DOOM Eternal is the 5th and latest installment in the DOOM franchise, a series that revolutionised gaming everywhere. DOOM Eternal is a direct sequel to DOOM 2016, one of the highest-rated games of the decade. And who am I kidding, it’s DOOM – you can’t really go wrong with it, as long as it’s full of Rip and Tear. That being said, this installment certainly features a lot more story than previous DOOM games.
The Story and Lore
DOOM Eternal is full of lore. We learn more about Argent Energy and get fragments of the Doom Slayer’s past. Speaking of, when did we start calling him Doom Slayer instead of Doomguy? Well, canonically, the transition occurred between DOOM 64 and DOOM 2016. This was when Doomguy entered the Divinity Machine and exited as the Doom Slayer. So what do we learn in DOOM Eternal? Spoilers ahead, for those still “rip-n-tearing”.
The gameplay is stellar. There is no other way to put it. Fast-paced, familiar mechanics, gun versatility. It’s all there. The combat takedowns are intense, highly detailed and devastatingly brutal. Admittedly, a little repetitive – I got the impression that there wasn’t as much variety in the takedowns in DOOM Eternal as there was in DOOM 2016. Forgivable, however, seeing as they’re still one of the greatest things about DOOM.
Mick Gordon has returned as the lead composer for this game and boy, does he hit the nail on the head. Everything from the intense battle scenes to the damn main menu music is astoundingly beautiful. There was a “heavy metal choir” implemented in the recording of the vocals on many (if not most) of the tracks. Big-name metal bands such as Static-X, Aborted and Tengerr Cavalry featured… heavily (excuse the pun). Phenomenal production and mood all round from the team.
The performance and smoothness of this game astounded me. It is smoother than DOOM 2016, and for a newer and more detailed game, that is an achievement. FPS drops were non-existent, even in the most intense of slaying bouts.
Benchmark – Intel
- i5-9600k (5 GHz)
- GTX 1060 6GB
FPS Range: 74 – 148 FPS
Benchmark – Ryzen
- Ryzen 7 3700X (3.6 GHz)
- GTX 1070
FPS Range: 70-120 FPS
For both of these tests, all settings were on max and background processes normal. Not even in the most intense fights seemed to blemish this spotless performance. Not to mention that the game’s download size is literally half the size of DOOM 2016.
Game Design & Criticisms
If there’s one bone to pick with the designers of this game, it’s the tutorial system. Don’t interrupt my “rip and tear” to tell me how a boss works. I’m the Doom Slayer, I want to figure it out on my own. Thankfully, you can turn it off the interrupting tutorials in settings, but the fact that it’s on by default baffles me. And I don’t mean the “press E to tear this demon’s face in two tutorials”, I mean the “this is exactly the strategy you need to kill this specific type of demon”. Just let us shoot them with a shotgun and figure it out. Because that’s the beauty of DOOM – although the game challenges your mechanics and knowledge, at no point will you ever feel frustrated while playing DOOM! It’s too much fun!
A second criticism is that there’s almost too much lore. DOOM has always been inviting for new players who haven’t played through the previous games, and as someone who has, some more than once, even I found myself puzzled at what exactly was going on during some of the cutscenes. Thankfully, the DOOM community is among the highest regarded in the gaming world, and the internet had all the answers.
A final criticism is an infuriating bug I kept encountering. While playing the game with no issues, several times in just the first mission alone I was interrupted by the game automatically pausing and showing me this screen.
Admittedly, I don’t have the best internet. Far from it in fact. But I’m playing this game offline, I shouldn’t be automatically paused in the heat of battle, only to be told my internet sucks.
One of the most unique and, in my opinion, underrated additions to DOOM Eternal is multiplayer. It is so much fun. You can play as a demon and hunt the Doom Slayer, or try to survive against the hoards of the demons from the abyss. Although perhaps lacking in accuracy for those of slower internet when it comes to tracking player movement accuracy, it’s still just a lot of fun to rip and tear through.
In conclusion, and to be clear, I love this game. It’s DOOM. It feels like DOOM, it smells like DOOM… it’s… DOOM. The high-energy fast-paced gameplay is such a unique experience, there really is none like it. Bethesda and id Software have outdone themselves with the performance too – for a newer game, it ran so much smoother than DOOM 2016. All in all, an excellent game that, if patches keep being pushed, could be a strong contender for Game of the Year. The DOOM franchise has started off the new decade with a goal, and I’d be inclined to believe them from what I’ve seen so far. You can check out the game on Steam if you’re interested in picking it up.