Monday, June 10, 2019
'Rip and tear' the 2016 DOOM revival urged. 'Rip more, tear more' the upcoming DOOM Eternal suggests. And that right there is a fairly useful indicator as to what the next entry in id Software's hellish shooter is promising: more of everything. More gore, more outlandish weaponry, more ways to reduce the game's army of demonic acolytes to lumps of twitching flesh, and well, more devilish monsters to introduce to the business end of a super shotgun.
It's unmistakably DOOM, then, with tasty gameplay loops designed to keep you in the thick of the action. The Doom Slayer's toolset is expanded, so you have a wrist-mounted blade for carving up enemies, a shoulder-mounted flamethrower to flambé foes, and a devastating 'blood punch' that can bowl over multiple demons with a single jab. And you're encouraged to bust out these different moves to give yourself a fighting chance; failing to mix things up will leave you short on ammo, health, and armour.
Anyone familiar with the previous DOOM will already have an idea of what to expect then, but what you may not be prepared for is the doubled number of demons, the new species of monstrous nasties, and the return of scuttling brain with legs, the deadly Arachnotron. Thankfully, the Slayer not only has more tools at his disposal, but is also far more mobile, able to double jump, dash, and even cling to certain climbable walls or swing from horizontal flagpoles.
With these new traversal options, DOOM Eternal takes time out from all the ripping and tearing for a spot of platforming. While I'm not a particularly big fan of first-person platform jumping, especially in a game as frenetic and action-packed as DOOM, here it works well enough, although you can expect some frustrating missed jumps and misjudged leaps into the abyss. Fortunately, missing a platform only saps 10 health points, rather than killing you outright, so there's that.
Still, most won't be playing DOOM to jump, dash and climb across floating platforms; the reason to play DOOM Eternal is that same brand of brutal action that made the previous game such a delirious joy to play. Eternal doesn't skimp on any of that, the gratification that comes from zipping towards an enemy with the super shotgun's meathook before giving them both barrels is something you can't really find anywhere else.
Demon slaying isn't a completely mindless activity, however. In fact, id Software describes DOOM Eternal as a “power fantasy combat puzzle”, the 'puzzle' aspect delivered in the way you choose to murderise the game's menagerie of hellspawn. Shoot the arm cannons of a Mancubus, and they'll explode, leaving it primed for a special glory kill that sees the Slayer wrenching out the yellow eyeball in the beast's solar plexus, then cramming it down its throat. Other examples include blasting away an Arachnotron's head-mounted turret, then tearing off its leg to cram the spindly appendage into its eye, or simply grabbing an enemy by the arms and ripping it in half like a sheet of A4. Have at thee, foul creature!
While glory kills are spectacular and sickeningly enjoyable, it's DOOM Eternal's beefy guns that should once again prove to be the main draw. Like RAGE 2 and DOOM 2016 before it, there's more than ample evidence that no one can really do weighty, devastating guns like id can. DOOM Eternal is no exception, each pull of the trigger resulting in thunderous showers of projectiles that rip through flesh and bone, thumping away big chunks of organic matter with each bullet or ball of crackling plasma.
You'll feel like a powerful, unstoppable freight train of death in DOOM Eternal, then, but like a train, if you fail to keep moving, you're dead meat. Make no mistake; this new entry is challenging, demanding that you exploit those core gameplay loops to keep yourself in ammo, health and armour. Enemies are uncompromising, and will shoot, bludgeon or claw you to ribbons in seconds if you give even an inch.
As the Doom Slayer, you're feared by humans; a fact showcased as you menacingly stomp through a UAC facility on Mars before embarking upon a mission, the eggheads and security guards manning the base recoiling in terror as you walk by. You'll need to work to make the legions of Hell fear you, however, which means learning each monster's strengths and weaknesses, then mastering your formidable toolset to bring them to heel.
DOOM Eternal looks to be just about everything we were hoping for from a follow-up to the stellar 2016 entry, but with more of all the stuff that makes DOOM special. More of the demon killing, more of the shooty bangs, more of the screeching metal music, more gore and entrails thrown directly into your face. What more could you possibly want when DOOM Eternal eventually launches?
DOOM Eternal will be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on 22nd November 2019.
Monday, June 10, 2019 @ 03:25 AM
Thursday, November 28, 2019 @ 02:54 PM