You are the loaded dice, the one person (or beast) who can fight back hell. You are the sword of Earth’s fury, taking down vicious demon upon demon, upon demon. In this game hell is relentless in pursuing the extinction of humanity. Yet you are even more ruthless in hunting down hell itself. This feeling drives you to feel like a badass when you are succeeding in defeating a horde of demons, but also makes you feel pretty useless when flailing about against an assemblage of tough enemies. You are the “Doom Slayer,” and you hate the demons beyond anything.

It’s amazing how significant you are made to feel and the pride of finishing this game will be with you for-ever, even though as a casual gamer this, though a notch down from Sekiro and Dark Souls, is still a tough and gritty experience where you will be tearing your hair out in frustration. In Doom Eternal you “rip and tear” demonic foes, improving things in an overrun Earth. You are a beast, the only one who can stop the demons of hell from taking over the planet and vanquishing the local population.

There are dozens of demonic enemies each divided into a heavy or light class. This is much more than a brainless shooter. Each one of your enemies has a certain weakness, which can be utilized for amazing results. For example, the Cacodemon an ugly, rotund, one-eyed, gaping-mouthed enemy with jagged teeth, is vulnerable to a shotgun rocket down the throat. He swallows this and it leaves him in a staggered state which can then be utilized to launch a glory kill. The bosses too need strategy rather than bare weapons.

Glory kills are the same as in the original Doom (of 2016) but there is more emphasis now on platforming (boy-without guides I wouldn’t ever be able to solve those climbing puzzles). Glory Kills can be launched only when an enemy is in a staggered state, which can be induced by attacking it with your arsenal.

Often a weapon has its advantages with certain foes, but not with others. For example, I found the Rocket Launcher and Ballista almost useless on certain enemy types-particularly the Whiplash which with its fast movement and dexterity avoided the slow loading and firing missiles easily.

Then there are annoying enemies with shields, which can be overloaded with the plasma rifle. This is only the grass that grows through the ground, not the forest. Later on the enemies have weaknesses that need split-second reflexes to eliminate. Particularly frustrating is the Arch-vile who buffs enemies around it and is extremely difficult to take out.

The additional focus on tactics though, guarantees there is more method to the madness than ever before and it is incorrect to say DE is a brainless shooter. It focuses on strategy and tactics more than any Doom game or other shooter I have played. There are multiple ways from weapon points to suit points to runes you can use to strengthen your Doom Slayer.

It seems there is an added emphasis on storytelling and lore and a collection of Codex entries help the player learn about his surroundings. And it also seems the enemies have gotten stronger, at least since the last Doom. But this is a two-way thing. I certainly felt great rescuing Earth from the edge of a catastrophe. But my anguish grew as time passed and I could not defeat those tough as nails enemies.

There is definitely a solution. When you are running out of health you need to perform a glory kill. To gain armor you use the flame belch and to gain ammo you use the chain-saw. This is what makes every moment of Doom Eternal a challenge and these three necessary gauges in Doom need to be very carefully managed. Done well, and before one of these gauges is empty, you can be a Doom pro.

But in the start I often ran out of ammunition at a dizzying rate, which told me I was missing my targets way too often. The problem became less common once I started using the chainsaw properly and put some points in to improve the ammo capacity.

Extremely fast paced with no place to hide from its gritty battles Doom Eternal is punishing even on the lowest difficulty. I have tried to refine my tactics endlessly, but failed extremely only to rise back again and fight. I try to take down the bigger enemies first but there are too many and the marauder pounds me to a paste. I try to run around the enclosed battle arena but can’t avoid the rockets of a Revenant. I try to find the Arch-Vile, a dangerous enemy that spawns equally dangerous hell beasts constantly and buffs them- but dashing around the map, I get overrun. Each battle is torment but something keeps you going. If you want to finish DE, you have to be persistent, unrelenting and merciless to the demons that are responsible for the ravaging of Earth.

For my tastes Doom is extremely challenging. But a gamer would not feel like a bad-ass unless he is facing insurmountable odds. The success with the previous Doom has convinced the developers to focus more on story elements and there are codex entries (and many other collectibles) that can be found littered across the Doom maps. There are also cheat codes, which, unfortunately can be used only after they are unlocked in the main game, leaving no option for the casual gamer. There are new and more dangerous enemy types in Doom Eternal which definitely give you a run for your money.

However, I do feel that there is something missing in Doom Eternal’s story. Perhaps I do not remember the 2016 Doom too well, but I felt something like, I was watching a movie from the middle. Several chapters were missing from this book.

Despite its nominal faults, the id developers have still made a gem, that cannot be melted by the fires of hell, just like the Slayer. And fighting as a hero of Earth is more than reason for me to try and take this war to its righteous conclusion.

Rating: 8.25

Pros:

  • Very fast paced combat where you should keep shooting.
  • Each enemy has a weakness which can be exploited for amazing results.
  • Guns and enemies are varied.
  • Good advancement/perk system.
  • There is a lot of searching for collectibles in hidden spaces.
  • Platforming plays a major role in Doom-Eternal.
  • The history of the various peoples (including aliens), including the Argent’ D Nur and the Doom Slayer has been revealed and it is mighty interesting, particularly for a fantasy writer like me.
  • Accomplishing all those difficult fights and completion gives a lot of satisfaction.

Cons:

  • Even harder than the original Doom. The later levels are really a virtual hell.
  • You can be cornered by a bunch of big enemies in the geographical corner of the map and you have no place to maneuver out of it.
  • Swimming is not interesting. Particularly as the sludge makes it difficult to see and progress without losing your life.
  • Sometimes the story seems like watching a movie right from the middle.

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