The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: DOOM

DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part II, Showdown with the Dark Lord and Thoughts on Closing Date

“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 2042Halo 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.

DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part I and Weathering The Coming Storm

“Improvise, adapt and overcome” –Clint Eastwood, Heartbreak Ridge

After defeating the Khan Maykr, the Doom Slayer inadvertently given the dæmons a chance to continue their incursions into all dimensions. To combat this threat, the Doom Slayer and Samuel Hayden enlists help from the UAC to liberate a being known as the Seraphim. After locating the Seraphim’s containment unit at the Atlantica facility, the Doom Slayer learns that Samuel Hayden is the Seraphim, and moreover, is suffering from a transfiguration curse which can only be countered with a Life Sphere located in the Blood Swamps. Although the Doom Slayer is able to passes the Trial of Maligog and secures the sphere, he chooses to destroy it instead and retrieves a Life Sphere holding the Dark Lord’s essence: if the Dark Lord is resurrected and defeated while possessing a corporeal form, then the dæmons outside of Hell will also be obliterated. Returning to Urdak, the Doom Slayer fights his way to the Luminarium with the aim of reviving the Dark Lord. However, the Seraphim confronts him, and succumbs to transfiguration, rendering him a monster that the Doom Slayer subsequently defeats. The Father appears and teleports the Seraphim away before the Doom Slayer can kill him, and warns that once the Dark Lord is allowed to take a physical form, he cannot be banished again. Undeterred, the Doom Slayer continues anyways with the ritual, and is surprised to find that the Dark Lord greatly resembles him. This is the first expansion to DOOM Eternal‘s The Ancient Gods storyline, an extension of the story that provides players with additional content. As I jokingly stated, buying DOOM Eternal‘s Deluxe edition gave me the Reiko version of DOOM Eternal, which provides a more complete experience compared to the Koguma version (i.e. the standard edition) – now that I’ve finished the first part to The Ancient Gods, playing the additional missions has given me something that was quite unlike what DOOM Eternal‘s main campaign had provided and extended my enjoyment of the game in a way that justifies the costs of admission.

It goes without saying that The Ancient Gods‘ first part is brutally challenging – players are now denied access to the Crucible and its ability to one-hit kill anything, and super-heavy dæmons are much more common than they had been in DOOM Eternal‘s main game. Seeing a Doom Hunter spawn in together with a pair of Flameborne Barons or a possessed Tyrant fighting alongside a standard Tyrant is not uncommon, creating situations where players can be rapidly overwhelmed by foes before they even have a chance to react. New enemies further extend the challenge: Spirits can possess common enemies, turning them into unstoppable monsters, and even after these dæmons are killed, the spirits will linger and find a new host unless they are hit with the plasma rifle’s microwave beam. Spectre Whiplashes can sneak up on players and cannot be locked onto. Blood Maykrs are invulnerable to all attack thanks to their powerful energy shields, and have access to a range of attacks that hurt and impede the Doom Slayer. In the Blood Swamps, one segment of the game entails the Doom Slayer being surrounded by a damaging, impenetrable fog. However, while these mechanics can be intimidating to fight at first, much as how DOOM Eternal had sought to remind players that success was only found by making full use of one’s arsenal, The Ancient Gods‘ restrictions on players brings about new creativity. Since arenas now feature pillars that can absorb BFG orbs, and since the Crucible is gone, the Unmaykr and ice bomb become the Doom Slayer’s greatest asset in buying breathing room during the toughest fights and in the overwhelming encounters with super-heavy dæmons: six to seven shots from the Unmaykr, followed by a Blood Punch, and a few Super Shotgun blasts will fell a Flameborne Baron or Tyrant on short order. The Spirits mean the plasma rifle, an otherwise unremarkable weapon, suddenly becomes an asset to look after, since its microwave beam is the only tool to utilise against Spirits. The new aspects in The Ancient Gods forces players to re-evaluate their strategy, and consider how to make use of different combinations of weapons to find victory.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Of all the missions in The Ancient Gods‘ first part, the UAC Atlantica Base was the most familiar in design: it’s a facility set on an ocean platform, and the overall aesthetic of this mission was absolutely on point. Although it’s barely visible here, players will have noticed that I’m now rocking the Dæmonic Slayer skin. The cosmetics do not affect gameplay in any way, but admittedly, they are cool to have. The slickest looking skin in the whole of DOOM Eternal is probably the Gold Slayer skin, which is only unlocked of one beats the game on ultra-nightmare without any deaths at all.

  • This is a feat that is well above my skill level, so I’ve opted to take a more relaxed approach to things and focus on beating the game for the story experience: it is not lost on me that at my age, my reflexes are no longer what they were say, back when I was still a university student. Back then, I was speedier, but these days, I count on knowledge to help me react to and plan for situations instead. In this way, while DOOM Eternal is overwhelming, I never felt that I was at too much of a disadvantage, since I was able to think out solutions to problems.

  • The Ancient Gods gives players full access to the Doom Slayer’s upgraded arsenal and Prætor suit upgrades, plus all of the base runes and perks. A big part of DOOM Eternal had been slowly working towards a fully-upgraded set of gear over the missions: by completing challenges and using the weapons, one would gain a very solid understanding of what every weapon and mod’s purpose in combat is. To have everything handed to the player out of the gates would usually represent a disadvantage: this is analogous to life where people who grow into a good circumstance tend to do better than those who are handed that circumstance for free.

  • However, The Ancient Gods does this because it was meant for players who’ve already likely mastered the basics and have completed the base campaign. By giving players everything maxed out from the start, The Ancient Gods hints at the fact that they will be shown no mercy: right out of the gates, The Ancient Gods throws Flameborne Barons at the players like there’s no tomorrow, and while it was possible to trivially destroy them in DOOM Eternal with the Crucible, the Crucible is no longer available here, forcing players into what can be a protracted firefight against some of the game’s toughest foes, which can take a direct hit from even the BFG 9000.

  • This sounds intimidating, but players still have two important tools in their arsenal: the Unmaykr and a bit of creativity. The Unmaykr, being an automatic energy weapon that fires orbs of Argent Energy, is oft-overlooked in DOOM Eternal because the Crucible is better for killing a single powerful target, and the BFG 9000 is purpose-built for room-clearing. Arenas in The Ancient Gods are filled with pillars that block the BFG 9000, blocking the orb from travelling far and really doing damage. With other tools taken away, the Unmaykr takes on new importance now: freezing a super-heavy dæmon with the ice bomb, hitting it with six to seven rounds from the Unmaykr, and then following up with a super-shotgun blast or Blood punch is super effective. A Flameborne Baron will die to this combo, while the Tyrant and Arch-vile can then be killed with explosives or any combination of one’s choosing.

  • The intensely stormy weather of the UAC Atlantica mission brings to mind a memory from five years ago this day: back in 2016, Brave Witches had just started, and the remnants of Typhoon Songda slammed into the Pacific Northwest, coinciding with when Chizumatic, an anime blog renowned for its emphasis on military-moé and fanservice, suddenly stopped being active. It is likely the case that the power outage knocked out his web server, which I’ve heard were self-hosted, and presumably, a bit of work to get back up even after the storm had passed. This left me to write about Brave Witches at my own pace: Chizumatic didn’t like being corrected and deleted any comments linking to my blog, which had happened when one of their readers pointed out Saunders is fielding a C-5M Super Galaxy rather than a generic C-5 Galaxy. This is the mark of someone who, above all else, always wanted to be right; despite the fact that this individual’s discussions on anime were never insightful or valid, they somehow developed a devoted following over the years nonetheless.

  • Chizumatic had been responsible numerous factual errors becoming accepted as fact when it came to anime like Strike Witches, Girls und Panzer and Hai-Furi, so now that this blog is no longer active, it does appear that I will able to review and correct their perspectives on military-moé series at my leisure. I have a monumental task ahead of me, but today, the weather’s been pleasant, and over a delicious Baja grilled chicken melt whose flavours remind me of a hot summer’s day, I reflect on how there isn’t a rush for me to begin this undertaking just yet. Back in The Ancient Gods, after the UAC Atlantica facility suffers from heavy damage, the storm effects become even more pronounced as fires are whipped about by the rains, and lightning splits the skies in two. It is amidst these ruins that the Doom Slayer pushes forwards to the next segments of the level, which is set on the sea floor: the Doom Slayer heads underwater with a set of aqua-lungs and enters the underwater facility: even the Doom Slayer doesn’t have the power to breathe underwater, but fortunately, oxygen pickups are common. Sharks can be seen in these segments, but as far as I can tell, they won’t bother players.

