Before its release on March 20th, we were given a sneak peek at the first three levels of DOOM Eternal. Developed by id Software and published by Bethesda, the game is a much-anticipated follow-up to 2016’s comeback DOOM title.
At first impressions the new game is faster and, to be perfectly honest, just better. A series of manoeuvrability improvements sit at the core of the new feel, but there are very little mechanics which haven’t been built upon or reconsidered in positive ways.
Take an adrenaline fuelled 15-minute sneak peek into the supercharged, heavy metal game world of DOOM: Eternal.
New mechanics are plentiful in DOOM Eternal, so much that I was constantly having to remind myself to use every tool in the arsenal. This gameplay demo consisted of the game’s first three levels – roughly three hours total – by the end of which you’ll feel in control of your new capabilities.
A Dash ability lends an incredible new feeling of haste to the game. Limited to two charges but with a very short recharge time, you’ll be zipping around faster than ever in DOOM Eternal, using the feature to dodge, close ground, make faraway jumps, and more.
With this plus a new wall climbing feature and horizontal poles placed around levels for you to swing on, the new DOOM is one that’s vastly more explorable and altogether more open. Secret areas are higher, further away, and require a little more brainpower to reach – but you can reach them all.
On the topic of open-minded game design, explosive barrels are no longer the only environmental tool to take advantage of. Swinging axes, movable bombs, platforms which fall after a few seconds, and explosives tied to swingable chains all appeared in the new demo. If you’re creative in the carnage you wreak, you’ll find plenty of opportunities here.
Other notable new features included an Ice Bomb which freezes enemies briefly, Slayer Challenges (difficult repeatable areas unlocked by a special key which award a large amount of Weapon Upgrade Points), a Flame Belch which lights enemies on fire and makes them drop armour, plus the Blood Punch – a powerful melee area of effect attack which you charge with Glory Kills.
One section even let you take control and play as a Revenant, which was a very, very welcome surprise. Check that out and more in the video below.
Weapons and Weapon Mods overall feel very familiar – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This demo let us mess around with a Shotgun, Super Shotgun, Rocket Launcher, Heavy Cannon, and a Plasma Cannon. Of course, the chainsaw is also back.
Weapon Mods are still two per weapon, with a third tier unlocked via a challenge. Weapon Upgrade Points seemed to be earned slightly faster than in 2016’s DOOM, largely because there were more rewards available per level. It feels like Mods were designed completely with hype in mind too – returning Mods were definitely crowd favourites from the last game and new Mods, such as a grapple on the Super Shotgun, all looked incredible.
Level Challenges are back, and you betcha your favourite enemies are back. A few, such as the Mancubus or Revenant, are now susceptible to powerful shots at specific weak points, letting you disable their weapons or certain abilities.
Glory Kills – duh – also return. Just watch the video.
Health, Ammo, and Armour upgrades are now tied to certain ability upgrades, such as having burning enemies stay alight for longer. Something to note is these weren’t earned through Argent Cells but Sentinel Crystals, a new resource found throughout the game.
The Praetor Suit Token system has been bolstered, now splitting into five categories instead of three. In addition to upgrades to Exploration, Fundamentals, and Environment (with many of DOOM’s bonuses such as being immune to exploding barrels or grabbing ledges faster, you now have upgrade paths for both your Ice Bomb and Frag Grenade.
Runes are back of course, and at first glance they’re a whole lot more powerful. I equipped a rune which gave a speed boost on Glory Kills, and without a single upgrade it was much faster than the last game.
And for the completionists out there, your total level progress including challenges, Slayer areas, secrets, and enemies destroyed is now condensed onto a single bar. A small quality of life change, and a welcome one with so much more to find out there.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a sequel to DOOM without Mick Gordon helming the soundtrack. The chugging heavy metal guitars are back in full force in DOOM Eternal, the backing chorus to your DOOM Slayer mayhem remaining as intense as ever. Combat is obviously the main showcase of Gordon’s all-out style, but I was similarly impressed with the more ambient tracks you’ll enjoy between levels or in more exploration-based portions of your playthrough.
There’s not much to say here except if you loved the last game’s music, you’ll fall head over heels again.
DOOM Eternal releases on March 20th, 2020 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, and Stadia.