They say Hell is other people, but I’m pretty sure it’s more about the demons here.
Following on from the excellent DOOM 2016 reboot, DOOM Eternal sends our strong silent Doomslayer across the corrupted globe in search of the Hell Priests attempting to unleash Hell on Earth.
Go big or go home, right iD Software?
Rip and Tear
DOOM Eternal brings us back to a simpler time of arcadey shooting, power-ups, and impossibly fast combat. I’m not be blasting across the alkali flats on a jet-powered, monkey-navigated anything, but you can almost feel the sulphuric wind in your hair as you rip and tear around arenas and environments crafted for the sole purpose of unbridled carnage.
Combat is punishing but rewarding. As a big fan of fast-paced classic shooters like Wolfenstein and TimeSplitters, DOOM Eternal gives me the splintering speed I need to shred satanic souls to the level to which I am accustomed. This is a shooter where a split-second can mean the difference between feeding a Mancubus its own heart or being blown to smithereens in a blast of hellish plasma fire. While it can feel cheesy to lose a five-minute-long fight because you got stuck on some scenery, it… no, there’s no justification, it does feel terrible. But rest assured, there was very little of that, and most of your deaths will be your own fault.
Mine sure were.
A Smorgasbord of Slaying
Speaking of carving your way through the legions of the underworld, it’s never felt so damn good. If anything, you have too many options with which to terrorise the armies of the night. From shotguns and frag grenades, to futuristic crossbows and ice bombs, you’ll never be wanting. The variety for ripping and tearing in DOOM Eternal is hellishly divine.
My problem? Forgetting I had that many abilities. I died a number of times with cooldowns untouched and weapons full, simply because I forgot to switch things up. Versatility is vital in DOOM Eternal. I was hot swapping between ammo types and strategies constantly to show the spawn of the Abyss that I meant business.
Wandering through a level and literally watching the boss being built in front of you is beautifully tense. I never knew which big vat of cyberdemon was going to be the one that attacked me.
And that was just swell.
Saw you Dying at the Discotheque
Platforming may not be the name of the game, but damned if it’s not a big part. I’ve never been amazing at platformers, so I’m not ashamed to admit that many of my deaths came from mistimed jumps. Or missing a ledge. Or just straight up falling into the fiery pits of Hell.
But at least there are some solid tunes to die to and die for. The soundtrack is Mick Gordon, and that’s both the composer and an adjective. Thumping industrial metal may not work in every game (c’mon, Animal Crossing, at least TRY it), but damned if it doesn’t fit DOOM to a blood-soaked tee. Interspersing driving bass and banging drums with a choir of what I assume were extremely spooky people is a choice that certainly pays off. Yeah, it sounds like Rammstein had a baby with a satanic gospel choir, but in what universe does that not sound awesome?
None. It is awesome.
A Very Pretty Pandemonium
DOOM Eternal is an unreasonably beautiful experience. The game takes our Doomy boi to a number of unrecognisable but gloriously designed locales across the corrupted globe. For a game about demons invading the planet and causing some gosh darn mischief, it does its best to distract you. I found myself slowing from the action more than once per level to just think “DAMN”.
From giant mech suits impaling gargantuan goblins, or the shattered remnants of towering skyscrapers burning with infernal sigils, there is plenty to keep your eyes busy as you search for hidden areas or the way across a river of boiling blood.
I worried, going in, that I’d take issue with the design of the demonic sigils. But to be honest, aside from grinning a bit when I noticed some barely reworked edgy teenager occult-101, DOOM’s designers have done a bang-up job of taking 17th century alchemical symbols for brimstone and making it look believable emblazoned onto the wall of a fractured shopping mall.
It looks very nice.
Lore and Legacy
There’s a stronger focus on lore this time around; no more Doomguy punching out screens, this time it’s all about Hell Priests and Night Sentinels and all sorts of good stuff. Some may not like reading pages and pages of text explaining the history of Argent energy and the Slayer’s buddies, but here I am waiting for full release so someone with more time on their hands can pull it all into the wiki so I can read it again. It’s absurdly over the top, and it’s so much fun.
Would I recommend DOOM Eternal? Yes. Yes I would. I haven’t enjoyed a shooter this much in a very long time and, even though there’s a little too much teased lore over solid answers, I had so much fun I barely noticed. And hey, gotta leave something for the inevitable and already hotly anticipated sequel.
The game is functionally perfect, with none of my gripes even coming close to slowing the mayhem. Multiplayer isn’t live yet, unfortunately, but I’ll update this review with that post release.
Overall, I’d sell my soul to play DOOM Eternal for the first time again.