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Doom Eternal Review – One Hell of a Sequel

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Doom Eternal is the direct followup to the 2016 hit reboot for Doom. Developed by id Software still and released on all major platforms in March of 2020. It is the direct continuation of that reboot in 2016.

Most importantly, it spawned the perfect pairing of the Doom Slayer and Isabell from Animal Crossing. 2 better friends, there never was.

This review is a little late but so was my Doom 2016 review. If anything this is much less late than that one, so it’s an improvement… right?!

Gameplay? 9/10 – Although largely unchanged in many areas, the extra mobility especially elevate the game

Combat

In terms of pure combat it’s pretty much the same that was found in Doom 2016. This is genuinely not a problem at all, 2016 raised the bar for FPS carnage. So all Doom Eternal had to do was match that and it’d be a winner.

Doom Eternal head

Instead the team went even further, to frankly a perfect degree. Mobility. This is what they focused on, increasing all levels of mobility. Adding in a double jump, boosted dashes, skills to boost speed, and some more verticality. All of these mean that the Slayer is moving even more, even faster, and reducing restrictions. 

This plays a lot into the level designs too, with more verticality, higher, and longer jumps. The arenas open up massively with you occasionally flying up, doen, and everywhere. All whilst the tightest FPS mechanics are being employed all the time. It makes an already incredible system all the more engaging.

Just as a side note, they kind of added a goddamn grappling hook. It’s not perfect but I love it. You get a meat hook on your super shotgun, which can pull you towards an enemy. One of the upgrades sets the chain on fire. There is nothing better than hooking a big bad, setting them on fire, flying towards them, then turning them into soup with the shotgun.

Upgrades

A lot sure was added to the upgrade system for Doom Eternal. Returning are the weapon mod upgrades from little robots. You can add extra effects to each mod, like enabling faster reloads on the shotgun sticky bombs. Then ,once you have all the upgrades, a challenge is unlocked that will normally have something to do with that mod. Completing this challenge will unlock a further upgrade for the weapon/mod.

Doom Eternal map

Then there Sentinel Crystals, these will give you a permanent buff to one of 3 stats. You max health, ammo, and armour. These are set up so that 2 of these upgrades surround a perk each. If you take both upgrades, it will unlock another permanent perk.

Praetor points return, this time taken as coins from the ghosts of Sentinels found around the map. These allow you to unlock even more upgrades, more specific to your suit this time. For example, you can upgrade your grenades to recharge faster, or improve the information on your map.

Runes are also further upgrades to your combat effectiveness, only they’re not as permanent. You can unlock them in any order when you find a rune, however you can only have 3 active. They can be changed whenever, my favourite increased your movement speed after a glory kill. Perfect for getting the hell outta dodge after you’ve torn a demon in half.

Overall I think the upgradability is a great evolution for Doom eternal. The only gripe I had was with the Runes, after I picked 3 I never changed them. They just don’t all seem to have been made equal, so I took the 3 best Runes. There was never a need to change them, it became a waste to unlock the others.

Doom Eternal boom

Collecting

The collecting has undergone a bit of an upgrade too. Instead of just finding a few dolls like in 2016, mostly of the Slayer in different color schemes, now there’s everything. You’ll be looking for plenty of figures, including ones for a lot of the enemies. You’ll also be picking up some old school music records and literal cheat codes.

It adds some really nice variety to what you’re picking up and is very much appreciated. Not only that, the model quality for the toys especially is greatly improved. I’m not sure if it’s just the fact they all look different or if it’s the use of light, they all look amazing.

Then there’s the hub, the Fortress of Doom, here you can find many different goodies. During your travels you can find Sentinel Batteries, these can be brought back to the hub. For every 2 that you used, you could unlock a certain upgrade item. Like a weapon mod, Sentinel Crystal, or Praetor coin. You could also unlock 2 costumes for the Slayer too, one is basically the original marine outfit.

Then for the big boys, the Empyrean keys. There are 6 of these keys throughout all levels in the game. To get them, you must locate a Slayer key, the Slayer door, and beat a kill challenge. These challenges are just big old fight arenas, they’re more difficult than the main game but not impossible. Winning gives you the key. Taking all 6 to the Fortress of Doom will let you unlock the Unmaykr, an alternate to the BFG.

