DOOM Eternal is Eternally Glorious, and I Can't Wait to Return to Hell
They are rage. Brutal, without mercy. But you...you will be worse. Rip and tear...until the wait for DOOM Eternal is DONE.
I am so goddamn ready for DOOM Eternal.
I’m old enough to remember a time when the first-person shooter genre had yet to be coined. Instead, all FPS games were DOOM Clones: such was the original DOOM‘s legacy. From the weapons, to the enemies, to the labyrinthine levels, DOOM is iconic. Any piece of technology, no matter of how advanced or how esoteric, will inevitably be asked the question of “Can you run DOOM on it though?”
From the very beginning, DOOM was an unrelenting, unrepentant romp in which you traverse sci-fi hellscapes and blast demons apart. There’s no real story, just an excuse for a plot of silliness to complement such a ridiculous premise. That’s all it needed to be: an excuse to shoot demons and have fun. Having just recently played through Ultimate DOOM again with a friend, I can assure you that it still holds up all these years later.
Such a legacy was a tough act to follow, and so id Software did so only sparingly. DOOM 2 — and DOOM 64 to a lesser extent — built on the original title with solid improvements. DOOM 3 followed almost a decade later, and was a slower affair that leaned more into a feeling of horror and tension. It definitely has its fans, but one would be hard pressed to say it really captured the appeal of the original pair of games.
Afterwards, the franchise lay dormant for almost a decade before DOOM 2016 finally surfaced from development hell. And while the responses and reception to it have been largely positive, the original reveals prior to release weren’t so favorable. Early builds and playtests felt that the game was a bit slow, so this was fixed for the game’s release. Those final steps and adjustments in the last months may very well have saved the game.
IN THE FIRST AGE… IN THE FIRST BATTLE… WHEN THE SHADOWS FIRST LENGTHENED… ONE STOOD.
DOOM 2016 is glorious. The presentation is immaculate, the soundtrack is fantastic, and the story is…pretty decent actually, though it’s hardly concerned with being a masterpiece of storytelling. Naturally, it’s the gameplay where DOOM 2016 truly excels. Unabashedly breaking conventions of the modern FPS, it encourages you to be aggressive and get into fights.
Gory and excessive Glory Kills reward getting in close for a quick finisher by showering you in health. Visceral chainsaw kills serve as a cooldown that pours out ammo drops. Levels feature plenty of verticality which enemies are quick to make use of, encouraging the player to be mobile to match. It’s also fairly well-paced in how it ramps up the challenge, enemy variety, weapon and power unlocks; this pacing continues to level design and how it gives the player moments of exploration and breathing room in between the high octane shooting galleries.
Now I need to play DOOM 2016 again. Once I finish this article, that’s where I’ll be. What better way to pass time until one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 becomes available…
THOSE THAT TASTED THE BITE OF HIS SWORD NAMED HIM…THE DOOM SLAYER.
This has been an eventful few weeks of high profile game delays. Final Fantasy 7 Remake was pushed back to April, and the April release of Cyberpunk 2077 is now in September. If anything, I’m actually grateful for this: the March – April span was already so stacked with killer releases despite this, so the breathing room provided will let me revel in DOOM Eternal as a nice warm-up!
Everything we have seen of DOOM Eternal gets me more excited to tackle it. id Software have stapled a whole bunch of extras and improvements on top of the already solid framework that is DOOM 2016. Let’s go through some together. New guns and equipment options? Check. A variety of demons and map settings? Check. New Glory kills and over the top moments? Given that we now have a shoulder-mounted flamethrower and a goddamn sword (after much plot teasing), double check! My checklist didn’t contain a grappling hook; id decided to give that to me anyway, further adding to the Slayer’s mobility options.
The sheer number of options and arsenal additions has me worried I’m not going to utilize everything to its full extent. As far as gameplay problems go, that’s a good one to have though. DOOM 2016’s pacing has me confident that it won’t be too much of an issue in Eternal.
Story hasn’t been a major consideration for DOOM up to this point, but Eternal is expanding on it somewhat. DOOM 2016 lacked in narrative but excelled in lore, hiding plenty of little details just below the surface to dig into. There certainly seems to be more going on in Eternal, even hinting at the involvement of Heaven. Fighting angels and going full Darksiders would definitely be a new direction for DOOM, that’s for sure. Regardless, there’s definitely some more story beats for those interested to chew on. Slaughtering hordes of enemies is still clearly the focus though; the gameplay is what we’re here for, and id Software knows it.
Adjustments made to the multiplayer modes also have me curious. I cared little for the multiplayer in DOOM 2016, but the 2v1 Battlemode looks like a clever addition to shake things up. Dark Souls-esque Invasions can now occur in the single-player campaign, letting players control the demons and mess with one another. These new features certainly capture the feeling of DOOM more than the now absent traditional deathmatch would, so I look forward to trying them out.
But with all that said…I’m here for the campaign. Slaughtering demons en masse, going wild with excessive weaponry, and overloading on testosterone: that’s what DOOM Eternal is offering for me. Given my tendency to dive deep into story-driven games and experience the full suite of creativity gaming can offer? It’ll be nice to just kick back, rack a shotgun, and go all in on intense gameplay for a time while blasting Mick Gordon’s finest heavy metal soundtracks. Bring it on, Hell.
DOOM Eternal is slated to release on March 20 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Stadia. Pre-ordering the game at Amazon will net you a copy of Doom 64 as well, plus a suite of cosmetic extras. There’s also slated to be a Nintendo Switch port of the game sometime after release. Rip and tear until it is done, fellow Slayers.