Doom Eternal is a near perfect first-person shooter.
From the way the encounters escalate and consistently elevate in tension, from the first hour of the game right the way through to the finale, to the more rounded roster of demons that are constantly spewed out at you, Eternal delivers on every promise its forebear failed.
Even from the first few levels, id is telling you that things are different now. They’re harder, more intense, more refined.
Beat by beat, you’re handed tools to add to your arsenal – at such a pace it sometimes risk feeling overwhelming – as the game insists you try a new weapon, a new traversal technique, a new ability, a new secret to unlock.
Doom Eternal is a much, much harder game than its predecessor.
Doom 2016 rewrote the rule book for id Software, and proved that it can go as hard as it likes with intense, gore-filled rampages that bring the ultimate space marine fantasy to life.
But players quickly got bored – the toolkit was brutal and exciting, but it was small. Everything the game threw at you was intense – but it quickly plateaued.
Doom 2016 was good, but it wasn’t quite good enough. Doom Eternal, then, is a direct response to that criticism. It’s id Software saying ‘OK, we hear ya’ before kicking you overboard with a shotgun in your hand and a flamethrower on your shoulder.
Resources are rare, but everything is there for you to go out and take if you want to take it. Out of ammo? Chainsaw a demon in half to get another clip. Low on health? Rip a staggered hellspawn apart. Need more armour? Set something on fire.
Once you learn the steps of this bloody dance, Eternal throws open its doors for some of the most electric, fast-paced action we’ve seen in a shooter this generation.
It puts Doom 2016 to shame – and that’s a high bar to leap so effortlessly over. The new weapons, the new demons and their resistances to you, the new synergy certain types of enemies show off as you jump, dash, bash and gouge anything with a face… it’s poetry in gameplay, masterful design in motion.
As you sniff our secrets thumbed into any and all gaps in the levels, you find yourself praying for another encounter – another specifically chosen set-up of enemies that needs solving, another death metal rhythm you need to learn to come out on top.
There are flaws, sure. There are two enemies that have shields, that single-handedly ruin the pace and the journey Doom Eternal takes you on.
They inhibit the pace, they slow you down, they hamstring you to such a degree that they can make you fall flat on your face. They’re awkward to hit, they’re awkward to track and the remarkably short amount of time you have to damage them goes against the power fantasy Eternal enacts elsewhere.
But these enemies serve to show you just how well-designed the rest of the rogue’s gallery in the game is – overcome the bizarre addition of this tanky new enemy and resume your rampage and you find yourself muttering thanks to the developers for making the shielded, wolf-summoning misfit such a rare occurrence.
Otherwise, the only (slight) faltering for Eternal comes in some over-long platforming sequences.
For the most part, the level design finds a nice rhythm in the way it makes you slide from combat into traversal, traversal to exploration, exploration to combat.
It’s a gorgeous cadence, one encouraged by the effortlessly sublime soundtrack of Mick Gordon, who’s ability to latch onto any mood with his metal hooks reaffirms his place as one of gaming’s great composers.
Latest screenshots for Bethesda and id Software's upcoming game, DOOM Eternal
Sadly, some of the platforming sections outstay their welcome a little, and the sometimes clumsy dashing, jumping and even swimming just don’t match the high energy of the rest of the game.
Sometimes, less is more: Doom Eternal would have been just a good a game, if not better, if it didn’t feel the need to add water sections, hazmat suits and areas of ground that prevent you from jumping and dashing (because isn’t ripping and tearing with speed and ferocity the whole point?)
These dents in the Praetor armour are mercifully short, and they’re counteracted by optional elements – combat puzzles, high-intensity arena bouts, a plethora of secrets – that smooth the overall experience out.
Knitted together with a story that certainly goes more in-depth than any previous Doom game, the campaign shines for its pace, for its level design, for its gorgeous graphics – not its passable plot.
Doom Eternal won't win any awards for its writing, but with moment-to-moment gameplay this good, that really doesn't matter.
Doom Eternal – Verdict: 5/5
Reviewed on Xbox One X with a code provided by Bethesda
id Software’s magnum opus, an epic of the video game world that’ll be talked about for years to come, Doom Eternal is a triumph.
It elevates everything that made Doom 2016 such a success, and keeps the pressure up from the opening minutes to the climactic final boss and falters only ever so occasionally en route.
One of 2020’s first essential games, Doom Eternal is a masterwork of first-person shooter design, and sets the bar for what developers should be doing in the genre.
• Robust, diverse enemy design
• Endlessly entertaining OST
• Empowering array of destructive tools
• Genre-leading combat flow
• One enemy type is irritating as hell
• Very occasional clunky platforming
Source: Read Full Article