DOOM Eternal won our Game of Show award for E3 2019 and there are very good reasons for giving it such an accolade.
I cannot stop thinking about DOOM Eternal. I got to play the demo build of id Software’s latest shooter twice this past week at E3 2019 and all I want is more and I want it right now.
Against all of my expectations coming into E3, DOOM Eternal somehow managed to exceed everything that I hoped it would be. As a sequel to the best shooter of this generation (in my humble opinion), id Software really had its work cut out for them in the pursuit of topping everything that made 2016’s game so stellar. From what I’ve played of Eternal, the latest hell-raising shooter doesn’t seem to just be a half-step up, but is instead a major improvement in every discernable way.
So just how did those development wizards over at id seemingly make DOOM Eternal so much better than what came before it? To me, it’s the game’s speed. While 2016’s DOOM was a fast game already, Eternal ramps things up even further. Enemies fill up the screen in droves much more than the last game and they are much more aggressive. As DOOM taught us a few years ago, the best way to succeed is to be that much more aggressive than your foes, meaning that here in Eternal, you have to be even more proactive and deadly than ever before.
DOOM Eternal has continued to add even more mechanics and systems than its predecessor to encourage this aggressive style of play, too. Glory kills return from the last game and these actions still give you health upon pulling them off. Chainsaw kills, in a similar fashion, still refuel your ammo reserves when needed. Joining these mechanics in Eternal though is that of a flamethrower which helps give you added armor. If you utilize your new flame device to catch demons on fire, killing them while they’re still ablaze will allow you to net additional armor that explodes forth out of foes upon death. When you get into the thick of an arena battle in DOOM Eternal, you’ll have to keep track of all three of these levels (health, armor, and ammo) and make sure that you’re pulling off kills that will benefit what you might need at a given time.
Another addition to DOOM Eternal this time around is the advent of 1-Ups which you can collect around the world. Grabbing these will allow you to, well, have an extra life that will revive you on the spot once you die — and trust me, you will die. This seems like a bit of an odd addition to Eternal at first, but the game also seems like it’s a lot harder than 2016’s installment based on what I played. Because of this, grabbing 1-Up tokens spread about the world are almost vital at times and will allow larger engagements to be a bit more manageable. The best part of this is that if you do die and have an extra life, you’re immediately revived on the spot merely a second later. The pace of the combat isn’t broken up whatsoever and you can largely stay locked-in to what you’re doing.
If there is one area where things do get a bit disjointed or broken up though, it comes with some of the platforming and traversal additions that have come to DOOM Eternal. The demo that I saw had a few areas where you’d need to jump between different rocky platforms with demons awaiting you on each. To get to some of these different spots you would have to sometimes wall climb, walk onto a device that would shoot you into the air, or just simply jump and dash in mid-air.
I’ve already seen some people expressing concerns about more platforming being implemented in DOOM Eternal but I don’t think there’s anything to be nervous about. If anything, the only reason I didn’t love these brief platforming areas was because they seemed to break up the flow of combat a bit. The actual movement felt really precise and fast.
While these short sections did break things up, the traversal mechanics that have been added in combat arenas are largely great. Jumping and swinging on a monkey bar to launch yourself into the air only to then drop out of the sky and blast a Cacodemon in the face with your Super Shotgun is extremely satisfying.
And speaking of the Super Shotgun, the weapon’s new grappling hook is a godsend. The Super Shotgun was already my favorite weapon to use in DOOM but being able to now quickly fly between enemies with the grappling device just feels phenomenal. I haven’t seen all of the weapons and additions that each will have in DOOM Eternal, but the grappling hook for the Super Shotgun is a game-changer. I look forward to blasting hundreds of demons apart with it in the final product.
If there’s one thing that I cannot understate about my time playing DOOM Eternal this week it would be that it just feels incredible to play. The shooting, movement, and everything else in between just feels perfect. Conveying the feel of a game is a hard thing to get across in pieces like this without having actually played it for yourself, but the way everything bleeds into one another in this game is incredible.
Also, can I just say how dumb DOOM Eternal is? Like, dumb in the best way possible. As much as I love playing the DOOM series, I think my favorite quality above all else is just how self-aware and nonsensical these games are. Eternal seems to be leaning into that wackiness even further.
At one point in the demo I played, the Doom Slayer opens up a giant cannon, kicks the missile out of its loading chamber, jumps into the chamber, and proceeds to blast himself out of the turret into a building that looks to be miles away in the distance. He then lands in said building, completely unscathed, and proceeds to start ripping and tearing more demons apart as if nothing had even just happened. It’s hilarious, awesome, and just continues to add to the overall idea that you are an unstoppable demon-killing machine.
There is no doubt in my mind that DOOM Eternal is now officially my most-anticipated game for the remainder of 2019. If you liked 2016’s revival of DOOM, then you’re going to lose your mind once you get your hands on Eternal. DOOM Eternal wasn’t just the best game that we played this week during E3 2019, it seems like it has a chance to collect quite a bit of year-end awards as well once the dust settles. Let’s just hope that the full game can reach the same highs as the demo that I played.
DOOM Eternal is set to launch later this year on November 22 for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and Stadia.