DOOM Eternal

Monday, 30 March 2020

Like most others, I had very high hopes for a sequel to my favourite game of 2016, DOOM. Unfortunately the game insists on pushing its mediocre story onto you every step of the way, through cutscenes and exposition.

The game runs very well, and on max settings my Ryzen 3600 + Nvidia 1070 seemed to have a stable 110 FPS throughout the entire journey at 1080p.

The combat is fast paced and rewards mobility over the cover mechanics that are common in many other games, like its predecessor. However, a few new combat abilities have been added:

  • The blood punch, which charges as you do glory kills and can be unleashed to perform a lot of damage and provide some health pickups with an upgrade.

  • The grenade launcher, sporting both HE and freezing grenades that regenerate on a timer.

  • The flame belch, a short burst of a flamethrower used to inflict some damage and regenerate armour.

  • A short range dash, which can be used in air to cover distances quickly.

  • A sword called the crucible, which can kill any enemy in a single swing.

With the addition of each of these abilities, managing them became a bit of a hassle. Knowing when each ability was off cooldown was purely guesswork throughout the entire 16 hours I played the game. I would often trigger a blood punch by accident by trying to melee an enemy who I thought was going to get staggered and end up wasting it. I doubt I used the flamethrower more than a dozen times because it felt so forgettable and lackluster. The frag grenades don’t have as much impact as a quick rocket would, while the freeze grenades can be useful to calm down an overly-excited arch-vile. I don’t remember having any problems dodging demons in DOOM 2016 without a dash, its unfortunate you need an ability with a cooldown to dodge demons here. You unlock the sword late in the game but it seems spoiled on much of the promo material so I’ll cover it as well. It requires ammo like the chainsaw, but the ammo isn’t as common. There doesn’t seem to be any form of impact when you hit an enemy with the sword and it just feels disappointing. Its just another button to try and remember in the heat of combat.

The game has some really frustrating platforming sections. The platforming was considered a weak part of DOOM 2016 so its weird that they focused on it so much more in this entry. Some of the worst parts of the platforming are in finding the collectibles which are at least skippable if you aren’t a completionist.

If you don’t disable the tutorials in the game, you will be berated with them every step of the way, explaining how to fight every demon and how to use every item you find as if you had never played a game before. This really should have been a question it asked you when you started the game because I think it took a lot of the exploration out of finding the ways to fight the demons when it just outright tells you their weak spots right before you see one for the first time.

The chainsaw has been upgraded with a regenerating fuel tank, however this seems to have come at the cost of carrying any reasonable amount of ammo. This forces you to use the chainsaw frequently on weak enemies to keep your ammo stocks high, or switch between weapons with much more frequency to avoid running completely out of ammo.

I never used the chaingun weapon throughout the game since it shares ammo with the heavy assault rifle, and that gun seems to have a significantly better ammo/damage ratio, along with having a better set of upgrades with either a sniper rifle scope, or a rapid fire micro missile launcher.

There is one enemy in the game, the maurader, that really brings the flow of the game to a standstill. If you see one of these you pretty much have to give it your full attention while you wait for it to give its obvious cue to hit it with a counter and repeat until it dies.

The upgrades in the game seem overdone somewhat unrewarding. There are too many upgrades to remember which one does what and the game might have been better off without them.

  • Weapon mods for adding the alternate fire modes to each weapon.

  • Weapon upgrades for expanding on the powers of each weapon mod.

  • Preator points for the more generic upgrades for things like grenades and environmental damage reductions.

  • Sentinel crystal which increase your health, armour and max ammo capacities, while also providing some other benefits for the blood punch and flame belch abilities.

  • Runes which provide small modifications to your player of which you can equip 3 at a time.

Finding secrets has been simplified so far that they shouldn’t even qualify as secrets anymore. Even if you somehow miss the giant glowing question marks that signify a secret, they are generously displayed on the minimap making it trivial to find the wall that needs to be punched through to locate.

The last 2 bosses of the game are just frustrating to deal with and do not feel like they test all of the abilities you learned throughout the game.

7/10 - Missing something that made DOOM 2016 great. If you liked DOOM 2016 you’ll probably like this, although maybe not as much.

Written Monday, 30 March 2020

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