Even if you abhor violence, hate heavy metal, and you’ve never operated a chainsaw in your lifetime, DOOM Eternal will have you seeing red and gleefully drinking the blood of your enemies from its first moments.
DOOM Eternal is quite simply the most fun you’ll have with a shooter this year.
DOOM Eternal expands on 2016’s franchise reboot in a myriad of powerful, in-depth, and instantly gratifying ways.
In DOOM 2016 you fought an encroaching demon invasion on Mars as the Doom Slayer, a hopped-up marine who runs at the speed of a cheetah and carves through enemies like “a scythe through a field.” In the sequel you return as the same silent-but-violent protagonist, though this time it’s the entirety of humanity at stake.
But it’s not just the single player narrative id Software have taken to the next level. A great many aspects of DOOM Eternal have built upon 2016’s title with hype, fan service, quality of life, and playability in mind.
Anyone familiar with the gameplay demos already online won’t find any shocking changes when they pick up DOOM Eternal. The new weapon, armour, and perk upgrades all seem designed with pure entertainment in mind; drier upgrades from DOOM 2016 have been sidelined for a few that are a little more spectacular.
For instance, the Super Shotgun’s fiery Meat Hook to pull yourself towards enemies before you slug ’em, or the Ballista’s Destroyer Blade mod which transforms the weapon into a hellish crossbow capable of firing massive horizontal beams.
The new upgrades, mobility improvements, and a notably more expansive level design all work in awesome tandem to create the feeling that you, as the Slayer, are completely unstoppable. You’re fast and deadly from the get go, and by the end of the game, you’re only faster and deadlier.
That said, some enemies will definitely put up a fight. Certain bosses – like the axe-wielding Gladiator seen in the game’s trailer – are a proper challenge outside of the shoot, find ammo, shoot more mentality. You’ll need to rely on carefully timed dodges with your Dash ability and opportunistic attacks, sometimes down to a split second, to defeat more challenging foes.
DOOM Eternal is littered with moments that’ll have you grinning like a fiend. As with the gameplay itself – and the whole damn game, really – the campaign and completionist incentives seem to have been tailor made to illicit the sweetest endorphin rushes possible. Most of them capitalise on DOOM’s lineage without ever feeling cheesy.
Vinyl records can be found throughout the campaign, allowing you to play theme tunes from old school DOOM games, Wolfenstein, Quake and more in your hub, the Fortress of Doom. Squeaky toys are back as well but so are Cheat Codes such as infinite ammo or single-bullet staggering, allowing you to replay levels with training wheels on in order to collect everything you missed.
Skins are another new feature which definitely add to the hype. From your hub you’ll be able to unlock the DOOM 2016 Praetor Suit, the OG DOOM look, plus a few other skins to deck out your Slayer (plus weapons) in.
Throughout the story you’ll operate cannons the size of skyscrapers, witness a giant demonic heart explode in a shower of gore, and find out a little bit more about who exactly the Slayer is. It’s icing on the cake given the quality of the gameplay, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the hell out of it.
All this, set to a soundtrack by a returning Mick Gordon, and you’ve etched out a recipe for success. Like the guitars that chug along behind it, DOOM Eternal is totally off-the-wall, relentlessly fun, and stacked with energy.
DOOM Eternal is an upgrade through and through. If you sung battle hymns as you ripped and teared your way through DOOM in 2016, you’ll be seeing red once again and you’ll enjoy every damn minute of it. If you enjoy a campaign-driven single player shooter in any capacity, chances are you’ll want to pick this up as well.
DOOM Eternal is out March 20 on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. Pre-order your copy here.