Review Score: 5/5
I’ll come straight out and say it: DOOM Eternal will undoubtedly be in the running for Game of the Year. Published by Bethesda Softworks from developer id Software, the highly-anticipated sequel to 2016’s DOOM reboot has finally been released following a four-month delay, and it’s well worth the wait. DOOM Slayers unite: this is going to be the perfect way to sink countless hours whilst we’re all stuck in self-isolation.
We pick things up where we left off four years ago, with Earth falling victim to a demonic invasion. It's up to one man to save the planet from ultimate destruction, ripping and tearing through countless enemies to reach his goal. With a wealth of unique weapons and abilities at his disposal, players are treated to an abundance of stunning and graphic scenes in a game that quickly earns its 18+ age rating.
The Doom Slayer is a man after my own heart. He’s uncaring about the narrative unfolding around him, simply putting a bullet into anybody that gets in his way and shrugging through any attempted dialogue. He’s bored of a conversation before he even joins one, more interested in getting on with his mission. A real anti-hero.
Players are immediately granted access to the Combat Shotgun, which can be modified to also include a Sticky Bomb to fire out and damage multiple demons at once. There's also the Full Auto mod, which delivers huge damage in a short space of time. Combining this powerful weapon with your Doomblade allows for some brutal takedowns and Glory Kills from the very start, ensuring you’re thrown straight into the midst of chaos.
Customisation is at the heart of gameplay, and as you build your arsenal, you’ll be able to change and evolve your playstyle until you find one that works best for you. It’s this feature that brings so much heart to proceedings: though you’re on a linear path and this is far from an open world, you can still approach the game from a number of different directions depending on your chosen style.
The DOOM franchise has always been one that encourages ‘push-forward’ combat, which translates into pretty much forcing you into fights without letting you catch your breath. It’s something that would irritate audiences in the majority of instances, but when it comes to the DOOM games, it’s essential. You’ll need to get up close and personal with enemies if you’re to regain health and ammunition, via Glory Kills and chainsaw slashing, as you’re encouraged to laugh in the face of danger rather than turning a full 180 and pegging it in the opposite direction.
Props must go to the excellent Mick Gordon, who's put together the perfect heavy metal soundtrack to accompany your bloody rampage. Sound effects are just as sharp, whether that be the Slayer’s stomping through an echo-filled location, or the squelching of a demon’s eyeball as you rip it from its socket.
Though the majority of your time will be spent forcing your way through hordes of antagonists, there are a scattered handful of quiet moments that present a light puzzle that must be solved before progression can be made. None are particularly challenging for those who are attuned with tackling puzzles in other games, but they’re a welcome break from the madness as and when they crop up.
Perhaps the most memorable sequences will come via the three big boss fights. The combat here changes a little, as you’re forced to adapt to a formula rather than just blasting your way through. Be warned that you absolutely will die a number of times in these moments - unless you’re the most hardcore of gamers – but save your frustrations for elsewhere and you’ll quickly pick up on a technique to take down your enemy. The sense of accomplishment when you beat a boss is second to none.
Saying much more would honestly take away from the overall campaign experience. It’s something that has to be played through to be believed. It may seem a little overwhelming at first if you’re new to the series, but stick with it through its opening 30-minutes and you’ll be hooked.
DOOM Eternal is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
A code for the digital version of the game on Xbox One was given to Female First in exchange for a fair and honest review.