Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: id Software
Platform: Xbox One, PC, PS4, Switch
I swear, I just assumed awhile ago that Covid-19 is a pretext for Doom Eternal. Civilization falling apart, the unwavering rage of hell with fire and destruction, burning and desecrating everything humanity has build. Time came for Doomguy to finally return that favor with his triumphant comeback to the demon foray.
Eternal takes whatever Doom 2016 reinvigorated from the early substandardized state of the franchise and cranks it upto 11. Although at times, it fumbles a little bit, the overall experience is something to be really ecstatic about. With new types of demons, changes in weapons, more platforming nonsense, and finally an overarching story that reveals everything there is the new series as well as its ties to the old ones.
Smack dab awakening to a new horror after the ending from Doom 2016, the protagonist is once again set for rampage against the demon hordes that pissed him off in the original series. Only to see that the human race he so much fought for (if not with such intent) has reached nearly the final stage of Armageddon. With over 70% of the Earth's population wiped out, Hell has taken over his homeworld.
The game still plays out its story with cutscenes and few expositions needed to create a cohesive story without it being too overbearing, much like the previous games did. However, it does expand on the lore, mythos and character arcs further enough to understand to the brim of what the world is like.
You waste no time by slaying the first priest among the three of them who needed to be eliminated in order to save the day. You're still going to see the nonchalant charms of our guy resurface here, that is of no mistake. But, you're in for a surprise right within the third act of the game when his backstory surfaces out.
Now let's talk about the gameplay.
From the beginning of the game, the pee shooter is gone. You're now equipped with a standardized shotgun for change. Carrying upto 8 different weapons late game, each with two different mods to unlock and upgrade (double-barrel shotgun notwithstanding). Also the gloves are off, demons don't fool around anymore. They've upgraded to better forms from the fodders to the heavy ones. But at least, you have a shoulder cannon to shoot flames and grenades from.
Eternal is all about pumping it up to the ceiling. At the early phase of the game, you have to use tactics and spacial awareness to combat your foes. Map areas and arena are a bit smaller than the previous games were at times so it can get a little tight spaced, but they're also larger in grander scheme in others. Some of the higher level demons have weaknesses like Revenant's cannons can be shot off, same for the Mancubus. Each level in the game constantly has you on your feet whether it's from the demons in claustrophobic corridors or the rigorous platforming you'll do.
And speaking of platforming, there's lot to go from. As not only do you have to jump over to grab ledges, you also grab walls then jump over to another one. You can also dash on ground and mid-air, useful against attacks as well. Since the game missions are open-world levels, there's a lot of verticality involved for exploration (and again, fighting demons). While it's easy to jump around, I've faced collision issues where I got stuck in certain places and had to jump out, areas that shouldn't have these invisible wall problems. It's small, but pretty noticeable.
There's a lot of items to collect from Praetor suit and Arsenal points, runes, Sentinel crystals to weapon mods. I mean that sounds like 5 different things to collect for progression but they don't feel contrived once you realize what they provide. Fighting demons whom have wised up against your interventions is tough. So you'll need all the upgrades you get from being a petite fighter to a god-like being. There's also non-essential collectibles and then, there's cheat codes. Yes, playing the game let's you unlock cheat codes unless of course you're too good for it. Lot of RPG elements thrown into the mix. They might seem passive for you, but believe me, they're very useful so you need to find whatever you can use, especially when you'll be facing the freaking Marauder demon.
There's secret encounters where you kill certain unit of demons within a time limit to win, slayer challenges that rewards you with powerful secret weapons build by the Makyr which needs keys for access. You get the gist of it, it's jam packed full of content to boot. Putting you at over 20hrs of time to finish and collect all of them.
The main single-player is loaded, with missions taking 12hrs to finish and side activities taking around 5-6hrs additionally with the challenges making it to 20hrs or above. There's so much charm and personality to this game even with its slaughter-house demeanor. The hectic and tense boss battles finally return, with some hair tearing difficulty to get you up and over.
Doom does have multiplayer and it's called Battlemode. An asynchronous 2v1 multiplayer mode which 2 players playing as different demon pit themselves against the one who picked Doomguy. This mode allows the commanding demons to spawn their minions of both fodder and heavy types to combat against. While this seems intimidating for the 1 player out there, a good player can sustain themselves long enough using fodders for ammo and armor or glory kills for health while having all of his gears and weapons maxed out. It's all about resilience and skills. You have 3 rounds to finish off the Slayer, if one of the demon players is slayed they respawn as long as his partner stays alive. If not, slayer wins. Winning each round rewards you with upgrades for the next battle. It's balanced yet intense as you have to do whatever it takes to suppress and kill the god himself.
There's also another interesting addition to the Doom single-player and that is invasion. Yes, your main game will get invaded by another player, playing as another demon. As long as you stay online that is.
It needn't be said that the removal of average designed multiplayer modes for Doom befit it pretty much. These new modes more than supplements the overall package of the game. There's little that makes it feel like these are waste of time.
Graphically, it is amazing. Down to everything. Doom 2016 achieved the new benchmark for a game visually appealing yet easy on the hardware. That tradition follows in Doom Eternal, which is also the first game to finally use id Tech 7. The game runs smooth as butter every single hour, rarely have I experienced frame dips. (There were frame dips from my videos but that's because of the GPU)
Mike Gordon returns to bring down tectonic level of guitar sheering the likes of which trembles the biggest mountains on Mars. The sound design is something to drool over from head poppings to meat grinders. It's the overall great ambient factor that stays as essential to the overall experience.