ID Software was founded in 1991 by four key members, including the likes of John Romero, who were passionate about video games as a medium and wished to push not just the games but the technologies powering them forward. Their first few games were the likes of the “Commander Keen” series and later “Wolfenstein,” all of which were smashing hits, it was in 1993 that they changed the landscape of the industry forever. While “Wolfenstein,” which came out in 1992 on the MS-DOS, was technically the first ever first-person shooter, in 1993, they released a game called “DOOM,” and to say it revolutionized the industry would be underselling that game. ID Software got the title of “father of first-person shooters,” and rightfully so; they made an entire genre, but “DOOM” single-handedly carried that title to new heights. It was a simple game and pretty much an exact copy of their previous game, “Wolfenstein,” where you killed Nazis, but “DOOM” decided that killing Nazis wasn’t fun enough and made the players kill demons straight from hell. While conceptually, the games may have been the same, the technology powering “DOOM” was much more advanced and showcased what high-end PCs from that time could do when pushed to their limits. The gunplay was fast, and the game was divided into three chapters or sections where you, The Doomguy, killed hordes of demons in your wake. I am not sure if there was a plot tied to those games, but later on, at some point, people found out that the Doomguy was killing demons to get revenge as they had killed his pet rabbit, Binky. Looks like the demons didn’t get the memo to never mess with a man’s pet! The game was a success in every way imaginable. The technology powering it helped the industry grow while gamers across the globe had a field day slaying demons.
It spawned a sequel a few years down the line and a reboot of sorts, a multiplayer game called “Quake,” which is its own story. To say that “DOOM” was a sensation would be underselling it. That game wrote a legacy for itself and reached unimaginably high heights while also becoming the center of controversy for the topic of violence in video games. Nevertheless, “DOOM” was and is a cultural phenomenon, and it got its time to shine under the sun once again when Bethesda and iD Software announced in 2015 that a modern reboot was on the way. The younger audience at that time may have been left with their heads scratching, but the rest of the people lost their collective minds. A modern-day reboot for a game that pretty much started it all and is being made by the same team? It’s a dream come true, isn’t it? Fast forward a little, and Bethesda and iD showed the game in action, and it was glorious. Stunning visuals combined with ample amounts of gore were on display, all the while retaining the aesthetics and feel of the original game. They even came up with a new idea now affectionately called the “push forward” mentality, where you, the player, shouldn’t be afraid of the enemies, but the enemies should be afraid of you. If you hide and take cover, you won’t make it far. You must run headfirst into the middle of the action, and the game will support you in your endeavor to make the most out of how the combat was structured here.
It goes without saying that the game was a hit when it came out in 2016, a huge success. After the steam died down a bit, iD Software returned with an announcement for the sequel titled “DOOM Eternal” with a glimpse of “Hell on Earth,” just like the case with the sequel to the original game, titled “DOOM 2.” There was nothing people needed to see to be sure this time; all they wanted was the release date so they could continue with their demon-slaying adventures. No one was asking for new additions; all everybody wanted was more of what they released back in 2016, but when iD showed us some gameplay, we instantly learned they are giving us more of that and building a lot on top of it. Everyone was drooling over “DOOM Eternal” and wanted to know when it would come out. Unfortunately, they had to wait a little longer for it as the game got delayed to early 2020 and came out in April. “DOOM is coming out to end the pandemic,” was all anyone said as the COVID-19 pandemic was picking up steam back then. Unfortunately, once again, it didn’t end the pandemic, but my god, it gave us a reason to sit in our houses and just unleash our collective fury.
Let’s take a look at “DOOM Eternal” and see what makes the game worth playing. Spoilers aside, there’s no reason not to play this game, as it is perhaps the best first-person shooter ever made. Period. There is a plot to this game and tons of lore surrounding it, and I’ll be honest here and say that I didn’t understand a lick of it. Look, I don’t think anyone plays “DOOM” for its story or lore, and while there’s a lot of it and the people who understand it will tell you it’s damn good and worth understanding, I, for one, just want to kill demons, and this game lets me do that in spades. Let’s take a look at “DOOM Eternal.”
I’ll summarize the gameplay in one statement at the very beginning right here. “DOOM Eternal” is a super fast-paced first-person shooter that puts you in the middle of an uncountable number of demons and asks you to murder them in spectacular fashion, all the while making you look and feel like a total badass.
While most first-person shooters start you off with a measly pistol in hand, “DOOM Eternal” hands you a shotgun and tells you to go nuts. While other first-person shooters ask you to hide behind cover when you face more than a handful of enemies at once and ask you to pick them off one by one, “DOOM Eternal” chucks you in the middle of a war zone with a large number of demons surrounding you from every direction. While other first-person shooters ask you to manage your ammo and reload your guns, all the while maintaining your health, “DOOM Eternal” says screw all that noise; I’ll go rip and tear everything in my sights with my bare hands if I have to. I know all of this sounds dramatic, but that’s what “DOOM Eternal” is: a badass simulator. There’s no other way to describe it.
