Doom Eternal Review (PS4) – Highway to Hell
DOOM 2016 was a surprise. The remake/update of DOOM didn’t launch with a whole lot of hype. Partially due to Bethesda holding back review code; usually, a sure sign that a game isn’t up to snuff. However, DOOM was and is awesome. Like other recent remakes — Resident Evil 2, Final Fantasy 7 — DOOM managed to feel like the classic game while still being modern, accessible and enjoyable.
Given the success of 2016’s release, Bethesda and id are back with DOOM Eternal. First hinted at back in 2018, DOOM Eternal follows in the footsteps of the original DOOM II: Hell on Earth and the new gameplay and mechanics established in 2016.
Except id has gone ham on DOOM Eternal, filling it with brand-new mechanics, weapons, abilities, demons and more. DOOM might have been fast but DOOM Eternal is supersonic.
DOOM Eternal Review
Movement and speed are the name of the game in DOOM Eternal and boy, does it deliver. Early on, you only have access to double jump, like DOOM, but it’s not long before new mechanics and abilities are being dished out left and right. The Doom Slayer’s dash is one of the first and also the biggest game-changer.
By pressing Circle, you can dash in any direction, twice, to get out of harm’s way, get in close to the action, cross gaps and more. The introduction of the dash makes the game and especially the combat even faster and more brutal than DOOM. It has also had a huge influence on level design, making DOOM Eternal more vertical, more open and even larger than DOOM.
Climbing and swinging go hand in hand with verticality and now, Doom Slayer can clamber up rough walls and swing on horizontal poles to cross gaps and reach greater heights. When you remove combat from any given scenario and experiment with the movement mechanics in any of the arenas in DOOM Eternal you’ll be stunned by how much freedom of movement you actually have.
One final movement mechanic is unlocked when you reclaim the Super Shotgun. Now equipped with a Meat Hook, you can hit L2 to hookshot nearby enemies, launching the Slayer towards them. Airborne enemies give you lots of air and you can let go at will, giving you the ability to slingshot around the environment. Likewise, when you hook an enemy, you can use momentum to swing around them and launch yourself.
Clearly, the Doom Slayer has been interning with Cirque du Soleil in his offtime.
Putting together all of the Doom Slayer’s movement mechanics and abilities takes a little trial and error but once it clicks, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without them.
The same can be said of DOOM Eternal’s combat. By virtue of the new movement mechanics, combat is faster, more brutal and even more engaging than ever. Staying on the move is your best bet at surviving and utilising the various movement abilities totally changes how you approach combat scenarios. DOOM Eternal doesn’t feature a sprint mechanic thus forcing you to take advantage of the verticality and speed that comes from the dash and the Super Shotgun’s Meat Hook.
Changes to the way items drop also influence each combat encounter. In DOOM Eternal enemies will only drop health on death. And only a meagre amount. If you perform a Glory Kill, they’ll drop more. However, if you want Armour, you’ll need to set them on fire first. What’s more, if you need ammo (and you will) you’ll have to use your chainsaw. It adds a meta element to the game, keeping you on your toes and forcing you to constantly change up the way you fight to ensure you have enough health, armour and ammo to survive.
It’s a great system that ties in really well with the combat mechanics and Doom Slayer’s abilities.
Fire and Ice
In addition to the weapons and their alternate fire modes, you’ll have access to Flame Belch, Frag Grenades and Ice Bombs. These three special items recharge over time and are all very handy additions to the arsenal. Eventually, you’ll be using weapons, items and attacks in combos in order to maximise the item drops and to keep yourself as stocked up as possible.
Unlocking weapons isn’t the end of things either. Every gun has two alternate fire modes to unlock, of which there are multiple upgrades. Once you unlock all upgrades for an alternate fire mode, you unlock a final challenge which, when completed grants a special ability. For example, the Chaingun can unlock Turret Mode. Firing in this mode very quickly overheats the gun. However, by unlocking the upgrades and completing the challenge, you unlock Ultimate Cooling, which means in Turret Mode, the Chaingun never overheats.
