Doom Eternal - PS4

Doom Eternal – PS4

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Developed by id Software, DOOM Eternal will deliver the ultimate combination of speed and power, along with the next leap in push-forward, first-person combat. As the DOOM Slayer, you’ll return to take your vengeance against the forces of Hell. Set to an all-new pulse-pounding soundtrack composed by Mick Gordon, you’ll fight across dimensions as you slay new and classic …
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Awards

Rating

  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You Might Like

  • Fantastic Varied Combat
  • Breath-taking Art Design
  • A Hell-Worthy Soundtrack
  • A Well Realised Story with Genuine Attempts at World Building

Might Not Like

  • A Need to Literally Read Into The Story
  • Lack-Lustre Platforming Puzzles
  • Bland Boss Design
  • It Isn’t Doom 2016
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Description

Developed by id Software, DOOM Eternal will deliver the ultimate combination of speed and power, along with the next leap in push-forward, first-person combat. As the DOOM Slayer, you'll return to take your vengeance against the forces of Hell. Set to an all-new pulse-pounding soundtrack composed by Mick Gordon, you'll fight across dimensions as you slay new and classic demons with powerful new weapons and abilities

 

Doom feature image

Doom 2016 was my game of the year for that year. It was perfect to me in every way; and that’s important to remember going forward through this Doom Eternal review. The benchmark was already high. In a game coming out in 2016 with very little expectation, it sky-rocketed passed all of it.

The question to pose for Doom Eternal is:

How does that correlate into a game where people’s expectations were now high? How do you improve upon perfection? Or if that is even possible?

Story

The basic set up of the story is pretty simple. The demonic invasion that plagued Mars in Doom 2016 is now terrorising the population of Earth. But as I said, that’s the basic set up. If you scratch a tiny bit off of that surface layer. You’ll reveal a very competent story that has some pretty big attempts at world building.

It is impressive that they’ve managed to make a story in the doom universe, that well, has a universe. With moving parts, factions, background schemes and machinations. It’s not a stretch to say that by the end of the campaign, I was actually invested in the lore of the doom slayer. And how he came to be, equally as much as I cared about the next bad-ass new weapon I was going to acquire.

You can pay as much or as little attention to the story as you’d prefer. A lot of the explanations of what is actually going on are locked behind codex pages you can find in the levels. Trust me though, it has some pretty big implications about whether the last 2 games are reboots at all. I shall say no more.

It’s down to personal preference on whether you like the way that story is told though. As I said a lot of it is to found in Codex’s that you find, which require you to sit down and read a LOT of text.

I won’t deny that some of the reveals would’ve hit a lot harder had they been given the full cut-scene treatment. But the developers have made the decision to let the player decide if they want to pay attention to it all or not.

This Guy Deserved It

Gameplay

Combat has innovated on Doom 2016. Battles feel more like a game of explosive, bullet fuelled chess. By giving certain enemies weak points, that can only be taken out effectively by certain weapons. You must juggle your arsenal to make encounters more manageable.

Doom Eternal forces you to use your full repertoire of armaments. It does not make you solely rely on one or two weapons to get you through. This is not “go here shoot this”, rinse and repeat.

The game forces you into combat, by making you need to perform melee glory kills on enemies. Which regain your health which is constantly in the red. You cannot sit at a distance and pick enemies off. You need to be in the fray trading blows with enemies that are twice your size to keep yourself alive.

Doom Eternal gives you enemies that you can get the grasp of within a few encounters. But once you have mastered them a new enemy will appear. Or a new combination of enemies will completely derail the sense of ease you may have already developed.

With this comes one of my main gripes with the game, and that is its need to hold your hand. Before a new enemy will appear, a pop up will appear on-screen with a brief tutorial on how to deal with said opponent. This completely ruins the sense of discovery of figuring this out for yourself. I already know how to deal with a Revenant’s canons or a Pinkies charge towards me before I’ve ever even seen one.

Unfortunately, this makes you feel less like the Doom Slayer. It takes that feeling of learning of how to deal with the minions of Hell yourself. Instead it holds your hand and guides you on how to do things. The Doom Slayer does NOT need anyone to tell him how to kill Demons, and neither do you.

I would have liked to have seen some more nuance placed in the boss battle design. With how much emphasis is placed on the synergy of combat. The bosses could’ve been the culmination of everything you’ve learnt in one package. However, they have been designed in a way that feels lack lustre in juxtaposition to the regular enemies.

This might look scary, but you’ll be tearing them to pieces in no time

The true challenge in Doom Eternal lies in the slayer gate challenge rooms. These will leave your nerves shot as they pile heavy enemy after heavy enemy on top of you.

