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Gameverse | September 20, 2020

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Doom Eternal Is More Than It Seems

Robert Endyo

I’ve pored over quite a bit of Doom Eternal content lately in anticipation of the upcoming release and a lot is going on. Following up on one of the most successful games of 2016 and a revival of the franchise, many would assume the game follows the original closely. However, I’ve found that id Software has made some significant changes to how you’ll be playing the Doom Slayer.

Doom (2016) had a very straightforward approach to combat. Players collected and upgraded weapons and picked up mountains of ammo to blast away at demons as haphazardly as they pleased. Upon doing enough damage, Glory Kills allowed those players to regain some health and ammo if necessary. Outside of the harder difficulties, however, these functioned as a “decorative touch” and some people rarely used them. The chainsaw, once acquired, also created a fountain of ammo from shredded enemies, but again was less often a requirement.

Doom Eternal takes the glory kill and the chainsaw and makes them a core component of the gameplay. With the third addition of the “flame belch,” the player now has to make a choice when finishing enemies. The glory kill will create health, the chainsaw still makes ammo, and the flame belch causes armor to drop. Now the player will have to choose one of these to best address their situation – while also considering if it’s still the best choice for the enemies at hand.

Tactically, dealing with enemies in Doom (2016) usually involved laying down as much damage as possible in the shortest amount of time. Enemies like the Pinky had the obvious rear weak point and some shield demons posed a minor inconvenience. “Run and gun” was the go-to tactic and, as long as you had ammo, you were probably going to be successful in finishing off your opponents.

With Doom Eternal’s numerous additional enemies and their wide variety of tactics, weapon choice is now more important than ever. The Carcass will punish the player by creating walls that will cause splash damage from rocket launchers. The agile Whiplash will force players to use weapons that can track and keep up with the speedy demon. Some enemies will even require you to pick apart their armor and weapons to defeat them effectively.

One of the major changes I’ve seen in Doom Eternal is that the story is now much more significant. Doom’s (2016) narrative was intentionally sparse until well into the game. Even then, there was little for you to absorb outside of the idea of stopping Dr. Olivia Pierce from opening portals to Hell. Doom Eternal seems to have a much richer story involving several characters and even other Slayers in an all-out war raging across the Earth. While this approach may disappoint some, it’s looking to be a well fleshed out addition to a much longer game.

It seems that id Software wasn’t content handing out more of the same gameplay with a fresh coat of paint and some new environments. Those may be prominent elements in this sequel, but the addition of more gameplay mechanics and enemy types and interactivity will provide a richer game. This deeper design may result in a game that is more difficult for some, but deeper gameplay can also be more fulfilling for those willing to dive into it. 

There’s little we can do but speculate at the moment. The handful of people that have had the opportunity to play a portion of Doom Eternal seemed pleased with what they experienced. It would be hard to imagine anything less given the videos I’ve seen of the game in action. One thing we can be sure of is that this game is set to be one of the biggest of a year already bursting at the seams with major titles. Let’s hope that it can live up to the hype.