  • It turns out this was the segment of the game that the real-time ray-tracing was demoed with: in computer graphics, real-time ray-tracing means that rather than pre-rendering scenes, effects are computed on the fly by casting rays and continuously updating the visuals based on the results. Because rays operate on the same principals as those of photons, the resulting calculations are accurate to real life and create highly compelling visuals. My aging machine is unable to properly do ray-tracing (the GTX 1060 line can carry out the calculations for ray-tracing, but the card itself lacks to hardware to do them efficiently), so I am considering an upgrade once GPU prices start dropping.

  • The biggest surprise in the Atlantica facility was when a Tyrant spawned into one of the narrow hallways, and the doors behind me slammed shut. Normally, one could slice a Tyrant in half with the Crucible, and some Tyrants spawn in the arena encounters, where there’s space to dodge them. The corridors offer no space to manoeuver, and the lack of a Crucible means that one has no easy way out. However, this isn’t a problem for anyone with a bit of creativity about them: the Tyrant can be destroyed by freezing it, following up with six to seven rounds from the Unmaykr and then finishing off with a Blood Punch, before backing up and hammering the remains with rockets and super-shotgun rounds.

  • In this way, I finished the first mission, which contained a part where I had to fight Tyrants and two Marauders concurrently. The Ancient Gods‘ idea of a challenge was to take DOOM Eternal‘s most powerful foes and send them all after the player at once, so when I finished these arenas and earned my checkpoint, I was exhilarated. Throughout The Ancient Gods, I strove to find all of the collectibles: secret encounters provide cosmetics, and completing Slayer Gates provides access to Support Runes, which further provides a boost to the player’s abilities.

  • Speaking candidly, the Blood Swamps was probably my least favourite of The Ancient Gods‘ levels: it’s set in a dank, festering swamp where new foes are introduced. While some, like the giant Tentacles, can easily be destroyed, the most irksome of the new arrivals are called Spirits: they possess dæmon and increase their health, damage and attack speed by a considerable amount. Once possessed dæmons enter the battlefield, they can deal massive damage until they are killed, and then, players only have a short window of time to break out the plasma rifle’s microwave beam in an effort to finally destroy them, but this effort also leaves players vulnerable to attack.

  • The effect is surprisingly similar to that of Ghostbusters, and since the spirits are incorporeal, it makes sense to use an electromagnetic radiation-based weapon on them: the EMR the plasma rifle fires presumably disrupts whatever energy the spirit is composed of, overcoming the forces keeping it intact and forcibly dissipate it. However, just because there’s an explanation for how things work doesn’t make it any easier, and I found that in general, I would attempt to whittle down the other dæmons around first before taking on the possessed dæmon.

  • The overall aesthetic in the Blood Swamps is typical of what has been seen in the Dark Realm, being a hellish landscape of vast ancient constructs. The map is largely circular, and the Doom Slayer’s goal is to complete the Trials of Maligog, something that sounds like it was sourced straight from the World of Warcraft or Warhammer 40k legendariums. These trials proved immensely challenging and tested my skills in ways that even the trickiest fights in DOOM Eternal did not.

  • These exploding pustules are a new environment hazard introduced in the Blood Swamps: they expand when players get too close and shower the immediate regions in a flammable, noxious compound. Reading around, I’ve heard people speak of how The Ancient Gods was near-impossible to play, and how earlier this year, the gameplay was adjusted so encounters would be more balanced. Assuming this to be the case, it would explain why I was able to come out of some firefights alive where people a year ago could not – the number of dæmons have been dialled back some, for one.

  • Even with these adjustments, The Ancient Gods‘ first part is no walk in the park – it takes everything one’s got to keep up with the fights: the encounters themselves are doable in the Blood Swamps, but the trials themselves are borderline insane, even post-patch. Of note during these trials are the Carcasses. In DOOM Eternal, they could project a shield that deflects some attacks, and while these shields can be dropped by hitting it with plasma fire, the problem in the trials was the fact that these shields can impede movement. This can be circumvented with a Blood Punch, although large numbers of Carcasses can project enough shields to block off vital escape routes.

  • As such, the Blood Punch becomes an even more valuable asset than it had been in DOOM Eternal: capable of outright killing lesser dæmons, damage weak points and when upgraded, emits a powerful shockwave that damages nearby foes. For the first while, I also ran with the Desperate Punch support rune, which doubles the damage a Blood Punch deals when one’s health is below 75. I ultimately ended up unlocking all of the Support Runes through playing The Ancient Gods, and I found that Break Blast is probably the most useful, since it causes a shockwave to be emitted whenever a weak point on a dæmon is destroyed.

  • The Rune system in DOOM Eternal is not as sophisticated as that of DOOM‘s, but the addition of things like Secret Encounters and Slayer Gates more than makes up for this: in The Ancient Gods‘ first act, the Secret Encounters must be fully completed in order to unlock a special cosmetic, while the Support Runes are earned by completing Slayer Gates. Pushing through the Blood Swamps, one mechanic that threw me off was the fact that at some points, a thick fog will envelope players and deal damage. A spirit wolf will also appear, and the trick here is to follow said wolf until the fog dissipates.

  • Having grown accustomed to seeing the Maurader’s spirit wolf act as a deterrent for unnecessarily firing on its shield, I was a little confused and initial shot the wolf, which appears green rather than orange. DOOM Eternal does a reasonable job of walking players through new mechanics, but there are times when players must figure things out for themselves in order to advance, and one mechanic I found interesting was the fact that if one were to fall off a ledge or platform into an endless pit below, the game will allow players to start nearby with a small health or armour penalty, rather than second them all the way back to their last checkpoint.

  • Conversely, dying in a fight means restarting it: the trials were particularly challenging for this reason, since any mistake would undo one’s progress. It was fortunate that spawn patterns are fixed in these fights, and since they are deterministic, it means that over time, one could learn these patterns and formulate a strategy for beating them in the most efficient way possible. Highly dedicated players have shown what the combination of memorising certain patterns and developing a profound understanding of game mechanics can do: in some impressive videos, players can do things that come closer to replicating what the Doom Slayer can pull off in lore than anything I could do.

  • The last challenge players face in the Blood Swamps is Trial of Maligog proper; the Doom Slayer fights a floating eyeball protected by a metal cube, and once enough damage is done, the eyeball becomes stunned, allowing it to be punched into the shield containing the artefact the Doom Slayer needs to advance. The cubes must be punched from a specific point on the outside within a timeframe, otherwise, the eyeball rises back into the air and must be disabled anew. I found the Ballista was most useful for this, and numerous Pinkies and Hell Knights that spawn will be a distraction, making it imperative to manage one’s targets accordingly.

  • The Holt gave my rig no shortage of troubles: while it’s a beautifully-designed area reminiscent of Silvermoon Forest in World of Warcraft, for one reason or another, my machine kept blue-screening here. I ended up discovering that my memory pool settings were modified (probably after a driver update), and the game was attempting to access more VRAM than I had available. This in turn created problems for my machine. I ended up identifying the issue after realising that my custom settings were unchanged, and after selecting this, The Ancient Gods gave me no further problems.

  • The fact that my now eight-and-a-half-year old machine is still able to run DOOM Eternal smoothly is an encouraging sign, although the fact that the CPU utilisation is consistently 100 percent means that current-generation games are requiring more processing power than I’ve got. This machine’s had a very impressive run: when I originally built it, I intended it to be used for playing the most intensive games of the time (Battlefield 4 and Crysis 3). The fact that it has held out admirably for everything up to and including DOOM Eternal is a sign that I spec’ed out this build quite nicely back then.

  • As such, I intend to hang onto this machine for at least a little bit longer (say, until I settle into the new place a little): for older games and general computing, the rig still runs perfectly. Moreover, since I am in software development, I have two extra MacOS machines floating around, and while they’re not spec’ed for gaming, they run fine, as well. For now, I think I’m okay to continue on with The Ancient Gods‘ second part: after the aforementioned fine-tuning of video settings, the blue screens appear to have subsided, and indeed, I had no more issues continuing on through the Holt.

  • Like the Blood Swamps, the Holt challenges players to every fibre of their being by throwing everything DOOM Eternal has at the player. This third and final mission of The Ancient Gods‘ first part introduces the Blood Maykr, which are corrupted Maykrs protected by an energy shield immune to the Doom Slayer’s entire arsenal. They will, however, lower their shields to attack, and when their shields are down, a single headshot from the heavy cannon or Ballista will be enough to take it out of the fight permanently. On death, Blood Maykrs drop ammunition, so they’re a great way of topping off after a fight.

