Doom Eternal goes for the jugular right off the bat.
The first sign that things will soon get hairy is when Doomguy, the game’s strong and silent protagonist, is handed the shotgun as the starting weapon instead of the weaker pistol.
The opening couple of hours are an especially brutal introduction to the Doom series, one of PC gaming’s longest-running franchises.
Continuing from the previous entry, Doom (2016), Eternal delves into the origins and lore of the universe. But frankly, the story is merely an excuse for players to “rip and tear” the hellish enemies that have invaded Earth.
Having completed the previous game without too much trouble, I was confident of my skills, especially at the normal “Hurt Me Plenty” difficulty.
But I was soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemies and the lack of essential resources, such as ammunition, armour and health kits. Adding to the learning curve are the numerous weapon and armour upgrades, along with new abilities, cheat codes and hidden collectables that the game unloads on you in a very short time.
Gameplay has evolved too. The first and most significant change is that resources lying on the ground are more limited now.
Instead, like a pinata, enemies will spill out much-needed ammunition when sliced apart by the chainsaw, and drop armour when set on fire with the flamethrower.
In short, players are forced to switch from running around the arena, looking for items, to farming weaker foes for the resources needed to kill more powerful enemies.
Each type of enemy now has a specific weakness. For instance, the flying Cacodemon can be staggered by firing a grenade into its toothy mouth. And the Marauder is essentially invulnerable until the moment it attacks – telegraphed by a green flash – giving the player a short window to counter.
Thus, combat in Doom Eternal plays almost like a puzzle. As you encounter different enemies in the arena, you switch to the most appropriate weapon to tackle their weakness.
• Intense, fast-paced action
• New takes on resource management and traversing
• Varied environments
• Steep learning curve
• Platforming puzzles
PRICE: From $81.30 (PC, version tested; PS4; Xbox One)
GENRE: First-person shooter
And all this while, you are constantly on the move, thanks to new movement options, such as a short burst of speed, called Dash, and the ability to jump twice in quick succession to leap higher.
These movement options are required to solve the game’s platforming puzzles, which are my biggest frustrations. I reckon my character has plunged to his death more times than he has been killed by enemies.
The level design aids these new movement options. The arenas are filled with platforms, jump pads and horizontal bars that let skilled players move around effortlessly like world-class parkour practitioners.
Accompanied by its heavy metal soundtrack, Doom Eternal offers intense, heart-pounding action that leaves me with sweaty palms and hand cramps. It is an adrenaline-filled treat for fans of firstperson shooters.