What can you say about Doom? If you've played the 2016 reboot, you already know everything, don't you? This is a hectic shooter with classic solutions, some kind of storyline, but if the main character is not even interested in the exposure, then why should we? The devil, however, lies in the details – however cliche this may sound – and the three hours I spent with the latest game from idSoftware shows that we don't know everything yet.
The Earth is screwed. The first thing we see in the opening seconds of Doom: Eternal is our beautiful, sky-blue marble. But there's something wrong with it. Ah! I already know. Maybe it's because it's not so blue at all. Or maybe it's the burned-out pentagram the size of a continent. In any case, the Earth is screwed. The invasion of demons continues, and, as you can guess, the task of Doom Slayer is to send them straight to the bosom of Beelzebub or some other infernal senior manager with bad attitude.
And although the new Doom treats the story pretty much just like the previous part, it's also clear the developers decided to slightly expand the setting, and tell more about the order to which the protagonist belongs. But I won't reveal anything else. What's important is that, just as the last time, the storyline in Doom Eternal isn't trying to be too serious, and takes right into the nitty-gritty. To my surprise, during these three hours, I followed the story with more curiosity than when I played the first part. It's charming in its stupidity and self-awareness. But then, I'm biased, because I just love the "invasion from hell" kind of stuff. But if you're afraid of the story compromising the real protein of Doom, i.e. shooting, you can rest assured. The gameplay remains the main thrust of the game. As does meta gameplay.
BETHESDA DOES IT WELL
It seems Bethesda is able learn from its mistakes. The marketing campaign of 2016's Doom mostly emphasized the mediocre multiplayer mode, rather than the fantastic singleplayer campaign. No media outlets received copies of the game before the premiere. This didn't bode well; the game hadn't initially been selling well, because it wasn't really clear what to expect. This time, it's the opposite. The single-player campaign is advertised as the core experience, and the redesigned multiplayer should be a nice addition.
Never too much!
In general, little has changed in Doom Eternal. It's more of the same thing – facing hellish invaders in the most brutal way possible. Familiar weapons, familiar monsters, glory murders that allow regenerating lost HP – all that will make a big return. On the one hand – it's awesome. In my opinion, 2016 Doom was a great shooter. Fast, shameless, with amazing gunplay. On the other hand – meh. Things might start to resemble a reheated dinner, rather than a proper main course. And maybe it really is reheated, but it's of course not identical, and besides, it has a completely new breading. During the three hours of gameplay, the game constantly provided me with new pieces of the puzzle, which started to shape up into a very pleasant image.
The first Doom emphasized aggression. Low on HP? Smash a monster, and get a first-aid kit. Ran out of ammo? Here's a chainsaw. Kill an infernal bastard with it, and it will produce a fountain of valuable ammo. These two elements return in the second part, but the developers have added the third one – a flamethrower. Setting enemies on fire makes them slowly dropping parts of armor to collect. Killing such a torched monster causes it to shed an even better armor. Hence, combat has everything you need. Of course, additional first aid kits, ammo, and armor are constantly scattered around the arenas, but a skilled player won't need them. Everything he needs can be found in the bloody bowels of hell.
I also got the impression that Doom Eternal is a bit more challenging than the previous part. I played on the penultimate level of difficulty and I uncertainly balanced on the verge of life and death for most of the fights. All the raw materials I needed were at my fingertips. I just had to play more aggressively to get them.
This element makes Doom Eternal even more hectic and brutal than before. At the same time, it also requires taking a minute sometimes to consider what is needed the most at the moment. After using the chainsaw or flamethrower, you need to wait a bit until the fuel is restored. Glory kills have no recovery time, but to get them, you need to race around the arena from one monster to another.
The arena-type combat is still the mainstay of Doom's fights. Again, the maps are arenas connected by corridors, where the infernal troops will be waiting for us. We do get something new. First, there are more interferences on them, such as walls spitting fireballs, electrical traps, and an especially evil invention – a sticky layer on the surface that slows you down. However, to compensate for the gnashing of teeth caused by it, the developers have provided us with several tools that give an edge over the abominations we fight.
Arenas now provide more flexible movement for the Doom Slayer. Launchers that will quickly shoot you up or forward, teleports that will take it to the other end of the arena, directly behind the enemy. Not only that – Doom Slayer himself is much more mobile. Almost from the very beginning, he gets the dash ability, which can be used twice in a row. Then you need to wait a few seconds to use this skill again. Not enough? Well, there's more. The hero can also cling to walls in special spots. Although this new ability is not particularly useful in combat. It was introduced because there are much more platform elements here.