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DOOM Eternal Review – Bigger, Bolder, and Bloodier

'Doom Eternal is one of the best shooters around."

After the rocky release of DOOM 3, the 2016 reboot of the series presented a great advancement for the DOOM franchise. Its arcade-like approach delivered a fast-paced shooter with some intense action, gore and of course, a great story. id Software has taken everything great about the 2016 release and upped the antics, added a load of new mechanics, enemies and weapons and dialled up the volume on the game’s gore, action and story.

Note: This DOOM Eternal review is based on the full campaign. At the time of review, the multiplayer Battlemode servers were not live yet. We will share our thoughts on the game mode as soon as we can test it out. 

Give our DOOM Eternal video review a watch down below to see the game in action

The results; an unrivalled shooter that takes players to new epic locations as they fight demonic hordes of enemies across a refreshing story angle. In Short, DOOM Eternal is a masterpiece with gunplay that is unmatched in the industry and action that will keep you on the edge of your seat for weeks on end. It is bigger, bolder and bloodier than ever and we could not have asked for a better game.

DOOM Eternal is set two years after the events of the past game. The Doom Slayer was previously teleported to an unknown location and now returns to Earth which is being overrun by demonic forces. Things are not looking too great as from the moment you load into the game, the world is on fire. Giant lava pools are scattered across the land, massive cities lay in ruin and the massive flesh-formed structures have taken over the planet. If anything, the sheer scale of DOOM Eternal’s interstellar conflict has been presented in a way I never witnessed before. The moment I landed in the game, I was taken back by just how fantastic the end of the world has been created in Doom Eternal.

The moment I landed in the game, I was taken back by just how fantastic the end of the world has been created in Doom Eternal

Every little detail has been put into focus and the attention to detail is phenomenal. The Fortress of Doom acts as the main hub where you can view your collectables, play a classic id Software soundtrack, test your weapons and even use items to unlock more upgrades for your suit and arsenal. While I was not smashing in demon skulls, I was exploring all the hidden easter eggs in the Fortress of Doom and unlocking rare skins to change the look of my Doom Slayer. This contributes to the overall progression of the game and anyone that played the previous release would know how great it was too 100% the world and maps.

DOOM Eternal has made it possible that there’s a lot more to see and do in every mission. The larger scale of this demonic war means the game’s mechanics have been revamped too with a greater emphasis being put on exploration and even puzzle solving. DOOM Eternal is much more than just a shooter as each mission takes place across a sprawling map with hidden secrets, hard-to-reach locations and a handful of puzzles to solve. These new additions require less pulling of the trigger and more timing of your double jump and dash to get through. Swinging across monkey bars, grabbing on walls and leaping across massive open gaps feels greater than ever as the sheer scale of every hub and parkour location has been tripled in size giving you more freedom than ever.

Doom Eternal Review

It also helps that every location oozes personality from the burning cities of Earth to the inners of Mars. id Software’s level design has been polished to the utmost perfection and it goes a long way to create stages that you want to spend an hour exploring. There are so many hidden things to find and collectables to add to your collection that I did not want to leave until I had everything. Luckily, the game promotes this as every mission unlocks a fast travel feature allowing you to return to previous portions of the map to clean up challenges and find that Doom Eternal toy hidden behind that breakable wall.

Most of the time, these collectables rely on the game’s great exploration system which means timing your jump and mid-air dashes in order to grab a wall hidden away underneath a ledge. There were even some stages where I spent over an hour trying to find a hidden switch to open a cage in order to get to a suit upgrade. Every new stage presented a fun and exciting approach to this system and it works in the game’s favour.

Doom Eternal Review

DOOM Eternal’s upgrade system has been completely revamped with so much more to dive into

Most of these collectables are also important to the game’s combat which is why you would want to spend an hour finding them. DOOM Eternal’s upgrade system has been completely revamped with so much more to dive into. At first, things start off a bit slow as I was limited in weapon choice and my upgrade path but by the end of the game, I was a rocket-launching, ice-bombing killing machine that still got my ass handed to me at times. With that being said, every combat encounter was exhilarating.

DOOM Eternal takes the new fast-paced environmental movements and puts it alongside the intense combat in order to deliver a refreshing new system. Dashing, jumping and wall climbing are vital to survival in DOOM Eternal as the game’s demonic enemies will challenge you at every approach. Mostly every combat hub in the game features multiple routes to dash through, monkey bars to swing across and hidden pathways to discover all while you are trying to kill the dozens of demons trying to burn you alive. This results in an intense battle that will test your wits and your reflexes.

