You know that big, snappy when biting deep into a perfect, crisp apple? Take that moment of sensory satisfaction and extend it for hours, swap in demons for fruit, and you’ll know what it’s like to play Doom Eternal.
Id Software has created a shooter that will shake you to your bones. This sequel to 2016’s Doom reboot is an ode to the blistering, balls-to-the-wall gaming sensibilities of the 90s. Here, the story takes a backseat to relentless white-knuckle action, capably propelled by Mick Gordon’s muscular metal score.
The game is fast paced and often difficult, but it rewards an aggressive playstyle — diving headfirst into combat is usually the best way to cheat death for another few milliseconds.
Once this ruthless rubric clicks, Doom Eternal becomes one of the most enjoyable action games released this generation.
In addition to its Doom heritage, Doom Eternal borrows liberally from the Quake III: Arena catalog of play. Many of the ferocious campaign encounters play like old-school multiplayer matches, as you launch off bounce pads and strafe through gothic passageways while inflicting as much damage as (in)humanly possible against hordes of gibbering ghouls.
And that arsenal! My favorite is the Plasma Rifle, a blistering death machine that I upgraded with a secondary attack to vent superheated gas at nearby enemies, shotgun-style. Later, I unlocked a Weapon Mastery that buffed my primary attack for a few seconds after. Fire, vent gas, fire again with enhanced damage — it’s a virtuous circle with a deliciously visceral edge, and a perfect example of Eternal’s constant chaotic creativity.
Of course, old favorites like the Rocket Launcher, Super Shotgun, and Chaingun are well represented here. Most weapons are replete with a focused skill tree that veers into different playstyles depending on your upgrade choices. This design adds depth and an experimental quality to the combat. The game encourages you to play again and again to try all the offensive options – and you will.
I’m also pleased to report that the iconic BFG 9000 has never been better. Buckle up!
Be warned: Doom Eternal is challenging, even on the stock “Hurt Me Plenty” setting. But here’s a game worthy of the struggle — once you master the drum-tight combat loops, you’ll breeze past tough early encounters and leap into the gnashing teeth of late-game battles, pecs flexed and howling havoc. It’s a hoot!
Helpfully, Doom Eternal lets you swap difficulty levels on the fly. And, between friends, there is no shame in dropping the difficulty a notch or two in order to sneak past a particularly tough battle, especially the game’s unforgiving boss encounters (btw, if you’re given a chance to use the Sentinel Armor, take it).
Doom Eternal is a masterpiece of mechanical mayhem, and an exquisite follow-up to 2016’s Doom. Id Software has done it again — see you on the shores of Hell.