Scrambling from enemy to enemy with your life total constantly dipping into the red. The challenge that the gates pose is immense, but the payoff when you beat them is the reward in of itself.

The developers at ID have added platforming to Doom Eternal. While challenging, it doesn’t fit with the motif of the Doom Slayer. I cannot help but envision the doom slayer failing to do a jump over and over again. And that somehow makes him feel a lot less bad-ass.

I understand that something needed to be there to break up the action. But I don’t know if this is it, it could have benefited more from some puzzles to figure out rather than simple jumping. This could force the player to use their heads instead of repeating a jump over and over until they get it right.

Doom Eternal does a fantastic job of hiding things within these platforming puzzles. This game does right from a sheer consumer standpoint. There are so many unlockables in this game that modern AAA game publishers would have put behind Micro-Transactions. Whether that be skins for the Doom Slayer or music from the original titles or other ID software games.

It is such a breath of fresh air for a game to come out nowadays that has something to work toward. Rather than booting up a game day one and see all the best and coolest looking things locked behind a paywall.

You can play the original Doom and Doom II in this game for free.., both of which are for sale on modern platforms right now. You cannot help but praise the developers for this. In a world that is ruled by pre-order bonuses and day one cosmetics. It’s incredibly pro-consumer to have so much available straight out of the box.

Overall the combat is as solid as the previous titles outing. But the way it holds your hand. The lack of innovation in the Boss battles. And the needless platforming puzzles do muddy the experience. The best sentence to sum this up is, I felt less like the Doom Slayer this time around.

Seriously, screw these guys

Presentation

The sound design is fantastic. A Bungie developer once said we can make a weapon seem so much more powerful solely based on the way it sounds. That philosophy is evidently felt here. Every shotgun blast feels like a gut punch to your enemy. Every machine canon round feels like a full metal jacket missile plunging deep into the flesh of your foes.

This extends to the sounds in the world too. The way the doors sound as they open in the fortress of doom, they have this heavy metallic “thunk” sound.

Everything has such fantastic sound design. It is a testament to how the sound of objects in the world can enhance the world building and feel of the game.

The soundtrack is sumptuous. Mick Gordon returns to create the perfect sound to battle Demons to. Chunky industrial sounding guitars and deep bass like sound effects back-light the tone of this game throughout.

Seriously, go and listen to “Cultist Base” from the new soundtrack and tell me it’s not perfect for caving in the skulls of the Undead.

Graphically the game airs on the side of a fantasy/cartoon style rather than realism itself. But it pops in all the right ways. The metal and gore have a sheen to it which is pushed by the extensive light engine the ID engine can produce.

But Doom Eternal really hits its stride in its art direction. It leaves your jaw on the floor. The expanses are varied from level to level. From a hell-torn cityscape to a snow-covered cyber-goth lab. Whichever level you are in stop and have a look around at the skyboxes, they will amaze you.

My only criticism of the art design is the colour palette. Everything is just so colourful. With bright pinks, greens and purples, it doesn’t fit that Metal-Head fire and brimstone style. It cheapens that motif. It would have made more sense to give it muted tones that fit that style. The colour palette chosen almost gives it a toy like quality.

The levels are incredibly varied and keeps it fresh throughout the campaign. The sounds of the levels help enhance the feeling of fighting the minions of darkness. The overall style the game goes for is fantastic and right up my alley. It’s hard to criticise it but unfortunately it does pale in comparison to the style it hits so hard in Doom 2016.

The soundtrack definitly sounds like it was made on one of these bad boys

Closing Argument

I “liked” Doom Eternal a lot. It’s a lot of fun and feels great to play. It’s a pleasure to see all the varied designs of enemies and locations and hear the new soundtrack. But I “loved” Doom 2016, I found it more fun and had more fun seeing the sites and hearing the sounds.

You can’t really fault ID for wanting to innovate on the success of Doom 2016. I do credit them for not churning out a carve and copy of the previous title with new enemies and a fresh lick of paint. As an artist you always want to strive to create more, or do a better job than the last piece you did. But ultimately, sometimes you can overwork that piece of art. Or add detail where it isn’t needed or warranted.

That’s kind of what Doom Eternal feels like to me, it’s a fantastic piece of artwork, but it’s kind of hard to read at a distance.

It’s only when you get up close and personal with Doom Eternal do you see what a fantastic experience it is. Whereas Doom 2016 is recognisable from every angle no matter how far away you are as an instant classic.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You might like

  • Fantastic Varied Combat
  • Breath-taking Art Design
  • A Hell-Worthy Soundtrack
  • A Well Realised Story with Genuine Attempts at World Building

Might not like

  • A Need to Literally Read Into The Story
  • Lack-Lustre Platforming Puzzles
  • Bland Boss Design
  • It Isnt Doom 2016