Weapons are as fun as ever to shoot and as you progress through the game, they get stronger with new mods and upgrades being available. For example, the double-barrel shotgun has a chain that can be used to pull you towards enemies. This chain can then be upgraded to burn enemies at the same time while improving reload speed. The other shotgun has a grenade launcher mod that can be shot towards enemies and once mastered through various upgrades and a final challenge, these grenades then split into five mini ones after firing.

Every weapon I found presented a brand new way to approach combat when I pulled it out. The chaingun lets you turn it into a high-powered, fast-firing turret that just destroys everything in its path while the Ballista lets you fire shots at enemies and make use of the kickback from the gun as an added dash. All this means is that combat never gets old in DOOM Eternal and every enemy has a counter weapon that works best against it. This goes hand in hand with the new suit arsenal that now has added grenades to it in the form of an ice bomb and frag grenade. DOOM Slayer also has a Doomblade which can slice enemies in half and plays a major role in the game’s finishers.

Doom Eternal Review

Every demon also has either a weak spot or a weakness to a specific weapon

Of course, we then have the chainsaw which can also act as a weapon provided I grabbed the gas while running for my life away from a Baron of Hell. DOOM Eternal also relies on clever item management system in order to get past the hardest combat moments in the game and it works brilliantly. Chainsawing a guy in two will drop ammo for you. Finishing an enemy with the Doomblade will spawn extra health. Smashing a group of enemies will also spawn health and burning enemies with the flame turret on your suit and then shooting them will spawn armour. This system means that you constantly need to take into account your health, armour and ammo count and if you are getting low on any of them, make use of the spawning tactics to refill it.

It is a masterful system that really challenges your skills in the late-game especially when you are faced with the new melee enemy called the Marauder. He cannot be killed easily. Instead, you need to counter him when he attacks with his axe. This results in an intense 1v1 as I juggled low health, low ammo and armour. I then had to sprint around the area looking for weak zombies to chainsaw in half for ammo and others to burn for armour. It was these moments where DOOM Eternal really made me sweat and brought the chaos I craved from the series.

The same can be said for the crazy combat moments where I was faced with dozens of demons. Every demon is unique and as the game progresses, you learn how to approach them. Every demon also has either a weak spot or a weakness to a specific weapon. The Arachnotron can have its cannons shot off by either a precision shot from the Heavy Cannon or a well-placed grenade launcher shot. The Cacodemon can also be stunned by shooting a grenade into its mouth making it easy to perform a “take-down”.

With that being said, enemies are also tough as nails and require quick decision making, fast jumps and dashes and all sorts of combat to bring down. The rewards are worth it though. If you are not doing a specific take-down for a mission challenge, you are doing it for ammo, armour or even maybe a weapon milestone.

The overall progression in DOOM Eternal feeds into a range of systems including weapon parts to improve your arsenal and grant them buffs, crystal shards to improve your overall health, ammo and armour and suit upgrades that improve a range of things including exploration perks, dash cooldowns and much more. All these upgrades are unlocked as you collect items, kill enemies and progress in the game.

Everything in DOOM Eternal works like a well-oiled machine and it all comes into fruition during the game’s most intense combat moments. Be it the secret combat challenges or trying to complete a Slayer Room which acts as a challenging combat arena where everything you have unlocked and own is put to the test. I did not realize how crazy things were until I realized I spent twenty minutes slaying demons and surviving on the edge of death the whole time.

You cannot use real money in any way throughout DOOM Eternal

DOOM Eternal also has a greater emphasis on end-game called Master Levels and Cheat Codes. You can replay missions on higher difficulties with a range of cool cheats enabled like infinite ammo and no health. The game also has a crazy range of different difficulty modes to choose from so those that are up for a challenge can take the dive.

Of course, we then have the battle pass in the form of the event system. This reward-based progression system will change every month and offer new cosmetic items to unlock by playing the Battlemode and even doing campaign challenges that will refresh every week. You cannot use real money in any way throughout DOOM Eternal. You unlock everything by just playing the game. Great job, id software.

Doom Eternal Review

Verdict

After hours upon hours of exploring epic locations and fighting deadly demons, DOOM Eternal was done and I had a little warm feeling inside. It is one of the best shooters I have played in a very long time. Its emphasis on exploration and unrivalled fast-paced combat has branched out on its own to deliver an experience like no other. I cannot wait to progress through more weekly challenges, go back and collect the missing items and of course, play the Battlemode. DOOM Eternal has a bright future ahead.

Doom Eternal Review

This DOOM Eternal review was based on a code sent to us by Bethesda

Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 20 March 2020 | Price: R1,069

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