The eternal slayer

On my gaming Mt. Rushmore, Doom has a guaranteed spot. It has been one of my favorite series since I played the original on my first DOS gaming computer. When the team at idSoftware rebooted the series back in 2016 it was one of the most impressive combinations of what made the original great, combined with modern gaming mechanics. Doom Eternal now arrives to not only continue the legacy of the series, but to also bring a few new tricks to the series. The end result is one of the best shooters released this year if not the entire generation.

One thing I was not expecting with Doom Eternal was just how much story it delivers. Doom 2016 certainly upped the lore content, but it felt subtle in a way that it almost felt comical. Eternal spares no expense in telling the story of how Doom guy came to be. He even speaks, which was bonkers to me when it happened. The tone also feels slightly different this time around. It tries to take itself seriously while also tossing in plenty of gag moments and goofiness. The voice acting is good even when the writing tends to fall short.

MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC, Switch
Price I’d Pay: $59.99

Combat is where Doom Eternal shines though. Much like its rebooted predecessor, this game is all about speed and movement. Mowing down demons feels like a blood-filled ballet of chess. Knowing when to use what weapon on what enemy at what time is daunting at first. Eternal focuses on weak points for enemies. Each one has something that can be focused to take them down faster. Knowing which weapon works well to do that is paramount.

The push and pull mechanics are also enhanced. Glory kills provide health, while chainsaw kills once again deliver ammo. The new mix is the flame belch. This shoulder-mounted cannon sets enemies on fire, but also causes them to drop armor. Mixing attacks to provide resources is key to these encounters. It can be overwhelming at first, but by the end of the game I was gracefully bouncing between enemies and getting what I needed when I needed it. It became second nature in the flow of combat.

Locomotion also plays a much larger role this time around. The Slayer is much more agile, with the double jump being available right out of the gate. He also gets a dash that eventually can be used twice to move around the battlefield. Combine all that with the combos that can be performed and he can really stay vertical for much longer. Each large encounter feels like a death dance with pristine choreography. All the weapons also make a return. The shotgun feels great, the plasma rifle is a beast, and of course the BFG will lay waste to enemies. Each weapon also has two modifiers that can be switched on-the-fly and add spice to the game. The king is still the super shotgun with its new grappling hook that, when upgraded, also lights enemies on fire. The Doom series has always been known for its weapons, and Eternal is no exception.

The upgrade system feels a lot like the combat system in that it is overwhelming at first. There are a ton of upgrades to unlock and currencies to unlock them. Suit upgrades, gun modifications, health and armor increases. It is all so much that I feel like the tutorials last multiple levels. Doom Eternal feels like a game that is trying to get the player to use every single tool and ability it offers, and for the most part it works. I did only equip three perks throughout the entire game, as my play style just felt tuned for those specific ones. Collectibles are also combined into these items and include toys and cheat codes in the form of three and a half inch floppy discs. There are also albums to collect with music from idSoftware’s catalog. The game is packed with plenty to see and plenty of nostalgia.

All of this doesn’t come without a cost though. The ammo system is one of my biggest gripes. For a game that wants players to constantly rip and tear I feel like I am constantly running low on ammo. Yes it is designed to create the push and pull method of getting more, but sometimes the fodder enemies are sparse and my chainsaw attacks swing and miss. Then we have the case of the Marauder, who completely breaks the flow of the combat entirely. This enemy blocks every attack thrown at it and you have to stop and wait for an opening to land a blow. This would be fine, but it goes against everything the game has taught the player up to that point. One on one he is fine, but he also throws out a ghost dog to do damage and is often accompanied by fodder enemies. It is more frustrating than anything else, as the game clearly is tuned for one type of combat and this enemy breaks that entirely.

The campaign is meaty, but Eternal packs plenty of other goodies to discover. There are Master Levels, which are remixed versions of the campaign levels with increased difficulty. The massive amount of collectibles and unlockables such as new skins for Slayer, the demons in Battlemode, and of course the weapons. Battlemode is this version’s multiplayer, and it takes a new approach to the competitive aspect. This 2v1 mode pits one Slayer against two demons. The idea is neat, but I don’t think I will find myself coming back in the months to come. I am more interested in new single player content.

This is one gorgeous game. Not only does it run at a blistering 60fps it also looks absolutely stunning. Unlike 2016, Eternal adds tons of color. The level designs are outstanding and some of the most visually interesting in the series to date. Some of them feel massive and have set pieces that had me stopping to take it in regularly. The soundtrack once again delivers with a mix of macabre choir tones and thrashing metal guitar. Mick Gordon really knows how to ramp up these encounters with just the right mix of angst.

Doom Eternal is an outstanding entry in the series marredby a few setbacks. There is a ton of content including one of the best shooter campaigns I have played this generation. The push and pull method of the combat is addictive to master and a blast to play. Everything looks and sounds fantastic and this is a game that makes me smile as a fan since the beginning. While the generation may be coming to an end, Doom Eternal is one of the games that will send it off with a bang.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Combat flow is incredible
  • Absolutely stunning visually
  • Runs like a dream
  • Customization is cool
  • Marauder enemy breaks combat
  • Battlezone wears thin quick
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.