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E3 2019

DOOM Eternal is Better Than its Predecessor in Almost Every Way

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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.

Doom Eternal gameplay screenshot 2

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.

Doom Eternal gameplay screenshot 3

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.

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E3 2019

Biomutant is Vibrant, Unique, and a Hell of a Lot of Fun

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biomutant

THQ Nordic had a bevy of games available to play on the show floor at this year’s E3. While some attendees eagerly lined up to play Darksiders Genesis (as our own Michael Cripe did), others sought to finally get their hands on Experiment 101’s highly unique Biomutant for a hands-on, 30-minute demo. Thankfully, Biomutant’s E3 demo is more than enough proof that the will end up being something truly special.

After selecting their preferred language, players were given the option to recode their mutant’s DNA, serving as Biomutant’s version of a character customizer. The customization options were satisfying. A circle graph appears on the screen with five key skills the player must find their preferred balance between: strength, agility, intellect, charisma, and vitality. A sixth skill, luck, was also present, but it was not one that the player could influence from the circle graph. This graph not only influences the player’s mutant’s skills but it also directly changes the mutant’s appearance.

Other customization options included determining the mutant’s fur length and primary and secondary colors. Once these options were set, the demo thrusts the player into a mission that begins with riding a hot air balloon  while the narrator speaks of the excitement of an adventure. Enemies begin firing to bring down the hot air balloon and the player is dropped into the action.

Biomutant

The world of Biomutant immediately pops, as the colors were sharp and invoked thoughts of Ratchet &Clank with a slightly more comic-book style. The visuals reflected the conditions of the area, too, with vibrant reds representing intense heat being a memorable example. The first thing that stood out about this sequence was how great the combat felt. Similarly to Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Rocksteady’s Arkham series, sliding through an enemy’s legs while kicking, punching, and shooting felt tight and familiar. In some instances, the game slowed down when a knockout blow was dealt, which was a nice cinematic touch.

Progressing forward saw the player in an area with additional enemies with a larger, more intimidating foe acting as the main objective. This section introduced the Super Wushu attack, which varies depending on the equipped weapon. The most rewarding of these attacks was with the Klonk Fist which was obtained later in the demo. The Klonk Fist offered huge gauntlets that could pummel multiple enemies by mashing the action button.

The key to unlocking the Super Wushu attack involves stringing together combos which felt fairly easy to do. I do not recall ever losing my combo to an enemy attack, as I obtained the special attack fairly often. The combat allowed for those who wished to mash the melee or firing button but also rewards the players who are more tactical in their combos while mixing in shooting with melee attacks.

Biomutant

With the tutorial for the demo out the way, the game continues by having the player go to a different part of the planet. This new area showcased the vibrant greens and life that contrasted the overheated reds from the previous area. After some platforming, the demo descends the player down into the world where Gizmo the Greasemonkey resides.

Biomutant NPC dialogue is spoken by the narrator from the beginning of the demo while the player’s character makes vague sounds during the conversation. This exchange felt a bit underwhelming for the action-RPG as options did not hold any consequences for how the next section plays out and can be skipped without missing out on much of the story or mission objective.

After descending down and exiting an elevator shaft, the player enters a dark, oil-spilt area. The color palette here reflected the same pop to its visuals as the other sections. A mech suit, which was required to clean up the oil, controlled fine, though combat definitely felt better out of the mech suit than in it.

A final enemy awaited which served as the boss fight for the mission. This fight contained three phases with the enemy adding a new attack method from in the second. The third phase, however, took place inside the creature. After taking him down from the inside, the planet’s Tree of Life becomes more alive as indicating a reversal of destitute for the planet.

The demo confirmed the anticipation OnlySP had for Biomutant. The combat felt great and the visuals really popped. THQ Nordic and Experiment 101 may something special on their hands if the rest of the game plays as the demo did.

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