In between the glory kills and face-removing shotgun blasts, Doom Eternal is simply sublime. From our slight taster at EGX, it may just be the best shooter ever made.
It’s no secret that out of all the games to release on this generation’s lineup, id Software’s Doom 2016 has been one of my most enamoured. I loved Doom 2016; not only just a faithful return to one of gaming’s flagship, but a near-perfect title in its own right.
Just before our run in with the somewhat disappointing Cyberpunk 2077, we took a quick visit over to the land of Doom Eternal, the follow-up to 2016. Located in a giant booth with a three-hour queue, the booming vibrations of hardcore rock filling the air, a looming six-foot-something Doomguy and a terrifying siren, it’s obvious that publisher Bethesda know how to dress up for an event.
So down we sat: on a high-end gaming PC, a loud and crisp headset, a comfortable chair and – excuse my personal blasphemy – an Xbox One controller. Our demo opened with a tutorial arena, set within a block-out room with nothing but pure gameplay, it was an efficient introduction that easily taught us what to do. Of course, the finished game will have an actual tutorial, but as far as quick and easy mechanical education goes, this was extremely fun.
Within the few minutes we spent in this tutorial, it became immediately apparent that Doom Eternal is a vastly different beast from its older brother. Not only has Doomguy visited the third circle on his trip back to hell and gorged on mechanical gluttony, but he’s obviously never skipped a single leg day. Eternal is fast, hell(a) fast.
As soon as control is handed to you, a full push of the analogue stick feels like a sprint. Powered by limitless rage, Doomguy doesn’t feel plodding or cumbersome. While he may be weighed down by his bulky metal armour similar to the genetically engineered Master Chief, Doomguy is nowhere near as slow – and I love Halo!
Doomguy is something else. He’s as the intro of his prior outing prophesied: while the hordes of demon are embodiments of rage, evil incarnate, he has become worse. While last time the Slayer ripped and tore (or teared) his way through the hordes of dreadful enemies, this time the embodiment of anger has learned a new method of execution: pure evisceration.
Playing through a number of seemingly early-game stages, our time with Eternal’s sublime gunplay was an almost zen experience. Everything is improved from its predecessor, and I do mean everything. Doom Eternal is bigger, better, and far more brutal than anything the series has ever seen. It’s a game moulded in eternal fire, a hellish beast forged in Hell.
Increased speed alongside much-improved gunplay and lighting-fast, responsive platforming has transformed Doom’s combat arenas and monster closets until an ultra-nightmarish dance of glorified violence. Bullets literally rip apart flesh, a quick-and-easy shoulder-mounted flamethrower chars it, a swipe of the chainsaw cleaves in two. You’ve never experienced unadulterated violence quite like this.
It helps that Eternal’s makeup doesn’t obscure its best features: its not just the Doom you’ve played before. Environments are more than corridors leading into monster book club meetings, they’re mini jungle gyms complete with wall scaling and monkey bars to swing from. It’s fast and frenetic, and much more difficult than 2016. It’s also, probably, the best shooter to ever grace this planet. Well, we will see about that in March.
As release dates come closer, Doom is more than just an anticipated title. With the return of glory kills, the perfectness of its gunplay, the rocking soundtrack and the expanded mechanics, Doom Eternal is one of the best things I’ve ever touched. And I’ve barely even scratched it. Doot.