Date Posted: 17/05/20
Doom, or perhaps as it is more commonly known Doom 2016 is first person shooter released for X-Box One and PS4 in May 2016. Naturally the version I played was for the PS4. From what I have just read on Wikipedia apparently it more closely follows the fast paced action of Doom and Doom 2 than the more survival horror based Doom 3. A sequel to Doom 2016 (which I will just refer to as Doom from now on) named Doom Eternal was released in March 2020 which as of yet I have not played.
In case you didn’t twig in my introduction this is the first time I have ever played a Doom game and whilst I have played first person shooter games before I think my experience may have started and ended with Resistance: Fall of Man and the occasional Call of Duty game on the PS3. I have started getting more into 1st person games being drawn to the survival horror genre and have enjoyed the likes of Resident Evil VII and Alien Isolation. However, as I was to discover the experience of playing Doom would quickly demand that I alter my entire 1st person game playing techniques...
The game begins in the year 2162 on Mars, your character the Doom Marine, awakens following a demon attack on the base run by the Union Aerospace Corporation. The UAC have found a way to extract energy from a dimension ruled by demonic creatures, which is generally considered to be Hell or is the actual Hell described as the fate of those who sin in the Christian Afterlife. Either way it is a bad place, full of fire, torment, demons and so on. The facility is being overrun and it is up to the Doom Marine to close the portals separating the two worlds before the entire planet can be overrun.
That is kind-of it really in terms of plot.
The rest of the game revolves around the Doom Marine travelling through the overrun facility as well as the Hell dimension combating demons that have killed the majority of the research staff and turned the rest into mindless monsters. The main antagonist of the game is a researcher named Olivia Pierce who opened the portal allowing the demons through for reasons unknown. Whilst the Doom Marine is trying to stop the demon threat he is not an ally of the UAC’s Head Researcher Dr Samuel Hayden.
As far as I am aware this story does continue on from the previous Doom games as there are references to the Doom Marine have rampaged through Hell in eons past. I know almost nothing about who the Doom Marine actually is, and I saw a video on YouTube in which it was hypothesised that Link from Legend of Zelda and the Doom Marine could be one and the same. In the video it was explained that both lie dormant until they are awakened to battle evil, in an endless cycle of death and rebirth. I’m not dwelling on the Link connection, but in the video I learned that the Doom Marine had existed for thousands of years. He had been battling the demons of Hell since the First Age (whenever that was and it is now canonically the Fifth I think) and was at some point imprisoned in Hell because the demons could not find a way to kill him.
...on a side note I am not sure why they cannot kill him as during the game my Doom Marine was killed by falling into molten metal, getting his legs ripped off my massive Hell-Beasts, was shot to death, and crushed. However my highest death rate was attributed with falling off high places, so I guess gravity is the Doom Marine’s biggest weakness...did the Lord of Hell or whoever not think to try any of these things before imprisoning him in a stone sarcophagus for all eternity???...
Anyway bits and pieces of the lore and the monsters are given in text logs that you can find scattered around the various maps. However, I think if you are the kind of person that is going to be interrupting the game to sit there and read all of the logs then you are probably not the kind of person that should be playing a Doom game.
Similarly to previous reviews that I have done I was noting down things that I wanted to talk about so I wouldn’t forget it when I came to do my review.
So let’s crack on...
First off, forget everything you think you know about 1st person games if you have only played survival horror like Resident Evil VII or war games like Resistance: Fall of Man or Call of Duty. In Doom if you stay still, or move slowly and cautiously then you are going to get killed. There is no hiding and sniping in this game. The key to survival in Doom is moving constantly, as you gather more weapons switch out weaker guns for stronger ones and upgrade your weapons to combat the constant flow of increasingly powerful enemies. Each weapon will have its pros and cons, some fire rapidly but do only small amounts of damage, others fire slowly but deal massive damage. You can switch between two weapons on the fly but need to open your weapon wheel to select something else. The game doesn’t pause when you access the wheel, the enemies go into slow motion but can, and will still hit you if you are fiddling about with weapons in this way for too long.
The enemies that you face are fast, dangerous and have a variety of different attack styles so you need to adapt your tactics when dealing with them. The chainsaw causes demons to explode into ammo so use that to resupply any weapons that your ammo is running low in, which, in some of the hairier moments, is probably going to be all of them. The chainsaw has limited fuel and whilst it can kill everything (except bosses) if it is fuelled up enough, you have to weigh up the pros and cons of slaying a bigger monster which will use most of your fuel or smaller ones which will use less, but leave you the big bastards to deal with.
