Doom Eternal. The title alone conjures up the notion that Doom is eternal. A franchise that has become so ingrained in our culture, that it has become synonymous with first person shooters. A game so legendary, people are still playing it and making mods for it. A game that will last forever.
When the original Doom launched in December of 1993, few people could have predicted the immense cultural impact it would have. More so than its predecessor Wolfenstein 3D, Doom helped spearhead a massive paradigm shift in the gaming industry. A shift from 2D platformers and shooters to 3D first person shooters.
Doom, more so than any other id Software game, has had a lasting appeal unlike any of them. Throughout id’s entire history, this game is the one that has had the strongest staying power. You could argue that all of them still have strong fan support. But Doom is something else.
When Doom 2016 launched, it was over a decade since Doom 3 had launched. And the game felt fueled by the fan community of the original game. Glory kills taken straight of Brutal Doom. References to the now infamous Doom comic.
Everything about it felt like a gift to the fans who had kept the original game alive for so long. And in many ways, the people behind it felt like such fans themselves. But Doom Eternal, even more so than Doom 2016, feels like a glorious celebration of the legacy that Doom has left on the world.
So it’s time to grab the super shotguns, and chainsaws. Let’s get ultra-violent as we rip and tear into Doom Eternal here on BagoGames.
Doom Eternal picks up some time after Doom 2016. The Doomguy, now the Doomslayer resides in a fortress hovering above Earth, witnessing as humanity falls beneath the Hell invasion. Grabbing his shotgun and some shells, he has one goal in mind. To save humanity from its doom, whatever the cost.
During the game we get a lot of glimpses into the Doomslayer’s past. The game does a good job connecting the lore of Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal with the original games, and establishing that these games are more sequels than straight up remakes.
While I would love to discuss the story in more detail, I also want to avoid spoilers for anyone who hasn’t played the game yet. And given how the story really doesn’t have much to it beyond the Doomslayer not giving a toss about anything, I feel it’s not worth spoiling either.
Like Doom 2016, the story is not really that integral to the gameplay. It mostly just decides where you’ll go next and what your loose objective is. But it usually boils down to “kill this thing” or “punch this thing”. So it never felt like the story got in the way of the gameplay. Not to mention all the cutscenes are skipable in case you’re the impatient type.
What it all boils down to is that you’re here to save your people from annihilation. It really doesn’t get more complicated than that. And being a complete BAMF while doing so.
Rip And Tear
Doom Eternal’s gameplay feels like the next evolution of what was set in stone with Doom 2016. Though with some mark improvements on the formula.
The most notable improvement for me is that the game feels better structured. There’s less of a reliance on going from arena fight to arena fight. Granted, those arena fights are still here, but it doesn’t feel like every single room is a gore nest this time around.
Instead, you’re kinda doing more exploration and puzzle-solving. I say kinda cause it seldom boils down to less than punching something that glows green. The game does a really good job of showing you the path forward. As a general rule, if it glows green, you punch it.
A very welcome addition is the fast travel system. Once you’ve reached the end of most levels, you’re allowed to fast travel back to earlier parts of it. This is useful in case you missed items you wanna get.
The game is loaded with secrets as well, much like its predecessors. Though interestingly, there are no “classic levels” to play in this one. Though more on that later.
Secrets usually hide various items. Extra lives are probably the most common. These work by letting you instantly continue playing when you get killed, refiling your health. Once you lose all your extra lives though, you’re forced to respawn at the last checkpoint.
Other items include toys, cheat codes, codex entries and music albums. The codex entries are important as they explain most of the lore and backstory in the game. Though they are entirely optional to view in case you don’t really care much about the story.
Cheat codes, which come in the form of 3.5” diskettes, lets you replay missions using different modifiers. Interestingly, the cheat codes does not disable progression, so you still earn XP using them.
You can also find Praetor Suit upgrade tokens. These enhance your abilities or even give you new ones. Another type of suit upgrade are the Sentinel Crystals. These upgrade your health, armor and ammo capacity, and also grant you additional abilities.
