Intro - id's crowning jewel
- Developer: id Software
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Date: March 20, 2020
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Reviewed)
- Genre: It's DOOM, only better
- MSRP: $59.99
- Playtime - 15 hours to beat campaign on Hurt Me Plenty difficulty
RIP AND TEAR, UNTIL IT IS DONE.
There's nothing like Doom Eternal. Something happens to you when you play this game. It reaches the very heart of your masculinity and awakens the beast within. You feel this strange primal draw to the game. It's an intense heart-pumping experience that redefines what shooters could--and should be. Savage, primal, barbarous, cruel, ferocious--these words were made to describe id's new unholy creation.
Mick Gordon's demented metalcore riffs blast through your ears as demons turn to blood soup at your hands, your eyes completely overloaded with sensory input, your heart racing as you dodge, annihilate, and rush past hordes of monsters. It's a thrill ride that's stressful, extremely addicting, and unlike anything else on the market today.
It demands everything you have, your attention, your skill, your devotion--everything. You make a sacrifice to the blood altar, and Doom Eternal delivers the carnage you've been craving all this time. The carnage that other devs are afraid to give you.
But id feeds your bloodlust, your inner savage, the sci-fi caveman brute who wants nothing more than to smash demon skulls.
It's the ultimate metal game. It's the kind of game Dethklok would play.
Realistically though, Doom Eternal represents the pinnacle of id Software's talent. This is the best game they've ever made. It's not just the combat that's amazing. Eternal has a rich, incredibly vibrant, and creative lore that explains the Slayer's backstory completely, all while keeping true to set motifs and themes found in today's most popular films and novels.
Doom Slayer's story is basically the unholy version of a hero's journey. The actual storyline is extremely appealing to any tech nerd out there and creates a mystique around the unique sci-fantasy series. It's so well thought-out that Doom Eternal has the production values of a feature-length film.
Powered by the id Tech 7 engine, everything is buttery-smooth and amazingly detailed. The environments are absolutely spellbinding, and it's easy to get lost in them. I've taken dozens of screenshots of the game for this review, and it was tough culling them.
The real power of Doom Eternal is combat, as it should be. And it's here the game excels beyond our expectations.
Combat - RIP AND TEAR
In a very real way, Doom Eternal makes demons into your friends. They're the gateway to the chaos you want to unleash onto the cosmos.
Enemies aren't just enemies anymore. They're resource generators. They're not just threats, but opportunities--opportunities to keep that wanton bloodlust going, to keep that thrill and electric adrenaline pumping.
Doom Eternal has double the demons, and holy hell they can be absolutely overwhelming. Classic enemies like the Cyber Demon, Pain Elemental, Mancubus, and Archvile return for revenge. New terrors like the Marauder and Terminator-like Doom Hunter want your blood. And then you have to worry about the adds. There are so many, many adds.
In Doom Eternal, you're never safe. And you never want to be.
Doom Eternal is a progression through intense struggle. The entire game is a testament to surviving when you shouldn't be able to. It's so merciless that it transforms you, forces you to adapt, forces you to stop being so careful and cautious.
To survive in Doom Eternal, you simply need to become the Doom Slayer. Become the ultimate living force of aggression, keep moving at all costs, and, most of all, don't stop killing until everything's dead.
You don't just want to beat levels in Doom Eternal. You want to destroy them.
The game is all too eager to punish you. When you get a fancy new gun or upgrade, the game amps it up to 11, and throws more insanity at you. The game constantly tests your mettle. It'll unleash hordes of demons, bosses, and all kinds of nasties in an attempt to drown you in blood.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes you drown. But sometimes it's demon's blood you're wading through, not your own.
That's really the heart of Doom Eternal. It's utterly relentless and forces you to get creative, to adapt, and to evolve. It makes you panic. It makes you flail. It makes you learn to act before you think and rely on your senses and reflexes.
The game lives on the bleeding-edge of game-quitting frustration. It's almost overwhelming and almost completely overloads your senses. But it pisses you off just enough that you want to keep trying. It's actually kind of mesmerizing.
Eternal rides that threshold so close that no matter how many times you die, you want to keep playing. You're never happy about dying, but you can't stop jumping in. Eternal turns you into a warped creature, a sadist who loves annihilating demons and a masochist who can't stop reveling in the pain.