  • The challenge that Blood Maykrs add to DOOM Eternal is the fact that their attacks can slow players down, and in a firefight with fast-movers, this can be a death sentence. Thus, players must decide whether or not to avoid the Blood Maykrs and clear the arena out first, or wait for the Blood Maykrs to drop their shields and strike them, but at the expense of leaving oneself open to attack from other foes. There is no right or wrong way to approach this problem: as long as it works for the individual, this is all that counts.

  • On an unrelated note, my copy of Yama no Susume: Official Design Works arrived in the mail today. This artbook book originally released in December 2018, and was re-printed in May 2019 and May 2021. However, its popularity made it near impossible to purchase: I ended up paying an arm and a leg for this artbook, although the book is worth the price of admissions for Yama no Susume fans (it provides unparalleled insight into the design and aesthetic choices in both the characters and settings). The artbook covers everything right up until season three, and back in 2019, I heard that Yama no Susume is also getting a fourth season that is supposed to air somewhere in 2022.

  • Throwing a possessed Tyrant at players, on top of a Tyrant and a Doom Hunter, exemplifies how The Ancient Gods‘ first act can be seen as overwhelming. I beat this fight by focusing on taking out the normal Tyrant out first using the ice bomb/Unmaykr combo, then dealt as much damage as I could to the possessed Tyrant, destroyed the Doom Hunter’s sled by means of two consecutive Blood Punches, and then pounded it with remote detonation rockets, capitalising on the blast radius to also damage the Tyrant as it drew near.

  • While challenging, the fight is not insurmountable, and here, I hit the Spirit with the plasma rifle’s microwave beam: with no more foes around, it became a matter of simply firing the beam until the Spirit dissipated, bringing what was probably the toughest fight yet to an end. The Holt also has two areas where there are Blood Punch pickups available, and it becomes very clear as to why these are needed: hordes of dæmons appear, and while they’re not super-heavies, their numbers can be overwhelming. The fact that Blood Punch pickups are available means having a chance to really let loose and punch everything to pieces.

  • With the rest of the map cleared out, and every secret collected, I thus walked into the final area of the game. After being met with health pickups and a fresh power supply for the BFG, I knew that I was in for a fight. BFG pickups are considerably rarer in The Ancient Gods, but I never once ran below a single shot for the BFG 9000 (or 30 shots for the Unmaykr): by looking ahead and planning out my fights, I was able to make my way through most areas without needing to rely heavily on these weapons. As it turns out, the final fight of The Ancient Gods‘ first part is against Samuel Hayden himself: he’s become corrupted by the transfiguration curse and turns into a monster of sorts.

  • There are a few segments to the fight, and while the Samur Maykr is unshielded, he can freely teleport. The first section of the fight is straightforward, but the Samur Maykr will summon two Spirits to power his shields in the second phase, and again during the fourth phase. It takes patience and a sure aim to win this boss fight, which lasted longer than I had anticipated. I note here that the BFG 9000 and Unmaykr aren’t particularly useful, so players must fall back on everything they know in order to survive. Once the Samur Maykr is defeated, it would appear that I’ve weathered this storm successfully. Thus, The Ancient Gods‘ first part comes to an end, and I look forwards to starting the second act soon.

The sum of the new gameplay elements in The Ancient Gods creates an experience that is unfair, utterly frustrating, and paradoxically, superbly enjoyable – after DOOM Eternal, players feel accomplished at having beaten the latest DOOM instalment, and had The Ancient Gods opted to go with a more conventional route, players would have no trouble melting through everything. Instead, by adding new elements, The Ancient Gods completely throws players off. Fights with Spirits and Blood Maykrs completely alter the dynamic of each fight, forcing players to prioritise what part of the encounter should be dealt with first, and not knowing how many super-heavy dæmons each encounter will send a player’s way means being more cautious than before about using one’s ice bomb. The change in pacing is such that DOOM Eternal‘s developers outright state that this is designed to test players, and that it might even be necessary to step the game’s difficulty down to get a feel for things first. The rationale behind going in this direction for The Ancient Gods is therefore easy to spot: players who’ve mastered every last detail in DOOM Eternal are not looking for more of the same, and in this regard, The Ancient Gods delivers – it forces players to cultivate a new play-style and step out of their comfort zone in order to earn their victory. The Ancient Gods‘ first part was designed for the most die-hard fans of DOOM Eternal, and in offering something overwhelmingly challenging, it has succeeded in creating an all-new experience that sets the first set of expansion missions apart from the main campaign. While the missions were indeed difficult, unlike anything I’d faced in DOOM Eternal‘s main campaign, there was definitely a sense of pride from having beaten some of the most unfair fights to date, which includes fighting two Marauders at the same time, and a possessed Tyrant together with another Tyrant and Doom Hunter. Having now beaten the Samur Maykr, Samuel Hayden’s transfigured form, I’ll need to take a bit of a breather before continuing on to the second half of The Ancient Gods.

DOOM Eternal: The T-Shaped Slayer and A Duel Between Titans At The Finale

“…and you will be their savior, your strength will be their shield and your will… their sword. You remain…unbroken…for your fight…is eternal.” –King Novik

With the way to Urdak open, the Doom Slayer slaughters his way to the Khan Maykr: here in Urdak, the Khan Maykr is preparing a ceremony to bring the Icon of Sin under her control. The Doom Slayer interrupts the ceremony and prevents the Khan Maykr from activating the Icon of Sin by stabbing the mortal heart of the Argenta. This causes the Icon of Sin thus sets off on a rampage towards Earth, and with the Khan Kaykr’s pact with Hell broken, dæmons begin invading Urdak. In order to reach Earth, the Doom Slayer reconfigures a Celestial Portal. destroys the Khan Maykr before following the Icon of Sin. After fighting through an abandoned city, the Doom Slayer confronts the Icon of Sin, destroying its armour and causing it to flee into a different area. Here, the Doom Slayer is able to finally bring down the Icon of Sin, and plunges the Crucible’s blade into its exposed brain, killing it. In the aftermath, King Novik reconsiders his words to the Doom Slayer, indicating that the Doom Slayer has been reinstated and will be counted upon should the need arise. This brings my twenty two and a half hour journey through DOOM Eternal to a close; having now beaten the whole of DOOM Eternal, I can say that I have a sufficient measure of this sequel to 2016’s DOOM to make a verdict about DOOM Eternal. Simply put, DOOM Eternal is a worthy successor to DOOM, being bigger and bolder in every way. The changes to the core combat system is a direct improvement, adding a new dimension to the way DOOM Eternal plays, and the nuances players must keep up with constantly pushes them to get creative and adapt whenever the going gets tough. The end result of this is that combat becomes more involved, and split-second decisions must be made more often. If DOOM had meant to suggest to players that they needed to play in a highly mobile and aggressive means by remaining on the move at all times to survive, then DOOM Eternal is reminding players that they must be mindful of all the tools they have at their disposal in order to survive. DOOM previously allowed players to plow through entire levels with naught more than the heavy cannon and plasma rifle, but the variety of dæmons in DOOM Eternal means this is no longer possible. Players must triage, prioritise and maintain calm nerves in every firefight in order to survive, and it becomes clear that this additional dimensionality is a logical evolution of what DOOM had established.

In this way, DOOM Eternal becomes the perfect sequel to DOOM: familiar elements make a return, but changes to the mechanics means that players end up with a new experience, one that builds upon what they’d previously learnt and mastered in DOOM. There is more to think about now, and more options available to players. Not every path is viable: using just the plasma rifle or heavy cannon against a Flameborne Baron, for instance, simply results in a great deal of ammunition expenditure, but combining the ice bomb, grenade and Blood Punch in conjunction with the heavy cannon and plasma rifle makes a difficult, lengthy fight trivially easy against an intimidating foe, allowing one to deal with them without spending precious time on weapon switching, especially when there are lesser dæmons also filling the air with deadly plasma fire and flame. DOOM Eternal thus addresses the problem of Maslow’s hammer in a highly elegant manner: in most contemporary video games, players are limited in the number of weapons they can carry, and as such, to maximise combat efficiency at a variety of ranges, players often stick to assault rifles, which balance rate of fire with accuracy at range, and in games like Battlefield or Call of Duty, it becomes possible to complete the entire campaign with the starting assault rifle, plus whatever pickups are needed to advance certain parts of the game (like a marksman rifle or anti-armour weapon). However, this can create complacency among players, who stick to one setup during an entire game. When games allowed players to carry an entire arsenal of weapons, weapons were often crafted to fit very specific roles. Half-Life and Half-Life 2, for instance, required players to constantly switch weapons to deal with threat of different types and at different ranges. When Halo: Combat Evolved released, it revolutionised the ways players played. Carrying two weapons at a time create a new problem for players to overcome, and deciding which weapons to pick became critical. This worked well for Halo because the sci-fi setting meant weapons could be specialised for different roles. However, since Call of Duty‘s dominance, players have grown accustomed to simply optimising their setups. DOOM Eternal forces players out of this as a wake-up call, reminding them that weapons are in a game for a reason, and that to be successful, one must utilise all of the tools at their disposal in order to be successful.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • We’ve come to it at last, the battle through the Khan Maykr’s turf, Urdak. For these last few missions in DOOM Eternal, I’ve been rocking EVGA’s Z15 series gaming mechanical keyboard with the bronze Kailh switches. I’d picked this keyboard up a couple of weeks ago because I was looking for an upgrade to the Devastator II I’d bought five years earlier. Having a mechanical keyboard means louder clicks, but I find this highly satisfying. For general computing, the mechanical keyboard doesn’t change much, but during writing, having a tactile response really makes a difference.