Like in Doom 2016, your weapons can all be upgraded. And it seems the upgrade drones are back in Eternal. Just find one and rip the upgrade from it and boom, you can get a new alternate mode for your guns.
Fortress Of DOOM
The game’s hub, so to speak, is the Fortress of DOOM. This is where you’ll arrive between missions to kick back, unlock new upgrades and explore the Slayer’s mancave.
This room is where your toy collection and weapons are displayed, allowing you to get a better look at them. You also have access to a PC that at first glance doesn’t do much. Though in reality, it holds two secrets.
The first one requires you to collect all the cheat code diskettes in the game. The second one requires you to type in a code. While I’m not gonna spoil what the code is, it’s pretty easy to find out.
And it’s worth unlocking as when you have these two unlocked, you can play the entirety of DOOM and DOOM II: Hell On Earth in-game. It’s a pretty neat bonus that makes up for the lack of classic levels in the game.
Scattered across the Fortress are also empty picture frames. These will display the music albums you collect in the game. Each album contains a track from previous id Software titles, including Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Quake 2, Quake 3 and DOOM 2016.
Other things to do in the Fortress of DOOM is replaying missions. This allows you to replay missions using cheat codes (as explained earlier), or just replaying them to gather any items you missed, complete mission challenges or explore further.
You can also access Master Levels. These are versions of missions from the game with an increased enemy count and much more powerful enemies as well. At the moment only two levels from the campaign are available as master levels, though I assume this number to increase over time.
Another neat thing about the Fortress is the Ripatorium. This arena at the bottom of the Fortress allows you to get a quick fight with some demons. And of course the Slayer would have basically a demon slaying arena to keep his skills sharp.
You’ll also find unlockable upgrades and skins. Using Sentinel Cores found in the game, you can unlock these to further upgrade yourself.
The game offers specific challenges during missions. These come in the form of Gore Nests, Buff Totems and Slayer Gates. While Gore Nests offered no substantial reward in DOOM 2016, here they offer a timed challenge that counts towards the level completion but are entirely optional.
You can redo Gore Nests as many times as you please, even come back to earlier missions to do them if you so please. Initiating the Gore Nest will set a timer, and you have to clear out the enemies before the timer runs out.
Sometimes you will enter a room where the enemies are substantially faster and more powerful, surrounded by a red aura. This means the room has a Buff Totem. Punching it will make the fight substantially easier for you. So any room with a Buff Totem should make it your priority.
Slayer Gates are definitely the highlight of the mission challenges though. They’re usually protected by a gate that needs a special key to be unlocked. So it’s not as easy as just walking up to them and Bob’s your uncle. You need to actually explore the level to find the keys to these challenges.
These look like Gore Nests, though instead of spawning enemies, they act as teleports. Teleports to where, I hear you asking? Well, they send you to arenas where you’ll be fighting a horde of demons. And we’re talking powerful demons here. Late game demons that will be far above your current level.
So in many ways, they’re a good way to prepare for what’s ahead. The big deal with completing them though is that each completed Slayer Gate grants you an Empyrean Key. These can be used on your ship to unlock the Unmaykr, which is a pretty sweet weapon that cannot be obtained through any other means (more on that below).
If you find a Slayer Gate a bit tough during a mission and wanna come back to it later, you can. Replaying missions allows you to redo Slayer Gates you may have missed or ignored. Though if you’re playing with cheat codes enabled, the key to the Slayer Gates won’t spawn on the map, rendering them inaccessible.
Combat – The Eternal Ballet of DOOM
Combat feels very similar to DOOM 2016. It’s very motion driven, and pretty much the antithesis of cover shooters. The mantra is to always keep moving, cause standing still is very likely to get your ass killed. And running is not gonna help either, cause most enemies WILL chase you down like the coward you are.
DOOM Eternal is very much the same, and combat feels more like a big chess board that you have to manage. Just without the luxury of waiting, so it’s always changing, always dynamic.
As soon as you enter the battlefield, you have to quickly assess the situation and figure out what you need to focus on. And it very much is like a dance where you avoid projectiles, move from enemy to enemy and manage your resources. And resource management is really at the heart of DOOM’s combat, which makes it surprisingly deep for a shooter like this.