You’re also able to upgrade the Doom Slayer’s Suit across a few categories. For example, you can decrease the time it takes to switch weapons or mods, reveal all secrets and items on the Automap, fire two grenades before recharging and more. You’re also able to upgrade the Ice Bomb here to make it so frozen enemies drop health.
One of my personal favourite combos is to freeze a group of enemies, set them on fire with Flame Belch then launch grenades while using the Chainsaw on a nearby Imp. Doing so fills my health meter, armour and ammo.
And it’s just so damn satisfying.
Finally, by locating special Sentinel Crystals throughout the game, you can increase your ammo, health and armour counts. The upgrades are in pairs and when you unlock both, you also unlock a special ability. Quickdraw Belch reduces the Flame Belch cooldown, Loot Magnet draws in resources from further away etc.
By the time you finish DOOM Eternal, you will be so stacked with gear and so powerful you’ll relish murdering massive groups of demons just to see how quickly and/or stylishly you can do so.
DOOM Eternal follows on from DOOM and sees the forces of Hell invading and consuming the earth. The Doom Slayer arrives in his Fortress of Doom — DOOM Eternal’s hub — and sets about ridding the planet of this demonic scourge. While much of the action takes place on earth, there are quite a few other locations and some great moments that are better experienced than explained.
And sure, DOOM Eternal’s story is pulpy, schlocky and absolutely over-the-top but so is everything else. Even still, if you’re not fussed with the story you won’t have any less of a great time; the gameplay is the real star of the show and it is superb.
Sympathy for the Devil
Visually, DOOM Eternal isn’t as impressive as DOOM was, but that’s simply because we’re nearing the end of this console generation. I’m sure, those with beastly gaming rigs will be blown away but on PS4 Pro DOOM Eternal just looks great. Now that’s not a bad thing in the least. DOOM Eternal is a really good looking game, it just doesn’t have the same impact and wow factor that DOOM had.
It’s also much more visually varied thanks to the game taking place in locations other than Mars and Hell. Highlights include the Sentinel city Exultia and the Arctic Cultist Base. Aside from the environments, each of the Demons looks suitably horrifying and evil. Better still, as you shoot them, you can see realtime deformation occurring which is both disgusting and awesome.
It’s the music, however, that gives, even the gameplay, a run for its money as the most impressive thing about DOOM Eternal. Written by Australian composer Mick Gordon, DOOM Eternal’s OST builds on the work that was accomplished in DOOM and takes it to a brand new level. It’s brutal and heavy but restrained when it needs to be without ever really letting up. The driving metal forces you forwards and I often found myself headbanging during the most chaotic combat sequences.
Brilliant F—ing Game
It’s rare to find a video game OST that I’d happily listen to as everyday music, but DOOM Eternal’s is easily one. It’s heavy, polished and absolutely spectacular, just like the game itself.
Unfortunately, Battlemode servers aren’t online until release, so I wasn’t able to test the mode out, however, I’ll put together some thoughts on it once DOOM Eternal has launched. In saying that, DOOM Eternal’s campaign is so good that it’s easy to recommend even without playing Battlemode.
New mechanics, incredible movement and verticality and brutal gunplay combine with flawless level design, top-notch pacing, a spectacular soundtrack and immaculate visuals to make DOOM Eternal essentially perfect. I absolutely loved every single moment from start to finish and even though it seemed like an impossible task, id has made something even better than DOOM 2016.
DOOM Eternal demands to be played and will reward those who do with hours of video gaming at its finest.
DOOM Eternal was reviewed on PS4 Pro using a digital copy provided by Bethesda.
Game title: DOOM Eternal
The best movement in an FPS ever - 10/10
Brilliantly designed, intertwining resource systems - 10/10
An AMAZING soundtrack - 10/10
White knuckle combat - 10/10
Over-the-top, as it should be - 10/10