The game will constantly humble you. You go back and forth between a cosmic super-shotgun toting Superman to a defenseless child who embarrasses themselves with terrible plays.
But you want to do better. You know you can, you know why you messed up, and you also know it was your fault. Doom Slayer wouldn't approve of your weakness.
More than anything, you want to keep ripping and tearing.
There's a magnetism to Doom Eternal that isn't felt with other games. The combat provides such an intense rush, a sensation that isn't found in modern shooters. It makes Halo, Call of Duty, and even Battlefield feel like kid's toys.
Doom Eternal sweeps you up in this kind of whirlwind storm of death, mayhem, and destruction. You aren't just part of the storm: you are the storm.
The pull is mainly due to the intricately designed combat system that's one part resource management, one part twitch-shooter, and one part adaptation.
id has crafted one of the most fast-paced and addictive gameplay loops that I've ever seen.
Demons aren't just threats. They're pinatas that drop health, ammo, and armor based on your input. Chainsaw an imp in half to get a bunch of ammo. Ignite a group to get armor. Perform those ultra-satisfying glory kills and get health. The game forces you to manage your resources by killing enemies in certain ways.
You have to kill to survive, and you survive by killing.
This loop creates a flow that's responsible for the fast-paced havoc. You're constantly moving, constantly killing, constantly pulling in resources and spending them to feed your need for wanton bloodlust.
The arsenal is immensely satisfying, and every gun has its purpose. Weapons are tools in Doom Eternal, not just guns. You use them in strategic ways to keep that flow going. I love the super shotgun's hookshot and the sticky bombs on the regular shotgun. The ballista destroys everything, though, and is great for stunning enemies.
You have to constantly adapt to the environments, double jump across obstacles, strafe around fire in tight corridors, scope out any power ups. The game locks you into small arenas that you blast your way out of.
I've never, ever felt more like the Doom Slayer than I have in this game. It's the perfect embodiment of the character. You literally become the Slayer and fulfill your destiny as the merciless demon-killer of the stars.
A big part of the draw is the comedic horror. The game is so absurd and over the top and reminds me of old movies like ultra-gory Dead Alive or the wacky craziness of Evil Dead. Throw in a dash of relentless Terminator in there, and you have a Doom game.
RPG Elements - More Than Just an FPS
Doom Eternal is an RPG in a lot of ways. id has crafted a kind of replayable live game that's offline. Level progression is punctuated by unlocking various upgrades like weapon mods for improved damage, praetor suit passives that boost dash rates, and runes that unlock various abilities like a speed boost after faster glory kills. The potential for custom builds is substantial, but near the end, you'll have unlocked most of the important stuff.
There's also a level-up system that ties in with Bethesda.net that also gives you nifty extras along the way.
At first, it can be confusing and overwhelming. There's a lot of stuff thrown at you. Eternal kind of has a steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, the game opens up.
id is pretty generous with the unlockable currencies--there's runes, modbots, and coins. You don't really have to grind a lot to customize your Doom Slayer, and you'll naturally unlock things by just playing the game.
And just like any Doom game should, Doom Eternal has a wealth of unlockables, secrets, and little tidbits strewn across the map. It's a major incentive to replay the levels to unlock everything. id has created an almost never-ending stream of stuff to unlock, complete with cosmetics to customized the Slayer. These cosmetics also carry over to the campaign, which is absolutely awesome.
Story: Less High-Fantasy and More High-Testosterone
We won't delve too much into the story because there's lots of spoilers here. But I will say that Doom Eternal exposes the Slayer's mystery and creates this incredible hero mythology around him. Everything is revealed and discussed, from the Argent D'Nur, an ancient cosmic struggle against angelic entities, and a full exploration of Argent energy.
What we can say is Doom Slayer is kind of like Superman. He has a fortress of solitude that floats in space, he's basically unbreakable, and he comes from a ruined civilization. Doom Slayer comes when there's trouble, and he saves the day. The big difference is he saves the day by creating a bloodbath of demon guts.
id has put significant thought and effort into fleshing out this universe. It's a mix of deep sci-fantasy and the machismo found in Frank Frazetta's old-school Conan comic covers.
