gone to hell in quite a literal sense and the Doom Slayer is here to take back the planet. You accomplish this by going around, decreasing demonic corruption and trying to find those in charge so their reign will come to an end. But, like a lot games, it’s more of an invitation to create crazy situations, amazing set pieces and other crazy things that might not add anything to the story, certainly adds to the experience.
Speaking of experience, where DOOM Eternal tries to stand out is gameplay and it does so in an amazing way. Most of the foes are returning enemies from the years, with their own quirks, mechanics, and elements you can either be used to your advantage or disadvantage. These include things like certain weapons doing more damage against certain enemies, the ability to break weapons and more make up some of the deeper mechanics you need to think about.
Where DOOM Eternal stands out is not a concept, as much as execution. Similar to the reboot, there is a strong emphasis on a high risk, high reward gameplay style. This is different from most games, be it Wolfenstein or Call of Duty and is honestly similar to Vanquish. Everything you want, be it ammo, health, shielding and more come from using your resources to down your foes a specific way. Glory kills, the affection name for the extremely over the top finishing moves, is one of the best ways to gain health, with chainsaw kills rewarding you with plenty of ammo and some later perks expanding that to explosive barrels and other things.
The result is a surprisingly intense and fascinating experience. Ironically, those who stick to safer moves or easier to use guns will have a harder time, as there is a constant need to manage ammo, health and other resources. Most of my failures were as a result of moving back while shooting when I should’ve rushed my enemies and overwhelmed them. It takes some time to get used to but it is never boring. With each enemy having a couple finishing moves, which is also true for the chainsaw, it looks extremely cinematic and plays amazingly well.
Arguably the most impressive thing about DOOM Eternal is not the over the top gameplay as much as performance. It’s extremely smooth, works shockingly well for something so fast-paced and isn’t afraid to make memorable scenes. A lot of time, effort and love were put into this experience and as a result, it’s a blast to either slice off a demons head or looks at crazy towers of blood and bones.
Multiplayer fans have the rather unusual and welcome Battlemode, which capitalizes on asymmetrical multiplayer in a way that makes sense for the franchise. In this mode, you can either play as a couple of different demons, with more coming sometime in the future, or take on multiple players as the Doom Slayer. Both sides have different objectives and elements that they need to overcome. Those who choose the Doom Slayer simply need to survive and kill each demon, whereas demons are weaker and as a result need to work together. There is no set strategy, at least currently, to win outside of whoever is better at their intended role will usually win. It will take some getting used to but it is interesting enough to see people playing it for a bit.
To further longevity, there are also events. At the time of posting it’s the series one event, which includes 15 different items that you have about a month to collect. Most of these are icons, though there are two character and weapon skins, implying we will see a good amount of stuff going forward. Friends or those you find can also be used to gain additional experience so it isn’t just on you to earn all these rewards.
Unfortunately, while DOOM Eternal does a lot of things right, it does have some shortcomings. To achieve the so-called twitch shooting mechanics, it can be fairly difficult to aim your weapon. Things move fast and it’s less about being accurate and more about killing everything before it kills you. Levels also have a lot of collectibles, which is great but it can be really tedious trying to figure out all the little challenges, especially if you just want to shoot things. Especially when most are more about trophies or pointless side things than anything important.
DOOM Eternal Verdict
The best praise I can give DOOM Eternal is that it feels exactly the way I thought it would be based on the trailers. It’s fast, crazy and you can go from slicing demons head off to chainsawing an enemy in half in the span of four seconds. The campaign does a good job of highlighting these mechanics, with Battlemode offering plenty of replayability, making DOOM Eternal an easy choice for anyone looking for an action-packed adventure or something to unwind with during this stressful time.
[Editor’s Note: DOOM Eternal was reviewed on the PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]