Thankfully the game is not stingy with ammo scattered around the levels, this isn’t survival horror, you need your weapons to battle the demons that are coming for you. This is not Resident Evil 2 Remake in which you use your pistol 90% of the time, only breaking out your shotgun or larger weapons for bosses. In this game use your guns, use ALL of your guns, and switch between them mid-battle in order to slay the onslaught of Hell-demons that are trying to kill you where you stand. There are no useless weapons either, even the starting pistol that has unlimited ammunition, can be useful against lesser demons and as all weapons can be upgraded it too can be made more powerful.
Now, relating back to the comments about the lore of the monsters it seems that the demons have a hierarchy or cast system with lesser demons at the bottom and higher demons at the top. I observed numerous instances when the demons were engaged in skirmishes with one another and only turned on my Doom Marine if I got too close. I always like mechanics like this because it means that enemies aren’t just sitting around waiting for the player character to get there so they can spring into action. Doing things like this in games always makes the enemies seem more alive, like they don’t give a crap about you, the player, because they are engaging in their own personal battles. Perhaps within the game context the demons are honing their skills against each other but that is just speculation on my part. What I also liked about this mechanic in Doom was that the monsters can and will damage one another if they are not careful about where they are firing. Which they are not concerned about. So energy weapons fired at you that hit them will hurt demons in close proximity to you which can be beneficial if you are in danger of getting over whelmed.
From what I have heard, in a move that harks back to the original Doom games there are no reloads for your weapons. If you don’t know what I mean then let me explain. In most games weapons will have clips that contain a certain amount of bullets and when that clip is empty you have to reload which takes a few seconds. In Doom there is no reloading. You have a set amount of ammunition and can literally keep firing until you have no ammo left, in addition, weapons will have alternate firing modes that are unlocked which don’t take different ammo so you can just keep shooting till your gun is empty.
For a fast paced shooting game the levels are not just relentless running and gunning, the levels are quite expansive with multiple different secret areas to find. Enemies don’t infinitely respawn so once you have cleared out areas you are free to explore as much as you want. In later missions secrets can be missed if you go racing into the levels without checking the areas you are moving through. The collectables include miniature Doom Marines with different armours, as well as tokens to unlock better armour and weapon upgrades. On every level there is also the chance to find a new gun as well as a secret level with the look and texture style of the original Doom game. The levers to open these secrets are quite difficult to see even when you do know where they are which is a tad annoying. The game will put all the weapons in your path at some point so you don’t miss them per se, but you can get a sworn-off shotgun a couple of missions before you would find it canonically in-game if you go secret finding.
There are also Rune challenges that you find as you progress. These involve doing various challenges like killing a spercific amount of enemies with a particular weapon, certain movement tasks and things of that vein. Successfully completing these challenges unlocks a Rune that you can equip. Once equipped there will be a mini-challenge that must be completed to unlock that Rune’s full potential. For example you can unlock a Rune which enables you to vacuum up collectables like Health and Ammo drops from further away if you first collect a certain number of Health and Ammo drops. What I liked about these Rune Challenges is that they can generally be done with no more than a half a dozen attempts. There are pretty quick to restart as well so if you fail, you can be having another go within seconds which keeps them from getting too irritating. I have spent hours in games trying to get through mini-challenges because I want to squeeze every possible bonus from a game, and also because I refuse to let games beat me. However, if there are any Runes challenges that you are really struggling with then you can drop the difficulty down a la Saints Row IV which makes doing them much easier, just don’t forget to put your difficulty back up again once you resume the game.
It is worth unlocking all of these Runes’ potential as they can be extremely useful when dealing with bosses, or large groups of enemies. Plus they can be switched out in the pause menu so you can swap them on the fly without your Marine standing still in the middle of a demon onslaught whilst he fiddles about with his Runes.