  • In gaming, the Z15 is reasonably responsive, and the further travel distance means I can make inputs with more confidence. Overall, while a more experienced keyboard specialist will suggest that the Z15 is eclipsed by other mechanical gaming keyboards on the market, I did pick mine up for a full 40 percent off, and it’s improved my computing experience, so I’m not complaining. The fact that the Z15 has customisable lighting is a nice bonus: while I use an all-white light for most days, I’ve also set some presets to give things a little more flair.

  • The only real strike I have against the Z15 is the fact that keystrokes register before the keys click in some scenarios, which feels quite cumbersome at times, but this occurs primarily when I’m typing: when I game, keystrokes register very well. It is with the Z15 that I beat DOOM Eternal with, and having this extra tactile feeling in controlling my character meant the last few missions to DOOM Eternal were particularly enjoyable, as well as demonstrating that the Z15 is going to be a solid keyboard for my uses.

  • Entering the penultimate mission, I knew that since this was the Maykrs’ homeland, it would be the case that I’d need to fight the Khan Maykr herself. However, unlike the fight against The Gladiator, Urdak is filled with combat encounters, and some of these were very demanding. By this point in DOOM Eternal, I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that I am going to die in a given firefight on my first few attempts if I am careless: DOOM Eternal now has no problem throwing everything at me all at once, creating waves of incredibly challenging enemies that demand a balance of coordination, reflexes and resource management.

  • On a few occasions, I finally brought out the Crucible: against the Flameborne Barons and Tyrants, the Crucible can be used to create breathing room, although in a fight with these dæmons , I can get by well enough by comboing the ice bomb with the frag grenades, and the chipping away at their health with something like the super shotgun, rocket launcher or chain gun. However, the Archvile’s ability to summon buffed dæmons means that any fight involving them could potentially overwhelm me. In these scenarios, I break out the Crucible and make a beeline for them, since taking them off the field becomes my first priority.

  • The sights around Urdak are impressive: the Maykrs’ world has very clean and elegant looking architecture. They also appear to have sakura trees about, creating a very unique aesthetic compared to the locales previously visited: everything about the Maykrs conveys the air of a higher civilisation, and digging into the lore finds that they were the ones who first figured out how to convert Hell Essence derived from agony and suffering of trapped in Hell souls with Sentinel energy. The process creates an infinitely renewable source of energy, but also transforms the souls into dæmons.

  • One of the few things I never got around to doing in DOOM Eternal was properly get the masteries for all of my weapons. I did encounter mastery tokens throughout the missions, but I’d intended to save them for the few masteries I did not unlock by the time I was ready to fight the Khan Maykr. Fortunately for me, it’s not necessary to have all of the masteries unlocked: these augment the way a weapon mod handles, typically improving it by getting rid of the cooldowns or adding a new effect, but beyond this, spending the weapon points will improve a mod more tangibly.

  • During one segment, I ended up unlocking the mastery for the heavy cannon’s sniper scope: enemies now explode when hit with a headshot that kills them, dealing splash damage to their surroundings. The mastery for micro-missiles is the ability to continuously fire micro-missiles, which is actually a superbly powerful and overwhelming option. Whereas there’d been little incentive to use the sniper scope in DOOM, since the Gauss Cannon was the superior long-range weapon, and long range combat was already uncommon, the inclusion of weak points in DOOM Eternal makes the sniper scope a viable choice.

  • The changes in core mechanics in DOOM Eternal are not subtle, and completely alter the ways players approach the game. DOOM had started the trend: taking cover and  being patient was punished, since enemies were constantly moving; to be successful, players would need to stay on the move, as well. DOOM Eternal adds on top of this the idea that every tool in the Doom Slayer’s arsenal is there for a reason, and therefore, should see appropriate use. In this way, DOOM Eternal was designed for players who enjoyed DOOM and wanted more out of their experience.

  • This is why I’ve paid Reddit very little heed; there are entire threads dedicated to bemoaning DOOM Eternal as being inferior to its predecessor because the fundamental gameplay had changed too dramatically, forcing players to play a certain way. It is the case that, had DOOM Eternal utilised the identical approach as did DOOM, those same players would’ve griped that Eternal did nothing novel. The negativity and entitlement in the community is astounding, and I’ve noticed that the LEGO community is no different: new sets are constantly being torn down for being too pricey if they’re innovative or unimaginative if their price is low.

  • Once I got the portals aligned, the effect here is not unlike that of Nidavellir in Infinity War after Thor and Rocket restart the Heart of a Dying Star. With this one, there’s nothing left to do but fight the Khan Maykr herself. Continuing on from the topic of negativity, in the case of LEGO, people have written and argued that there is no basis for this negativity, only for those people to come out and defend their right to be negative. While there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, I do take exception with people who think they have a right to upvotes and retweets because they’re tearing something down.

  • Where I issue criticisms, I also offer suggestions. In the case of DOOM Eternal, for instance, I did not like the fact that the BFG 9000 and Unmaykr are on the weapon wheel because that negatively alters the dynamic of the most demanding firefights: running out of ammunition and automatically switching to the BFG 9000 has cost me precious ammunition unnecessarily. What I would’ve preferred is the DOOM style approach, where there’d been a separate key to equip the BFG and Unmaykr: these are powerful weapons like the Crucible in terms of function, and it’s important to not wrest this decision from players.

  • Incidentally, the BFG 9000 is not something I’d use in the fight against the Khan Maykr. She’s actually a fun enemy to fight, since this one emphasises movement, map knowledge and efficiency. Unlike other foes, the Khan Maykr has a recharging energy shield. When the shield drops, one must rappel up with the meat hook and do a Blood Punch to blow away her health pool. In this fight, keeping a constant stream of fire on the Khan Maykr is essential, so found that the slower-firing weapons were actually less useful.

  • While I’m using the heavy cannon with the sniper scope here, it turned out that using the bottomless micro missiles and taking advantage of their ability to weakly lock onto targets was the answer. It took me a few tries to get things right, but once I figured out the solution that worked for me, I was able to destroy the Khan Maykr in no time at all. During the process, I did die a few times, and DOOM Eternal offered me the Sentinel Armour, but I declined, believing that I’d been onto something. In this way, I was able to defeat the Khan Maykr and progress to the final mission, during which the task is to stop the Icon of Sin.

  • I jokingly refer to the Sentinel Armour as the “Upper Echelon Gaming” mode because of the fact that it greatly reduces incoming damage without punishing the player otherwise. Sentinel Armour pops up whenever a player dies too often at a certain point, and is intended to ask players “are you short of time, and need to get through this part quickly?” My response is a resounding “no”, since I expect to die a lot in games and see that as a learning experience. The reason why I call it Upper Echelon Gaming mode is because shortly after DOOM Eternal‘s release last year, a modestly popular YouTube channel made a review critiquing DOOM Eternal. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, Upper Echelon Gaming openly insulted people who disagreed with his assessment, which in turn started a massive firestorm.

  • For the record, I completely disagree with Upper Echelon Gaming, will remark that I’m glad I wasn’t part of the flame wars, and note that since he’s been banned from Twitter, there’s no real need to build a rebuttal (especially considering others had already done so in a satisfactory manner). Back in DOOM Eternal, I’ve entered the final mission: the first combat encounter is brutal and tense: the main challenge is that the space is very small and open, meaning that while one has a good line of sight on everything up here, enemies can similarly fire on the Doom Slayer, as well. Combat was relentless, brutal and punishing: constant movement and resource management is needed to gain a foothold here.

