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DOOM Eternal Review

DOOM: Eternal. High-octane, adrenaline-fueled FPS from the founding fathers of gaming

What’re you playing in 2020? If the answer isn’t DOOM: Eternal, then you’re wrong. id Software, who’re considered by many old-school gamers to be the founding fathers of modern video games, have just launched their follow-up to 2016’s DOOM, and it is a banger. Throughout this Doom Eternal review, we’ll be touching on topics like performance, mechanics, gameplay, and give you all the reasons you need to play this masterpiece.

What’s the Story Like?

The story takes place two years after the events of DOOM (2016). The world’s being overrun by demons and humanity is on its last legs. It’s up to you, Doom Slayer, to help restore order on Earth by rampaging through the ranks of the demon race. I’m not going to dive too deep into the story, but what I will say is that the narrative of DOOM Eternal has been given much more attention when compared to previous titles. We have hierarchies in the Demon and Angel societies, politics, corruption, all working towards painting a more comprehensive, immersive world.

The tools used in the storytelling process (music, voice acting, level design) are honed to a superlative. id Software are truly masters of their craft, proving once more that their titles are at the apex of the industry. Maybe the other developers will turn it up a notch.

Gameplay

Doom Eternal is a breath of fresh air. As with the previous Doom, from 2016, the gameplay revolves around combat, exploration, and parkour. Your Doom Slayer is equipped with various tools and skills that will help you manage and replenish your resources (more on that later), stay highly-mobile during engagements, and traverse the very rich and well-designed environment.

Your arsenal includes a plethora of weapons, like the BFG 9000, the fan-favorite Super Shotgun, the Combat Shotgun, the Ballista, to mention only a few, as well as melee weapons, like the chainsaw, the Doom Blade, and the new Crucible Blade, which made an appearance at the end of DOOM (2016). Glory kills (fatalities, or finishers) make a big comeback and come in even more varieties, and they’re a core mechanic.

Overall, this is a very high-octane game. If you’re into slow-paced, narrative-driven titles, then this game is not for you. Throughout the level, you’ll only have a few moments to catch your breath, the game rewarding you for staying mobile and for chain-slaying your enemies.

Mechanics

DOOM Eternal is a game that has a ton of mechanics. Let’s go through each of them and give you a basic description of all the fun you’re going to have with this master-crafted FPS.

Mobility

Grapples, dashes, and jumps, combined with the fast-paced nature of the game, result in very fluid mobility. The game rewards you for always staying on the move. Stopping means becoming vulnerable, so never take your finger off the W key or from your analogue stick. Mobility is essential in combat and level exploration, so keeping an eye out for punchables, grapple spots, and places ledges where you can double-jump will land you more upgrade points at the end of each level.

Gunplay

The gunplay is superb. It’s fast-paced, it’s satisfying, and it’s filled with blood and gore. The super shotgun has a new mod which allows you to get up-close and personal, and each weapon has a secondary function. You’ll be pushed to use powerful weapons, like the BFG, conservatively, and rely on using melee finishers and the Super Shotgun to get through most levels. Each time you fire a gun the repercussions are instant, lethal, and rewarding.

Resource Management

Resources are vital in progressing through the story efficiently. The playable areas have been expanded, so the claustrophobic element that came with DOOM (2016) has been toned down by a big margin. For resource management, you have health, ammo, and armor pickups sprinkled throughout the level. They’re quite rare, so the game enables you to use glory kills to replenish your health and chainsaw kills to refill your ammo. Resource management is a core mechanic of the game, so think twice before you shoot.

Progression

The progression in DOOM Eternal seems to be influenced heavily by previous games in the franchise, meaning that there are a lot of early 90s elements. Exploration is a big part of the game, so you have to scour the map for collectibles to go through the RPG-like progression system. You start weakish, but once you upgrade your armor and your weapons, you become an unstoppable force that will bring, well, doom, to those foolish enough to cross your path.

At the end of a level, you get a score that gives you a summary of things that you’ve missed during the previous level, and how efficient you’ve been during combat. These will land you extra points, so it’s important to be creative when engaging groups of enemies. It’s a mix of Metroidvania level design, RPG elements, and FPS gameplay.

Performance

Being built on Vulkan, the game runs great, even on older systems. Any modern configuration will tear through this title with no problem, seeing triple-digit frames. Add a high-refresh-rate display and you’re bound to have an incredible time playing this instant classic.

To play this game you’ll need at least a 3.0 GHz, quad-core CPU with single-threading, 8 GB of RAM (DDR4 or DDR3), and a GPU that’s rocking at least 4 GB of VRAM for constant 60 fps at 1080p resolution with a low graphical preset. For better results, you’ll need a more recent GPU, (Nvidia 1XXX), like a GTX 1060 6GB or an AMD equivalent. Any RTX or RX card will run this at a high graphical preset with no problem. A multithreaded CPU will also improve your frames by a big margin.

The graphics are incredible, even on lower presets, a lot of care being put into designing the characters and the levels. It’s one of the best-looking games to date.

Soundtrack

It’s hard to imagine that DOOM Eternal would be so immersive without the soundtrack composed by Mick Gordon. The hellish, metallic elements, the thrashy guitars, and the unsettling electronic elements, all complemented by a bangin’ beat, give you a very alpha vibe. You really feel like Doom Slayer is at the top of the food chain.

Is it Good?

It’s not. It’s great. It’s amazing. It’s only March, and this might already be the best game of 2020. Doom Eternal is highly-addictive. The soundtrack, the level design, the fluidity, both in terms of gameplay and performance, all come together and create an incredibly-cohesive game. With an average 25 hours for completion (without getting 100% of the collectibles) and a multiplayer mode, this game is a bargain for the price. I highly recommend you play it, with the lights dimmed and with a good pair of headphones on.

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