The game also features Glory Kills, which involve getting an enemy down in health at which point they flash blue, then orange when you are in range. You can then run in and perform a Glory Kill which net you an increased amount of Health (an armour if you have the corresponding Rune) dropping. These are fast paced which don’t slow the action down and are very useful, as well as essential, for keeping on top of the brutal onslaught of monsters that the game will often throw at you. These are fun and creative to watch but have their irritations which I will get to a bit later on in my critique
In every level you are given Combat Objectives which are things like kill a certain number of enemies with a single exploding barrel or chainsaw five enemies. Stuff like that. The majority of these are pretty easy and more importantly fun to do without really having to interrupt game play to complete them. However, there are some which are quite tricky or one which is bugged. I had to do a Leg Sweep on a certain enemy which proved to be very difficult because if I attacked from the side, my Marine did one move, from the front did another, the back did another and finally if I was in just the right spot the correct animation would play out. But it was down to more luck than skill, plus in the middle of a bloody battle with the legions of Hell, I didn’t really have the time to be faffing about trying to get my Marine in just the right spot to do the correct move. Plus I don’t think the game necessarily tells you how to do a lot of these moves and I only learned how to do the Death From Above because Rune Challenge told me how to do it. The Combat Objectives are a bit of a mixed bag as they can help to keep the pace up and grant you additional bonuses for creative kills, but can slow things right down when you are awkwardly trying to get into just the right spot so the kill can be performed correctly.
One additional thing about the Combat objectives which ties in with the Runes is that I am pretty sure they are glitched in one particular level. As I played through the game, found all the Runes, and unlocked their full potential. I did not always do the Rune Challenges and Combat Objectives on my first level playthrough. Some of them I accessed from the Main Menu under the Rune Challenges option, and often replayed missions in the Replay Mission Menu. However, in one level you must touch two Runes Challenges to complete one of the level’s objectives. When I enter this particular level it states that I have touched two Rune challenges so the Objective had been completed, but in the Mission Select Menu it says I need to touch a second Rune to complete the objective. I can replay the whole mission from the Replay Mission Menu but even doing that has not completed this objective. As a result unless I replay the whole game to get back to that particular level so I am doing it for the first time I will never get the trophy for completing all the level objectives. Considering it is now 2020, the game came out in 2016 and a massive update was downloaded before I could play, I would have thought this bug would have been fixed.
A final point to mention about the Replay Mission option is that as it sounds you get to redo any completed levels but with everything you have unlocked in your playthrough. You are therefore able to work through the Rune Unlocks because you may need 20 Headshots or something, so you can go to a certain level, headshot as many enemies as possible, restart the checkpoint, the enemies will return but your counter doesn’t reset. The opening section of the Advanced Research Facility level proved to be one of the best places to go because you are confronted but a bunch of Possessed (zombie like enemies that are slow, stupid and easy to kill) so you can easily grind up the Rune unlocks. Once you have unlocked them, you don’t need to finish the level, just quit to the Main Menu and job done.
Now we come to the other side of the coin, the yin to the yang, the dark to the light, as we take a look at the things that did not work so well. Now bear in mind that this game came out in 2016 and has been sitting on the shelf for a long time, how long I am not sure, but when I installed it, the game required a 32GB update download before I could begin playing it. I have no idea how much of that update was for the game itself and how much was for multiplayer stuff.
But, one of the things that it desperately needs to be fixed are the ledge grabbing mechanics.
The majority of the time it works well enough, but my Marine was generally very picky about which ledges he chose to grab hold of. This was less annoying when there was a ledge or something just below me to catch me if I fell, however, it became very annoying when there was nothing below me but an instant death fall. In my whole playthrough I died more to falls than through all of the demons kills combined. I mentioned the secrets previously and often you have to transverse narrow ledges or various platforms to find the secret you are after. The problem is that if you haven’t hit a checkpoint recently you get dumped back that far every time you die. The other day I died over and over and over again whilst trying to drop onto a platform from an overhanging ledge because my Marine refused to grab hold of it. I tried jumping from a nearby rocky outcrop and I watched as my face brushed the ledge, my Doom Guy chose not to grab it resulting in me plunging to my death yet again. Each time I died I reappeared half the map away and had to trek all the way back before I could have another go. It became maddening to the point where I restarted the level convinced I had missed something, and then looked up a walkthrough on how to get to the secret because I was sure I was doing something wrong. It was at that point I discovered that my technique had been sound, I just needed to trigger a different checkpoint which would spawn me on the rocks above the ledge if I died so I could have another go immediately. Once I managed to land on the ledge my problems didn’t end because as I jumped to the nearest rocky outcrop my Marine once again decided not to grab it meaning that the +200 boost to Life and Armour disappeared into the ether. I reappeared on the ledge without those bonuses, leapt for the outcrop again, this time my Marine landed without difficulty and I could carry on having lost one of the main bonuses I had been trying to reach by getting to the ledge in the first place.
