“Tell me…have you nothing to say to your creator before you strike him down?” –Davoth, The Dark Lord
Because it is verboten to spill blood in the Luminarium, the Dark Lord travels to the Hell capital of Immora to fight the Doom Slayer. To reach Immora, the Doom Slayer must activate the Gate of Divum. The Father informs the Doom Slayer that this gate is powered by a Wraith Crystal, which can be found on Argent D’Nur on board the World Spear. The Doom Slayer encounters the Betrayer and receives a Sentinel Hammer from him as thanks for having defeated the Icon of Sin. After retrieving the Wraith Crystal and returning to Earth, the Doom Slayer activates the Gate of Divum and heads over to Immora, accompanied by a Sentinel army. While the Sentinels assault Hell’s forces, the Doom Slayer fights his way to the Dark Lord and follows him to an arena, where the Doom Slayer overcomes the Dark Lord in combat. The Dark Lord reveals he was the universe’s original creator, but was betrayed by the Maykrs. The Doom Slayer had been created to take revenge on the Maykrs, but undeterred, the Doom Slayer stabs the Dark Lord, killing him and ending the dæmonic invasion around the universe. Because the Dark Lord had created the Doom Slayer, the Doom Slayer falls unconscious, leaving the Seraphs to seal him away at the Ingmore Sanctum. This brings The Ancient Gods‘ second part to a close: altogether, it took thirty seven and a half hours, over the span of five months, to beat DOOM Eternal in its entirety. DOOM Eternal‘s Reiko edition proved to be a fantastic experience that built out the lore in the DOOM universe to a much greater extent than anticipated, and offers a much more satisfying, decisive conclusion than did the outcome of DOOM Eternal‘s Koguma edition. Here at the end of The Ancient Gods‘ second part, the Dark Lord, the being responsible for all creation, is finally defeated, and while the Doom Slayer is to be sealed away, his goal of ending the dæmons’ reign of terror throughout the universe has been fulfilled, allowing the Doom Slayer to rest at last and leaving players with the question of what any sequel to the DOOM universe will entail.
With the whole of DOOM Eternal in the books, The Ancient Gods‘ second half indicates that playing the hero role can be a thankless task: the Doom Slayer is completely dedicated to a singular task, of eradicating the dæmons and protecting Earth, and this devotion is so unmovable that the Doom Slayer is willing to disregard ancient law and make questionable sacrifices to accomplish this goal. He allows Samuel Hayden to undergo transfiguration, and even kills the creator of all things to accomplish his ends. While in the end, the invasions on Earth and the different realms in the DOOM universe are halted, the Doom Slayer ultimately sacrifices himself in the process, and his only recognition is to be entombed in a sarcophagus, with the hope that his powers never be used again. This stands in stark contrast with how heroes are typically presented, being charismatic individuals loved by all; the Doom Slayer is a terrifying, single-minded force who expresses no concern for how he is received, and this trait is ultimately what allows the Doom Slayer to succeed. While the Doom Slayer may be a cold and unfeeling individual, however, The Ancient Gods suggest that he is also someone who believes in acting with the long term in mind, as opposed to acting for the short term. Rather than save Samuel Hayden as planned, the Doom Slayer realises that taking out the Dark Lord would, in the long term, allow for Earth to properly be saved. This mirrors how in reality, people often prefer to go with simpler, short-term solutions over the solutions that endure (but require more effort to implement); the longer-term solutions require more sacrifices and may even cause trouble in the short term, but ultimately, can resolve a given problem far more effectively than other approaches. Despite the benefits that thinking ahead can bring, most are dissuaded by the effort and short-term inconvenience such methods may entail, hence their objection to longer term ideas. Because the Doom Slayer pays little heed to these sorts of things, he is able to succeed where others have failed, and in this way, The Ancient Gods‘ second part shows how one must have the resolve and tenacity in order to carry out plans with clear long-term benefits that others continue objecting to.
Screenshots and Commentary
- After the gripping and difficult battle that was The Ancient Gods‘ first half, I began my journey into The Ancient Gods‘s second part after taking a ten-day break to regroup. Originally, I had planned to beat the whole of The Ancient Gods by October so that I could be ready for the Battlefield 2042 launch, but when DICE announced that they were pushing the launch day back to November 19, I realised I had more time to go through The Ancient Gods. This allowed me some breathing room in my schedule, which proved to be a godsend. This was because after the condition date passed back in September, I needed to get my ducks in a row in order to ensure the remainder of the process was smooth. Having extra time to ensure all the documents were lined up and correct was great, and in the end, things went as well as I could’ve hoped for.
