DOOM Eternal Review

by David
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Doom Eternal Review

It’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum once again, as it’s time to slay more demons, demons and even more demons, in perhaps the craziest entry in the DOOM franchise with a bit of Portal-style platforming for good measure. We have been waiting for this for a long time, and it’s finally time for our DOOM Eternal review.

It has been 4 years since the previous DOOM game that came out way back in 2016, and things feel very familiar. DOOM Eternal runs on the new id Tech 7 engine, which is essentially a bigger and better version of the previous id Tech 6 engine that DOOM (2016) ran on. 

The id Tech 7 engine features ten times the geometric detail as well as higher texture fidelity than id Tech 6. It also features new capabilities, allowing a new system called “Destructible Demons” which allows enemy bodies to become more injured as they take damage. It has been great seeing these types of features on many new engines, most notably in the recent Resident Evil 2 Remake, and it works well in DOOM Eternal. The engine will also allow for frame rates up to 1000 frames per second. I can’t see this being a feature that people will be taking advantage of considering no monitor can run at 1000hz, or at least not consumer level, but I guess it’s cool that it can be done.

Graphics

Since we’re talking about what the engine can do, let’s talk about the graphics. DOOM Eternal looks truly amazing on PC, perhaps one of the best-looking games I have ever seen. The game even features 2 levels above Ultra: Nightmare and Ultra Nightmare. Because the game is essentially running on an improved engine from DOOM (2016), the requirements are very realistic for many players. The recommended requirements are an i7 6700K or Ryzen 1800X, 8gb ram and a GTX 1060 6gb for 1080p, 60fps on high settings. My PC is a Ryzen 3700X, 32gb ram and a GTX 1070, and I can comfortably run the game at 1080p, 60fps on Ultra Nightmare difficulty with no frame drops, no matter how many demons are on the screen, and trust me there are usually a lot.

The developers also really went the extra mile with the little details. One particular thing that stood out to me was during the 4th mission, which has a kind of factory vibe to it. I was walking along and looked up and noticed this fan spinning in the ceiling. Nothing too important, but if it wasn’t there, the environment wouldn’t have felt bare and empty. But its those little details that add the finishing touches and make the world feel rich and vibrant, and I like that. Speaking of the environment, it is fantastic from start to finish. Every room and every bit of detail has had a lot of attention given to it, and nothing feels out of place or of lower quality than any other space.

The only minor criticism I will give is that some of the textures that you climb on during the platforming section can sometimes blend with the exterior textures and can be hard to spot when trying to figure out the path you need to take.

Moving onto the demons—they look awesome in this entry. Many of them pay tribute to their classic counterparts while looking very modern and fitting in well with the aesthetic of the game. The Cyber Demon looks closer to the classic DOOM and DOOM 64 styles as opposed to later games. Pinky has kept a very similar look to DOOM (2016), it just looks a little beefier and more menacing than the previous game. The classic Imp looks like a hybrid between the classic DOOM & DOOM (2016) appearances. The Imp’s skin is a leathery brown, and they have red eyes, like the classic look, while the spines on the back and shoulders are more prominent than they were in DOOM (2016). The Cacodemon looks awesome in this game; it looks very similar to the DOOM (2016) version, but the colouring looks a bit redder to match the original look while sporting minor changes to the overall aesthetic.

Apart from the minor criticism about the climb texture blending in, there isn’t anything to complain about when it comes to DOOM Eternal’s graphics. They are breathtaking and a great example of where gaming is at in 2020. I am only playing at 1080p, but I would love to see this game in 1440p or even 4K. 

Gameplay

Now that we’ve talked about how great the game looks while you’re playing, we should probably talk about how it plays. DOOM Eternal is so over the top and chaotic, and it is amazing. Quite often, you are in fights with dozens upon dozens of enemies, and the fights can go on for quite a long time. Because of this, health and ammo are very plentiful, and you’ve got plenty of ways to acquire them, from floor loot to gathering from the corpses of your enemies. The game is designed so you will never be without. The chainsaw, an iconic weapon in the series, can only be used either when you have no more ammo or as a one-hit insta-kill if you have fuel for it, both of which give you ammo. You also gain ammo by doing Glory Kills, which you can perform when enemies are low on health. Enemies go into a staggered state, and it allows you to pounce on them and execute them in a variety of ways, each unique to the enemy, and there are different versions for each enemy, too. Glory Kills also give you health as well as ammo, meaning you will rarely be without. 

When it comes to fights, this game is over the top. Rather than fighting enemies here and there as you progress through the level, a lot of the time you end up in some sort of room or arena-type setting and it reminds me of playing something like Quake Arena online. Launchers can launch you out of a tight spot or right on top of an enemy to get into the action. You can also double jump and dash, allowing you to more quickly traverse the arena. I lost count of the number of times these mechanics came in clutch to get me out of a situation so I could find some health to continue the fight. The fighting is over the top, chaotic, fast-paced, action-packed and that is exactly how it should be in DOOM, and it delivers everything I want in a game like DOOM.

