Rip and tear, until it is done. These words that once started as a joke now echo through Doom's mythos like a warning sign of pure, unbridled rage and vengeance. The Doom Slayer has awakened once again to find Hell on Earth; our planet swarmed with the denizens of the underworld, an otherworldly invasion of biblical proportions. Now stationed in the Fortress of Doom high above the Earth's atmosphere, the Slayer must liberate Earth from these demonic forces while fueling his bloodlust for violence. This is where DOOM Eternal begins, and eternally, shall it reign as one of the best first-person shooters of our time.
Note: This review is completely spoiler-free.
Picking up some time after the events of 2016's DOOM, Eternal finds the Doom Slayer armed and dangerous (again) with a new arsenal, suit of armor, and somehow in even more of an anger-induced state. Earth has been ravaged by Hell's apocalypse, with the last remnants of humanity fighting for their lives against all manner of demons. It's up to the Slayer to once again free humanity while paving his own legend in the process.
Every single frame and line of code in DOOM Eternal is jacked up on an ungodly amount of testosterone. It's bigger, bolder, and better than its predecessor while delivering some stellar innovation to the series. For one, Eternal strips the more mindless run-and-gun nature of its previous entries down, and reconstructs them in a way that feels strategic and tactical. This may sound odd for a Doom game, but it still retains the same high-octane, adrenaline-pumping action of the series - you just have to be a bit more mindful of your moves, as each one is calculated, ensuring no shot is ever wasted.
Developer id Software accomplishes this seamless blend of relentless, up-close violence with strategy in a few interesting ways. Ammo, health, and armor is now relegated to performing specific actions and killing the right demons. This is achieved with corresponding commands, like using your newly equipped flamethrower to ensure every enemy you set fire to drops armor while they're alight. Your chainsaw can now obliterate smaller enemies for ammo pick-ups, while the now gorier glory kills drop health. Admittedly, it's a bit tricky getting the hang of these mechanics in the first hour, but once you're locked in the flow of combat, it becomes reflex and second-nature.
The verticality of the gameplay is absolutely insane and opens the door for so many creative and stylish kills.
With the added tactical advantage, you also have to find ways to control the flow of combat by using the right weapons at the right time and on the right enemies.
That's one thing I did not expect from DOOM, of all games: absolutely terrific writing...
DOOM Eternal fleshes out the story of the franchise, and does so in a wholly fulfilling way.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
20 March 2020
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