- I don’t mind admitting that I was a little nervous during the underwriting process for the mortgage: things are stable now, but for the past few years, I was working with start-ups, and things there were a bit more uncertain from a financial perspective. Overall, it’s been a very instructive journey, and as of today, I’m now a homeowner. After work ended today, I headed over to pick up the keys and do the possession walkthrough. The weather had been foggy to the point of being a pea-soup, but after everything wrapped up, the skies had cleared again. With this comes the attendant responsibilities of keeping up with mortgage payments, condo fees, property taxes, utility bills and home maintenance work, as well as furnishing the new place, but I’m confident that I’m ready to handle these responsibilities in full.
- These new tasks will require more of my time, and this means I’ll slowly be blogging less in the future, but at the same time, there is a catharsis in focusing on real-world obligations. Over the past year, I have found that I am at my happiest when doing things at my own pace, whether it be enjoying solo experiences in games, or watching anime for which discussions have long concluded. For instance, during my journey through Gundam SEED Destiny, I am spared the negativity and vitriol that lesser minds have directed towards the series during the height of its run. Without their presence polluting the experience, I can focus purely on appreciating what Gundam SEED Destiny is aiming to accomplish.
- Because of my current arrangements, I’m not in a particular rush to move just yet; this means, over the next few months, I have the luxury of being able to shop around for furniture so the new place can really feel like a home. The process will require a good amount of my time, since I do wish to pick out furniture that offers good value: this could correspond to a decreased blogging presence, especially once 2021 draws to a close and 2022 arrives. However, I’m not out of the blogging game just yet, and for now,, I have twelve posts planned out for December.
- Between these posts and furniture shopping, I figure I’ll have a fine balance between dealing with loose ends for this blog prior to the new year, while simultaneously, having the time to find furniture that I am looking to have. This process is helped by the fact that, save for the half-day I took off for the home inspection, I still have all of my vacation time left. I’ve already requested the last two weeks of 2021 off, along with two Fridays off in the weeks leading up to the end of the year. Assuming these get approved, I’ll have a total of ten days off, time enough to blog, get a measure of what furniture I’ll need to buy, and have enough hours left over to build a Gundam model kit. I’ve just placed an order for the MG Kyrios, whose design resonated with me more so than that of the MG Virtue (while the MG Virtue is an engineering marvel, the suit itself never really stood out for me in Gundam 00 quite as much as the Dynames or Kyrios did).
- This is about the scope of my personal updates, so I’ll return discussions back into DOOM Eternal. Here, I encounter a Gore Nest as a part of the Escalation Encounters, which are unique to The Ancient Gods‘ second half: these are two-part combat encounters, and the first part is essential to unlocking progress. Beating the first encounter unlocks a Sentinel Hammer upgrade, while the second encounter provides bonus cosmetics and bragging rights. Because I’d been running on a bit of a timeline, I elected not to beat the second Escalation Encounters to all but the final of The Ancient Gods‘ missions.
- The Sentinel Hammer replaces the Crucible from DOOM Eternal‘s main campaign in The Ancient Gods‘ second half. While it’s not a one-hit kill weapon on any foe as the Crucible was, its ability is to stagger all foes who do not outright die from impact, making it a powerful means of stunning super-heavy dæmons and leave them vulnerable to follow-up attacks. Moreover, because the Sentinel Hammer can be charged by performing glory kills and damaging weak points: each action will yield a half-charge, making it easy to top off on Sentinel Hammer energy and use it liberally during the missions.
- Overall, I found the first mission of The Ancient Gods‘ second half to be the weakest in terms of level design: it’s set on Argent D’Nur, and the Doom Slayer’s goal here is simply to reach the Wraith Crystal. The level introduces the Armoured Barons, Barons of Hell given regenerating armour, but beyond this, the level wasn’t too tricky to complete, and I did find that, while it was nice to fight in a verdant forest and snowy cliffs, the visuals were not particularly jaw-dropping, especially compared to some of DOOM Eternal‘s more inspired locations.
- My thoughts changed immediately once I returned to Earth for the second mission: with the Wraith Crystal now in hand, the Doom Slayer can open the portal to Immora, where the Dark Lord awaits. The Earth mission was a fantastic show of how nice DOOM Eternal can look, and even though I’m not running the game on maximum settings, everything still looks gorgeous, especially with the volumetric lighting and reflection effects. DOOM Eternal has given my desktop some trouble over the last few weeks, especially during The Ancient Gods‘ first half, and after doing some digging around, I determined that MSI Afterburner was messing with things.
