“Rip and tear until it is done.”
These are the words that echo through a player’s mind as they fight off the hordes of Hell in “Doom Eternal.”
The game was released March 20 and is the sequel to the 2016 reboot of the classic video game franchise “Doom.”
“Doom Eternal” has players once again stepping into the shoes of the iconic Doom Marine, now called the Slayer. It takes place two years after the demon outbreak on Mars seen in the first game.
The Slayer arrives back at Earth, only to find our planet now facing the same threat.
With over 60 percent of the population eradicated from Earth, the Slayer steps in to save the day and do what he does best: kill demons.
The game retains the core combat that made up the gameplay from the 2016 prequel, but it contains some well-adjusted tweaks and balances.
The “push-forward combat” creates an aggressive and vicious cycle as players are encouraged to get up close and personal with enemies rather than backing down and taking cover.
One gameplay component featured in every “Doom” title is the concept of resource management, making sure that the Slayer is always stocked with ammo, armor and health.
With push-forward combat, resource management becomes a lot easier as demons drop various items depending on the type of kill.
Normal kills with weapons usually ensure a few health pick-ups are available, but if a large wealth of healing items is needed, the Glory Kill action ensures that a demon will drop many more health pick-ups.
Glory Kills are another returning feature that allows players to engage in a short, unique animation that sees the Slayer creatively killing the demons. Glory Kills are earned by dealing enough damage to a demon to stagger it, at which point the demon will glow orange and blue, indicating that a Glory Kill can be performed.
If players are scraping by with little to no ammo, the chainsaw allows players to slash through weaker fodder demons to gain back these resources.
The chainsaw has limited uses before it runs out of gas, but gas canisters can be found around the level to refill the chainsaw. If players have more than one gas canister in stock, they are able to take down much larger demons.
Lastly, armor, which is perhaps the scarcest resource in the game. Armor can be earned by torching demons with the Slayer’s new shoulder-mounted flamethrower and dealing damage to demons to cause them to drop armor.
Just like the chainsaw, the flamethrower has to be charged up before being used again, meaning that earning and keeping armor can be somewhat of a hassle when dealing with large waves of enemies.
With all these combined factors, resource management becomes much less difficult in the heat of battle if players can keep their eye out on a specific demon to target when in need of some precious item drops.
A new addition to the game is complex platforming. Early on in the game, the Slayer receives a power-up that allows him to air dash across long distances quicker. When used with the double jump, the air dash allowed the developers to create some unique platforming challenges.
There are certain paths during the main story of the game that cause the players to jump and dash their way across in order to progress, but the more difficult, skill-based platforming challenges are oftentimes saved for accessing secrets and hidden items.
Runes and weapon mods return as well but have been simplified in unlocking and upgrading.
Rather than “Doom’s” requirement of completing the tedious challenges and arenas to unlock different skill-levels for runes, “Doom Eternal’s” runes are one-and-done unlocks that have no need to upgrade.
Weapon mods are similar as well. Each weapon has two modifications that can be equipped. During the course of the game, players will earn combat tokens that can be spent on leveling up certain mods. Once a mod has been fully leveled up, a “Mastery” challenge will be unlocked that will grant an extra bonus to the weapon once fulfilled.
While the stories of “Doom” and “Doom Eternal” are second-fiddle to the combat, “Doom Eternal” gives a surprising amount of depth to the world and the Slayer.
A portion of the story is told throughout the main campaign, but since the game takes place two years after the events of the first, there is a gap of information that needs to be filled in. To find this missing information, pages of the players “Codex” are scattered throughout the maps as hidden items that can be found and added.
These hidden pages detail not only the events of the two-year gap, but also the origin of the Slayer and the mysterious alien beings like the Khan Maykr that appear in the campaign.
The game’s overall atmosphere moves on from the dusty, red landscapes of Mars and presents a more vibrant landscape of cities overrun by giant “gore nests” inhabited by the demons. The demon designs have been more refined and detailed, with these hell beasts resembling creatures from album art of nearly any metal band of the 1980’s.
The developers at Id stated that a lot of their influence was based on nostalgia for old properties of the 1970’s and 1980’s, and the incorporation of this inspiration certainly shows.
The soundtrack also relies heavily on guitars and many tropes of metal music, playing into the fast-paced action and keeping players pumped up and on edge as they rip their way through the armies of the apocalypse.
The only thing about “Doom Eternal” that again falls flat is the inclusion of a multiplayer mode.
Just like the 2016 game, “Eternal’s” publicity heavily pushed the multiplayer mode, almost more so than the main story itself. But it once again feels like the multiplayer was a tacked-on inclusion rather than a fully developed mode.
Regardless of the lackluster multiplayer, “Doom Eternal” engages players in an aggressively fun and satisfying cycle of combat that allows them to take advantage of the Slayer’s rage to rip and tear for hours on end.