The second thing that killed me a whole bunch was getting caught on terrain.
The environments of the game look really cool and I genuinely felt like I was on a facility on Mars. I assume the atmosphere had been terra-formed to make it breathable, but as my Marine never removes his helmet I guess he could have onboard oxygen. But let’s not wander from the point. The point is that fast paced action and environmental clutter do not go together. I have always had this problem with 1st person games as your protagonist doesn’t have a 180 degree field of vision; they have 45 degrees at best. It is like controlling someone with a canoe tapped to each side of their head. This is fine when playing a slower game like Alien Isolation or even Call of Duty when you are safe behind cover. In Doom though, when I am being attacked my multiple demons of all varieties, some fast, some strong, some ranged, some close up, the last thing I need is to get stuck on a plant or something that I cannot see because I’m focussing on keeping my Marine moving to keep the most immediate threat in view whilst dodging everything else. In the later game these big buggers called Pinkie/s appear which ram into you like a charging bull. If you move to the side they continue charging just changing their direction to smash into you, so you need to be aware of your surroundings. Something you cannot really do if you are watching them racing towards you, whilst trying to kill them, and not get caught on a post or some environmental hazard. Getting trapped like this and killed resulted in the majority of my other deaths. Come to think of it, I only died as a direct result of the demons overwhelming me a handful of times. The rest were due to falls, camera angles and getting stuck on things so the demons were able to kill me before I could untangle myself. There were also flying demons that look like giant testicles that shoot energy balls at you, I kept losing health to them because they are often above my field of view so I was getting hit without seeing what was hitting me or where it is. They are also good at approaching silently from outside your field of vision so the first I knew of their presence was when a bunch of my healthy suddenly disappeared.
For a game in which I think you are expected to die quite frequently the game’s checkpoints are pretty badly spaced. As I said above when I was trying to get to a secret I kept respawning half the map away because that was the last checkpoint I’d reached. Typically I cleared out the majority of the areas so I could go secret hunting. Generally a reasonable tactic but not when secrets lie on the far side of platforms you may not grab, or falls which send you back to the last checkpoint. The reloading also took longer than it should for a game like this, so when you do die, you are waiting several flow breaking seconds before you can resume the game or plunge back into action.
Remember a paragraph or so ago when I mentioned that I restarted a level because I was convinced I had missed the key to a secret?? Well, when I was playing the level I discovered that I had lost several of the weapon upgrades that I had unlocked prior to that.
Let me explain, so once you unlock three upgrades to a weapons secondary option, like explosive shots for the shotgun, you are given a challenge which unlocks the final upgrade. In the case of the explosive shots, a direct hit resulted in a cluster bomb effect which was very useful for taking down enemies built like brick shithouses.
Like I said above, Doom gives you the option of replaying previous missions again to search for collectables and complete Combat Objectives, or just for the fun of it I suppose. It was whilst repeating previous missions to find secrets that I unlocked the cluster bomb upgrade for my shotgun. I happily ran around using it to blast hell demons into mush. But for some strange reason when I restarted the mission I was struggling with, I lost the cluster bomb upgrade. The challenge was reset so I needed to do it again. All of my weapon challenges were also resent, and I have absolutely no idea why. I hadn’t unlocked those upgrades on the mission I restarted so why the chuffing hell did they resent when I restart??? It made no sense then and it still doesn’t. I cannot think of an in-game reason why I lost them, and now having gotten used to the cluster bomb effect with my shotgun, it was rather jarring to be facing various monsters with naught but my winning smile and regular explosive shots.
I can’t work out if it was a glitch or if there is some mechanic that resets your progress if you restart a mission. Either way it was a pain in the arse and means going back to previous missions to unlock these upgrades again, and potentially losing them again when I resume the main game. Alternatively did consider just keeping going and rely on what I had already got to get me through the rest of the game. Ultimately I did go back and redo all these weapon unlocks plus all the others I subsequently accessed, as the final upgrades are vey useful and there isn’t a single one that proves to be useless.
