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id Software surpassed everyone’s expectations and broke new grounds when they released DOOM in 2016 after a tumultuous development cycle. It was a new direction for the classic shooter series, but one that paid homage to its roots and retained a lot of what made DOOM so special in the first place. Following it up with a worthy good sequel would be equally hard. As a person who has been playing DOOM on and off for nearly 20 years, I’m ecstatic to admit that id has done it once again. DOOM Eternal is bigger and better than its predecessor in almost every way imaginable and stands on its own two feet at the same time.

The Story

Eternal is a direct sequel to DOOM and is set two years after the demonic invasion of Mars. After the Argent research facility is destroyed, demons have invaded the Earth and the resistance is in its last legs. Doomslayer, having been teleported away to some unknown location at the end of the previous game has returned. He monitors the events that have transpired from his new control tower aka the aptly named Doom Fortress controlled by the friendly AI, Vega. From there on out, the story follows the Slayer’s carnage to kick demon ass and save Earth from impending DOOM (pun intended).

There’s a lot more focus on the story this time around with the introduction of traditional cutscenes and more lore notes. I never thought I’d say this, but the story is actually pretty cool (minus the odd plot hole here and there). It ties up 27 years worth of disjointed lore into one coherent package. While DOOM 2016 kept its campy tone well hidden, Eternal is all out on it. It’s over the top, full of references and throwbacks and is self-aware. There’s even stuff here from that awful comic no one remembers. The game knows how ridiculous all this sounds and revels in it. So should you. Though there is one particular section in the story that some DOOM veterans might find blasphemous.

If you’re a guy who just wants to kick demon ass without being interrupted by all the story bits, you can skip everything by simply holding down a key. The only gripe I have with it is that the Slayer shows more restraint this time around and is no longer super angry. Makes sense from the character development side of things I suppose. But this is DOOM!


While DOOM 2016 took the basic idea from classics and infused it with the arena-style combat of Painkiller and added some modern gameplay systems, Eternal goes one step further and adds a whole slew of new elements. In short, it’s not just an expanded DOOM 2016. But the core of DOOM remains more or less the same from last time around. You traverse the environment and fight demons in closed-off areas. You’re not locked in there with them, they’re locked in there with you! (sorry, had to do that) Once you clear the arena, you’re free to move on to the next portion of the level. Rinse and repeat till you get to the finish line. Except that there’s more, much more.

Before getting into the nuances, let’s get one thing out of the way. The gunplay is fantastic and so is your expansive arsenal. The shooting feels great, thanks to beefy weapon sounds, proper hit feedback and some chunky, modern gibbing. There’s no such thing as a useless weapon in Eternal. You know the game isn’t messing around when your default pistol slot is taken by the combat shotgun. The biggest achievement of Eternal is how the way each combat encounter is designed, how you are encouraged to make full use of your entire arsenal to kick demon ass and stay alive while doing so.

The combat is more fast-paced, challenging and a for the lack of a better word, tactical. Eternal takes what made the previous game so good and pushes it to the next level. There are a lot more enemies, both in number and variety and they relentlessly chase you down. The arenas have more verticality to them. The environmental awareness has been upped a level. The default melee damage has been nerfed due to the addition of the blood punch. You are a lot more mobile and can perform all the newly added manouvers (more on that below). Simply put, there are more options available to the player.

DOOM Eternal’s combat encounters now require more…let’s say micromanaging…in a fun, satisfying way. Glory kills now only return health and ammo pickups are fewer with no ammo crates to be found. In order to refill your ammo, you’ll need to chainsaw an enemy every now and then. The game balances the need for scrounging for fuel by automatically recharging one fuel bar after a short time. One bar is enough for grunt type enemies and keeps you going for some time. In order to get armour, you have to use your newly-added shoulder-mounted flame belch to light enemies for them to drop them. There are also two types of grenades available at your disposal which can either gib or freeze enemies in place. Most enemies even have weak points and disabling them gives you a massive advantage against specific enemy types.

Does all of this sound confusing and too much work? Well, I thought the same at first. It can seem a bit overwhelming for people expecting a traditional shooter. But having completed one Ultra Violence campaign and half a campaign on Nightmare, I can confidently say that you’ll end up loving this extra layer of depth (at least most of you will). You’ll be revving that sweet saw, glory killing, incinerating and grenade throwing demons in-between shooting them in the face in no time. These mechanics become muscle memory just after the first few levels. You might need to unlearn some of the stuff DOOM 2016 taught you first, but the transition to Eternal’s mechanics is as seamless as they come. It all comes together damn well.

Eternal also has a smooth difficulty curve. There’s a lot to take in at first in the form of new weapons, several new enemy types and all the mechanics mentioned above. But Eternal succeeds in gradually introducing you to its new additions level-by-level. That isn’t to say there are annoying sections in the campaign. But they’re few and far between. The game is challenging but not unfair on difficulties up to Nightmare and if you find the game too hard, there’s the option to tone the difficulty down at any moment.

