DOOM 2016 was one of the finest shooters of its year, and arguably, the decade. We have extensively talked in detail about what makes it so good to play. It was a true revival AND a hellishly impressive reimagining of Bethesda’s acclaimed FPS franchise. Everything that DOOM’s legacy was known for is accounted for in the reboot; great level design, amazing & fluid combat, magnificent weapons with equally satisfying variety, hordes of ugly demons to beat the pulp out of and a badass AF soundtrack.Oh, and of course, our beloved testosterone-fueled Doomslayer who loves nothing more than ripping and tearing monsters apart with his wide arsenal of havoc. Fans back then deemed it impossible to improve on such a mechanically and fundamentally sound masterpiece. Yet developer ID Software proved them wrong with DOOM Eternal – a sequel that, like all good game sequels, takes the best elements of the original and turns the heat up to 11.
Doom Eternal And Modern Games
In the modern era where new games in franchise simplify themselves to bring in mainstream/non-gamers or avoid evolving so as to not alienate the current player base, DOOM Eternal is one of the few sequels that builds on top everything that was done in the previous game in a seamless yet progressive way. iD Software isn’t afraid to venture into uncharted grounds. This results in flaws, but flaws are a sign that they are trying. Eternal demands the players’ focus and revels in giving them the tools to pull off excessive compulsive carnage if they are able to utilize said tools properly.
Eternal unapologetically throws players straight into the thick of the action, arming them with the double jump and an upgraded combat shotgun right from the very start. As useless as the pistol was in the first game, its omission neither goes unnoticed nor unmissed. In this dance of death between the player and the bloodthirsty foe, there is no scope for practically unusable tools. Building upon DOOM 2016, where every trigger pull felt impactful, Eternal makes sure that this power in the players’ hands is used precisely and with strong intent.
The Design Changes
Looking at the forums, complaints about ammo being scarce compared to the previous game only drive that point and design motive home. No longer can players spam the super shotgun to get out of sticky situations. Such moments did present themselves in the previous game at certain points (I remember there being exactly 3) where super shotgun’s plentiful ammo ran out and even the chainsaw refills weren’t enough to wipe out the hellspawns in the room with average skill on the Ultra-Violence difficulty.
Some of the over-reliance on the super-shotgun in DOOM 2016 could be attributed to the other weapons not being up to the mark in terms of damage numbers. In Eternal, however, weapons are more balanced and players are spoilt for choice once they start exploring all of the Slayer’s arsenal. The developers have made sure that the initial weapons stay relevant throughout the campaign. With the addition of enemy weak spots other than their heads, more shielded enemies, balanced damage across all the weapons etc, Eternal never becomes repetitive; a complaint that quite a few people had with DOOM 2016.
In a way Eternal expects the player to have mastered or at least be fluent with the systems of the previous game and is better for it. The game raises the intensity of its encounters by a couple of notches over Doom 2016. Returning fans will also appreciate the update that the weapons have received. The assault rifle feels more useful, the plasma rifle does have a buff-up in damage and the Bloodpunch is an extremely useful melee option that can be used to clear out hordes of enemies.
How Eternal Redirects
As a person who played and completed DOOM 2016 on Nightmare, I was almost immediately overwhelmed not just by the enemies but the number of things the slayer could do at any given moment in Eternal. Just to clarify, Eternal isn’t difficult. It’s just heavy on the brain, for the lack of a better phrase. Every time I died, I was automatically reminded that I didn’t use the full range of Doomslayer’s abilities, eventually pushing me to utilize every trick that Eternal taught me.
Every weapon that you knew from the first game has been reworked and upgraded in a way that retains the core functionality of what was in Doom 2016. The revamps to the Gauss Cannon (which is now the Ballista), the Chaingun and especially the Combat Shotgun are very much appreciated. To use these well, however, it is almost imperative that players are familiar with how DOOM 2016 functioned.
Aside from the weapons, Eternal also focuses on giving the player more incentives to use other gear that become incrementally important as players push towards higher difficulties. Following the game’s overall “push-forward” design philosophy, their effective utilization grants players almost infinite recharges within a short period of time while empowering the Slayer with some extremely useful and tactile functions.