  • Here, I fight yet another Doom Hunter: these foes are still a pain to beat, and on the narrow rooftops that open this final mission to DOOM Eternal, I found myself squaring off against the toughest fight yet. Fortunately, endlessly regenerating chainsaw fuel, coupled with a better familiarity with game mechanics means that in the endgame, I was enjoying every moment of this fight. There were a few places where I ended up bringing out the Crucible to quickly smash up the super-heavy dæmons: the last level really gives more opportunity to savour being able to bring down a Flameborne Baron or Tyrant in a single stroke. This is a critical element, since removing a super-heavy dæmons swiftly can mean the difference between living and dying.

  • If memory serves, today was my third full day in Winnipeg three years earlier. After working on several tickets as best as I could, I was blocked by the fact that I was missing several updated endpoints. The developer working on that had already left for the day, so I wrapped up by making a list of tasks for the final day before I was set to fly back home. After this was done, I returned to the Beachcomber for dinner, then walked around The Forks after to unwind, before returning to the Fort Garry. The next morning, I got up early so I could pack, then walked back over to The Forks.

  • Here, I sat down at a place called Danny’s All Day Breakfast, where I ordered something called the Pan Scrambler (a scrambled egg omelette topped with cheese, green pepper, tomato, onion, white mushrooms, bacon, ham, garlic sausage and potatoes with a side of white toast). This breakfast was delicious and hearty, reminding me of Man v. Food‘s Mother’s Cupboard’s Frittata Breakfast Challenge in Syracuse. Fortunately, my breakfast was a more manageable size, although it was still very filling and gave me the spirit I needed to face that last day. I ended up finishing off a few tickets, but waited for over half the day for the backend developer to return; he’d been out of office for reasons unknown and hadn’t informed anyone, leaving several critical endpoints incomplete until close to the end of the day.

  • I ended up receiving the endpoints ten minutes before my taxi arrived, and I was whisked to the airport, more than ready to head home after a gruelling week. Back in DOOM Eternal, after vaulting over to a building, I found myself faced with a Tyrant in a room full of dæmons. I thus stepped back, discharged the BFG into the room and then waded into the resulting carnage. The initial blast had softened things up, allowing me to kill the Tyrant relatively quickly. However, in typical DOOM Eternal fashion, the game managed to up the stakes.

  • Two Tyrants spawned into the room shortly after. While perhaps overwhelming at first glance, there is a way to succeed: I used the ice bomb and frag grenade combo to weaken one Tyrant, then hammered it with micro-missiles, before repeating the process on the second Tyrant while back-pedalling. In this way, I was able to avoid total destruction: overwhelming waves of enemies are pretty cut-and-dried now, so it became a matter of triaging the targets, picking one’s approach and then engaging them. I have noticed that firefights in DOOM Eternal aren’t blisteringly fast; every combat encounter gave me enough time and space to think things through, so long as I was moving.

  • Final Sin was the one mission in DOOM Eternal where I willingly fired the BFG 9000: ammunition for this superweapon is common, and there are cases where it is prudent to use it for clearing out rooms before entering. This was one such moment: I carefully pointed the BFG into a point and opened fire. The trick with the BFG is to aim at a point without obstacles – the orb will travel through the air and emit highly damaging discharges that can instantly kill lesser dæmons. The longer it travels, the more enemies the orb will kill. When the orb impacts any surface, it detonates, releasing massive damage.

  • We’ve come to it at last: the fight against the Icon of Sin. This boss fight is quite unlike any other, requiring the Doom Slayer to fight it over two rounds. The first round has the Doom Slayer destroying its Maykr armour, which protects it from attack – the Maykrs had intended the Icon of Sin to be their weapon, and greatly augmented its powers. There are a total of armour pieces to destroy, and once a piece is taken out, no further damage will be sustained. Opening the fight, I shot at the Icon of Sin with the BFG 9000, which only does damage if the orb connects, but every successful shot will outright destroy an armour piece.

  • During the fight, countless dæmons will enter the arena and complicate things, but thanks to respawning Blood Punch and Crucible pickups, one can very quickly deal with any lesser dæmons before returning attention to the Icon of Sin. My strategy was to use the slower-firing, heavy hitting weapons for the head and chest, while the chaingun was best suited for the arms. While the Icon of Sin’s biggest weapon is its sheer size, it can shoot fireballs from its head, deploy flamethrowers from its hands and emit a beam of damaging energy, as well as attack the Doom Slayer physically, making it a lethal leviathan. As such, it is imperative to keep moving and take advantage of the lesser dæmons to top off on health, armour and ammunition.

  • In the words ofForged in Fire’s Doug Marcaida, the Crucible is a weapon that will definitely KEAL (Keep Everyone ALive) – I use it to instantly destroy a Flameborne Baron here, and will remark that for the past month, I’ve been watching a Forged in Fire extensively. Episodes are always fun: the show is a competition to see who can forge the best blade under challenging circumstances, and I’ve greatly enjoyed the sportsmanship. Even competitors who lose on the first round or suffer from a catastrophic failure during testing will comment that just being able to compete is an honour, while the judges are always professional and offer constructive criticism to even the roughest of entries.

  • I first watched Forged in Fire in Winnipeg, during my Xamarin assignment, and became hooked after watching the KEAL tests – after dinner, I would retire to my accommodations at the Fort Garry and saw the show on TV. While episodes follow a formula, it was engaging to see how competitors could overcome the challenges coming their way, and watching the final two return to their home forges and build the final weapon was fantastic, since it was a chance to really see how a bladesmith worked on their own turf. For me, it also reminded me of the fact that I tended to work better when I had home field advantage.

  • However, the two weeks that followed were even more exhausting as I fought the Winnipeg team on virtually every decision they had made – besides changing the JSON responses arbitrarily, causing the app to crash, they also refused to simplify the endpoint needed to carry out two-factor authentication, requiring users to enter a 26 digit long alpha numerical code. I had suggested that this code be simplified to six digits, but was met with the claim that this would mean the app was no longer HIPA compliant. Nowhere in the HIPA documents is it stated that a 26 digit long code was specifically required (only a PIN), and in the end, I won out: an app would be quite unusable if users were forced to enter a 26 digit code of random strings and numbers during sign in, and my implementation was still compliant while offering a far superior user experience.

  • Three weeks after I returned home, I finished the Xamarin project and finally was in a state where the app was ready for submission. It was approved shortly after, although this ended up being a Pyrrhic victory – the startup I was with folded because I was unable to properly develop our product. Earlier that September, we handed back the keys to our building, since funds had run low enough so we could no longer maintain our rent, and it did feel like things had ended then. With all that was going on, Forged in Fire fell from my mind, but after watching the History Channel recently, my interest in the show was reignited. Going through Forged in Fire again brought back memories of my Xamarin assignment’s Winnipeg phase, and I am very grateful to be able to watch Marcaida say a blade will KEAL, without the dread of what the Winnipeg team would fumble next, hanging over my head.

  • The second phase of the fight agains the Icon of Sin is the same as the first, albeit in a different location. Similar tactics apply here: using the BFG and hard-hitting weapons on the chest, and then automatics on the arms will be enough to bring this monster down for good. When enough damage is dealt to the Icon of Sin, the Doom Slayer will equip the Crucible and plunge the Argent blade into its brain, putting it down for good. This boss fight was reminiscent of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood‘s final fight, and is significant for showing how the Doom Slayer had accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of killing Titans previously, in turn showing that the Doom Slayer’s killing of the massive Titan in the Umbral plains. Lore suggests that the Doom Slayer might’ve used an Atlan to assist in this feat.

  • With my victory over the Icon of Sin, I’ve now beaten DOOM Eternal‘s base campaign in full – this has been a helluva experience, and I am very glad to have bought the Reiko version of the game (I still have The Ancient Gods to look forwards to). I’ll probably start The Ancient Gods later this month. Yesterday had been quite exciting, as I drove out to Vulcan to check out their Star Trek museum. Today, I ended up taking things easy: after a ten-kilometre walk, I enjoyed a homemade burger (whose flavours reminded me of summer), installed new curtains and finally got started on the Harukana Receive manga’s sixth, seventh and eighth volumes (which I’ve been waiting to read since November of last year). It’s a pleasant way to end the Labour Day Long Weekend, and with DOOM Eternal in the books, I look forwards to kicking off The Ancient Gods. In the meantime, the next major post I have scheduled for this month will be for Hanasaku Iroha and The Aquatope on White Sand: the latter will be a talk about the series at the halfway mark, and the former will be a special post celebrating the ten year anniversary.