The Doomslayer is a force of nature who doesn’t say a word and is the only person the demons fear. The gameplay here is fast—super duper fast—with weapons that don’t ask you to reload them, movement that asks you to push forward and not back down, and a crapton of demons that you can kill in so many different and painful ways that it never gets old. There are a variety of guns that the slayer can find and carry, all of which can be switched at a moment’s notice. From your standard shotgun to a plasma assault rifle to the ballista to a rocket launcher, among many more, and of course, the holy grail of all weaponry, The BFG-9000. BFG, if you are unaware, stands for “Big *Bleeping* Gun,” and it lives up to its name. One blast from this gun absolutely annihilates everything in its vicinity and leaves a trail of gore, guts and death. You can’t overly rely on it, though, as the ammo you find for it is rare, and rightfully so; if they were generous with it, the game would become a joke. There is another one-hit kill weapon that you’ll get late in the game called the Crucible, which is a sword that will murder everything, and just like the BFG, it comes with limited ammo. These two weapons are special cases that you’ll be using to clear out rooms full of enemies or do heavy damage to bosses; what about the normal guns? Well, you’ll be glad to know that each weapon in “DOOM Eternal” destroys everything in its path. All the guns tear through enemies, and they just look and sound so good while doing so. My favorite has to be the super shotgun that you get soon enough, which looks like a sawed-off shotgun and is a powerhouse. It also comes with an attachment called the “meathook,” which lets you pull yourself towards your enemies and fill their faces with lead. If all of that wasn’t enough, then you’ll be glad to learn that each weapon has alternative firing modes that can be switched on the fly, and that changes the gun in every way imaginable. For instance, your minigun fires as it does, but in one firing mode, you’ll get a shield that’ll block incoming projectiles, while in the other, your gun will split into three separate barrels and turn into a deployable turret. Or how about your basic shotgun that can lob explosives in one fire mode while turning fully automatic in the other? All the guns in the game have these special functions, and they change combat in meaningful ways and add a ton of variety to it.
What if you run out of ammo or health? You may be wondering. Fret not; this is where things get interesting. You can use a chainsaw which is with you at all times in the game, and the fuel for the chainsaw is easy to find. While the areas themselves have ammo pickups, the chainsaw is what spawns a ton of ammo for you. Let’s say you are running low on ammo or are about to run out. You pull out your chainsaw and rip the closest enemy to shreds, and voila! They drop a ton of ammo for you. Health pickups also work in a similar way. Let’s say you have damaged an enemy a little. You’ll see they’ll stand in place and start glowing in blue and orange. That’s your cue to get close to your enemy and perform what’s called a “glory kill.” The animations for glory kills are brutal and crazy, and there are so many of them that they never get old. Once a glory kill is performed, the dead enemy will drop a ton of health for you. Armor can also be attained in the same way by setting the enemies on fire with the flaming belch and killing them. Either way, the combat loop is incredibly fun and is designed to fulfill all your needs without pulling you out of the experience.
The slayer himself also has new tools that aid him in his demon-slaying conquest, with stuff like the belch on his shoulder that lets him set enemies on fire or freeze them, and so on; or how about the blade on his right hand that cuts through everything? There are so many upgrades you can find across the levels that by the end of the game, you literally become an unstoppable force of nature, not that you weren’t one in the beginning as well. The levels themselves deserve special praise, as each area you visit is breathtakingly beautiful and different from the last. Giant castles, super high-tech labs, wrecked cities, and so on—each environment looks incredible and is highly detailed. There are tons of runes, upgrades, and other fun items that you can find while exploring these levels, and a lot of the levels are extremely fun to traverse around with the added functionality of new traversal options like the mag/thruster boots, the meathook, and so on.
Finally, the enemy variety is immaculate, which is the word I’d use. They use all the demons they did in the original games and bring them up to modern standards. The imps act as your basic enemies, while the cacodemon is your flying unit. Mancubus are tanks that shoot you from a distance, while Hell Knights come charging at you and are always in your face. There is so much variety among the demons here, and each one can be killed in so many different ways that the combat never gets old. The best part about the combat? Mick Gordon’s score. For as long as you’ll be playing this game, you’ll be hearing amazing metal tracks composed by Mick Gordon that’ll keep your adrenaline high at all times and make every action you do on-screen look badass. I was never a metalhead, but thanks to Mick Gordon and “DOOM Eternal,” I am one now, and I love how the music, the gameplay, and the locations come together to give you the ultimate experience.
“DOOM Eternal’s” gameplay is nothing short of phenomenal, with every element so perfectly crafted and fun to engage with that I cannot get enough of it and always want more.
The Technical Stuff
Not much to say here; the game runs on iDTech seven and is beautiful in every sense of the word. The framerate is a rock-solid 60 fps and never drops, and on current-gen consoles, you have the option to play it with ray tracing or at 120 fps. The sound design is phenomenal, and the music is fantastic. Everything sounds and looks incredible, and the game is a solid package with next to no bugs or glitches that I encountered.
There’s nothing I can say about “DOOM Eternal” that hasn’t been said. Everything this game is and everything this game does is just fantastic. It truly is the granddaddy of all first-person shooters and is something you should go and play right now. It’s rare to see a series strike gold once, and yet “DOOM” was able to do it twice. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one whenever that comes out.