The 5 Biggest Gameplay Changes in DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal makes great strides over its 2016 predecessor; here are a few of the biggest gameplay changes in the upcoming sequel.

In just about two months, DOOM Eternal is set to arrive and kick even more demon ass than ever before. As the long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s excellent DOOM revival, DOOM Eternal ups the ante of the series in significant ways, especially when it comes to how the game feels and plays.

At a preview event in New York City, we had the opportunity to check out the first three hours of the single-player campaign in DOOM Eternal. During that time, we not only were able to get a better understanding of how the story will play out, but also how the anticipated sequel will feel and play. If you were a fan of 2016’s DOOM, then you can rest easy: DOOM Eternal plays just as well as its predecessor, if not better.

Of course with this being a sequel, there are also plenty of new gameplay additions and enhancements in the mix in DOOM Eternal. After our time going through the first few levels with the Doom Slayer, here are 5 of the biggest gameplay changes that we saw during our gameplay demo with DOOM Eternal.

New Tools and Toys for the Doom Slayer

Like any good shooter sequel, DOOM Eternal gives the Doom Slayer a ton of new weapons and equipment to work with while taking on demon hordes. Aside from old favorites like the Shotgun and Plasma Rifle, a few new weapons make their way into the Doom Slayer’s arsenal and expand on his abilities. Two of the most notable new weapon additions include the Flame Belch and the Blood Punch which, by their names, should be pretty self-explanatory.

Aside from sounding incredibly badass, the Blood Punch (when unlocked) upgrades the Doom Slayer’s melee attack to a sweeping, devastating hit that can take out several enemies at once. The Blood Punch, however, does operate on a cooldown that requires a certain number of Glory Kills to recharge, and the player will revert to the Doom Slayer’s normal melee attacks until then. From my time playing, I found the Blood Punch to be incredibly effective at crowd control, especially when you are faced with a group of smaller enemies in front of you, making it a powerful new addition.

The Flame Belch, on the other hand, is another new piece of equipment that can help give an edge in battle by lighting enemy demons on fire. Fired from the Doom Slayer’s new shoulder-mounted grenade launcher, the Flame Belch gives a quick burst of flames that will ignite demons and slowly whittles away their health over time. While not super powerful by itself, the Flame Belch can be very effective in taking down enemies when used in tandem with other weapons, and also giving the player valuable Armor Packs. I especially found it really helpful against some of the bigger demons you’ll fight like the Hell Knights and Arachnotrons. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by them, you can light them on fire and quickly retreat to still pluck away damage on them and then go in for the finishing blow.

Each Weapon Feels More Specialized

Outside of the new equipment and weapons that DOOM Eternal introduces, most (if not all) of the previous iconic weapons that were used in 2016’s DOOM make a return with some new upgrades and abilities. Yes, you’ll still be able to blast demons in the face with the Super Shotgun, and it still feels just as great as before.

While DOOM Eternal brings back your favorite weapons, one of the key gameplay changes that I saw while playing through the demo was its greater emphasis on switching up weapons in specific scenarios. In Eternal, several of the demons that you’ll face now have a specific counter or weapon that they might be weak against, which you can use to take them down more easily. The Cacodemon, for example, has an opening for you to lob a grenade into its mouth when it widens its jaws, which can then stun it for an easier Glory Kill. You’ll also come across shielded enemies that are vulnerable to the Plasma Rifle by firing it at their shields, causing them to explode and letting you jump in for an easier kill.

Though DOOM always placed an emphasis on varying up which weapons you’re using, this ability to counter specific enemies with certain weapons helped make each weapon feel more unique and useful. Given that DOOM Eternal throws a ton of enemies at you at a time, knowing where and when to use each weapon will help give you an advantage when faced with an army of demons in front of you.

Enhanced Customization and Weapon Modifications

Aside from the sheer number of weapons at your disposal in DOOM Eternal, weapon customization and modifications also take a greater focus this time around as the Doom Slayer. The weapons come with not just one secondary firing option, but many of them offer a couple different ways for you to radically change up their capabilities.

These new abilities are unlocked through weapon modifications that you will collect and use throughout the course of the game, and can give your weaponry a whole new way to take down demons. For example, with the game’s starting Shotgun, you can modify the secondary fire to be either a sticky grenade launcher or change the Shotgun to go full-automatic. At first I favored the sticky grenade launcher to take out waves of enemies from a distance, but I quickly found myself switching to the full-auto Shotgun mod when I was faced with larger enemies and could rip a hole into them effortlessly. You can also easily swap between weapon mods on the fly to change up strategies in the middle of combat.

Alongside the weapon mods themselves, throughout the course of DOOM Eternal you’ll also collect points that you can use to upgrade your weapons and customize them more towards your style of play. Whether you want to favor certain weapons or enhance their capabilities to work better with specific abilities, DOOM Eternal already seems like it is opening up even more combat options to players that want to take full advantage of them.

More Mobility Than Ever Before

2016’s DOOM was already a shooter that looked and played exceptionally, and DOOM Eternal somehow makes that even better. The fast-paced and relentless combat of DOOM is entirely present in Eternal, and while the weapons already feel great, mobility especially seems like it has gotten an upgrade in the sequel.

The Doom Slayer has a few new moves at his disposal in DOOM Eternal when it comes to mobility, making him far more versatile to move in and out of combat. One of the most significant new additions is a dash move that can quickly dart the Doom Slayer in any direction, a vital new move for dodging incoming enemy attacks. The dash can also be used in mid-air, making it crucial to use in some of the platforming-heavy segments to cross large gaps.

In addition to the dash move, the Doom Slayer also now has the ability to climb up specific wall faces, another crucial part of areas where climbing and mobility are needed in DOOM Eternal. While DOOM Eternal isn’t suddenly a platforming game by any means, the new mobility options for the Doom Slayer not only are integral to the game’s exploration segments, but also serve as essential new components of its combat.

Gorier and Gutsier

In case you hadn’t played 2016’s DOOM, the rebooted series is incredibly gory and violent, and that is especially the case with DOOM Eternal. Not only do Glory Kills return, but DOOM Eternal has somehow made the series’ signature finishing moves even more ridiculous and over-the-top than ever before.

But aside from the return of these gory finishers, DOOM Eternal makes things even more bloody with a brand new battle damage system against enemy demons. As you pump bullets into oncoming demons you’ll see their flesh and guts exposed and wearing away, which adds to the visual spectacle of DOOM Eternal’s gunfights.

However, this doesn’t just serve as an added visual flair, but the battle damage system also serves as a helpful way of identifying which demons are on the verge of being finished off. This is especially helpful when taking on several larger demons at a time, as you can quickly figure out in a fight which demons you should focus on first by ones look like they’ve taken the most hits.

Is it bloody and maybe a little too much? Absolutely. Is it still helpful to know which demon is hanging on by a thread and ready for a Glory Kill? Hell yes.

DOOM Eternal will release for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia on March 20, 2020, with a Nintendo Switch version to arrive down the line. For more on the game, you can check out our latest hands-on preview.

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Ryan Meitzler

Ryan is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers and has been a lover of games as long as he can remember. He holds a BA in English and Cinema and lives in New York City.

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