The last few blog posts have seen me talk about how video games can help us maintain our mental health through the low points in our lives. However with this post I’ll be taking a short break from this subject to talk about how FUCKING AMAZING DOOM ETERNAL IS!!!
(Ok maybe too many exclamation points but bear with me)
Doom Eternal is the sequel to the Doom reboot which came out in 2016. Doom 2016 happens to be one of the best first person shooters I have ever played. The controls were silky smooth, gamplay was challenging, and the soundtrack is the best I’ve ever heard from a game (it helps that I’m a big fan of heavy metal). In all honesty there isn’t much in the way of criticism I could level at the game. So how do you follow up such a game in a sequel? Easy, you dial the whole fucking thing up to 100!
In the original 2016 game you played as “Doomguy”, a space marine who wakes up from ancient slumber in a research facility on Mars and then proceeds to slaughter endless hordes of demons with a dizzying array of weapons at your disposal. The story was pretty bare bones and not really fleshed out, but when the game play is this good who cares?
Now in the sequel the demons have invaded Earth, and it is your job to prevent them from wiping out mankind completely. The story is a little more fleshed out than 2016, with more characters and lots more backstory, but let’s be honest, no one playing this game is looking for some deep narrative with thought provoking characters. They’re playing this game to fuck up some demons whilst heavy metal pummels their ear drums.
ID Software, the developers of the series, have taken a “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it approach” to the sequel, and it works like a charm. Instead of doing a complete over-haul of the original, they’ve instead built on it’s blueprint and refined everything almost impeccably. As with the previous title different equipment with reward you with different resources. Killing a demon with your chainsaw will net you ammo for all your other weapons, but this also uses up fuel. Glory kills, where a weakened enemy will start to flash different colours allowing you to a brutal; execution, will reward you with health. However they have added additional features, such as the flame belch, a shoulder mounted flame thrower that when it sets enemies alight, they will start to sweat off armour shards to provide you protection. You also have access to two different grenades, a frag and a freeze variant, which can be changed on the fly for different scenarios. However each one of these different items have their own cool down timers, where you have to wait a certain amount of time before they can be used again. This means that every fight you go into requires a certain degree of planning and forward thinking. Do I waste my flame belch at the start of the fight, or save it till towards the end when I know more dangerous demons will spawn? Do I use my freeze grenade on the mob of smaller demons in front of me, or do I save it for the charging Hell Knight coming at me from across the arena? To the untrained eye the game might seem like mindless carnage, but there is a lot of intelligent design at play here.
Again I have to heap a huge amount of praise on composer Mick Gordon, who has returned from 2016 to provide the game’s amazing soundtrack. I can honestly say the game would not be as good without his blistering guitars and pummeling drums to drive the adrenaline through your body at break neck speeds.
All I can say is, killing demons has never been this fun.