- After doing an uninstall of MSI Afterburner, my machine became much more stable, to the point where after doing some stress testing by returning to The Holt and playing through a segment of the mission where I was consistently getting Blue Screens, I found that the issue was no longer present. Assuming that MSI Afterburner was the culprit, I am now curious to know whether or not my machine will fare any better once I pick up Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite. Both games ran in a passable manner for me, although there were moments where blue screens occurred. With the improvements in DOOM Eternal‘s performance since I uninstalled MSI Afterburner, I am now curious to know if I’ll be able to run both Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite with better stability.
- Battlefield 2042 released its early access version last Friday, and from what I’ve seen so far, Battlefield Portal does appear to be offering exactly what I’m looking for in a Battlefield game: the ability to create servers would allow me to have the full experience without once encountering players using cheats, screeching endlessly into voice channels or spamming memes in the text chat. I have heard that some unscrupulous folks have already created servers for farming experience, flooding Portal with farming servers and preventing players from instantiating normal game modes. A simple solution would simply be to limit players to one instance that they must be on if they want to play, but the fact that this is happening at all is immensely disappointing.
- I am keeping a closer eye on things towards Battlefield 2042‘s launch, and later this week, I’ll make a more concrete decision on Battlefield 2042 once I’ve had the chance to get a bit more information. In the meantime, today also marks the twentieth anniversary to Halo: Combat Evolved‘s release, and to celebrate this monumental milestone, which coincides with my possession date, 343 Industries decided to release a build of Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer for people to check out. With everything going on right now, I’m not too sure that I’ll give Halo Infinite a go just yet: the campaign is what I’m most interested in playing, and unlike Battlefield 2042, Halo Infinite is a sure-thing for me, so I will be picking that up once it launches in December, and then use one of my Fridays off to start things.
- The toughest fight during The Ancient Gods‘ second half’s second level was found here: the game throws everything it’s got at players, but fortunately, with the Sentinel Hammer, things became much more manageable: during my run of The Ancient Gods‘ second part, I never once had the same level of difficulty as I did during the first part with respect to clearing an area out. Even during the most challenging arenas, where I would die a few times, I was able to put the brakes on, go take a break and return later to find a solution that had worked for me.
- With the first two missions completed, I activated the Gate of Divum and prepared to set foot in the final full-length mission in The Ancient Gods‘ second half, set in the realm of Immora itself. When I stepped through the portal and entered Immora, I was absolutely blown away by the cinematic; the Doom Slayer is accompanied by legions of Sentinel warriors, capital ships and their massive Atlan mobile suits coming through portals in a manner reminiscent of The Avengers: Endgame. The spectacle was such that I actually spent a few minutes watching everything unfold before continuing with my mission.
- I’ve heard somewhere that the Atlans are about six hundred metres in height, giving players a sense of scale: Titans evidently vary in size, and the larger ones can reach sizes approaching that of an Atlan. Here, players can watch an Atlan in combat as it defeats a Titan with a Wraith Energy spear: until now, the frozen remains of Atlans and Titans scattered across battlefield were all players could see, and while it gave a sense of scale for the Sentinels’ war with Hell, much of things would’ve been left to the imagination. What’s impressive about this particular scene on Immora is that the Atlan and Titan are actual 3D assets rather than pre-rendered elements that are a part of the skybox.
- With such a strong start to the mission, I pushed my way through to Immora’s outer wall and utilised a Sentinel cannon to propel myself towards the heart of the city. Texts describe Immora as a paradise, but the Maykrs’ actions resulted in the city becoming corrupted, similarly to how Minas Ithil would fall to the Witch-King of Angmar and be irreparably transformed into a place of evil, with a sickly green glow replacing the silver moonlight the marble walls reflected.
- After entering Immora itself, the Doom Slayer will encounter Dæmonic Troopers, the imperial guard which defend the Dark Lord from harm. However, despite sporting full armour and a fearsome reputation, the Dæmonic Troopers are individually weak and can be felled with a few plasma rounds. Similarly, their plasma rifles deal pitiful damage. Unlike most enemies, the Dæmonic Troopers are immune to the chainsaw (being marked as invalid targets), and they cannot be glory killed. I’m not too sure if this is a deliberate gameplay mechanic to mirror the fact that Dæmonic Troopers utilise Hell Energy, which render them semi-immortal, or the fact that id Tech simply ran out of time to add new death animations.
- The Sentinel invasion of Immora continues as the Doom Slayer draws closer to the Dark Lord’s position: in the skies above, Sentinel ships can be seen moving into position over Hell’s capital city. Support from the Sentinels was cleverly woven into The Ancient Gods‘s second part; while it is clear that the Doom Slayer is not alone in his fight, the Sentinels are occupied with other tasks and as such, never provide any direct support for the Doom Slayer, allowing players to continue playing the game as they had previously.