The approach DOOM Eternal takes towards encouraging players to make full use of their arsenal and equipment is a rather clever reference to real life: while it is often the case that people specialise towards one role in reality, there is considerable desirability in possessing what is known as a T-shaped skillset. This describes individuals who have competence in a broad range of topics (the horizontal stroke in the character T) and have also simultaneously cultivated depth in one area to be very effective (the vertical stroke). Individuals with T-shaped skills can collaborate and contribute in a range of disciplines, while at the same time, offer expertise in one specific area. In DOOM Eternal, players necessarily must understand what every tool available does: if one were to go purely through the game with the super shotgun, they’d find themselves short of ammunition very quickly. However, understanding that the super shotgun can be combined with ice bombs, the meathook and ballista means being able to put together impromptu solutions for less-than-ideal situations. This is where DOOM Eternal‘s genius is: players are compelled to experiment and keep on their toes because one can never be too sure what the next combat situation is going to be. While one might have a preference for certain weapons, success is found by developing an understanding of the full toolset and effectively making use of it. Real life similarly is conducive for T-shaped individuals: having a good breadth and death of knowledge means being able to apply one’s expertise to help in other scenarios, as well as being able to draw on a wide range of problem-solving techniques to solve a particularly difficult challenge in one’s area. DOOM Eternal offers no room for sticking to one weapon type or one set of strategies: the game is fluid, and the tips offered work best in a situation where everything is contained. The moment one is dropped into an arena, it is no longer viable to play an optimal way. In this aspect, DOOM Eternal is masterfully done, since game design can also send a particular message to players. It is the case that one is only really successful when they learn to make use of all the tools and tricks available to them. DOOM Eternal’s combat mechanics remind players that they should get comfortable with being uncomfortable, a state which encourages people to learn and try new things in an eternal quest to improve.

DOOM Eternal: Besting the Gladiator, Acquiring the Crucible and Road Through Hell at the ¾ Mark

“What you interfere with now is bigger than you can imagine. It is written, it is their time to give penance – if you continue, you will bring down the heaven’s wrath. You are but one man – they are no longer your people to save!” – Novik

The portal at the heart of Mars leads the Doom Slayer to Sentinel Prime and recalls when he was brought before the Sentinels, who were impressed with his singular desire to slay all dæmons. The Doom Slayer makes his way through the city and encounters Deag Grav, who dares him to spill blood here in this holy city. He unleashes the Gladiator on the Doom Slayer, who is unfazed and promptly kills it, before turning his super shotgun on Deag Grav. The Sentinel Guards prepare to expunge the Doom Slayer for having violated law, but he escapes via portal and heads for Taras Nabad, capital of Argent D’Nur, in search of the Crucible, a powerful blade powered by Hell energy. The Doom Slayer had previously slew the Titan known as the Dreadnought here, and after reaching the Crucible, snaps off the handle, leaving the blade embedded in the vanquished Titan. Armed with a weapon capable of killing Titans, the Doom Slayer travels to the City of the Damned, Nekravol, in pursuit of the Khan Maykr, who has fled to Urdak. Travelling through a vast spire, the Doom Slayer passes through the Citadel, where human victims are tortured endlessly, and their souls are harvested as Argent Energy. As the Doom Slayer ascends through the tower, he slaughters entire legions of dæmons, eventually reaching the Argent Stream that will lead him to Urdak. Three quarters of the way into DOOM Eternal, I’ve confronted yet another boss in the Gladiator, a massive foe armed with a heavy shield and a heavy mace. This fight is broken up into two segments; the first is to wait for the Gladiator to open itself to attack when it lunges, and after its shield is destroyed, the Gladiator will bring out a second mace. Even with its incredible power, the Gladiator proves no match for the Doom Slayer, who exhausts it enough to seize one of its maces and pulverise its head, permanently killing it. By this point in time, I’ve also acquired the last of the game’s most powerful weapons, the Crucible and the Unmaykr – the former is a one-hit kill sword capable of obliterating almost anything in the game with a single stroke, and the latter is an automatic energy weapon that shares its ammunition pool with the BFG’s, being best used against powerful individual foes. With the full arsenal available, and the last Hell Priest eliminated, it’s time to take the fight to the Khan Maykr now.

DOOM Eternal‘s lore is unexpectedly deep, and at this point in the game, it is evident that there is an entire universe that has developed around the Doom Slayer’s endless thirst for dæmon blood. While DOOM was originally intended as little more than a pulse-pounding shooter, the stories that have arisen from DOOM are nothing short of impressive, creating a narrative that ties everything together and gives the player’s experience more weight than if DOOM Eternal had purely been about massacring dæmons whole-sale. The lore is immensely complex, creating a timeless story where experiments with Argent energy have warped entire civilisations, and where the Doom Slayer, formerly human, became a being of titanic power. It is clear that while as the Doom Slayer, players have no more obligation than to slaughter everything that moves, there is a world in which things are set in, and the players’ actions have a tangible impact on this world. Ancient conflicts and feuds result from the familiar quest to control and wield power, so the Doom Slayer’s actions wind up being for a purpose beyond just violence – to be able to participate in a war of this scale and make a notable difference gives players a reason to continue following the Doom Slayer’s story, and while the Doom Slayer himself is silence, undergoing what appears to be no character development, lore entries acquired throughout the game speak on the Doom Slayer’s behalf, showing how actions are speak far louder than words can. The sum of the stories in DOOM Eternal thus serve to show players that while words on their own are powerful, there is no equivalent for action – what people do matters more than what people say they’ll do, and this is one of the most important metrics of gauging someone’s trustworthiness. Similarly, because actions have tangible consequences, their impact and worth become more significant; the right action in the right time and place can unequivocally set in motion events that affect positive change or wreak destruction. As such, because the lore lines up with what players see the Doom Slayer as being capable of, it becomes clear that those with a notable number of achievements to their name are those who are likely to be remembered, whereas those who speak loudly and fail to act are quickly forgotten.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Last I wrote about DOOM Eternal, I had just finished the Mars Core mission and had found the portal leading to Deag Grav’s location on Sentinel Prime. Upon crossing the portal, I was surprised to learn that Sentinel Prime was devoid of any enemies to kill, and thus, made my way through the quietest DOOM experience I’d eve had. This mission provided me a chance to just pick up codex entries and read them, as well as appreciate the play of light on my new Ballista skin, which was given to every player during Update 6.

  • Even though I’ve turned off real-time ray-tracing, the default lighting effects in DOOM Eternal are stunning, and there were points where, after I’d cleared out an arena, I would go around and marvel at the play of light on things. Sentinel Prime, with a lack of enemies, has the Doom Slayer simply walk through a deserted set of buildings. However, even without enemies to fight, there are things to collect, and I figured having a few extra lives couldn’t hurt: the quiet and the fact that my weapon upgrade bar consisted of a single bar indicated to me that something big was about to happen.

  • Originally, I had planned to do a post after the Mars Core mission, but after starting Sentinel Prime, I wondered if it would make more sense to include Sentinel Prime with the previous post, since this ended up being a boss fight. However, it proved a little challenging to change the post, especially since I’d already picked out a set of screenshots up to (and including) the Mars Core level. In the end, I decided to leave the boss fight for this current post. The mission’s setup means that there is a lingering sense of dread for what’s upcoming, and over the course of the level, I ended up topping off my health, armour and ammunition.

  • After ensuring I’d collected all of the codex entries and extra lives, I stepped into the arena to confront the first boss since the Doom Hunters a few missions earlier. This foe is known as the Gladiator: resembling the classic Hell Knight with extra armour, the Gladiator is classified as a slave warrior and enters combat with an immense shield, as well as a pair of maces. Lore states that so long as the shield remains intact, the Gladiator can regenerate and is in effect, immortal. Overwhelmingly powerful bosses are a mainstay of DOOM, and the level’s rationale for not featuring other foes soon becomes apparent.

  • In the first phase of this boss fight, the Gladiator is equipped with its iconic shield and a single mace. Like the Marauder, the shield will flash before the Gladiator strikes, and hitting it now stuns it briefly, leaving it vulnerable to attack. The heavy shield means that the first half of this fight handles similarly to the fight against the Marauder, and the best weapons to use would be the Ballista, super-shotgun and rocket launcher. Once the Gladiator’s first health bar is depleted, the Doom Slayer will plunge his Slayer Blade into the shield’s eyes, annihilating the entity within.

