Doom Eternal Review – Forever Gore

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Recapturing the Gory ’90s

Ah yes, the ’90s. The decade that kicked off gaming. I have plenty of memories during that timeframe, mostly being with Mario, Megaman, Doom, and Mortal Kombat. And the thing I loved about those games, even more so today, is that back then they didn’t care. Some games were good, and others were bad, but most importantly they were games that developers wanted to create. Sure, there was some heavy backlash, more so around extremely violent games, but developers just kept pushing and taking bigger risks without compromising their own vision. Even today, games are starting to get censored over the smallest things, and developers compromise for the sake of not offending anybody. We have become too soft for our own good that it’s easy to find flaws with a title. Thankfully, DOOM Eternal follows suit of its predecessor and makes no room for compromises. DOOM Eternal is the perfect wine, finally being opened after decades of sitting on that shelf. Sure, it was developed in the last four to five years, but at its core, DOOM Eternal is everything a DOOM fan could want. Curious? Read on for our full DOOM Eternal review.

The gameplay maintains that arcade-y feel that DOOM has always been known for, all while improving on other aspects of the previous game. For example, while the platforming in DOOM 2016 wasn’t by no means awful, it did feel a bit of a distraction to the overall pacing as it brought it down. In DOOM Eternal, however, the team took this opportunity to expand more on the platforming, offering larger levels to explore and more unique ways to approach the arena-style fights.  I found myself using every bit of platforming in each area to move quicker and gain strategic advantages over enemies. And the plus side is they’re typically associated with puzzles that lead to hidden areas. These areas would typically contain collectibles, upgrade nodes, and even challenges to test out your skills.

Many of the weapons have seen major overhauls not only to their visuals but to their weapon mods. The shotgun can now be equipped with a fully automatic firing mode mod, with the Super Shotgun variant sporting the new meat hook that allows players to attach to enemies and sling directly to them. A few, if not all the mods have been altered to make the weapons deadlier than ever before. The weapons were great in the last game, they just took them and made them even better.

More Faithful to the Original

DOOM Eternal looks absolutely fantastic on the PlayStation 4 Pro. All the enemies and arena environments are highly detailed, more so than the last game. In fact, many of the demons have been visually upgraded in not only details but overall design. While they didn’t look awful in Doom 2016, they were a far cry from their source material. For example, the Possessed soldiers came off more as undead that spawned from hell itself, whereas in the original you could clearly tell that they were humans once. This shows in the new one as they no longer look like they did in 2016, but instead right from the original games, just with today’s visuals.

 

It brought a sense of familiarity and made me go, “Oh, cool, that’s exactly how I remember them” even though they’re pushing more polygon count today.  As for the general environment, they took Earth and brought Hell to it, changing the landscape while maintaining a shred of humanity in it. There are rivers of laval flowing through maps, tendrils from giant demon wrapped around buildings. Flesh, either demonic or from tormented humans is stretched across areas, giving it a full Hell look. It is truly a visual built of nightmares.

My only complaint about it is when you start off, away from the main areas of battles, objects that are a bit away are clearly low in their polycount. I couldn’t help but feel distracted when I noticed it, with what should have been an epic view looked more like some early gen visuals. It wasn’t too major though as the game does maintain your focus on what’s happening then and there, but still.

Even the story is scripted in a way to be like the originals, where it’s more about the action that is currently happening, rather than the plot. There is a story, and some cutscenes to accompany it, but if you really want to know what’s going on, you’ll need to read the collectible logs. Some may see this as a big negative, but I wasn’t expecting a deep narrative-driven story with DOOM Eternal, I was expecting, well, DOOM. A game that is constantly in your face and the only way to fix that is with your shotgun.

The Online Is Probably Doomed

Despite how the developers and many players felt about the DOOM 2016 multiplayer component being an afterthought, the one found in Eternal is truly just that. At launch, the game comes packed with just one mode, that being Battle Mode. The goal of the mode shares that of any standard team deathmatch, though it’s round-based with a few additional twists. For starters, the mode is asymmetrical with two players taking the role of demons and one other the Slayer. From the slayer side, everything that has made him the ultimate killing machine is still very much intact. Demons, on the other hand, are more unique since they have a number of different classes and abilities, along with summoning other demons to help take down the Slayer. As mentioned, this mode is round base and at the end of each round both Slayer and Demons can select an upgrade that in turn can change the tide of the match. The first team that wins three rounds is declared the winner.

Is this an online mode I can see myself playing for hundreds of hours? Probably not as the novelty wears off quickly when you realize this is all there is to the online versus. While I appreciate the thought that went into the mode, it isn’t going to be one that many are gonna stick around for as it seems more geared towards the competitive playstyle. The map sizes are perfect for the three players, as they’re small and kept the action up, and it definitely can be fun, but again as a person who enjoys their online games, variety in modes would have been great. There’s no slayer vs. slayer, demon vs. demon, team deathmatch, deathmatch, it’s literally just Battlemode. It is so far my biggest letdown about the game, which is a bummer because I really loved the Battle Pass system that accompanies it. Perhaps id Software will add more modes down the line, but in its current state, this will be a quick pass for many when it comes to multiplayer. Something you can have fun for a quick few games, but quickly move back to the campaign or another multiplayer title.

Now the Battle Pass system is clearly something that many developers should note of. It’s absolutely free and provides a lengthy amount of content that can be earned from leveling it up. The rewards range from profile icons to new Slyer and Demon skins that can be used in the campaign (Slayer) or multiplayer (Slayer & Demons). I think it’s as pure as a system can possibly get for being free, and I really loved that they did that to try and keep players playing. I know, we shouldn’t be praising developers on something that should be free in the first place, but it’s that praise that’s going to make the change happen more frequently.

Final Thoughts

This is going to be a tough year for me when it’s over, because I know I’m gonna have a hard time picking out what my Game of The Year will be. DOOM Eternal is right up there, and for id Software to build upon the 2016 release and go above further, Eternal easily earns a spot as a contender. It’s good old fun from the early days of gaming when all you wanted to do was just shoot things and not care about anything else. The only true disappointment from me is the lack in multiplayer components, something I hope the id Software fixes down the road.

 

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