PS4 version tested
Review code provided
DOOM, the name alone is known to all gamers and for good reason. Arguably the most iconic FPS title in existence, this blood-soaked demon-slaying phenomenon has been keeping gamers entertain since 1993 with it’s relentless and brutal gameplay. Now the latest entry in the series is upon us in what is being hailed as one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year, at TBG we put our focus on the campaign element of the game and have tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible so let’s gear up and raise some hell!
Set shortly after the events of 2016’s DOOM, DOOM Eternal wastes no time with long-winded intros. We open things with a shot of earth currently overrun by the demons of hell. Floating above the planet we see a fortress where the DOOM Slayer himself sees all. DOOM Guy is not paid by the hour so he quickly slaps on some headphones and taps his foot to a bit of Meatloaf while gearing up, his mission objective simple, slay as many demons a possible on his way to finding the hell priest, tear him a new one and stop the forces of evil.
Obviously, things are never going to be that simple, the hordes of the mortally challenged are well dug in on earth and within minutes of arriving the aftermath of a brutal battle is clear to see. Skyscrapers are reduced to mere ruins as fire engulfs everything around you, the armies of hell battle relentlessly, gigantic behemoths tower overhead or lay slain by humanity’s Jaegar style mech’s giving the whole view a Hellboy meets Pacific Rim vibe, and it’s gorgeous to behold. Our DOOM Slayer must battle through various locations and face all manner of unspeakable grotesques in his hunt for the hell priests.
DOOM Eternal pulls no punches and is full of fast-paced, brutal and relentless battles. If you thought 2016’s offering was intense, think of that as merely a taster compared to what awaits you in eternal. Featuring more than double the number of enemies and with returning enemies featuring upgrades and a new level of viciousness to keep you on your toes. The first level will act as something of a baptism of fire but each new enemy type, ability and tactic will be given a clear tutorial and explanation to help players of all skill levels become competent DOOM Slayers.
The game starts you off with the trusty shotgun and shortly thereafter the chainsaw, a fan favourite since day one but it won’t take long to collect a full arsenal to carry around and access via your weapon wheel. Unloading your boomstick on the oncoming nasties that look like volunteers from a cosmetic trial that went wrong, you can either blow them away piece by piece or do enough damage that they fall into a staggered state where they start flashing, you now have the opportunity to perform a glory kill, an especially brutal melee kill that varies drastically depending on the enemy. For humanoids, you might pull their arms off and beat them over the head or for larger enemies you may stab them through the eyes with their own claws and so on, all cheerful stuff. The benefit, other than how brutally cool it all looks is that glory kills will make enemies drop health to keep you in fighting shape.
Health, armour and ammo can all be picked up throughout each of the lengthy levels to keep the action moving and where DOOM Eternal really shines over its predecessor is in the puzzle combat and exploration options. Each enemy has weaknesses to tactically exploit and each level is a labyrinth all in its own, don’t worry that doesn’t mean you will have to contend with David Bowie’s codpiece, but you will be rewarded for exploring, finding hidden passages and completing challenges to earn boosters and upgrades for your suit and weapons along with a wide range of fan-pleasing collectables. As well as a range of badass weapons you will also have access to several abilities that range across:
CHAINSAW – One of the Slayer’s most iconic weapons. Cutting demons down with the chainsaw rewards you with ammo for all different weapon types. Fodder demons (Zombies, Imps, Soldiers, Gargoyles) require one pip of fuel to kill. Heavy demons (Arachnotron, Cacodemon, Carcass, etc) require 3 fuel pips. Pick up gas cans to refuel the chainsaw. When out of fuel, one fuel pip will refill gradually over time.
FLAME BELCH – A short-range, shoulder-mounted flamethrower that sets enemies on fire. When engulfed in flames, enemies will drop armour shards. If you kill the engulfed enemy, they’ll drop even more armour shards. You can Flame Belch Demons in groups to maximize the number of shards dropped. Flame Belch gradually recharges over time.
ICE BOMB – An alternative to the Frag Grenade, launching an Ice Bomb creates an icy explosion that temporarily freezes any demons hit by the blast. The Ice Bomb gradually recharges over time.
FRAG GRENADE – Launches a grenade which explodes after landing on the ground, causing damage and staggering any Demons hit by the blast. The Frag Grenade gradually recharges over time.
BLOOD PUNCH – Blood Punch is a devastating melee attack that deals extra damage. Glory Killing fills the Blood Punch meter.
To fully upgrade all these abilities you will need to explore each level to uncover the secrets that lay within. To reach some area’s you will have to think outside the box and follow the path less travelled, this is where DOOM Eternal becomes something of a puzzle platformer which might not be to everyone’s taste, and coming from someone who sucks at Mario I really enjoyed these sections, especially as they always lead to something worth having allowing me to toughen up my Slayer for the next battle. Classic abilities like double jumps and mid-air dashes will not only come in handy during combat but also for reaching ledges and walls that at first glance seem too far off. Like all good platformers, the ledges and wall’s you can use are highlighted clearly, primarily by a green light so everything you need is right there to be seen if you know what to look for.
When the Slayer is not out doing is his rip and tear routine, he is at home relaxing with some ale and heavy metal, his home is the newly introduced Fortress of DOOM! The fortress serves as a hub in between missions where you can acquire unlockables such as different DOOM slayer suits to wear into battle, view all your collectables and even play some old school DOOM in the slayer’s boudoir, providing you have found all the floppy disks to install it. You can also access and replay any previously completed levels or play harder remixed versions of them from the Master Levels console if you fancy an even greater challenge. The key highlight from the Fortress of DOOM, apart from its aesthetics which are a blend of Lord of the Rings and Warhammer 40k, is the Ripatorium which you can visit to hone your skills and test new loadouts.
Reviewing DOOM Eternal on the PS4 Pro was nothing short of a treat to behold running with up- sample 4K (2160p) the vibrant landscapes and colour palette really pops. One key gripe that could be had about 2016’s offering was how samey everything started to look, but thankfully the locations on hand in Eternal are nothing short of breathtaking. From rubbled and firey city ruins, industrial medieval architecture complexes to snow-covered gothic castles that would make Dracula want to book a vacation, DOOM Eternal really delivers on presentation. Even the demons all have very vibrant and distinct design helping them all stand apart and pop from the landscapes they inhabit. All pickups shine brightly, drawing your attention to that pile of shotgun shells during a heated confrontation and as detailed and alluring as the graphics are the gameplay compliments this by being silky smooth with responsive and intuitive controls all to the sound of some meaty heavy metal riff’s.
DOOM Eternal builds on just about every aspect of the previous outing and delivers one of the most competent and enjoyable shooters in years. Fast-paced and violent with a stronger emphasis on exploration and featuring a whole host of unlockables and upgrades to acquire. Mix this with ongoing weekly and seasonal challenges to complete throughout the campaign and online BATTLEMODE, which pit’s a fully tanked out slayer against two player-controlled demons, DOOM Eternal is the total package that gives no apologies in mixing it’s retro roots with modern standards and making shooters fun again.
TBG Score: 9/10
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch (Coming Soon)
Release Date: 20/03/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Shooter, Adventure
Download link: PSN