  • The Gladiator will then draw out a second mace and go on the offensive. This part of the fight is trickier: while all weapons will deal some damage to the Gladiator now, it is much more aggressive and can deal massive damage. Weaker enemies will also spawn during the fight, and these should only be engaged when one is in need of additional ammunition. While formidable, the Gladiator isn’t invincible: after depleting its second health bar, the Doom Slayer will grab the Gladiator’s mace and use it to completely explode its head, leaving behind fragments of bone and chunks of brain. In the aftermath, the Doom Slayer also will kill Deag Grav, resulting in the former being excommunicated from the Night Sentinels.

  • The Doom Slayer is completely disinterested in what others make of him, and sets off for Taras Nabad to retrieve the one weapon capable of harming the most fearsome-looking foes in the DOOM universe. Here, I look around before the first major combat encounter of the mission; a host of Cacodemons show up, along with a Marauder. While some players assert that Marauders break flow by forcing one’s attention on them, having now fought Marauders on several occasions, I’ve actually found it useful to whittle down the other enemies first before turning my attention towards them.

  • This strategy is actually similar to how I play Halo: Covenant fireteams usually consist of a few Elites surrounded by Grunts and Jackals. While Grunts and Jackals are individually weak, constant fire from plasma pistols and needlers can do non-trivial damage to the Master Chief, so it makes sense to get rid of them before fighting the Elites (or Brutes). On the flipside, the Arch-vile is a foe that must be defeated first: this enemy can spawn other buffed dæmons onto the map on top of attacking with fire. If left alone, players will eventually be overwhelmed, so I make it a point to defeat the Arch-vile as soon as it appears.

  • DOOM Eternal constantly challenges players and forces one to up their game; there were several fights and encounters that pushed me to the limits, and I died more times than I cared to count trying to work out a solution. There were points where I wondered if this was as far as I could get in DOOM Eternal. However, seemingly-insurmountable fights aren’t impossible, and more often than not, I needed to simply approach things from a different perspective to gain the upper hand, as well as make better choices regarding mobility and the pickups available in the environment.

  • In this way, I was able to find success with the fights that had initially appeared to be more challenging than I had expected. There was one thing I had to be especially mindful of, however; unlike DOOM, the BFG 9000 is now on the weapon wheel, and because firefights inevitably expend a great amount of ammunition, I occasionally found the game auto-switching me over to the BFG 9000. In the heat of the moment, I would then discharge a blast; in an intense firefight, this would clear the room out and buy me some breathing room, but if the blast collided with an Imp or Zombie, that would’ve been a complete waste of Argent cells.

  • DOOM‘s Titan Realm mission originally blew me away: a part of the level is set inside the guts of a long-fallen Titan, gargantuan monsters possessing incredible physical strength and resilience; they can continue to fight even when entire limbs or organs are blown off, and in fact, cannot be killed with conventional means. It takes a special blade to stop one, and the Titan seen here is actually a smaller one; the Titan from Titan’s Realm was so large, temples were built into its remains. Because DOOM Eternal establishes that Argent Energy blades can harm Titans, the universe gives a bit more insight into how the Doom Slayer was previously able to defeat something as monstrous as the Titan that now lies dead on the Umbral Plains.

  • With the Crucible handle secured, it’s time to find a power source for it. However, the route is fraught with challenges, including yet another Marauder. I’ve come to greatly look forward to my encounters with Marauders, since they represent a chance for me to test my mettle against a foe equivalent to myself in speed and ferocity. Here, the Marauder’s brought its shield up. While this shield negates all damage from the front, the Marauder remains vulnerable to attack from behind, and swift reflexes allow one to use either grenades or remote-detonation rockets to stun it from behind.

  • One of the mistakes I made while playing through Taras Nabad was the fact that I neglected to locate all of the secrets: as players approach the end of a given level, an alert will indicate that fast travel is now available. This is when I go for secrets and special encounters: dæmons no longer spawn, so one can focus on searching every nook and cranny for openings that lead to the secrets, which include Mastery Tokens, which allows players to instantly gain mastery of a weapon mod without needing to complete the associated challenge for it. I might go back at some point to complete everything anew for the full experience, but for now, it’s full steam ahead.

  • Here, I draw closer to the pool of Argent Energy that is required to fully charge the Crucible. Because the Titans will come back to life the moment the Crucible blade is removed, the Doom Slayer determines that it’s possible to simply snap the blade off and leave it embedded in the Titan to ensure it stays dead. With a reliable way of neutralising even the mighty Titans, the path is set for the final segments of DOOM Eternal, which sees the Doom Slayer in pursuit of the Khan Maykr, who intends to enslave and overrun Earth such that she might harness the Essence, an energy source for her people.

  • Once the Crucible is fully powered, it joins the Doom Slayer’s inventory and acts as a one-hit kill against even the super-heavy dæmons in the game. Here, I’ve chopped up a Fireborne Baron, which is related to the Barons of Hell and in a manner of speaking, resemble Peter Jackson’s portrayal of the Balrog, Durin’s Bane. Ordinarily, Fireborne Barons are quite tough in combat, wielding a pair of flaming blades and being strong enough to resist both the chainsaw and BFG. It therefore speaks volumes to how powerful the Crucible is, as it is able to destroy almost everything in the game with a single stroke. This is a weapon I will save for situations where it is important to take out a single heavy target when my health is low: energy for the Crucible is sure to be rare, and I do not intend to waste its limited reserves on the lower dæmons.

  • After completing all of the Slayer Gate challenges, I unlocked the Unmaykr, an alternate option for the BFG that uses the same Argent Energy cells, but rather than a single, devastating blast capable of clearing out entire rooms, the Unmaykr is an automatic energy weapon that fires orbs in a horizontal arc. The weapon is, in effect, a souped-up version of Agent Under Fire‘s Photon Cannon, and while initially, the weapon is overshadowed by the original BFG and the Crucible, it does have its applications in very specific situations.

  • With the Crucible and Unmaykr in hand, it’s time to head into Hell itself. Known alternatively as Jekkad, this realm is characterised by a complete and total descent into chaos. This is a dimension that thrives on suffering, and the harsh landscapes mirrors the unhospitable aesthetic within Hell. Argent D’Nur was partially consumed by Hell, and as it turns out, there’s a story behind how Hell came to be. Originally, this was a realm created to be a paradise, but the ruler, Davoth, sought out immortality to protect the realm’s residence. The singular pursuit drove him mad, and he came to employ horrific modes of punishment against those who spoke out against him.

  • The creator of Jekkad thus sealed the realm away, and infuriated with this injustice, the residents of Jekkad fell to corruption and evil. The story is reminiscent of Morgoth’s rebellion against the Valar, and like Tolkien, also suggests that nothing is created evil. It’s a bit of an interesting statement to make, suggesting that even in a world as corrupted and dysfunctional as DOOM‘s, things weren’t always like this.

  • Here, I fight a Tyrant: these dæmons are modelled after the classic Cyberdemon and are immensely difficult to defeat. Besides a vast health pool, Tyants have a missile launcher for long range combat, as well as an Argent Energy sword that can also deal fire damage. Quick-swapping the lock-on rockets and the super-shotgun is one of the more efficient means of dealing with one, although if one has an ample reserve of Argent Energy cells left, one can also be frozen with the ice bomb, leaving it vulnerable to bombardment from the Unmaykr.

  • Contrary to what some folks suggest, DOOM Eternal does allow players to fight in whatever manner they choose, and oftentimes, I’ve engaged super-heavy dæmons in less-than-optimal ways. While the longer time to kill and high ammunition expenditure means this wasn’t ideal, the job still got done. In this way, DOOM Eternal does allow players to equip a weapon like the chaingun and hammer super-heavy dæmons until they fall, but versed players will take advantage of quick-swapping and their ordinance to find increasingly creative ways of stopping such foes. For instance, the plasma rifle’s microwave beam briefly stuns an enemy, so one could then quick-swap over to the Ballista or Rocket launcher for a headshot. Alternatively, one could equip the super-shotgun and use the meathook to close the distance for a Blood Punch.

  • DOOM Eternal is definitely more than about just using whatever gun is available at that moment; careful gear and cool-down management adds an additional layer of involvement in the game, which in turn gives the game a more challenging and novel experience compared to its predecessor. Here, I enter a room crammed with human remains. Masses of bodies shoved into a confined space always gives me the willies, and this scene brought to mind a nightmarish hallucinations from Metro: Last Light, where Artyom makes his way through a haunting vision where arms from restless spirits fill the void.

