At its core, Doom Eternal is an action-platformer that is secretly masquerading around as a first-person shooter. This sequel to the reboot of the franchise pilots the genre into refreshing new territory, but is slightly held back by its convoluted and often laughable story. Regardless, Eternal succeeds at building upon the addicting gameplay of its already amazing predecessor to culminate in one of the best first person shooters of this console generation.
I often praise Doom (2016) for the way it makes you feel like a complete badass right from the start, so I was pretty surprised when I was immediately humbled at the beginning of Eternals’ roughly fifteen hour campaign. In fact, I ended up lowering the difficulty twice before I finally got into the groove of its brilliant gameplay loop. This spike in difficulty is largely due to a much smaller reticle that forces you to be more precise with your aiming, along with a scarcity of ammo and other resources available to you. Because of this, you begin to treat your health, armor, and ammo as precious commodities by employing a much more tactical approach to your demon-slaying frenzy.
However, the biggest breath of fresh air to me was Eternals’ incorporation of very well designed platforming sections in between your enemy encounters. These puzzle-like areas provide a much needed break from all the chaos, while reminding you to regularly search your environments for secrets that often prove useful in battle. New tools such as air dashes and grappling hooks provide fun new ways to traverse several vertically massive levels and make for some entertaining breath-catching breaks along the way. I can safely claim that aside from Titanfall 2, I have never seen such a great implementation of platforming within a first-person shooter.
While Doom Eternal might have some of the most satisfying FPS gameplay that I’ve ever experienced, the game does not come without its fair share of flaws. To be honest, after 15 or so hours, I couldn’t tell you what the story is even about. Bad voice acting and stale writing aside, much of the uninteresting story is told through logs that you have to read in menus, only the text is so small that I can’t even read it from my couch. So, I inevitably lost any little interest I had in the story very early on. Additionally, I prefer the raw soundtrack and gritty aesthetic of the first game to the flashy neon one of Eternal. For me, this unfortunately means that a lot of the blood-spattering novelty of the franchise was lost in translation.
Overall, Doom Eternal makes some very impressive strides in the right direction and proves that shooters don’t have to be subjected to the formulaic standards set by other franchises. While Doom (2016) laid a solid foundation for the series, Eternal completely leaves it in its dust, and has evolved my perception of what to expect from the genre. Luckily for fans of the franchise, (even with its few drawbacks) Doom Eternal never bores, but instead continues the series’ tradition of the adrenaline-fueled “ripping and tearing” that we’ve all come to love.
Doom Eternal: 4/5
- Incredibly fast and fun gameplay
- Brilliantly integrated platforming sections
- Great new weapons and upgrades
- Uninteresting story
- Unwelcome change in aesthetic
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