- Here, I stop briefly to admire the lighting effects before continuing on to the next area. While they look great even on the five-year-old GTX 1060, I can only imagine what DOOM Eternal would look like on a 4K monitor with the ray-tracing effects enabled. Over the past while, I’ve been contemplating building a new desktop, having been putting funds away for a new rig, and with the twelfth generation Intel CPUs on the market now, I imagine that next year, I’ll be able to start looking at which parts would be most suited for my requirements. In the meantime, I am hoping my current desktop will hold out for a little longer.
- At the heart of Immora, one of the toughest fights I faced entailed fighting a pair of Marauders whose formidable power is augmented by the presence of a foe called the Screecher, whose ability to empower nearby dæmons make them a foe to be reckoned with. After dying several times here, I decided that the best trick was to leave the Screecher alone, and then deal with the Marauders by leading them to the platform edges. There’s a Life Sphere at the centre of this arena, and it came in quite handy for me: I was down to my last hit point and dashed to pick it up, saving me from certain death.
- After clearing the platform, I continued through Immora. The fight against the Screecher-buffed Marauders was tricky, but once I figured out the idea was to avoid taking out the Screecher first (since it respawns until all other foes are downed) and keep my distance to avoid firing on it, the fight became more manageable. Unlike The Ancient Gods‘ first half, where the fights were intense enough to force me to drop the difficulty down, the second part did not offer the same level of challenge by virtue of providing players with the Sentinel Hammer, and the fact that spawns are nowhere nearly as unfair as they’d been in the first half.
- Having gone through The Ancient Gods in full, I’ve found that the rocket launcher’s remote detonation mode is actually the more useful of the two mods: lock-on burst is effective for dealing with individually tough dæmons, and this made the mod a solid choice back in DOOM. By DOOM Eternal, however, players are given a larger range of tools to deal with super-heavy dæmons. The Ice Bomb combined with the Unmaykr and Blood Punch sorted out anything in The Ancient Gods‘ first part, while the Crucible could be used to trivially kill anything in DOOM Eternal proper. Coupled with the fact that rocket ammunition is rarer by default, I found it more efficient to use the remote detonation on crowds, especially when heavy dæmons were around, since this let me wear them down while outright deleting weaker dæmons.
- The last of the arenas similarly presented only a moderate barrier towards progression: here, I focus fire on a possessed Flaming Baron. Possessed dæmons are rarer in The Ancient Gods‘ second half, and while the dæmon spawns are comparable to those of DOOM Eternal‘s later levels in terms of difficulty, there were no moments in this second half that resembled anything from the first half. The inconsistency in difficulties have lead players to criticise The Ancient Gods: the first half is unfair, and the second is catering to players who lack the drive for a good challenge.
- After clearing the last arena, the Doom Slayer ends up on a platform where the only Stone Imps spawn. These foes are resurrected Imps given a stone armour that render them near-impervious to damage. The Ancient Gods recommends using the combat shotgun’s automatic fire mod to deal with them: killing Stone Imps in rapid succession with this mod returns shotgun ammunition, and one could theoretically fire continuously during a firefight. To help players along, The Ancient Gods was kind enough to even place a pile of ammunition here for players, along with the Haste Sphere.
- Unfortunately, it turns out that in order to actually start the firefight, players must first pick the Haste Sphere up; while this powerup increases movement speed and confers unlimited ammunition, by the time the Stone Imps actually show up, the powerup will be halfway to expiry. It was fun to finally be able to put the full auto mod to use: generally speaking, the sticky bombs are much more versatile, and while the full auto mod will return shotgun ammunition on each successful kill, the expenditure isn’t always worth it.
- Stepping into this portal will bring the Immora mission to a close. While I opted to skip the Escalation Encounter’s second half for the first two missions, towards the end, I decided to give it a try, since I’d located several Argent cell pickups and had BFG ammunition to spare. To my surprise, I was able to beat the second Escalation Encounter for Immora and ended up unlocking a Doom Slayer skin for my troubles. After completing this, I topped off my Argent cells, found pick-ups for extra lives and headed over to fight the Dark Lord himself.
- The Dark Lord, Davoth, was the true creator of the multiverse, and it turns out his motive for unleashing the dæmonic invasion across the multi-verse was in revenge to the Maykrs depriving him of power and title. The Dark Lord boss fight is a more traditional one: Davoth is equipped with a powerful suit with an energy shield that negates all damage, booster packs that allow him to traverse the arena quickly, a grenade launcher and a plasma rifle for ranged combat, and an energy sword for melee attacks. To give players a taste of their own medicine, whenever Davoth deals melee damage, he will force the Doom Slayer to drop health that he can use to replenish his own.
