DOOM 2016’s opening section was a thing of simple beauty, it showing the Doom Slayer waking up to punch some demons in the face before putting on his iconic armour. It set the tone for the straightforward FPS masterpiece that was to follow with the rest of the campaign playing out with the same irresistible laser focus. Next year’s DOOM Eternal, however, may have an intro to rival it.
All hell is (quite literally) breaking loose on a UAC base in space with workers frantically running around in fear of their lives as the demonic threat closes in with no strategy to combat them. It soon transpires that they don’t need any tactics, just a force of nature. The Doom Slayer makes his entrance, assuredly striding past shocked UAC employees as they bask in a living legend. It’s no Master Chief welcome, though: they are as scared as they are in awe, some recoiling away from the walking weapon as he passes and others in disbelief that he isn’t just folklore.
The Doom Slayer makes his way past all of them before eventually arriving at what looks like the man in charge. Speaking over the phone, the guy refuses to believe that the Doom Slayer is here in person before he turns around and is greeted by the man mountain himself. The Doom Slayer handles the shell-shocked officer like a small animal, dragging him by the keycard tied around his neck before using it to open the door that’s separating him from the chaos he lives for.
Walking out of the base to take on Hell itself like it’s just any other day, a soldier tries to tell Doom Slayer off before his voice trails off as he realises who he’s trying to tell off. Plucking the gun from the soldier’s hand before calmly walking out to a scene of madness, the Doom Slayer’s aura has calmed the frenzied UAC employees and further added to his legend — and he didn’t even have to do anything.
Even if you’ve never played a game in the franchise before, DOOM Eternal’s intro tells you all you need to know: you’re playing as one very cool dude and your job is to rip and tear until there’s nothing left. The rest of the demo I played at EGX 2019 allowed me to live out just that.
The 20-minute slice of gameplay threw in enough action that other games would pad out across hours, so much so that I barely had a chance to breathe as the hordes closed in constantly. It feels similar to the 2016 entry, just with somehow even more metal bells and whistles.
The fire belch is a flamethrower that makes enemies drop armour (don’t ask how) and promotes experimentation with how you rack up kills alongside every other style of violence has to offer. Glory Kills make a glorious return and give health, while using a chainsaw will grant ammo. Using all three of these fluidly not only provides great gameplay variety, but also introduces an additional layer of strategy. You’re going to need to think fast and kill smartly in DOOM Eternal, because the forces of Hell want you very much dead and rarely let up.
Even the weapons themselves have a greater focus on experimentation compared to 2016’s DOOM with Eternal giving even more opportunities to use guns in different ways. The grappling hook on the super shotgun feels like a small revelation, it allowing you to get right in the face of demons in a second. I can’t wait to see how players utilise this and the rest of Eternal’s new methods of destruction. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.
DOOM Eternal launches March 20th, 2020 for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Stadia. A Switch version will arrive at a later date.
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