Doom: Eternal (Review)
For my first video game review, let's take a look at Bethesda's new Doom: Eternal.
This is not a kid's game. I'm not telling you how to parent, but if you let your kids play this, you're a bad parent.
First, for context, let's talk about the Doom released a few years back. In Doom, you awaken from a sarcophagus with a couple zombies leaning over you. You immediately start pulverizing demonic forces that are overrunning a scientific facility on Mars. If you're into high-intensity combats (I am), this is the game for you.
You learn that Samuel Hayden, the leader of the UAC, has authorized forays into the realm of Hell for the purpose of obtaining and using Argent Energy, something he is using to overcome an energy crisis on Earth. I guess we ran out of fossil fuels or something.
First, I need to say something to all of the Elon Musk wannabe-types out there.
Don't delve into Hell.
What's the matter with you? Is there not enough literature on the subject? Don't most movies, books and religious texts pretty much outline why this is always a horrible idea?
His project head, Olivia Pierce, gets deceived and converted by Hell's princes. She triggers a Hellwave which transforms 60% of the facility's 68,000 residents into zombies, then releases a bunch of demons from their holding cells (HOLDING CELLS?) which start killing everything else.
The environments are disgusting. There is blood, viscera and bodies stacked everywhere. Don't let your kids play this game. I worry about the artists who drew this stuff.
You launch on your crusade to cleanse the facility with some pretty extreme prejudice. Seriously, you need to take a Xanax or something. You're stomping demons' heads, ripping them apart, snapping necks and generally exploding bad guys all over the place.
Samuel Hayden just wants you to fix his little spill and take out Olivia Pierce. He's still a believer in tapping Hell's energy for the good of humanity.
You do not care.
You wreck the facility and humanity's capability to harvest Argent Energy. The shockwave blasts you into Hell itself, right around the area where the UAC first found you. You find out that you were imprisoned in a cursed sarcophagus, guarded by thousands of demons, and the UAC suffered 100% human casualties on the expedition sent to retrieve you. Drones dragged you out.
For the remainder of the game, you shift between Hell and Mars as you obtain the Crucible you need to close the Hell Portal and prevent Hell's invasion of Mars and Earth. However, in the last scene, Samuel Hayden immobilizes you and steals the Crucible from you, teleporting you away.
Steve Jobs would have said thank you.
Earth is having a bad day. Giant symbols of Hell span continents. There are transmissions from every corner of Earth, describing retreats and fallbacks from the overwhelming hordes.
You're orbiting Earth in a cathedral/asteroid/spaceship. You get updated by VEGA (AI from the first game) on the condition of the Earth. You enter a portal to drop you in the middle of the action.
To prevent spoilers, I'm not going to update on story beyond that. I'll be discussing the play experience I had.
The levels are fantastic. The broken metropolises washed by lava and fire, the shattered colossi of battlemechs and titans littering the landscape, castles, polar fortresses, space stations and hellscapes: you are immersed in battlezones constructed with incredible detail. I will say, the Super Gore Nest was super gross.
Just like the most recent Doom, the combat is frenetic and hyper-violent. The sheer brutality of the Glory Kills betray the hyper-aggression of your character, the hatred you feel for demonkind. The combat encounters are challenging in the extreme, and the difficulty continuously ramps up as further kinds of demons are encountered.
Let me say, when you encounter the Marauders (fallen Night Sentinels), the fighting is stupid levels of hard.
The weapons are great. They maintain the same basic functions and unlockables as the previous Doom. The capacity for destruction is great; you just have to be careful not to kill yourself with your rocket launchers. The addition of the Blood Punch was great; it's nice to have another technique to fall back on when you're surrounded by swarms of bad guys.
Not only that, you've got:
A grenade launcher
Flamethrower to restore armor
Glory Kills to restore health
A BFG-9000 (general complete devastation of the area)
This is the best part of the game to me. There are continual lore secrets throughout the game, describing the fall of Earth, history of the Slayer, origin of weapons, origin of demons and various environments. This is gold for a player like me.
The game heavily rewards a full playthrough. You can play just the objectives, but the richness of the secrets you can pick up give such flavor to the game.
I have to drop a couple of points for the beginning. There's no real bridge between the end of the previous Doom and this one. I was disappointed when I started in Earth's orbit, with no explanation as to how I got to Earth or why I'm on an orbiting cathedral.
That being said, I have no other negatives for the game. The levels are well-constructed, the combat is intense, and the missions follow logically after each other. The atmospheric transmissions about the effects of your battles are pretty satisfying as the human resistance is able to dig in after you devastate your targets.
Over all, I give the game an A.
If anyone else is playing it, let me know, and let me know what you think!