Rip and Tear.
RIP AND TEAR!
I could just shout that at for you a few hundred words, and it would get across some of my thoughts regarding DOOM Eternal. But it wouldn’t tell you the whole story.
A playable heavy metal album cover, Eternal picks up the baton from DOOM 2016, delving further into the history of the Doom Slayer as he rips and tears his way through a frankly staggering amount of demons. It can be an amazingly gruesome and crazy ride, dialling up all the things that make DOOM ’16 one of my favourite FPS’s.
It’s everything I wanted. But it’s also a few things I wish it really wasn’t. Perhaps I should have been careful what I wished for. Because there’s some real bullshit in here.
That frustration comes down to design choices. As part of id Software growing their new world of DOOM, they’ve added a tonne of lore, which is glorious. But they’ve also added more enemies, some of whom stop the game dead. They’ve also added platforming sections, which feel dumb most of the time. Missing a jump and falling into an abyss because of obtuse timing is…well it’s a lot more than slightly annoying.
Both modern DOOMs utilise ‘push forward’ play, urging the player to keep moving and keep showing. Much like its main character, it’s all about aggression, and using that to your advantage. There’s no cover, and no regen. Everything you need is ahead of you, in those demons. This time around you’re not given a basic pistol, instead using pooled ammo resources and various means of gaining more. It’s great fun, and for a good chunk of the game Eternal feels just like its predecessor.
But then Marauders enter the fray. Like a hybrid of the DOOM Slayer and Shao Khan, they bring the game to a screeching halt, forcing you onto the back foot as they essentially use your own tactics against you. I understand their inclusion, but it drives me crazy. Granted I struggled with them to the point of changing the difficulty, but I fundamentally don’t agree with their inclusion. Bigger, faster, meaner enemies are welcome. But all the others work within the framework already set. Marauders stand upon the ruins of that framework and laugh at you. Some will say ‘git gud’. I don’t agree.
The DOOM Slayer doesn’t give a fuck. His rage goes unsatiated. His thirst remains forever unquenchable. Rip and tear. Through most of Eternal I felt like that, glowering at scientists as they ask me dumb questions and generally giving everything the finger. Marauders make me feel quite the opposite and that’s not what I signed up for.
There is some real crazy metal shit going on here; the whole thing feels OTT and suitably insane. I know a lot more about the main character now, and I want to know more. I adore how it’s all written; flowing prose that draws you in and paints a vivid picture of technology and hell and everything in-between. Bonkers in the best way.
Then there’s Mick Gordon. I bow at the altar of the man who gives new DOOM it’s soul. This soundtrack might not quite be up there with the first game’s OST (a rare game soundtrack I’ve listened to on Spotify), but it’s still epic. Suitably dark and heavy and grindy.
There’s a lot to love about DOOM Eternal. But I’m left with a feeling of frustration. Perhaps expectation was a bigger killer than even the DOOM Slayer could be.
+ Plenty more ripping and tearing
+ Amazing soundtrack from Mick Gordon
+ In-depth lore
+ Bigs guns and crazy set pieces
+ The DOOM Slayer DGAF
– Clumsy platforming sections
– God damn Marauders and their game flow breaking design
DOOM Eternal is more of what you wanted, and some of what you didn’t. There’s plenty here for those you wish to be challenged. If you don’t, remember the difficulty can be toggled.