As I have mentioned earlier in the review, I am playing on PC using a keyboard and mouse. I don’t know how well DOOM Eternal plays using a controller, although I haven’t seen any complaints online. But this game definitely feels like a keyboard and mouse game due to its fast pace. If you can play it on PC, I would recommend you do so over console. Unfortunately, there is no support for keyboard and mouse on console. 

DOOM Eternal has a huge variety of weapons, too, all designed to cause maximum destruction to any demon that crosses your path. Many iconic guns make a return, such as the Super Shotgun, Plasma Rifle, Rocket Launcher, and, of course, the iconic BFG 9000. You can also earn various perks and upgrades as you progress, including weapon mods and upgrades. You can get a grenade launcher attachment for your shotgun or make your rockets home in on enemies. There are a huge variety of mods you can do to your weapons. 

When you’re not slaying demons, DOOM Eternal has a huge emphasis on platforming. Some of the platforming sections are truly fantastic and remind me of games such as Portal. Quite often, you will find yourself completing a 5-minute section where you’re climbing walls, swinging from poles and trying to complete button perfect sequences to traverse through the level. This game has some of the best 3D platforming sections I have seen, especially from a shooter. The game does have some annoying elements, though, such as purple slime which makes it almost impossible to move. Little things like this take you out of the zone and can be frustrating, but they thankfully don’t appear too often. Overall, the non-fighting sections are largely great but do have some spots that are frustrating while not being frustrating enough to turn these sections into a negative.

Once again, I have a minor criticism regarding the overall gameplay. It gets to the point, especially a few missions in, where the game tends to go: 30-demon huge arena fight, 5-minute platform section, 30-demon huge arena fight, 5-minute platform section, 30-demon huge arena fight…I think you get the point. It does get a little bit predictable and stagnant. Both of these elements are fantastic, but a change of pace now and then wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Features

Outside of the gameplay, the game has a few new features. With the rise of the battle pass and heavy emphasis on cosmetics, it seems that DOOM has gotten into it as well, but in their own way. Rather than selling us a battle pass (something that would be weird for a single-player game with a tacked-on multiplayer), they have their own challenge-based season pass. Players can complete challenges in the game such as “Kill 30 Enemies With Chainsaw” to gain XP, which levels your season up and unlocks cosmetics. The challenges cycle each week so there is always something to aim for. I was surprised to see cosmetics in the game; you can customize your Slayer’s appearance, demon appearances while playing multiplayer, and even weapon skins. These are all free and appear to be unlocked in-game, and there are no microtransactions, which is good. There will be DLC coming to the game, so time will tell whether purchasable cosmetics are coming.

Story

DOOM Eternal has a story? 

Yes, it does have a story, but this is DOOM. I’m here to slay demons, you’re here to slay demons, and story isn’t massively important to DOOM. But a story is present to direct the narrative and direction of the game. 

DOOM Eternal is set two years after DOOM (2016). Earth has been taken over by demonic forces and the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC). The DOOM Slayer is on the hunt to kill Khan Maykr and save Earth by traversing both Earth, Hell and various other places, killing High Priests, Magicians, Demons, and anything else that stands in his way.

A story is there. It has a plot and gives the game a purpose, but it isn’t exactly the greatest plot in gaming, and, to be honest, you could probably skip all of the cut scenes and not miss a great deal.

Multiplayer

DOOM Eternal has a multiplayer, and something a bit different to what you would expect. Typically, I would have expected modes such as Death Match, TDM, Capture The Flag, and the other typical game modes you expect in an FPS game. Instead, there is a 2v1 multiplayer mode where one player is the DOOM Slayer and the other 2 players are demons with the goal of killing the Slayer. There are various demons to choose from, and each match is played in an arena setting, probably why the story mode battles tend to take place in an arena type environment.

Overall, the multiplayer is very fun and something a bit different. We’ve all played TDM and Capture The Flag in virtually every FPS game we’ve ever played, so this is a great change of pace for the game. Whether this is a mode people will want to play after the initial hype remains to be seen. But for now, it is a blast to play and watch, and you should check it out.

Final Thoughts

It has been nearly 4 years since the last entry, and it has definitely been worth the wait. After many delays, fans worried it wouldn’t be worth the wait, but id Software continues to knock it out of the park time and time again with the DOOM series. The game is action-packed, chaotic and tons of fun, and it looks fantastic, too. Some great games are coming out across 2020 as well as the start of a new console generation, and this is a great way to truly kick off gaming in 2020.

What do you think of our Doom Eternal review? Let us know in the comments.

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