It is in my list of niggles but the next point isn’t really a bad thing. I am referring to the amount of logs and back ground information that you can find throughout the levels. The lore is richly detailed with information relating to different environments, demon classes, other characters and the Doom Marine himself. However, pausing the game to sit there and read them all doesn’t really fit in with the fast paced nature that the rest of the game is going for. It’s an odd mix which is not as bad as the times in Spider-Man when you were forced to do stealth sections as other characters which brought that game to a screeching halt, however, it doesn’t gel with the rest of the game play when one minute you are using a chainsaw to slice legions of Hell into luncheon meat then pulling up a chair to sit down and read through various logs.
Sadly the game can’t really think of any way to ramp up the challenge than simply locking you in rooms with, what’s known as a fuck-tonne of, demons spawning and you need to kill them all to proceed. They sometimes throw in Spawners that will endlessly spawn more enemies so you are wise to take them out first. Usually though there is a power-up in the room to help you. Personally I got into the habit of using the power-up as late in the fight as possible to help me take down the toughest enemies at the end, more often than not though, the demons were all dead before I needed to use it. In the last level this pattern of relentless demon spawning arena got a little bit dull because there wasn’t much exploration to be done, you are just running from one seemingly endless demon cluster-fuck to another. As I said above the checkpoints are shit and if you die you must begin the fight all over again which was more irritating than anything else.
None of these niggles were enough to stop me playing though, however I came close to rage quitting once and that was during the Cyberdemon boss fight.
There are no mid-boss check points so if you die, you start again. You fight the Cyberdemon twice, the first time I absolutely nailed him, barely taking a scratch. Sadly you are then immediately transported to Hell and the demon revives. In this second stage, he has a bunch of new and devastating attacks that wreck your health and are very difficult to dodge or get away from. You are not given anymore armour or health so if the first fight got you down to minimum health then you are fucked for Round Two. I died over and over to this pissing guy. It was so annoying and reminded me of the end of Metal Gear Rising Revengence when a game that I had been enjoying pulled this massively difficult boss fight out of its arse, effectively ruining the rest of the game. Thankfully I was able to figure out the Cyberdemon’s attacks and defeat him, but it was a bit of a slog to do it. The next bosses were defeated on my second tries, but it was annoying, especially with the final boss to get them down to the wire only for a cheap shot to hit me, take off the last of my life, forcing me to start the whole fight again.
Ultimately all of my complaints were mild and I played the game to complete Combat Objectives, unlock all weapon upgrades and Rune abilities. I started writing this review before finishing the game but did not want to post it just in-case the final boss fight did a Metal Gear Rising or a Shadow of War and became shit at the end. Thankfully it didn’t and whilst I was starting to get a bit tired of the multi-demon spawning areans by the end that may have just been because once I twigged I could restart checkpoints (which I did quite late in my playthrough) I was often restarting check points to complete the levels Combat Objectives which didn’t help with the feeling of repetition.
Doom gets a solid Thumbs Up and is a great fun game to play especially during this period of Lockdown. It is fast, fun and the levels are designed to be replayed over and over again. I am sure I will play the sequel Doom Eternal at some point, however, as I have overplayed this game a tad, and am getting a little bored of shooting demons I might wait until I want another fast paced shooter to play before I pick it up.
8/10 – All in all Doom is a good fun game with plenty of secrets to find, demons to kill and weapons to upgrade and unlock. There are niggles but none of them are deal breakers, or even close to being deal breakers. I was completely new to the Doom franchise and this game has turned me into a fan. I enjoyed it, plus there is a new game out so if you are hungry for more you can jump straight into that.
Date posted: 14/3/2021
The sequel to 2016’s Doom, Doom Eternal released in 2020 sees the Doom Slayer trying to stop a full scale demon invasion of Earth. The game was made by Bethesda and was released in March 2020. Like its predecessor it is a first-person shooter. The game features online gaming modes which I have not played because that would involved interacting with other people on the internet which I dislike doing at the best of times.
I was a big fan of Doom and like many, was keen to get my hands on the sequel. I do wonder what I can say about the game that won’t be me repeating myself from the Doom review but let’s take a look at the game and see how we get on.
The game picks up some time after the end of Doom in which the Doom Slayer has managed to return from the place Samuel Hayden sent him to (Hell I assume), and has acquired some kind of ancient space ship/cathedral thing that he has used to travel to Earth. Having not learned their lesson from the invasion of Mars, humans have been playing around with Hell again, and the demons have managed to conquer much of Earth wiping out a large percentage of mankind.