The new and returning roster of enemies makes the combat in Eternal all-the-more exhilarating. The rocket launching DOOT fella Revenant, the slithering Whiplash, always-intimidating Cyberdemon variant aka Tyrant, newly designed Baron of Hell, damage sponge Doom Hunter, ‘beloved’ Arch-Vile, most-complained-about Marauder and more make the combat of this sequel all the better. Like the classic proverb, variety is the spice of life. Some of the new enemy types may prove a bit daunting to newcomers or annoy people who think DOOM 2016 is the pinnacle of first-person shooters.  That being said, the Marauder could use a bit of tweaking as his attack pattern can be somewhat unreliable at times. The fella shoots when he’s supposed to throw axe, dodge when he’s supposed to shield etc.


The exploration has also been changed substantially. The level design is more complex but fairly linear and levels are a lot longer, there’s more verticality in the environment and there are a few traps thrown into the mix for good measure. This is where Eternal introduces platforming. The Slayer can now double jump from the start and acquires double dash soon after. He’s also able to wall-climb and swing on monkey bars.

The platforming becomes an essential part of Eternal from the second level onwards. For the most part, the mechanics are simple to use and work well enough. But, as you can probably guess, there are certain levels which overuse this mechanic and break the pacing of the game, as well as a few sections where the platforming is nothing but an annoying chore. The distance at which you grab monkey bars can also seem off at times, leading you to over/undershoot your jump. However, in the grand scheme of things, these are nothing but minor annoyances.

Then there are some really odd sections where you have to traverse through thick, purple slime that limits your movement to a crawl and you have to deal with these annoying tentacles. There’s even a particular combat scenario centered around this slime which is poorly designed and just makes you go “why?”. There are also a few generic puzzles in the later levels which come across as out of place in a DOOM game.

Aside from your main objective, the levels are littered with collectibles including figurines, music tracks from other id games, cheat codes and extra lives (yes that’s a thing now). The secrets are far, far easier to find and they’re basically thrown in your face this time around, which I’m personally not a big fan of. But that’s just me nitpicking. There are also additional challenges and the mettle-testing Slayer Gates to be found inside levels.


Eternal throws out the poorly-received multiplayer from the last game in favour of a 2 V 1 Battlemode. One player plays as the Slayer while two can team and choose from a small roster of demons. The Slayer has to kill both demons within a short time of each other, while the demons work together to avoid this and kill Slayer first. While the Slayer is equipped with his full arsenal (except BFG), the demons too have their respective abilities such as summoning, buffing, healing etc. In-between rounds, you can also choose from a list of upgrades which can turn the tide of the match. One match can go up to 5 rounds.

The Battlemode is fun while it works, but there are a lot of problems hindering enjoyment. First of all, it doesn’t feel like it belongs in a DOOM game but that’s just me. I’ve played over 50 matches and found that it favours the demon side more. Then there’s the copious amounts of matchmaking issues, poor connectivity, random lag spikes, sound bugs and disconnections. I haven’t been able to get a match for a day now. It remains to be seen how id treats Battlemode in the future.

The Presentation and Technical Aspects

Doom Eternal is a gorgeous looking game all around. The art style is more vibrant and diverse. That includes enemies exploding like pinatas and dropping colourful pickups. The environments, whether it be demon-ravaged Earth, space stations, hell, otherworldy sanctums, are all highly detailed and meticulously crafted. All the weapons have seen a re-design and resemble the classics a lot more. As a full package, Eternal is a feast to the eyes, if you excuse some of the low-res textures.

I do think that the UI is all over the place despite the numerous customization options. Having a quick glance at your grenade or chainsaw meter while engaged in intense combat scenarios proves troublesome because the game has all these icons stacked together side by side. It’s too cluttered for my taste.

The game runs like a dream on my machine which is sporting an i5 7500, GTX 1070 and 16 gigs of RAM. It runs over 80 fps at Nightmare settings for the most part. Eternal does have this weird issue with STEAM overlay where it drastically chokes the FPS to mid-40s. But disabling the overlay seemed to fix this problem. Eternal crashed twice in 40 hrs of playtime and I did run into a few bugs. Both in the campaign and Battlemode, the game throws you out of the map occasionally or fails to render the majority of the game world. In some occasions, secret items failed to spawn but a quick reload fixed that for me. There is also this annoying audio bug that amplifies and distorts every sound in the game, though it happens in Battlemode far often.

Music and Sound

I don’t think this portion needs any explanation. People familiar with the works of Mick Gordon know that they’re in for a treat. The music tracks are just frigging awesome and that includes the new ‘metal choir’ as well. The dub-steppiness of its predecessor’s OST has been replaced with some classic metal which is always appreciated. The weapon, enemy sounds and audio cues are exceptional as usual.


Without a doubt, DOOM Eternal is one of the most memorable shooters in recent memory and is arguably the best AAA FPS yet. Do note that this is not a by-the-book sequel to DOOM 2016. Eternal takes 30 years of FPS goodness, infuses it with the essence of its predecessor and carries the franchise in a bold new direction forward. Only one question remains- how are they going to top this one?

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