Review: DOOM Eternal surpasses legacy

Four years of development culminates in best DOOM game yet


Courtesy of Bethesda Softworks.

Released by ID Software on Friday, March 20, DOOM Eternal is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed reboot, DOOM (2016). This game takes inspiration directly from the original DOOM, which came out in 1993. The high-adrenaline combat is bound to make players enthralled by its gameplay loop. DOOM Eternal features top-of-the-line level design, as well as a balance between story and heart-bursting action. ID Software have also made a clear divergence from its prequel as it takes more inspiration from the original with its monster design.

Players are the Doom Slayer, a member of an ancient civilization called the Night Sentinels. Their duty is to protect the world from the worst of Hell and its abhorrent demons. The game continues the story from DOOM (2016), where gamers stopped a Hell invasion on Mars caused by the corruption of Olivia Pierce, the head of the Biochemical Research Division in the United Aerospace Corporation (UAC). In Eternal, however, after an invasion of earth, the Doom Slayer is the only hope left for humanity. With multiple obstacles in the way, the Slayer is given one objective: find the ones powering the invasion and send them back to Hell.

Abbas Alazawi
“Despite their near-constant fear of the Slayer, they will stop at nothing to kill him.”

Never has a game had incredibly satisfying and intense combat like DOOM Eternal. Players have the arsenal of democracy to combat the demons. The game trickles the new features slowly and steadily and once it deems players worthy, it cranks the combat up to 11. The starting weapon is a combat shotgun, no longer the pistol which was the hallmark of every DOOM game. This is a plus as the pistol has always been tossed aside after acquiring powerful weapons; however, this does not apply to the combat shotgun, it hits like a truck and has the feature of equipping a sticky launcher or a full auto-rotating shotgun barrel with the refined weapon-mod system.

The first three to five hours of the game start off quite slow as gamers are introduced to new features such as the sentinel crystals, dashes and, later on, a special surprise. When all of the new features click and every weapon is in the hand of the Slayer, then players will know what blood rage is as it becomes second nature to switch weapons for every scenario. New equipment like the grenade and ice launcher help to eviscerate the guts of every demon.

The demons are back and despite their near-constant fear of the Slayer, they will stop at nothing to kill him. Eternal also introduces new demons which are quite a mixed bag. The whiplash, which is a medusa-like cyborg, can deliver devastating energy slashes. These are a thrill to fight and even more to perform a glory kill on, a special cinematic death that gives more health than normal. Gargoyles are flying imps that deserve to be blasted into a canyon for being so annoying. Prowlers are pack hunting, teleporting imps that are a blast to fight in combat as gamers must have eyes in the back of their heads because the prowlers are bound to exploit every angle. Lastly, there are the DOOM Hunters, long-extinct demons brought to life to end the Slayer. They are what make the most exhilarating combat experiences. They are fast, strong and deadly. Killing them is a priority along with the returning demons from old DOOM games like the Archvile, which can summon demons and empower them.

Abbas Alazawi
“The game trickles the new features slowly and steadily and once it deems players worthy, it cranks the combat up to 11.”

Eternal’s set pieces and level design are a mastery of the amazing designs from DOOM 2016. It’s semi-linear, which means despite having an end goal, players have some freedom in deciding where they go. Maps can vary from the hell-torn battlefields of earth cities, the frozen landscape of cultist bases and even the deepest parts of Hell itself. This makes gamers become enthralled in the fighting as demons die in droves. A new feature is the abundance of platforming. This can turn fans away as there are moments where it can be repetitive to go from killing demons, then jumping to the next area, then kill more demons, over and over again. However, this does allow there to be more unique secret locations that offer ammo along with armor and for the level designers to make imaginations go wild.

The beauty of the combat would never be revealed if it wasn’t for the music. Composer Mick Gordon delivers again with hardcore metal blasting in the background. The fighting would lack an integral element without the mix of guitar solos and electric riffs which change in tempo and tone depending on the weapon used and situation at hand. Intertwining music closely to gameplay causes players to not even realize there’s music and instead makes the music part of the gameplay. New songs such as “Unholy Crusade” and “YOU ARE BUT ONE MAN” continue the legacy left by “BFG Division” and “Rip & Tear,” fueling players’ desires for brutal combat.

DOOM Eternal is a masterpiece of a title. It has given what fans of the series from 1993 always dreamed of. DOOM Eternal receives 5 stars out of 5 for being the best first-person shooter game in the last 10 years.