As the only one who can stop the demons, the Doom Slayer is sent to Earth to stop the onslaught. On the way he learns more about his origins, and that he alone is going to be able to stop the legions of Hell from wiping out all humans...
So in terms of story that is pretty much it really. Like the first game, there are detailed codex entries in which the history of the Doom Slayer and haw he transitioned from simple Doom Marine into the man that the demons now fear. The thing is though that the Doom Slayer himself doesn’t care about where he came from, as his sole mandate is to “Rip and Tear” till the job is done. His fight against the demons is an eternal one and that is his task. He is revered as some kind of God-Like entity and there are instances where he is gazed at with obvious awe by humans, but why the game puts so much emphasis on his back-story when the Slayer himself doesn’t care results in a bit of a grinding of gears. I get the joke that the game is trying to make us care about the Slayer’s history when the Slayer himself doesn’t, but when there is so much information and even non-interactive flashbacks which reveal how he became the Doom Slayer, the joke wears rather thin.
I read over my review of Doom and basically everything that I liked from that game is here, with the player having access to a double jump and dash move from the word go. You unlock new weapons as you play through the levels just like before, and can upgrade your weapons using tokens. Your suit, grenades, and attributes can also be upgraded.
The graphics are amazing. I have recently upgraded my ship’s monitor to be the maximum resolution that games like this allow and it looks fantastic. The detail in the levels, the colours, and the animations, are all fantastic to watch. The demons have more variety in their designs so unlike the previous game when they were basically all jagged toothed monsters, here they look different to one another which is cool.
I also liked the Extra lives mechanic in which you can find lives during the level which will activate in the event that you are killed in a level allowing you to continue the fight. Whilst I think this is in some ways a good thing because if you just get stuck in a corner or something and blindsided from every angle you don’t need to restart a check point to try again. If you repeat previous levels then any additional lives you gather will be available to you when you resume the main campaign. However, you don’t have a choice about when these lives will activate, at one point I got myself stuck between a laser gate and one of those flying demons that looks like a floating testicle. It kept doing a lunging bite attack that knocked me back into the gate. I couldn’t back up, and as he kept hitting me, I couldn’t fire at it. As a result I could do nothing as it killed me, an extra life activated, it killed me again, another life activated and it killed me again. At which time I had run out of lives so I was returned to the previous checkpoint. I lost two lives because I got caught in a bad position and couldn’t get out of it. If the game had asked if I wished to activate a life then I would have said no and just returned to the previous checkpoint.
Similarly to the previous game you can also replay any missions from the main campaign as soon as you have completed them. This time around however, you can unlock cheat codes that you can activate to give you unlimited extra lives, speed boosts, one hit kill weapons, unlimited ammo and so on. It is great fun to go over levels again just going mental with a chain-gun or the BFG because you have unlimited ammo and don’t have to worry about getting killed. As the weapons can be upgraded retuning to previous levels to unlock a weapon’s full potential is great fun (and something that you could do in the previous game). As before you can exit a level when you have done what you want and the game will save so you don’t lose additional stuff you have found/unlocked.
There are various challenges that you can complete. This time around you don’t need to do Rune challenges to unlock their full potential; instead there are challenge modes within the levels that revolve around you killing a certain demon or amount of demons within a set time limit. If you struggle with any of these then my advice is redo the level when you have unlimited ammo and/or have unlocked the BFG because it makes these missions so much easier. Personally I did them as I went because I liked doing them but you can make things considerably easier for yourself if you want to.
There are Slayer Gates in which you must take on the usual legion of demons (some of which you may not have even encountered in the campaign yet) and kill them all. These are locked if you are replaying a level with any of the cheats activated so you must do these without any extra help. If you succeed in doing all six in the game you are rewarded with a book of whimsical poetry that the Doom Slayer reads to you in a cut scene...Nah, I’m joking you get another very powerful gun to add to the arsenal of weapons that the Doom Slayer is able to keep down his trousers.
Your fortress space-ship thing is returned to between some missions and you can explore it using batteries that you earn in levels to unlock new weapon mods, suit upgrades, and different skins for your Doom Slayer to wear in mission. Admittedly you only see them during cut scenes, which is a bit of a paradox when changing a skin during a first person shooter because most of the time you see a gun, or a pair of hands holding said gun. The fortress is a storage area for various items you unlock like music tracks, toy models of the different demons as well as a rack for your weapons. From here you can also launch the replay mission option (but this can also be done from the main menu). There is also what looks like a giant mech-robot. During the campaign you see various giant mech-robots that have been destroyed in combat with various huge skyscraper sized demons so anyone with half a brain will likely conclude that at some point you will be jumping into your giant robot for a final battle against a monstrous demon.
