The older I get, the more I find that self-reflection is an essential part of human growth. I am not a perfect human, and the health of my interpersonal relationships requires me to evaluate my actions, words, thoughts and beliefs, and I owe it to those I love to work on myself from time to time. Self-improvement is a process and labor that does not come easily. I’ve so often looked at myself in the mirror, not liked the person staring back at me, and spent hours molding that reflection into a closer version of the protagonist of my story, so that those who might read my tale after I’m gone can be prouder of the man that I’ve become. I am grateful for the gifts I’ve been given, and even more grateful for the strength to fight my own demons, and I would suggest any reading this to offer themselves to similar meditation.
|Available On||PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia|
|Release Date||March 20, 2020|
|Time Spent Playing||20 Hours|
Unless, of course, you realize that you are absolutely f***ing perfect, and the only demons that you have to kill are those revolting hellspawn once again intent on Earth domination. You have nothing to work on except for the eradication of the Dark Lord’s forces and the destruction of Khan Maykr and the Icon of Sin. In that case, put on your helmet, configure your teleporter, pick up your plasma rifle, and get ready for the ride of your life with DOOM Eternal. It’s time to rip and tear.
Once again, Earth is in danger of turning into a cesspool of sulfur and succubi as the hell priests gather to perform their unholy rituals. Immediately, in the absence of the admittedly disappointing pistol, you pick up your combat shotgun and begin firing shells into the crowds of refuse. Don’t get too comfortable with your limited-ammunition ally, because you’ll very soon begin wielding a heavy cannon, plasma rifle, and rocket launcher. You’ll rev the chainsaw and begin slicing through demonic forces quickly, and within minutes will be using the spikes installed to the wrists of your suit to decapitate, remove eyeballs, and sever spines, while your boots make small work of crushing their embarrassingly weak skulls. Make no mistake – being the Doom Slayer is not for the weak of heart.
Your weapons are your greatest tools, and unlike your previous adventures as the savior of humanity, relying on a single firearm will not be comprehensive in cleansing the corruption. You’ve got over 10 methods of eradicating your enemies, most with modifications and upgrades that can be swapped at command, and switching between them regularly is essential. Glory kills give health, chainsaw deaths provide you copious ammunition, grenades produce area of effect damage or crowd control, blood punches serve for a quick escape, and every single gun you retrieve is yours for a specific purpose and, most importantly, is satisfying to use. The hordes of devils in your path don’t stand a chance to your fully loaded arsenal, and though you get the majority of these weapons early in the mission, upgrades and rare, ultra-powerful weapons with limited use are sprinkled throughout to provide rewarding progress. Slaying demons has never felt so right.
Your guns and explosives, as important as they are, won’t be enough to save you from the hellfire. More important than bullets and booms are the reflexive speed inherent in your superhuman frame. Double jumping, dashing, climbing, and swinging from pipes and poles are all essential to dodging the incoming assaults and preserving your hide to continue fighting the good fight. No matter what battles you’ve entered before, you’ve never moved quite so smoothly. The heads-up display of your suit’s helmet is cleanly laid out to show you cooldowns for each of your abilities, but just in case you can’t check your dash meter because you’re busy dodging a Doomhunter’s scythe, you’ll hear a gentle audio notification alerting you that it’s time to dash again. Make use of the demonic portals to give you quick access around the battle arenas, as well… you’re smart enough to use them to your advantage, but your enemies are too stupid, and you can make a quick escape when necessary.
Launchpads, walls, and poles will serve to your benefit to get the upper ground against the evil army. Luckily, the ruins that serve as your battlegrounds provide plenty of vantage points to reign down pain and suffering. Their inhuman strength allows them to reach you fairly quickly, but a few seconds may be all you need to find a quick glory kill victim to refill your vitality. Even when not in the midst of a battle, the cityscapes and ruins of Earth, Mars, Hell, and Space are conveniently laid out to challenge your wits and sense of directions. Linking dashes, climbs, swings and jumps will be the only way you don’t fall to your death. Use the automap installed to your suit; it will sometimes provide the only cues on where you might progress towards.
Walls and windows will frequently give way to a well-placed punch, thanks to your habit of never missing arm day, so be on the lookout for particularly vulnerable concrete. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts in armor, 1up bonuses, and collectibles in the form of toys, albums, and cheat codes to use should you ever decide to return to previous battles. When you aren’t battling, you’re going to absolutely love moving through these levels in environments that are often as vertical as they are horizontal.
Take the spoils of your journeys back to your orbiting spaceship, the Fortress of Doom, where you’ll store the toys and weapons on your totally nerd-worthy office at the helm of the ship. Albums found along the way will be framed (as any good album should be) in the halls, ready for you to listen to your favorite single in all of its metal-shredding glory. Not that you’ll ever need to listen to past albums; VEGA, your AI assistant, has loaded a perfectly curated selection of new tracks in your earpieces to keep your adrenaline flowing in and out of battle. Liked the soundtrack from last time? Good news, because Mick Gordon composed a perfect follow-up album. “The Slayer’s Time is Now” and “Gladiator” are absolutely outstanding singles that, even if you don’t have the stomach to save the world, should be listened to and added to any “Best of 2020” playlist. They’re that good.
Your ship also serves as a center of command for you to train, upgrade, and practice. The basement level is an arena of virtual demons that you can slay to your heart’s content without fear of losing progress or ammo. The middle levels and periphery of your ship house compartments that are unlocked with sentinel batteries that you’ll either find or earn through completing specific challenges, which are fun, challenging, and never too difficult. These upgrades include suit add-ons to increase exploration expertise or certain combat mechanics, new suits altogether to change your cosmetic appearance, or weapon modifications to alter your secondary attacks on most weapons. You’ll earn them gradually and by the time you face the final fiend, will feel nearly as powerful as you ever could. You’ll also be able to upgrade your ammunition, armor, and health storages along the way, giving just a little more leeway in particularly hairy situations.
Thankfully, the demons of hell have perfectly spaced themselves to create one divinely paced adventure. Dying is, ironically, painless, and you’ll be able to jump right back into battle to give it another go. The difficulty ramps up at the precisely correct speed, so just after you finish patting yourself on the back for a particularly difficult battle, that very hand gets ripped off and that freshly-patted back gets broken. Warding off the literal raising of hell’s forces should not be easy, and battle arenas and boss encounters will occasionally require multiple attempts, but it’s always that “one last try” that seems to be successful. You’ll feel your own abilities progressing as you practice arenas and tactics, and completing an encounter is often more rewarding than the weapon point you’ll get at the end of it.
If the infernal hordes prove to be too difficult, you’ll never be punished for easing the difficulty for a battle, or donning “sentinel armor” for a boss. Admittedly, amidst the stress of my personal life in these turbulent times, it was relieving to relax for a battle or two and know that my progress wasn’t going to be affected because I needed a little ease of mind. In short, the strain of your quest is highly customizable to your needs and feels almost perfectly planned every step of the way.
Not only does the difficulty feel perfectly planned – in fact, nearly everything does. Movement, gunplay, stage design, upgrades, graphics, action, and music all come together to form one of the most fun gaming experiences of all time. Truly, there has never been a better time to be the Doom Slayer. Never have the forces of evil been so cunning and fierce, and yet never have you been so uniquely equipped to single-handedly subvert the scourge. There is no time like the present to fully invest yourself to the cause, and if you have any reservations about joining the Slayer’s Army, rest assured – this is one of the best, if not THE best, shooter experience you’ve ever laid your hands, eyes, ears, and guts on. Grab your chainsaw. Rip, and tear.