Last year, following the release of the stunning E3 2019 gameplay presentation, we broke down DOOM Eternal‘s gameplay in detail (read it over here). Since then, we’ve learned a lot about the upcoming bloody shooter from id Software, the grandfathers of the genre. DOOM Eternal raises Hell on Earth, and it’s time we took a deep dive beyond the gameplay to see just what’s so spectacularly different and enticing about the sequel to 2016’s bold demon shooter.
DOOM Eternal‘s story takes place two years after the events of 2016’s DOOM. Earth has become overrun by demonic forces and the legions of hell. All this time, the Doom Slayer has mysteriously vanished, seemingly teleported to another location since Mars. However, he has now returned to Earth, angrier than ever and with a greater bloodlust for slaying demons. Packed with a new arsenal of weapons at his disposal, Doom Slayer must destroy hell’s forces and liberate the Earth from this biblical apocalypse.
That’s about as much story content as we have so far, but there’s plenty of secrets and surprises awaiting us if we’re to uncover the story further.
As we detailed in our extensive gameplay breakdown, not much has changed since we last took a dive into its intricacies. For the most part, DOOM Eternal retains the same fast-paced, violent, and exhilarating gameplay of its predecessor, albeit with a few welcomed changes to traversal, combat, and enemies. For one, Doom Slayer’s suit has received a massive upgrade. He know wields a blade attached to his right arm that’s perfect for up-close and personal melee encounters. We don’t recommend you use it to clear out a room, but it’s perfect for landing some bloody impressive glory kills.
Another unique weapon attached to his arm is a flamethrower which is perfect for crowd control. It lights up a room full of demons and stuns them long enough for you to swoop in for a kill. On top of that, a rocket launcher can now fire rockets in quick succession, but you can also choose to detonate rockets mid-flight.
Ramping up the gore factor from the first game, id Software has no implemented a fantastic new mechanic that allows players to individually chip pieces off of demons. You can target specific limbs or body parts to blast off first, and generally just turn enemies into giant pieces of meat – and you’re the butcher. Feeling overwhelmed and swarmed to death? DOOM Eternal gives you the option of an extra life that lets you resurrect yourself and get right back into the action.
Adding to this fantastic combat is the changes in traversal. With a stronger emphasis on verticality in level design, Doom Slayer can now leap on ledges and must navigate his way through environments like a platformer. This is a welcomed evolution of the first game’s exploration, as it means there’s more potential for hidden paths and secret areas to be uncovered. It also poses a significant challenge in combat. Now you have to be careful with how you navigate the levels in between laying waste to demons with your wide arsenal.
Taking the blood-soaked environments and desolate world design of 2016’s DOOM and dialing it up to eleven, DOOM Eternal presents Earth after the invasion – a ruined landscape of corpses, demons, and all manner of warped structures that comes with two dimensions clashing and morphing in on each other. It’s a bigger and bolder world out there since the first game, but now, Earth is your playground and it means there’s tons of potential for exploration that feels both familiar and fresh.
Visually, DOOM Eternal has somehow achieved looking better than DOOM. The graphics are a true testament to the full power of current-gen hardware, and now with a stronger focus on particle effects and stunning environmental design, it makes a compelling argument for itself as one of the most graphically impressive video games of the year.
DOOM Eternal will once again feature multiplayer, though will do away with most of the modes in the original. In its place now is Battlemode, an asymmetrical competitive multiplayer mode that pits two players (each donning a demon) against another player-controlled Doom Slayer. It’s a fight to the death as all three players must use their wits and various gifted abilities to come out victorious. In addition to Battlemode, id Software is seamlessly taking multiplayer into the main campaign with Invasion mode. On your journeys to slay the helpless demons of hell in the story, other players will be able to randomly enter your game as a demon to make your life even more hellish than before. You’ll also be able to join friends if you choose to invade other games, so it adds an extra layer of urgency and anxiety to the main campaign.
How long will it take you to complete the main campaign, you ask? id Software somewhat confirmed that it will be around 22 hours – a bit more than the original game, but also depending on your difficulty of choice.
A pretty nifty new addition to this sequel is the ability to now customize Doom Slayer’s armour – and the results are pretty spectacular. There’s a multitude of ways to personalize your Doom Slayer, complete with a Twitch Prime unicorn-themed skin! You can go crazy with some cool and unique designs available. Best of all: it’s all earnable in-game! There’s no microtransaction wall here. Good going, id Software.
Release Date and Platforms
DOOM Eternal releases on March 20, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Google Stadia, Xbox One, and PC. Unfortunately, there’s no news on the release date for Nintendo Switch, but we expect an announcement soon. Ready to rip and tear again?