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The Ancient Gods Part 2 review: a brutal curtain call on DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal has given us one last hurrah in a way only DOOM can with The Ancient Gods Part 2. The game’s final piece of DLC is every bit as brutal and satisfying as you’d hope.

To quote DOOM Eternal composer Mick Gordon: “Looking at DOOM, everything feels like a metal album cover from the ’70s.” And it’s true – the joy of DOOM Eternal was never in its subtlety. It’s a no-holds-barred adrenaline junkie experience, one where you descend into the pits of hell, slay literal gods, and are kitted out with abilities called Blood Punch or Glory Kill.

Complete with dragon riding, a fuck-off big warhammer, and a duel with the lord of the underworld, DOOM has never been more metal than in the game’s final campaign DLC, The Ancient Gods Part 2.

Following on from the events of The Ancient Gods Part 1, the Slayer must journey to Immora, the capital city of hell, to kill the Dark Lord – an evil version of himself. Doing so will effectively win the war against hell, so you can understand why our silent protagonist is psyched by the whole idea.

The Ancient Gods Part 2 picks up exactly where The Ancient Gods Part 1 left off, with the Slayer staring the Dark Lord eye-to-eye. Unfortunately you can’t fight him then and there, so your quest to reach Immora begins.

As you traverse landscapes such as The World Spear or Reclaimed Earth you’ll pick up a brand new weapon called the Sentinel Hammer, be introduced to a number of devastating new enemies, and figure out a way to swing around maps with your Super Shotgun’s Meat Hook. It’s a wild ride, to be sure.

DOOM ETernal The Ancient Gods Part 2
Image: DOOM Eternal / id Software

New tricks, same old DOOM Eternal

Despite only introducing a few new pieces of brutality into the DOOM Eternal arsenal, the gameplay seems several degrees spicier. In The Ancient Gods Part 2 you’ll be quick-swapping between weapons faster than ever, as new enemies provoke interesting new challenges and your ability to express yourself through sweet violence becomes ever bloodier.

Among the new enemies are Screecher Zombies who empower any demons around them when killed, a Stone Imp that will only be harmed by two particular attacks, an Armoured Baron of Hell that will absolutely ruin your day, and more.

Luckily, it’s not just the enemies that have evolved. Early on in The Ancient Gods Part 2 you’ll be blessed with the Sentinel Hammer, a powerful weapon that let’s you bonk big groups of enemies, dealing heavy damage and showering you in ammo.

Another form of ammo generation beyond the chainsaw is an excellent addition in light of the increased enemy diversity – too often you’ll be stuck in a pinch needing a specific kind of ammo, and you’ll be all the happier knowing it’s only a hammerin’ away.

Here there be dragons

Outside of the gameplay loop we know and love, I cannot stress how simply awesome this DLC is. Kicking a plotline that already involved the slaying of earth-destroying demons to the next level seems impossible at face value, but that’s exactly what The Ancient Gods has done for DOOM Eternal.

The Slayer’s quest to conquer Immora and the Dark Lord starts at 11 and only turns it up. You’ll ride dragons, gather armies of light, uncover millenia-old secrets of the Makyrs, and of course, embark on an all-out war with hell’s greatest army – and its biggest baddie.

In other franchises, you could call it pure fanservice. For DOOM Eternal it never really mattered, as long as it was fucking cool.

Closing thoughts

The Ancient Gods Part 2 is everything you’d want out of a curtain call on one of our generation’s best games. It cranks every knob way past the limit, spitting out set-piece after set-piece of ferocious combat, and culminates in an ending that’s nothing short of epic.

It’s tough, and shouldn’t be jumped into if you haven’t already proved yourself in the crucible of DOOM Eternal’s main campaign. But how else would you want to see this series end, with a walk in the park?

That’s just not DOOM.

The Ancient Gods Part 2 is out now.