Dust off that shotgun. Clean out that rocket launcher. Unsheathe your chainsaw, for the Slayer’s time is upon us. Doom Eternal is out, and it’s very, very good.
Doom 2016 was great, but this is better. Developers Id Software have thrown more creatures into their cyber-menagerie, weaving new ideas into a bulky campaign that eclipses its predecessor. It targets old weaknesses like a charged heavy cannon vaporising an Arachnotron’s turret. Certain levels pack more varied scenery than the whole of Doom 2016 put together, while a new flamethrower tool builds on the last game’s glory kills.
For the uninitiated, here’s a snippet from my Doom Eternal review:
“As with Doom 2016, glory kills are the cornerstone of combat, and they never stop forcing you forwards. Drop a demon’s health low enough, and they’ll stagger. That’s your cue to move in and press the button that rips their arms off, or makes them eat their own pulsating heart, or slides a dagger through their jawbone, or, God, so much else. You’ll think you’ve seen every gruesome disassembly, and then you’ll find yourself stabbing a jagged femur into a snake-demon’s brain. It’s very hard not to revel in this.
“Every glory kill gives you health, letting you bounce back from the edge of disaster. Opportunities are abundant, so danger can be too: your health is designed to be in flux. This system works, and it works well. It resonates. This is how Doomguy fights. Forget about whittling away at health bars from a safe distance, for there is no such thing as a safe distance. Your best bet is to always be right beside the creatures intent on your destruction, where salvation manifests as a fist through an abdomen.”
With the flamethrower in the mix, damaging crowds of burning enemies lets you bathe in dropped armour shards. Enemies become both threats and snarling bags of resources, integral to keeping you in the fight. When you run out of health or armour, it’s probably your fault. That right there is one of the main reasons I gave it a Bestest Best.
I haven’t tried it yet, but the multiplayer sounds more interesting this time round, too. It’s a 2v1 mode where two players control demons attempting to kill the Slayer, summoning demonic minions as they do so. Bethesda’s Pete Hines has said they were keen to preserve the same feel from the campaign, which is why there’s no straight up deathmatch mode. I like his thinking.
The Doom 64 re-release is also out today, if you simply must slay more. That’s the 1997 sequel to Doom 2, now on PC for the first time. Happy days. It’s on Steam for £4/$5/€5.