Basically everything I liked from the first game is still here and some more stuff has been added, unfortunately for every step forward, Doom Eternal has taken a step back.
For example, the game puts a huge emphasis this time around on jumping puzzles and plat forming sections. The Doom Slayer channels his inner Spider-Man to scurry around on walls in a way that puts the Wall-Crawler to shame. You constantly have to look around for sections of the wall to climb on which are not always especially obvious. To make things worse there are numerous areas when you have to jump on platforms that will fall out of the sky seconds after you have grabbed them, meaning you are frantically looking around for the next place to jump to before you are plunged into the abyss below. In one of the issues from Doom, the Slayer is still picky about which ledges he will grab and which he won’t. The amount of times I tried jumping to a platform or wall only to drop off it became too many to count. You don’t generally die if you fall off these platforms, instead you lose some life, and once again if you die and have any extra lives handy, the game will use one to keep you going. Sometime the Slayer sticks to a wall like glue, other times the wall scrapes your face as you fall past it. However, EVEN WORSE are the bars that you have to swing on to get around. Again the Doom Slayer is a giant of a man, and yet he is easily able to swing on bars to get to higher platforms. Well, I say “easily” but yet again there are time he straight up just doesn’t grab them and quite often in the later game these swinging bars are over death pits so you are going to be losing health as you try and do these ridiculous sections. There were genuinely times that I wanted to just rage quit as I watched the bars slip past my field of view yet again, or a climbable wall scrape off my face as I slid down it into the pit below. In terms of pacing it just grinds everything to a standstill as you retry over and over and over again getting more frustrated and watching your health and extra lives trickling away.
Sadly the game follows the trend of its predecessor by simply throwing more and more enemies at you as the campaign progresses. Boss enemies return in amongst the hordes, and your additional weapons can be used to harvest health, armour and ammo. Use your flame belch to set enemies on fire and cause them to drop armour, glory kill them for health, and slice them up with your chainsaw to get ammo. What the game fails to realise is that when you are being set upon by legions of slow, fast, melee, ranged, sub-boss and returning mini-bosses you are going to be trying to fire non-stop so are not going to be considering which weapons to use with what enemies.
When a new enemy is introduced the game will slam on the breaks once again to identify what the enemy is, give you its Codex entry, and then tell you precisely where to kill it. This is admittedly useful but my shotgun with exploding grenades is my weapon of choice for most situations, so under pressure trying to remember which enemy is susceptible to which weapons, is not something I am going to be thinking about. My usual tactic involves running around firing one weapon until it runs out of ammo, switching to another till that ruins dry, then chainsaw-ing a random demon to reload so I can repeat the process over again.
There are always a couple of low level minions wandering around that can be chainsaw-ed in one hit, and your chainsaw does refuel itself so you can always kill a lower demon so you shouldn’t run out of ammo. But, these enemies are also going to be trying to kill you, and trying to focus on the big-fuckers whilst the little buggers nibble at your heels can result in your health dropping incredibly quickly.
There was a level in which you get to play as a Revenant, in which I seemed to take enemies apart far easier than I did as the Doom Slayer. It made me wonder why you don’t just play the whole game as a Revenant. Weirdly, there is only one such section like this in the whole game, it was like it was thrown in for a bit of variety but the game makers didn’t think people would actually like it so abandoned it after that single section, in favour of doing more platform and jumping over abyss sections.
I also encountered an apparently common bug when I was working on mastering all of my weapons. Basically how it works is you use weapon points (or something) to unlock different weapon modes. Once you’ve unlocked two of these there is a third challenge you need to do in order to unlock the Weapon Mastery which gives you a bonus for that weapon mode. The game also allows you to find Mastery Unlock Tokens which you can use to unlock the Mastery without having to do the challenge. Now as killing demons is fun and it could be done during playthroughs of past levels I worked through all of the challenges getting them all, with the exception of one. The remote detonation on the rocket launcher was left but because I was on the last level at the time I just figured “fuck-it” and used the Mastery Token to unlock the final challenge. But, the trophy that I should have been awarded for fully upgrading all of my weapons to Mastery level, did not ping. I looked it up and apparently this is a common bug. Sometimes it happens if you use a Mastery Token to unlock the Mastery Challenge but it can also happen if you complete the Challenge normally. The only way it can be fixed is to start a whole new campaign or reload a past save before you’d unlocked it (which I did not have). It reminded me of a really annoying bug in Doom in which one of the levels said I hadn’t fully completed it as I had not done a Rune challenge, but when I entered the level it said I had, a glitch that could only be fixed by starting a whole new campaign which to this day I have not done.