Doom Eternal figure

Visuals? 9/10 – Yet again, id really astounds. Looks incredible over all and more grotesque than ever before

Other than the story, which I’ll get into later, I’d say the visuals have changed the most from 2016. Not necessarily that the graphics themselves have greatly improved, Doom 2016 already looked amazing. It’s more that the complexity of the environments, the demon details, and the gore has ramped up.

The gore especially seems to have been taken up a notch. I won’t spoil the story beat but a particular enemy literally starts losing chunks of flesh as you fight. It keeps going until there is basically a moving skeleton with little bits of meat left on the bone. I am, and I cannot stress this enough, absolutely here for that. Visually it’s one of the goriest and weirdest looking video game things I’ve seen. Please sir, may I have some more!

Then there’s how entirely messed up the whole of earth has become after Doom 2016. It does not look good, in a good way. The planet has been covered by a demon turned inside out. It’s grotesque and frankly horrifying, if you think about it happening for real. THat’s exactly how it should be!

The world is visually, so goddamn stunning. In Doom 2016 there was a little too much red dust in a lot of the levels. Doom Eternal created multiple worlds, all of which feel vastly different but all look equally amazing.

Doom Eternal fight club

The texture quality has improved and there seems to be a lot better use of lighting too. I just think these technical facts pale in comparison to the sheer design quality and implementation.

Audio? 9/10 – Great starting point with Doom 2016 but is ever so slightly worse than it

I had to take a point off here. In my opinion the overall soundtrack, whilst extremely similar, is slightly worse than in Doom 2016. Doom 2016, to me, is literally the best metal in gaming currently. Doom Eternal is a very close second, which is obviously nothing to scoff at, but it is worse to me. Really Doom Eternal just follows on from Doom 2016, keeping the same thematic ideas. 

Normally I can talk about how the soundtrack is grandiose or oozing style. I really can’t do that here for one simple reason, I’m a metalhead. I don’t think about the metal I listen to, I feel it. It pumps me up, calms me, helps me sleep, makes me feel good. There’s no way to quantify it for me, I’m just an avid fan. 

So despite saying that the score is slightly worse than Doom 2016, I’m still a fan. It elicits the same feelings as when I listen to music from some of my favourite bands. If you put Doom Eternal with I Prevail, Bring Me the Horizon, and While She Sleeps it just fits. It’s not out of place alongside some of my other favourite metal and so I love it.

Doom Eternal thijs guy

Our other writer Zack reminded me of a pretty likely reason for this. This being about the deadlines for the music producer for Doom Eternal, Mick Gordon. Meaning that not everything ended up being produced by him, like for Doom 2016. You can read more on this here.

Story? 8/10 – Biggest area of improvement over the previous game. With my favourite “angel” storyline

This is actually the area that I thought was the weakest in Doom 2016. In Doom Eternal though, there are improvements. As I can accept and was pointed out, Doom isn’t exactly made as a serious narrative experience. It’s all about murder, descruction, and fire!

This is, to be fair, more than enough. If id Software just didn’t add any narrative beats, it would take nothing away from the game. 

One area that I find particularly praise worthy is the way that “angels” are handled. I’m not a fan of most established narratives when angels, or similar, are suddenly introduced. Their “Holier than thou” attitude and almost every storyline bores me. I literally could not care any less about most examples of this.

Doom Eternal marauder

Doom Eternal is a different story though (Heh, see what I did there?). The use of “angels” and “heaven” is perfectly executed. It’s an interesting premise that is presented to you at a decent pace, with almost human motivations. I won’t actually spoil what the underlying story is here sop don’t worry. I will say that, in my opinion, it’s the most competent “angel” storyline I can think of.

Acting? 10/10 – A lot of returning performances and all of them are good. Would just like more

The acting is also just as good, the majority of the actors from 2016 have returned. These performances are pretty good, although they seemed a little sparser. That could just be in my head though, and it wouldn’t lower this score anyway.