- A careless player can therefore cause the Dark Lord fight to drag on if they stay within melee range, but ranged combat isn’t an option, either. Instead, the Dark Lord can be fought as though one were facing a particularly tough Marauder: there’s a sweet spot where the Dark Lord will attempt a heavy attack with his sword, and prior to executing this move, his eyes briefly flash green. This signifies that an opening is created, and one can use the Super Shotgun to stun him. The Sentinel Hammer is a great follow-up, since it greatly extends the time that the Dark Lord is stunned, and I’ve found that the chain gun’s turret mode is excellent for dealing serious damage.
- During the battle, the Dark Lord will summon spirit wolves to fight for him, and when killed, these spirit wolves drop Sentinel Hammer pickups. Similarly, because glory kills charge the Sentinel Hammer, one can easily glory kill zombies at the arena’s edge to top off. As the fight wears on, the Dark Lord will teleport players to different arenas and begin summoning phantom dæmons to fight the player, as well as using a shield charge. The Sentinel Hammer will kill all summoned dæmons, even the Tyrants, instantly, so in this fight, one can be generous in their application of the Sentinel Hammer.
- While perhaps not offering a particularly novel experience, the final fight with Davoth was still entertaining overall. With the Dark Lord defeated, players can rest knowing that the dæmonic invasion is finally at an end. This does lead me to wonder where DOOM will head in the future: unlike the classic DOOM games, the lore in DOOM is actually remarkably developed, and the more vocal criticisms notwithstanding, DOOM has proven to be very successful, so it is likely that Bethesda and id Tech will be looking for a continuation in the future. How the story will go is anyone’s guess, but given how extensive the DOOM lore is now, I’m sure that writers will find some way of giving players a new reason to continue ripping and tearing.
Overall, I’ve come to greatly enjoy DOOM Eternal despite my initial reservations, and once I found my groove, DOOM Eternal became an absolute blast to play through, advancing the DOOM series in every way. Buying the Reiko version, and gaining access to both parts for The Ancient Gods creates the most complete experience possible, allowing me to fully explore what the Doom Slayer’s fate is after everything is said and done. With this in mind, The Ancient Gods‘ second part is nowhere nearly as demanding as that of the first part. Arenas are no longer designed to constrain player movement, and dæmon spawns do not overwhelm players anywhere nearly as aggressively as did The Ancient Gods‘ first part. Further to this, the game gives players the Sentinel Hammer, a weapon which, while incapable of killing dæmons in a single stroke, deals a powerful area-of-effect stun that can buy players time to follow up with other attacks, and whose charges can easily be acquired even in the absence of special pickups. This power weapon is so versatile that in The Ancient Gods‘ second half, there is no need to even fall back on the Unmaykr at all to deal with individually powerful dæmons. The BFG 9000 itself is practically unneeded in all of the combat scenarios. This addition has been counted as an attempt to swing the pendulum back in the opposite direction: DOOM Eternal had been just the right level of difficulty, while The Ancient Gods‘ first part was considerably more difficult. While the second part is similar to DOOM Eternal in difficulty, the inclusion of the Sentinel Hammer swings things towards the easier end of things. This does illustrate the challenge of introducing new mechanics in DLC stories, as it can change the balance of gameplay mechanics when added to a game that was already inherently balanced and fun to play. However, while perhaps a powerful tool that tips the scales in the players’ favour, The Ancient Gods‘ second half remains quite enjoyable; the vitriol on Reddit about this second part is certainly unwarranted and have no impact on my final impressions of The Ancient Gods. Having now finished DOOM Eternal completely, I’ve also taken some time to clean out my WordPress storage. I previously had some 900 MB of 1080p screenshots for my anime posts, which was occupying a large portion of my quota, and I’ve since gone out and moved all of the anime screenshots to a different host; anime posts don’t particularly benefit from having 1080p images compared to games, and with this undertaking, I’ve now recovered enough space to comfortably write about games for a while yet. I now have a clean slate; I am ready to step into Battlefield 2042 and Halo Infinite without anything major in my backlog. I am certain to buy Halo Infinite once it launches, and as for Battlefield 2042, the plan is to see how Battlefield Portal‘s server situation is prior to the game’s launch this Friday before I make the purchase: when I start playing Battlefield 2042, it is important that I am able to create my own experience smoothly and hop into a match without seeing any error messages.