Unfortunately I did run into a fair amount of bugs when it came to combat. For instance, I was in a level with an Archvile and killed it using the Crucible. Though even after its death, it got stuck in this state where it was registered as dead but still had an active AI so it kept resurrecting monsters.
And I’ve had multiple instances where enemies have just seemingly popped out of existence when I killed them. So overall, just some weird occurrences in the game and odd bugs here and there.
Another thing that did bother me was how enemies seemingly take no damage from the environment. They can walk just fine through electrified water, lava or acid. It feels a bit unrealistic and unfair, given they probably would take damage from that, even when undead.
And during a lot of the game you come across these scripted infighting events where demons are fighting each other. Unlike the original games, it doesn’t seem like they can actually hurt each other, which feels like a missed opportunity.
DOOM Eternal has very few health and armor pickups, so often you need to rely on your abilities to restock. Glory kills, for instance, is a mechanic that returns from DOOM 2016. Most enemies you hurt will eventually reach a staggered state, in which you can do a melee finisher on them. This is called a glory kill, and all glory kills cause enemies to drop health pickups.
Putting enemies on fire can also be important as burning demons will drop armor for you. You can use the Flame Belch and the Super Shotgun’s mastered flamehook to achieve this.
All of the enemies have their own weaknesses and strategies. Some enemies like the Marauder will even require you to read tells for when they attack and act accordingly. So each combat scenario in DOOM Eternal feels less like a mindless slaughterfest and more like an intricate puzzle for you to solve.
And the game fully expects you to use ALL of your tools at your disposal, so it’s not the kind of game where you can fall back on a single weapon or strategy. Instead you have to constantly think on your feet and change your weapons, abilities and strategies accordingly.
Just when you’re starting to feel comfortable the game WILL test you and demand more from you. The difficulty in this game is actually fairly high, so even at the normal difficulty you will get a run for your money. So if you’ve been able to complete this game on Nightmare difficulty, you’re definitely more of a hardcore gamer than I am!
Hell On Earth – The Visuals Of DOOM Eternal
The DOOM series has always retained a very unique visual style and setting. It’s a style that I’ve come to personally define as “hellpunk”. A mixture of sci-fi, with lots of technology and abstract corridors, and the invasion of hell itself taking over these environments.
And as much as I know people have wanted DOOM to explore hell itself, I never felt that was the pure essence of what DOOM is about. DOOM is not about going to hell. It’s about hell coming to our world and how an invasion from hell would impact our world.
DOOM Eternal takes the concept of an invasion from hell on Earth itself which was explored previously in DOOM II. And while this isn’t a remake of DOOM II, it definitely feels like a reimagining of that scenario. Which is good, because as much as DOOM II tried to explore a more realistic setting, it still didn’t really feel grounded in reality.
In Eternal, you’ll be exploring a lot of environments on Earth that feel more believable. Subways, malls, and cities that have been utterly transformed by the demon invasion. It is Hell on Earth in a literal sense as you can see parts of the levels almost literally devoured by flesh and bone. It’s a really nasty visual style that just reeks through the screen with the hellish stench you can imagine coming off these things.
And I can imagine why Doomguy is so pissed this time. I mean, he already prevented an invasion on Earth in DOOM II. I’d be pissed as well if the same thing happened again. And he still doesn’t have his rabbit Daisy back. Poor guy just wants his bunny back.
Hellpunk – The Aesthetic Of DOOM
What really sets DOOM Eternal apart from DOOM 2016 though is just how much better it looks. Hell, even compared to most other shooters today, it’s almost a generation ahead. Largely due to how the game was crafted.
Using Vulkan, and ditching the mega texture technology from the previous game, DOOM Eternal not only looks better but is a lot more compact than its predecessor. Something I immediately noticed while I was downloading the game as its size is a fraction of DOOM’s.
It still achieves a high degree of detail and visual fidelity by utilizing decals and a very efficient rendering that only renders what the player can visually see on screen. If polygons are obscured, they are simply not rendered. This gives the game an uncanny level of optimization, and helps it run pretty good on most systems.
