Doom Eternal: A violent battle against evil. Will you save humanity?Published February 8, 2021
Doom Eternal is an FPS game developed by id Software and published by Bethesda released in 2020 for PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC. Is Doom Eternal a worthy addition to the series? Read on.
There are certain gaming franchises that are universally recognized as gaming royalty. Names like Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Mario etc. Doom Eternal has most definitely earned its place amongst gaming forefathers due to its longevity and unapologetic portrayal of what can only be described as demons’ mass murdering.
Violence is bad, and it feels good to be bad
Even before the release of Doom’s latest offering, the series focused on complaints and controversy due to the explicit violent nature of how you dispatch the demon hordes. So what does Doom Eternal say to such criticism? Deal with it.
Most games portray demons as the aggressors, terrifying entities to be feared. In Doom Eternal, they feel like your victims. Don’t get me wrong. They are gruesome, long-clawed, and ferocious. But you are the Slayer. Mankind’s Champion, the light in the darkness, and you will not be defeated.
A masterpiece of blood
I wouldn’t describe Doom Eternal’s art style as being “realistic”. After all, almost nothing in this game actually exists in real life. The demons, weapons, and most locations are all fictional, so it’s difficult to say that the graphics are true to life. That’s not what the developers were aiming for though. This is more of an arcade shooter than an immersive experience. You’re jumping huge distances, picking up glowing powerups, and popping demons like blood-filled balloons. The UI follows this design principle too.
The graphical styling does what it sets out to do, which is provide an immensely satisfying visual reward to executing hordes of demons and setting the stage of an Earth invaded by Hell’s forces.
The demons themselves have been given a design overhaul and bring some of the old favorites into the current-gen making them feel just as gnarly as the first time we saw them back in 1993’s Doom. Arachnotron and Pain Elemental are two mainstays that have resurfaced. New demon types include the Doom Hunter and Marauder.
Pure FPS action executed flawlessly
The core gameplay revolves around you making your way through different locations that are laid out almost like competitive FPS arenas. This makes for good gunplay, but sometimes it feels like they leaned a little bit too far in this direction and away from keeping the locations thematically correct. I found it hard to believe that these destroyed buildings happened to have fallen into the layout of a perfect FPS battleground.
There are invariably multiple power-ups lying around in each area to help you. Things like health, ammo, shield. You can also find weapon upgrades and damage amps every now and again. Gameplay consists of you making your way through these areas decimating anything that gets in your way. If you find yourself low on health, you can do a “glory kill” on weakened enemies to regain some health. Glory kills are basically meleed finishing moves that are usually particularly gruesome.
Boss fights offer a nice change in pace and make you think about how you will defeat them beyond just shooting at them. Usually, you’ll need to figure out a mechanic of some sort.
Controlling the Doom Slayer and handing out death and punishment is extremely slick. Moving around the levels, picking up and powerups, and scoring glory kills feels superfluid. Anyone who has played an FPS before will feel right at home. Even more so for anyone who has played an arena shooter before.
The setting for Doom Eternal is 8 months after the events of 2016’s Doom. Hell is invading Earth, and you must stop them. The story of the game reveals details about the Doom Slayer and his past. This is a nice touch and puts to bed some discussions around who actually is the Doom Slayer and what happened to Doomguy.
Power-ups/ Weapon mods
You can collect sentinel crystals, which allow you to select certain upgrades making life slightly easier as you slice your way to victory.
There are also runes which you can equip which offer further upgrade opportunities to your abilities. Things like enemies remaining in a staggered state for longer, which means you have more time to perform glory kills. Or the ability to move more whilst in the air, granting improved maneuverability.
You can also find weapon mods lying around the levels that will add functionality to your weapons. Things like auto fire for the shotgun, for example.
Doom Eternal is the “Doomest” form of doom we’ve had for years. The end of mankind is close at hand, and the only way to stop it is for one guy, you, the Doom Slayer, to kill literally everything you see. And killing is what you do best.
It is an unapologetic, straightforward shooter that basically says “See if you can do it better” to anyone who thinks they can. My personal opinion is that no one will do it better than Doom for a long time to come.
My only (tiny) gripe is that it’s a little too arcadey. Developers id Software is basically sitting on a goldmine of backstory and lore and you never really get to explore that due to this being purely a shooter with no other elements to it. But I’m scraping the barrel here looking for negatives.