If the trailers have not been enough to convince, those worried that DOOM Eternal is anything less than more of id Software’s 2016 FPS masterpiece can set their worries aside; DOOM Eternal is gloriously gory in all the best ways. Fast paced, flowy combat, glory kills, and waterfalls of enemy variety are all back for more. Yet, Bethesda’s E3 2019 demo for the game is also reassurance that fans of 2016’s DOOM are not only getting more of a good thing, but something better, too.
DOOM Eternal is deceptive. Going into the demo with only trailers to fuel expectations would lead most to believe that the only new things to expect are new enemies, environments, and the meat-hook-equipped shotgun. However, everything Bethesda has shown players is a lie. Do not simply expect more of the same.
Expect a more grunty DOOM Guy and audio that is more in-tune with the gameplay. Glory kills see some returning animations, but the new animations are the real stand outs, as the game has enough variation to always keep the visuals fresh. More than anything, a new dash mechanic keeps combat moving at break-neck speeds. Better yet, the double dashing practically adds an arcade element to the game’s foundation. Even returning weapons seem to have been given a bit more kick. Surely more abilities and weapons are to be explored in the full game, but for the E3 gameplay slice, DOOM Eternal seems to simply be better than its predecessor in nearly every way.
The demo started off with a lengthy tutorial that served both as a refresher for old mechanics and introduction to new ones, too. Platforming is back, but now monkey bars in the game world can provide a quick additional jump in mid-air. Climbing walls and leaping from surface to surface makes DOOM Guy feel more agile and quick than in the previous game. In general, movement seems to have received an overhaul in terms of different traversal options. Considering DOOM mostly limited players to nothing more than a double jump, this new DOOM Guy feels like a new person altogether.
Next, players are thrust into a familiar, yet expanded upon tone. Some of the best sequels of all time have the common theme of expanded their worlds. Thankfully, DOOM Eternal continues this trend with new enemies and what seems to be new factions. Sometimes demons will fight zombified versions of soldiers instead of focusing on the player as normal. Surely an explanation for the factions will lie somewhere in the game’s story, but there was nothing to be found in the demo. Additionally, following the events of 2016’s entry, the public seems to know of DOOM Guy’s reputation. Scientists cower in fear as the player slowly passes them by, leading to some funny moments.
Branching off of the previously mentioned expanded move set, the demo eventually introduced the dreaded meat hook. The weapon attachment’s concept is simple: aim, grapple, repeat. Chaining together enemies is such a satisfying addition that Bethesda’s reasoning for highlighting the utility quickly became clear. The meat hook expands on traversal more than the monkey bars already do without sacrificing a focus on combat. Perhaps the most interesting notion brought forward by the meat hook is the potential more weapon attachments could have in the game. If the meat hook is just what is shown in the vertical slice, could more be expected upon a final release?
DOOM Eternal is lean and beefy without losing any of the charm found in the previous game. From the demo, id seems to be defying all odds by bringing fans a game that turns everything players loved about 2016’s DOOM up one notch. Nothing in the demo left unsatisfactory feelings. The only thing left to be desired upon leaving the game was more DOOM.