The game also utilizes color extremely well. This might be one of the most colorful games in the franchise since… well, pretty much since the originals. And everything from the purple sludge, the demon guts and blood to the neon signs and glows in the environments feel extremely reminiscent of the original games’ VGA graphics.
The Sound of DOOM Eternal
The sound is of course something I should mention. And luckily, I don’t have anything bad to say about it.
The weapons all sound really satisfying and beefy. I especially loved the sound of the Shotgun and Super Shotgun. And of course, the sound of the Plasma Rifle is just right.
The voice acting was surprisingly decent as well. I particularly enjoyed Ed Bosco’s voice for the Marauder. Given his portrayal of Alastor from Hazbin Hotel, I guess this would be his second performance as a demon.
The music is also really good. And definitely more diverse than anything Mick Gordon did in DOOM 2016. Which is good given that soundtrack could get a bit samey and grating after a while.
DOOM Eternal’s soundscape is filled with more chants and ambient sounds, making it feel more akin to DOOM 64 than classic DOOM. A definitive welcome change that had me often stopping just to listen to the metal choirs and throat singing in some of the levels.
The Celebration Of A Legacy
I didn’t choose this title of this review just because DOOM Eternal is a damn good game. Because while it is, it has a fair amount of fan service. But it runs deeper than just feeling like pandering.
Every aspect of DOOM Eternal feels like it was made out of pure love for the id Software legacy. The game is littered with boost pads taken straight out of Quake 3. The enemy designs are more evocative than ever of the classic designs from DOOM 1 and 2.
And the story itself pays tribute to so much from DOOM’s legacy that you can’t help but feel like this game truly respects and relishes in the fan community that has kept the franchise alive through the 90’s and until now.
All throughout the game, there are all these little touches and details that feel put there because the people who made this game have as much love for id Software as we the fans do. It feels like a game where fans can feel at home.
A Gift For The Fans
It’s this celebration of DOOM’s legacy that fuels the game. The lifeblood of which DOOM Eternal breathes and lives from. It’s in its DNA, in its soul. You’re not just the Doomslayer. The Doomslayer is Doomguy, but stronger, modernized. Much like the game itself.
Whether it is the bookshelf in the Doomguy’s man cave, that even has boxes of classic id titles on it. Or whether it is the classic Doom marine skin that the game does not shy away from making canon in cutscenes if you so choose. All this comes together to make DOOM Eternal feel like a gift to the fans of the entire franchise.
It’s a game that respects its legacy, but also pushes the FPS genre to new heights. Where other shooters simply require you to react quick enough, or hide in cover and shoot at enemies, DOOM Eternal requires you to think, react and be completely aware. It demands a lot from the player, but the reward feels all the more substantial as a result.
A Modern Classic
DOOM Eternal is by all means a modern classic. A FPS game that will be remembered and revered for years to come. Though in the end I cannot help but feel it lacks replayability.
There is no mod support to speak of. There’s only a single multiplayer mode which is fun and all, but lacks variety. No co-op, no deathmatch to speak of. And once you have found all the secrets in the campaign, it feels pointless to go through it all again other than for bragging rights.
Which is sadly where DOOM Eternal disappoints me. I can easily go back and play the original DOOM because of the vast amount of mods available. There’s always going to be content for it to mix things up. But for DOOM Eternal, I can’t help but feel the experience is amazing, but short lived.
But that being said, I still wholeheartedly recommend the game. It is one of the best FPS’s I have played in years. I have never felt so immersed and sucked into a FPS in a long time. And if you’re at all a fan of id Software’s games, you owe it to yourself to play it.
Rip and tear. Until it is done. For you are DOOM.
While feeling a little unpolished in places, as well as lacking replayability and longevity, DOOM Eternal is by all definitions a modern classic.
- Engaging and tactical combat scenarios
- Amazing graphics
- Diverse and haunting soundtrack
- Surprisingly deep lore
- Skill based gameplay
- Numerous bugs and glitches
- Game lacks longevity due to lack of mod support
- Lack of more multiplayer modes