It is annoying that a game which has been out almost a year has such a bug and it hasn’t been fixed. Still they hadn’t fixed the bugs I mentioned in my review of Doom, a game which came out in 2016, but I did not play till May 2020. Plus considering Bethesda released this game and they were the same people who published the bug filled, glitch fest that was Fallout 76, then proceeded to not fix any of these issues instead relying on fan made mods to do it for them, it is perhaps not surprising that Doom Eternal has its fair share of bugs and glitches which have not been patched yet.
It was pretty stable and I only suffered one crash which is good I guess.
Now that I am one the things that irritate me chain of thought, a few of the boss fights proved to be more annoying that fun. One of these involved fighting a flying enemy who has an energy shield that you need to destroy before you can use the super-shotgun’s meat hook to get up close to give her a bitch-slap. The problem is she is very hard to hit, moves very fast and is capable of wrecking your health very quickly. To make matters worse she has these wired drone things that zip around the arena shooting you with lasers that can only be killed with a head shot. Her shield can and will regenerate before you have gotten it down to empty so half the time after you have taken your eyes off her to deal with the drone, her shield is back to full power and you have to start whittling it down again.
The final boss also proved to be more annoying than fun as he is pretty powerful and the size of a building, his attacks are hard to avoid and very damaging, but he has also brought a tonne of minions to the fight with him. Everything from lower to super-level demons appear for the battle so half your time is spent trying to hit him, whilst dealing with endless respawning demons that are attacking you constantly and relentlessly. Plus, remember when I said that that anyone with half a brain would assume you get to use your fortress’s giant robot mech-suit to fight a giant demon?? Yeah, you don’t. You are fighting an enemy the size of a sky scraper and not once does the Doom Slayer call back to his base and request his giant fuck-off robot. Nor does his Fortress’s AI ask if you want it. Doom games are meant to be over the top and ridiculous with the amount of enemies and over the top battles, so how could they miss the glaring opportunity that having a massive robot fighting the Icon of Sin that was staring them in the face???
But without a doubt the single most annoying thing that the game throws at you is the Marauder. This guy can basically go fuck itself. Essentially he is an enemy that is extremely powerful at long range, and short but he is vulnerable at mid range. His eyes glow when he is about to attack and that is your opportunity to attack him. The problem is that he zooms around the map like the Flash on speed making it incredibly difficult to target him, he summons a phantom dog thing that attacks you over and over again until you shoot it. He has an energy shield that you can’t break, which he naturally will put up instantaneously if you try to fire at him. He is resistant to the BFG and the Crucible (basically a one hit kill flaming sword weapon for most enemies). Plus in the later missions he will often appear along other high level enemies. He can’t be ignored as he will straight up ruin you if you don’t fight him, but if you get too distracted on him, then other enemies will close in around you to savage you when your back is turned.
There is no denying that Doom Eternal is fun, the campaign generally manages to remain on the right side of fun and challenging, not annoying and repetitive. It doesn’t really get dull slicing demons to luncheon meat and the sheer variety of ways you can kill them is delightfully entertaining. As I said everything that I liked about the first game is still here, with some more stuff added, but the bar swinging, the platform sections, and some of the highly annoying recurring enemies prevent this game from surpassing its predecessor. Plus why the fuck wasn’t I allowed to jump into that giant robot-mech and stick its spear right up the Icon of Sin???
When all is said and done the game is getting a Thumbs Up, but I don’t think it is better than the original. The new stuff I liked was diluted by the new stuff I didn’t like. There is a DLC named The Ancient Gods Part 1 which I may get at some point as now that I have done everything and unlocked everything in the campaign then there is really no reason to come back to it.
7/10 – In all honesty I think I just liked the first game better, more stuff doesn’t necessarily make things better, especially when some of that new stuff is seemingly endless wall climbing and bar swinging. When the DLC goes on sale I might pick that up but as for Doom Eternal, now it is done I can’t see myself returning to it again