Doom Eternal (2020, XBOX ONE) Review

J’s VERDICT: ☆☆☆1/2

The cover of Mortal Sin’s 1986 debut Mayhemic Destruction features a winged demon sitting on the ruins of the Sydney Opera House while the fires of hell rage on in the backdrop. That’s all I could think of when I ripped and tore my way through creatures in the opening level of the game. Drenched in blood, covered in the orange hues of Hell on Earth, I was a lone fighter working my way through art you’d find on the cover of a heavy metal album. And it was fantastic.

DOOM ETERNAL, the sequel to 2016’s killer reboot, is a rip-roaring, adrenaline-pumping, punishing descent through Hell and beyond. It’s levels are creatively designed, forcing the player to think and adapt and explore and MOVE, its music – from a demonic choir (consisting of some actual heavy metal vocalists) to grooving industrial metal – is bitchin’ and it’s gameplay is suitably intense, gory and very, very fast.

The really exciting thing for me, as a gamer and fan of shooters, was how DOOM ETERNAL forces you to adapt to its gameplay whether that’s raging in a frantic fight or slowing down to explore where to go next or how to solve an environmental puzzle. It’s all extremely satisfying.

Thrown into the mix are different mods for your weapons that allow for different play styles. There are a variety of different mods and upgrades that you can mix and match to fit your carnage – and adding more upgrades to the mix requires hunting down objects of desire throughout these gargantuan levels. I had a lot of fun blasting enemies away using sticky grenades, say, or a rapid fire mod on my machine gun.

GARGANTUAN, of course, is the key word here when it comes to DOOM ETERNAL, thanks to the level design and story expanding the scope of the universe. If you asked me if Doom had some lore before the days of Doom 3, I would’ve raised my eyebrows and replied that it’s a simple yet entertaining shooter with a bare bones story. But nope, there’s intricate and heavy lore here – pages of which you can collect throughout levels to read at your own pace.

ALONGSIDE THE STORY is the BATTLEMODE, a 2v1 Mode where two players take the role of demons – each with their own set of abilities, movements and pros and cons – and the other takes the role of the legendary DOOMGUY.

I have to be honest here, I didn’t go through the entire catalogue of demons to test their strengths and weaknesses but I played as a few heavy characters and enjoyed the weight of how it felt up against hunting down the player known as the DOOMGUY.

I appreciate the vertical levels, it brings an element of fun to the gameplay, but I sure do miss the standard multiplayer of 2016’s DOOM.

All up, DOOM ETERNAL is a punishing, ultra-violent sequel that is bigger, better and more BADASS. While some platforming in levels can feel clunky and the difficulty can feel a little too Doom and gloom, the sense of fun and silliness and spirit is here throughout and doesn’t falter. Good stuff.

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