The first Doom game came out in 1993 and, together with Wolfenstein, is considered to be one of the forefathers of the FPS genre. The recipe of these games has always been simple: kill demons with an arsenal of ever-bigger weapons, while trying to keep your health and armor in check. The influence of Doom on shooters, and also on online games in general, is so great that the term "Doom-like" was invented for all the games that tried to imitate the original, Quake, Unreal or Turok being some of those representatives.
Doom Eternal is the follow-up to 2016's Doom, a modern revamp of the franchise that has been praised for its excellent Singleplayer Campaign, less so for its Multiplayer (even though I did like it). Here is my review of the main aspects of the game:
I played on an original Xbox One, so anyone playing on more recent consoles might get a different experience. In any case, I found the graphics really good for a game coming out in 2020. Faces, particle effects and, most of all, environments are all a joy to look at, even more so with these big open levels which you will be able to gaze at all the time. Absolutely no perfomance loss was witnessed either, even on One.
Doom Eternal is structured like an Arena shooter, which means that you will face your enemies in open environments until they (or you) are all dead, just to reach the next arena and so-on until the level ends. Is it a problem? Hell no!
The biggest praise I can make to the game is that it is pure, unaltered FUN. Like the 2016 Doom, but on steroids, you have every opportunity to maim, brutalize and kill the legions of Hell that are trying to stop you. The Gameplay loop is well thought out: you use you weapons to get your enemies in a "Glory" mode, during which you finish off the demons in various gory ways, giving you back your health. Same deal with your ammo: once you have no more, you can cut down your enemies with a chainsaw to regain it. Another addition to 2016 Doom is the presence of a Equipment Launcher on your shoulder, which gives you even more ways to fight your way through the levels.
The gameplay always felt fun for me, as mowing down tons of demons made me feel like a badass force of nature.
There is something incredibly cool in having loud hard rock playing when you enter a new room, and it's at this point that you realize that it is boss music. Except that YOU are the boss and the enemies are going to get wrecked in a bit. There are few other games that can make as much of a badass like this one, and the music plays a good part in this.
The story in Doom Eternal is easy to follow: Rip and Tear!
Of course, this game is not meant to be an interactive adventure, and so of course story and narrative are not its strongest suits. You just need to know that Earth is being invaded by the legions of Hell, and, motivated by pure, blind rage, your goal is to stop this invasion by ripping every demon you encounter to shreds. Simple story? Yes, but it suits the game. One particular thing I did enjoy is the efforts made to retcon and integrate all the previous games' stories into the universe's canon. It is a good thing to do, as it shows pride in the developer's precedent entries in the series, something that other developers should take a hint of.
Listening to the critics made to Doom 2016's multiplayer, id Software crafted a special multiplayer mode exclusive to Doom Eternal, called Battlemode. Gone are the classical Deathmatches: in this 3-players mode, one player takes on the role of the Doom Slayer, and the 2 others play as one of the bigger Demons seen during the campaign. Each side has special abilities to kill the opposing side, with the Doom Slayer having access to all his weapons from the Campaign, and being able to inflict incredible amounts of damage, while the Demons can summon other smaller enemies, fly, ecc. I am not a fan of asymmetrical game modes, but I must say that it was crafted with care and innovation in mind, and it is a welcome addition to the game's content.
Doom Eternal is not a chore to complete in any way. The game can be completed in Extra-Lives mode while finding all the collectibles (Lore pages, armor customization, weapon parts, etc.), without forcing you to play in Ultra Nightmare or anything. However, since you cannot replay the levels in Extra Lives mode, I suggest following the excellent walkthrough on TA or doing 2 playthroughs to enjoy the game "blind" the first time. There are a few Multiplayer achievements to earn, but if you are (like me) not good at playing online, you might need one or two gaming sessions to complete the game. All in all, the presence of different difficulty levels, semi arcade modes and multiplayer ensure that you will not lose interest in a long time!
I also wanted to point out that, to my pleasant surprise, this game has no micro-transactions to progress: every upgrade to your arsenal and armor can be found in-game, like an old-school FPS game.
DOOM Eternal is an essential game to play if you like fun shooters, and is for me one of the best games that came out in 2020. The pure, unaltered fun that is killing demons is back in full force since Doom 2016, and magnified to 10. Doom Eternal is a game that does not force you to make strange decisions or gameplay loops because the story tells you so, you just kill and have fun. Great visuals and micro-transactions free content complete a great experience which will make us wait for the next Doom with impatience!