“Catharsis” is a fairly common term in psychology. It means “the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions”. In video games, catharsis happens all the time; like when you feel good after killing a bunch of monsters or push the pedal and speed up in a highway in a racing game. Video games have the potential to make an environment, that the gamer can relieve feelings like anger in that environment. If there’s only one title that can portrait the word “Catharsis” in the best way possible, that’s DOOM Eternal. I think the vast majority of gamers know a lot about DOOM, since it’s been always one of the boldest FPS games out there. DOOM is one of those titles that has stayed true to its origins. It’s an “old school fun” to put it best. Of course the title has its own fans and enemies but even the enemies can’t deny the geniusity behind its beautifully designed world and its amazing gameplay. If the games like Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Bioshock Infinite are examples of the finest story-telling in video games, DOOM is known for it’s flawless, fast, exciting and engaging combat. A never-ending flow of fast-paced and gory action that never seizes to amaze you.
Now we have DOOM Eternal, which I believe is the best DOOM game ever to this date. It’s rather a universe of DOOM than just a simple game. I’ve played this game over and over and over again in the recent days and it has quickly became of my favorite games ever. It’s not even brave to say that this is one of the best FPS experiences of this generation, because that’s exactly what it is. I’m a big DOOM fan, but honestly when it first announced, I never knew DOOM Eternal is gonna be this good! Though sometimes it can be too similar to the 2016 reboot, but who cares? As long as the developers use the same crazy formula, I’m in!
When it comes to DOOM Eternal, there’s a lot of stuff to talk about. So let’s start with what appears to be the least important thing in the series: Story! DOOM Eternal’s story is a bit complicated. There are some characters that we don’t know enough about them, and the game doesn’t even try to make us know them! But apparently the demons have came back to earth and killed so many people. Once again, the one and only Doom Slayer rises to wipe these demons out and bring peace to the world, and this time he has to kill three priests that serve Khan Maykr, the angel-like antagonist of the game. The game doesn’t tell you much about these characters, but there are a lot of text files here and there that you can collect and read, but to be honest I don’t think anybody wants to stop the amazing action to read a bunch of useless information about every enemy you encounter or every location you enter. In the end you’re gonna slay them all, right?! Overall, the story has not a lot to offer, but it does a good job to make you angry enough, so when you meet the priests or Khan Maykr herself, you feel the urge to slay them!
The core of the game, is its fun and engaging combat. Without a doubt, the combat system is of one the best experiences I’ve had within the past decade. It has one simple rule, a rule that every DOOM fan knows very well: DON’T STOP MOVING! If you stop, it means you are dead. It doesn’t matter if you play on “I’m too young to die” which is the easiest difficulty in the game or “Nightmare” which is the hardest one, if you stand still, you’re like meat to the grinder. DOOM Eternal is a hard game in general, but not in a nerve-wracking way. There are some real challenges to face here and it’s not only defeating giant demons, but also platforming which has evolved a lot in this title.
I’m going to start with the combat first. With new abilities added in this title, it’s always the question of which move is the best for which situation. Different enemies have different vulnerabilities. Sometimes using the plasma gun is the best choice, and sometimes it’s just wasting its precious ammo. For examples some of the Zombie Marines or as some may call it “Soldiers”, now have a blue shield that explodes if you shoot them enough with the plasma gun. Cacodemons can be stunned with a single grenade shot in their mouth. Pinky needs a clear Super Shotgun bullet shot to its tail to be out of the field, etc. Now I don’t mean that you can’t use other guns to knock out these enemies, but managing your ammo is kinda important, especially when you approach the final hours of the game. If you’re a DOOM fan, you know enough about the different guns. There’s a assault rifle, a tactical shotgun, plasma gun, BFG, a big bolt and some others. Now in DOOM Eternal, there are a number of attachments that you can have for your guns. For example your tactical shotgun, can turn into a grenade launcher or a semi automatic assault rifle. Your assault rifle on the other hand, can be turned into a sniper rifle. These modes, keep the gameplay fresh and fun. The reason is you usually can’t buy all of them together and you need to go one by one. Some of the upgrades are more essential than the others. For example you’ll really need the sniper rifle mode for your gun, so you can shoot enemies’ weapons and prevent more damage. Not only the guns are amazing, but also you will find Crucible, a special sword that can slice ANY demon in a single move. Doom Slayer has brought his infamous chainsaw to DOOM Eternal as well. If you have enough fuel, you can rip most of the demons for bullets and health. There’s a new weapon that you can use when your health is low, and that’s the Flame Thrower. Doom Slayer can now set an enemy on fire for additional shield. You have also your on-shoulder grenade launcher that can also freeze the enemies.
Having all these new modes and abilities are cool, but it can also be hard to manage at times. You have 8 different guns (and one additional pistol) that each of these have their own upgrades. Not only the weapon, but also Doom Slayer’s suit is something that needs constant upgrading. Controlling all of these can be a bit overwhelming, especially for newcomers that don’t know the first things about this game. There’s a flame thrower on your shoulder, there’s a grenade launcher on the other, there are different modes to each weapon and almost everything is upgradable. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t like all these cool gadgets to rip, tear, burn and freeze demons? But all of these, makes DOOM Eternal a little too strategic that sometimes it breaks its crazy flow. DOOM is always about a brainless, violent and fast-paced action and maybe it was better if these upgrades were less complicated.
But the guns and gadgets aren’t the only things that make DOOM Eternal amazing. The enemies are truly fun to kill. The quick and violent finishers called Glory Kill are really fun to perform and there are at least two finishing animations for each enemy, which is really cool. A large number of these enemies are classic doom enemies like Cacodemons, Pain Elementals, Imps and Hell Knights. Even the infamous Arachnotorn has came back from early games to give you hell. This enemy now have a gun on top of his head -or I better say, big brain- which you can snipe off before you fight him to death. There are a number of newly added demons too. Whiplash, Marauder, Dread Knight and Doom Hunter are some of these hellish dudes. Marauder is the best designed of them all in my opinion. The guy has a super shotgun just like yours attached to his belt and a big, red axe that can kill you in a few hits. If that’s not enough, he can summon a leopard to attack you too. He’s really strong and although you’ll fight him no more than a few times, but believe me when I say it’s more than enough!
Although the combat is the main reason to play DOOM Eternal, the platforming has evolved very well since the last game. The Doom Slayer can now dash. It may not seem a huge change, but it really is. This ability has brought the platforming to another level. DOOM (2016) had some platforming sections, which to be honest were not very fun to me. But now the platforming is actually something that you want to do more, especially with a lot of secrets around the map. Also, if you fall whilst platforming, you don’t die this time around. You just lose a small portion of your health each time you fall and then you can continue. This has helped the gameplay a lot, since you don’t have to see the loading page for a stupid little mistake.
The campaign is probably the main reason that we play a DOOM game, but the game has a fun multiplayer mode too. You can either play as Doom slayer or a demon in this mode. It’s a 1 vs. 2 mode, in which one side is Doom slayer all by himself and the other side are two random demons. Some of these demons like Mancubus are slow and heavy and some other like Pain Elemental can fly, etc. The multiplayer mode is more natural this time and although it’s not the main reason to play DOOM Eternal, but it can be fun most of the times.
DOOM Eternal is one of the best games of 2020 without any doubt. With its great level design, unique and energetic music, super fun and engaging combat and smooth, 60 fps performance on both PS4 and Xbox One (needless to say PC), this is the best DOOM title yet. If you want to be a part of this sweet madness, DOOM Eternal is for you!