I see shades of Hellraiser's macabre and winding lore mixed with the fundamental core tenants of the hero's journey archetype. But the story puts an innovative twist on the classic good vs. evil trope. id draws deep in Doom's growing, convoluted, and interesting story arc while putting their own spin on things. The result is a masterfully-designed sequel that immerses you completely.
The game also kind of feels like a demonic Lord of the Rings epic that's less high fantasy and more high testosterone.
I wasn't expecting to find this kind of depth in a Doom game. For a game that takes place mostly in hell, Doom sure has a lot of soul.
Environments: Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Doom Eternal has some of the best level design I've ever seen. The environments are spectacles of grisly art that channel Giger, Barlowe, and Beksinski.
Colossal demons litter the hellscapes with giant Gundam-like mechs towering over them, speaking of some great war that came before. Demons soar the skies and scour the crumbled ruins of forgotten realms.
Satanic glyphs glow, molten lava burns the universe, and damned souls howl from behind grisly gates right out of a demented Wayne Barlowe painting.
They're all setpieces that frame a larger-than-life experience. The visuals speak to you without saying any words, telling you stories about behemoth monstrosities, about an ancient lore that's older than humanity, about an endless struggle rife with death and mayhem.
There's a grandiosity about Doom Eternal's environments that merges high fantasy, deep sci-fi, and an ultra-revolting style that's all its own. Every level pushes things even farther in an almost absurd yet cinematic way.
The corrupted environments have all the grotesqueness of an 80s horror flick. Mavens like David Cronenberg would be proud, and the sick and twisted minds behind the old-school shock-horror film Society will absolutely love the disgusting, pulsing tentaclescapes the game offers.
At one point, you blast a demon's guts and climb through its body. Another sees you destroying a writhing mass of demon flesh.
In one section, you return to the Great Slayer's ancestral home to fight in ancient interstellar Colosseum, bloodsport-style. It's a brutal massacre that celebrates Doom Eternal's machismo spirit.
The game takes you everywhere. You go to a demon-infested Earth, to the ancient Sentinel city of Argent D'Nur, and to the City of the Damned itself. It's a sprawling epic whose environments keep you captivated and engaged throughout.
Wrap-Up - One of the Best FPS Games Ever Made
Doom Eternal is a colossal achievement for id. The game stands as a shining, burning beacon for the FPS genre. Its combat is a whirlwind storm of fun and electrifying chaos that grips you in a stranglehold and never lets go.
What makes Doom Eternal so good is that it's always exciting. The gameplay amps you up, keeps you supercharged and ready to absolutely annihilate everything on the screen. It never really relents. Even when you're exploring, there's always something testing you. Whether it's a horde of surprise demons, some tough platforming jumps, or a mind-boggling puzzle, Eternal keeps things fresh.
The lore-filled story adds tremendous depth to the franchise and fleshes out the entire universe in a captivating way. The hell priests, the Urdak, the Khan Makyr, and the Night Sentinels... everything comes together in a masterful way.
id's new it Tech 7 engine goes way, way beyond the call of duty--but that describes this game as a whole. Everything looks, feels, and plays immaculately on PC.
At its heart, Doom Eternal is a visceral, ultra-violent shooter that explodes with larger-than-life action... and we wouldn't have it any other way. It's one of the best FPS games ever made.
+ Adrenaline-pumping combat that flows exceptionally well
+ Resource management is refreshing and keeps things nerve-wracking
+ id Tech 7 engine is absolutely amazing on PC
+ Environments are vibrant, brutal, and mesmerizingly macabre
+ Cosmetic customizations carry over to the campaign
+ The Crucible sword is AWESOME
+ Hilarious interactive moments like blasting through a giant demon's guts and proceeding to use his body as a path to your next objective
- Combat can be severely overwhelming at first
- RPG mechanics can bog down gameplay
- Minor glitches like Alt+Tabbing issues, sound glitches
Derek's Test Specifications
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super
- RAM: 16GB DDR3-1200MHz
The Bottom Line
Doom is a whirling cataclysmic storm of a game filled to the brim with mayhem, guts, and explosive over-the-top fun. It's the best FPS of the generation.