There is a particular highlight for me though, the scared humans. Specifically all of the scared humans as the Slayer walks past. It’s somewhat sadistic but it’s a pretty great scene, even though you’re on their side, they crap their pants.

There just isn’t enough of it, as with 2016. I know that Doom isn’t an open world RPG with dialogue options and a million NPCs. So there is a limit to what can be done, I would just like more.

Doom Eternal new suit

Writing? 8/10 – Writing is largely as good as it’s predecessor. Again, would like some more

This continues into the writing, I want more. Now to be fair, there was quite a lot of expansion in terms of what is offered in Doom Eternal. Getting more insight into the Sentinels and adding an “angel” aspect to it too. 

The writing featured, in terms of the overarching story, the lore snippets, and scenarios, are good. There is genuinely no argument that could be made to the contrary. It’s just that, yet again, it feels like the bare minimum. It’s more an afterthought. Like, the impression is that they set up all of these arenas to fight in as the first thing. Then afterwards went like “How do we get him there?” and just made something up to do that.

There’s honestly not all that much to talk about here. That’s the big takeaway again for me.

Performance? 10/10 – Had literally perfect performance on Xbox Series X

Yet again, the performance was flawless. Literally not a single complaint in how it performed. This might count as a disclaimer but I’m not sure, I did play this on my Xbox Series X. So, you might say that I used a reasonably powerful system… reasonably.

Doom Eternal menu

This differs from how I played Doom 2016, which I played on my PC. The experiences were genuinely comparable, in that there were very few differences in raw performance. Loading times, on both, were not instant by any means but they aren’t unbearable. 

Fun Factor? 9/10 – Much more fun than it’s predecessor, much easier to play for extended periods and more balanced

Carnage is fun. Gore is fun. Hooking a flaming hook into a demon, flying towards them, and blowing their heads off is fun. I think I’ve made my point here and really, there shouldn’t be any need for further explanation.

In the interest of not just capping this section out at 40 words though, I will say a little more.

The mayhem, yet again, pairs perfectly with the metal soundtrack. It has the opposite effect of some other boss/enemy music. Where, when you enter a room and the music changes and you start getting anxious. In Doom Eternal, when the music shifts gear you get instantly hyped up.

The metal flows through you and you want something to appear. Mostly so you can rip its head off, so it’s an unusual method of catharsis. One that I am absolutely here for.

Doom Eternal sin

Value? 9/10 – As you’d expect, as one of the best FPS games around, it’s highly valuable

There are 2 parts to the value. The first is that Doom Eternal is easily one of the best just pure FPS games to be released recently. There are few games in this genre that can really compare/compete with Doom Eternal. So just by being the best it clearly holds a decent amount of value.

The other point is that it’s on Game Pass, for both Console and PC. So, not only is it a fantastic FPS, if you have Game Pass you get it for free, technically. It’s just extra Game Pass value but it’s also free and free is always good!

You’re not going to play Doom Eternal multiple times for the 46 different endings like some RPGs. However, there are plenty of obstacles, mayhem to be had, and difficulties to test you. So whilst it’s not a typical, ‘replay game to roleplay another character’, there is still a whole hecka lot of content to be had. Especially with the higher difficulties, which will absolutely beat your arse.

How Much Did The Reviewer Enjoy It? 9/10 – I thoroughly enjoyed Doom Eternal, it’s still an absolute masterclass in FPS carnage

To put simply, Doom Eternal is pretty damn good! It took everything that really elevated Doom 2016 and amped it up. Other than my personal preference over the music, I don’t think there’s a single misstep. There are improvements in almost every area, from level design, to collectables, and even mobility. 

This is also probably the biggest thing for me but I can actually play it for extended periods. I’ve mentioned above and in my Doom 2016 review but I had trouble playing it for too long. I’m not exactly sure how but Doom Eternal basically fixed this for me. I was able to go through the entire campaign in basically 2 sittings. Which was a much better experience, meaning that my enjoyment of it was greater.

I think Doom Eternal is definitely one of the best and tightest FPS games, maybe ever. With the added mobility

Doom Eternal Review – One Hell of a Sequel.
Written by Kyle Munn.

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