People who don’t play video games often raise the question of whether the medium encourages senseless violence and as such teaches young and impressionable children the wrong message of using violence to solve all of your problems. This, of course, is a massive generalisation and is completely false on almost all accounts and is instead more of a problem with our general social culture and how we perceive events and peers while growing up in order to give ourselves a sense of worth and purpose in our lives which perhaps may end up leaving us feeling broken and misunderstood by a cruel world that asks us to seek validation from popular members of society while also not allowing us the opportunity to blossom and come into our own niche within the world and thus granting us true happiness. So anyway, here’s a review about DOOM Eternal, a game about a very angry man killing demons from hell with massive amounts of ultra-violence.
The story of Doom Eternal is, well, kill demons essentially. You are (once again) the Doom Slayer, a mythical warrior with a scarily persistent sense of unfiltered violence and rage, who has now made it his crusade to rid earth of the hordes of hell after they successfully conquered the entire planet. Throughout the game you will come to find out more about the inner workings of the infernal creatures and find yourself locked into a conflict much bigger than you originally thought as other supernatural forces end up entering the fray and you learn the true origins of the Doom Slayer and the warrior-race he served. You can certainly say that compared to 2016’s DOOM the story here is a lot more complex and gives me ‘Master of the Universe’ vibes as the power level of both yourself and the enemies you fight keep on rising until you feel as though you are a god doing battle with the very primal beings of the universe itself. There are also loads of codex entries, notes to find and just general background information that really flesh out the world of DOOM and the entities that exist within it.
The presentation of the game is absolutely amazing. Before I mention anything about graphics I feel it’s important to note that Mick Gordon has once again produced some of the best Heavy Metal video game soundtracks ever as it completely fits the game’s tone and pace as I don’t think there has ever been a game that has made me feel as pumped up during combat due entirely to the music blaring into my ears. However on the note of how the game actually looks I think it is an amazing looking game with some of the vistas and scenery you find yourself in looking as though they were ripped straight from and 80’s Heavy Metal album cover, including the amazing design of your spaceship which looks partly like a medieval castle, what a fantastic idea! The monster designs too have been simplified slightly and are more reminiscent of the original DOOM from back in the day, with the new enemies too looking extremely well designed. I also liked all the voice acting for the game and while I do think it should have been given more opportunities to shine, maybe by having more humans interact with the Slayer, what is on offer is still very good and again fits the tone of the game perfectly.
The gameplay itself is still the fast and frantic action from the 2016 DOOM with some neat additions that make the game so much more mobile and a massive blast to play. Firstly you now have access to a dash and grappling chain attached to a certain weapon which makes flying around the arena, dodging fireballs and just generally getting around a hell of a lot of fun (pun most definitely intended). They also have made the game seemingly more tactical than before as you have to manage the resources that you have available in combat a lot more. You can restore health by ‘glory killing’ low health enemies but you also have the ability to set enemies on fire to restore armor and get ammo back by using your chainsaw which is now on a timer rather than having to find fuel for it all the time. It keeps up the pace of combat and really makes you think about what tools you will use in the next fight rather than just jumping in guns blazing. The game also has a lot more emphasis on exploration as secrets are dotted all around the different maps which for completionists will be an absolute treat, especially considering some of the collectables are music disks from the amazing soundtrack. The secrets also encompass a lot of the upgrade resources for making your guns work better or your armor perform differently which helps add emphasis for checking every nook and cranny before moving on after each combat encounter. Overall then there is certainly a lot more to do in this game than the previous entry which according to your tastes can be a good or a bad thing.
I did however have some issues with DOOM Eternal. Firstly while I did like the story as it felt stupidly over-the-top I also feel as though they almost placed too much emphasis on the backstory itself rather than on what you all came to this game for, mindless and senseless violence non-stop. At several points in the adventure I wanted to keep up my adrenaline but story points just grinded the game to a slow pace which killed some of my enthusiasm. I also felt as though by adding so many new mechanics to the combat it can feel rather cluttered at times and although it means there are far more options for tactical combat if you just want to run and gun you’re going to find it to be very difficult in this new system as if you don’t balance your resources correctly you’re going to die very quickly. Finally however my biggest gripe with the game was horrific technical issues that I consistently encountered. Textures didn’t load in correctly, audio kept tearing and cutting out at various points but my biggest issue was crashing. I think this may very well be the most amount of crashes I have ever experienced in a game as it got to the point that around every 15 minutes the game crashed to desktop with no warning forcing me to go through entire combat encounters that I had already won again. This was so incredibly aggravating that it killed my desire to ever play through the game again or the multiplayer mode which is why I haven’t mentioned it. It’s a damn shame as when the game is running fine it’s an absolute blast to play but for my experience it just eventually became a chore to complete as no matter what I changed or modified nothing seemed to fix the crashing.
In the end then DOOM Eternal is essentially DOOM 2016 2.0 as it’s bigger, more complex and a whole lot more… stuff to deal with. I enjoyed my time with the game no doubt as it was one of the fastest, most frantic and badass shooters I have played in a long time but the overly complex world/story and the huge technical problems soured my experience quite a bit. I still would of course recommend playing this amazing looking, sounding and playing game but I would suggest preparing for problems that you will experience through your journey into hell.