Back in 2016 when Doom was re-launched by ID Software, it became one of the modern darlings of gamer culture, but I will admit I didn’t get it. I tried, more than once, but I just didn’t see what others saw. But by Lucifer! I am now a convert to the satanic dark arts of Doom: Eternal. I now see the magic!
Doom: Eternal – is a faced paced, strategy shooter
As I type “fast paced, strategy shooter”, I can’t help but think how silly that sounds. But that’s what Doom: Eternal really is. It combines the idea of being liquid death and a thinking man’s shooter…… and it surprised the hell out of me.
Eternal picks up after Doom 2016, but the story was simple enough for me to get underway without any issues. Demons are invading Earth and the Doom Slayer needs to stop this by killing three Priests who are crucial to the plan. That’s about it really. This game is about ‘Rip and Tear’, not engrossing narrative and character development.
That said, for those who want to learn more, the collectable Lore pages are impressive and some of the late-game story twists are fun.
Doom Slayer, or as the internet lovingly refers to him, “The Doom Guy”, begins on a space ship and teleports to Demon infested locales in need of purging. The Metroidesque loop of finding keys, door cards and activating various equipment to progress, is still at the core of mission design. Really these loosely veiled objectives are just an excuse to have areas full of Demons to kill. The combat is this magic mix of enemies ranging from cannon fodder, to sub-boss type enemies and then the strategy on how best to deal with them.
Doom: Eternal combat is a dance of aggression
I learnt to kill enemies at the right time to replenish whatever resource I was running low on. Melee kills on glowing staggered enemies replenish health, chainsaw attacks refill ammo and flame attacks fill Armour. But what’s so clever, is the games highly aggressive enemies’ mean standing still or turning tail are not viable options. If I wanted to survive…I had to kill demons fast.
This idea is a sizable change of pace from the big shooters these days, like Call of Duty etc…. I have been taught over the years that cover is my friend – Hide, catch my breath and reload. Then pop up, line up the bad guys and re-engage.
That shit ain’t going to work in Doom. There is no hiding from the agents of hell. They are coming for me and I have to take the fight to them. Gruesome melee kills to refill my health but them leaving the odd minion to ‘farm’ when I run out of ammo.
When being a highly mobile dealer of death, the weapons are all important
Doom: Eternal has taken all the mainstays of the Doom franchise, the Shotgun, Gatling gun, the BFG and tweaked them to be moddable and upgradable. Done through collecting weapon tokens and completing in-mission challenges. The same too with the ‘Doom Guys’ armor and runes. Anyone who has played a modern RPG-lite will feel right at home.
Something that also felt fresh to the franchise was the heavy implementation of platforming and wall climbing. Often between combat encounters, areas have to be traversed in jumping puzzles that are not difficult by any stretch. But I suspect hardened Doom players may bork at the new mechanics and the clunky looking animations.
What all this boils down too is – choice and strategy
ID Software have created a super-soldier-simulator, then said, use him as you see fit. Which I love. Customise the weapons and armor to buff off each other, so then I could push into battle using all the various options to farm resources to survive…if you can.
This game is hard, like really hard.
In fact, by the time I hit the first Boss, I had to drop the difficulty to Easy, as I just couldn’t get the right combination of weapons and minion farming to survive the encounter. I could see the ‘image’ of what needed to occur and I never felt it was unfair. I just didn’t have the skill…or the time frankly, to git-gud enough to execute the actions in my head.
The fast, smooth movement sings at high frame-rates on my PS4 Pro. So to do the levels, which are a mix of claustrophobic industrial corridors, apocalyptic cityscapes or just hell on Earth. A couple of the open-air sky boxes are stunning and would give the Bungie art department a run for their money!
One of my major takeaways though, is my now absolute requirement for next-generation games to be 60fps at all times. It is a joy to behold and no shooter should every fall below that benchmark in my opinion.
There is also Multi-player, but I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried it. I’m sure it’s good and full of Doom players who are way better than me and would wreck me in seconds.
Doom: Eternal has completely changed my appreciation of ID Software’s re-booting of Doom
If I trawled through my 2016 twitter log, I’m sure I could find an uneducated tweet saying something like – “Doom 2016 is just a big dumb shooter etc.” I admit I was wrong.
The constant balance of aggression and strategy is strangely cathartic. Even at it’s most hectic there is a unique, even sublime rhythm to the combat. Something I haven’t experienced since the wonderful Titanfall 2. All I can say is, I will be definitely be spending a lot more time in hell.