  • Progressing deeper into Nekravol, I make my way to an opening protected by an energy barrier. First, the energy supplies must be destroyed, after which the shields will drop, and the green marker can be punched out. I’m rocking the chaingun with the energy shield mod here: the shield is actually a superb asset when it comes to hallways, since it essentially negates the damage one takes in close quarters. The mastery perk for the energy shield is that, after it takes enough damage, the shield itself is launched as a projectile, damaging or finishing whatever the chaingun did not already rend.

  • I encountered yet another Marauder here – having seen this foe often enough, dealing with them is a fairly cut-and-dried matter. In this screenshot, the Marauder’s armour is shredded, and this Marauder has sustained some damage to its body. Another shotgun blast later, and this fight was ended. The dynamic destruction system in DOOM Eternal is exceptional and shows the level of effort that went into creating a visual, visceral means of showing how much damage a dæmon has sustained during a fight.

  • One thing I did notice in DOOM Eternal was that there always seemed like precious little opportunity to use the BFG: I’ve not actually encountered a situation where I felt overwhelmed enough to use the weapon and clear out a room of foes. In fact, my usage of the BFG is limited to moments where a bad weapon switch leads me to pull the trigger mid-firefight; ammunition is very uncommon, and I actually preferring dying and respawning so I can learn from my mistakes in a given, over using the BFG to extricate myself from certain death.

  • Gazing over the fires raging in Nekravol, I am reminded of the fires that continue to ravage the country. This year’s been the smokiest one in living memory, and unless I am mistaken, the whole of July was smokey. The smoke retreated briefly last week, and returned in full on the weekend. However, on Monday and Tuesday, a much needed rainfall swept into my area. It was to the sound of rain that I fell asleep to, and by morning, the air was clean again, with the earthy smell of rain dominating the morning air. This summer’s been quite hot, but the smoke meant there was precious little opportunity to take advantage of things. The cooler weather’s definitely been welcome, and I am hoping that as we move into autumn, the forest fires will come under control.

  • The Unmaykr similarly sees limited use in DOOM Eternal‘s main campaign: although it is an excellent weapon suited for clearing small groups where using the BFG would be a waste, or concentrating fire on a single powerful foe in conjunction with ice bombs, there are very few use-cases in the campaign where I’ve felt that a fight was so tricky it necessitated the use of the Unmaykr. I tend to save the ultra-powerful weapons for boss fights so I can regain the initiative if said boss surprises me in any way. During my fight with the Gladiator, I defeated it using a combination of ordinary weapons.

  • The Hell levels are equally as fun as other parts of DOOM games, with crimson saturation creating a foreboding atmosphere, but the dark lighting means that there are few places where good screenshots can be taken. Thus, for the second half of Nekravol, I have very few screenshots of my journey. My experience through the spire was a fun experience, and this time around, I did have a chance to collect all of the secrets within the level, including the secrets near the first bridge, which gave me a little trouble until I realised there was a gravity lift off the side of said bridge.

  • In order to ascend the spire, one must navigate a series of lethal-looking contraptions that bring to mind the alien factory in Black Mesa. A bit of platforming here will get the Doom Slayer to his destination. When I first watched footage of the wall-climbing in DOOM Eternal during the E3 presentations, I wondered if DOOM Eternal would be overwhelming with the sheer number of things that as a player, I’d need to remember. There is, fortunately, no such requirement imposed on players, and contrary to the prevailing attitudes at places like Reddit, I find that DOOM Eternal is an expertly designed experience for folks looking to up their DOOM experience.

  • While I was fighting another Tyrant and a host of dæmons during the final arena segment to Nekravol, the game suddenly began to stutter and froze, before my machine gave me a Blue Screen of Death. Initially, I thought that DOOM Eternal was so intense that my machine was unable to handle how much awesome was being rendered on-screen. Even after a restart, the fight was a bit janky from how much was going on. As it turns out, machines far more modern and powerful than my own also suffered from a BSOD, and at any rate, these are rare enough so that I’m not too worried about it. After I cleared this final area out, I went back to collect all of the secrets before stepping into the Argent Stream.

  • I’m making progress through DOOM Eternal at a fairly smart pace now, and my goal is to wrap up the final two missions before the end of August, such that I may write a post about the game during early September. From there, I’ll kick off The Ancient Gods. We are now just a shade past the halfway point of August, and it’s been a little crazy as to how quickly time flies by. The only other scheduled post I have for August is for Magia Record now that the third episode is done, so once I’m finished writing about that, I have a bit of time to knock out a few remaining posts before September arrives. August is looking like a very busy month for blogging, but I am hoping by capitalising on the time I have now, I’ll be able to relax a little more once September begins.

It is admittedly impressive that a game about ripping and tearing put such a level of detail into its story – in this area, DOOM Eternal surpasses its predecessor and really gives weight to the conflict that players are seeing through the Doom Slayer. The genius in DOOM Eternal is how the story is presented to players; those who are in DOOM Eternal purely for the carnage are free to enjoy the game in this manner, but if curiosity sets in and one wishes to learn about why the Doom Slayer fights with the ferocity that he does, and what’s at stake in this fight, this option exists, as well. Giving players options in how they choose to enjoy their experience is the hallmark of a good game, and much as how the combat system is versatile enough to let players pick how they wish to approach each fight, DOOM Eternal also makes the narrative piece optional. I’ve found that the lore adds to DOOM Eternal, adding as much to the game as do the incredible level designs and work done on the atmospherics – DOOM has always been at its best when players romp through Hell itself to gain an idea of just what the Doom Slayer has previously faced and prevailed over, as well as what remains to be done. Altogether, I am excited to push into the final part of DOOM Eternal; there is good reason to take the fight to the Khan Maykr and a threat that challenges the very fabric of reality itself now beyond just shredding monsters with big guts. While the fight that awaits will likely be even more challenging than what I’d faced before, I now have the confidence, and the equipment to face off against whatever lies ahead. The Khan Maykr had better sleep with both eyes open, because as I enter DOOM Eternal‘s final quarter, I’m now rocking a shiny new mechanical keyboard with low latency and tactile keys, perfect for ripping and tearing!

DOOM Eternal: Acquiring the BFG 9000 and Passage to Mars’ Core At The Halfway Point

“You can’t just shoot a hole into the surface of Mars.” –Samuel Hayden

Having killed Deag Ranak, Khan Maykr moves the remaining Hell Priest, Deag Grav. Knowing that Deag Grav is integral to the dæmonic invasion on Earth and sets out to hunt him down, but with the Khan Maykr accelerating the invasion, the Doom Slayer must first destroy the Super Gore Nest. He then heads for the Arc Complex to secure the remains of Samuel Hayden, who leads the human resistance on Earth. While Hayden’s body is destroyed, his mind remains functional: upon uploading Hayden’s mind to the Fortress of Doom, Hayden informs the Doom Slayer that Deag Grav is located on Sentinel Prime, and the fastest way there is through a portal located at Mars’ core in the city of Hebeth. With time an enemy, the Doom Slayer seizes control of the BFG-10000 and blasts a hole on Mars’ surface, then fights his way towards the core and the portal, intent on killing Deag Grav. At the halfway point, DOOM Eternal has proven to be a superb experience, an upgrade over its predecessor in every way. Fights demand more strategy and thinking compared to its predecessor, and the tools that the Doom Slayer has available to him means that spur-of-the-moment decisions do not leave players short-handed. While there are some techniques that work better on some dæmons than others, a steady aim, keeping an eye out for any advantages one can utilise and map knowledge goes a long way in surviving firefights that are far more dynamic and challenging than what DOOM had offered: having now spent thirteen hours in DOOM Eternal, it becomes clear that id Software had delivered their promises from E3 and then some. Besides increasing the monster variety, id Software introduced Destructible Dæmonsto bring DOOM Eternal to the next level: monsters that sustain enough damage will appear and behave differently in response to the player’s actions. Both maps and arenas are designed to encourage clever navigation and combat, pushing players to experiment with different combats styles and move around differently rather than sticking to a single strategy. DOOM Eternal‘s levels themselves are bolder and more eye-popping than those of its predecessor, and nowhere is this more apparent than after the Doom Slayer fires the shot that puts a hole in Mars.

On top of the increased gameplay, DOOM Eternal introduces dry, sardonic humour into its story in a clever way. Once Samuel Hayden is connected to the Fortress of Doom, he implores the Doom Slayer not to shoot a hole in Mars. Moments later, the mission objective appears for the player: shoot a hole in Mars. Similarly, when the Doom Slayer makes to operate the BFG-10000 and the safety protocols engage, an impatient Slayer taps the fire buttons a few more times before VEGA overrides the safety mechanism. These subtle details add personality and a bit of light-heartedness into a game that is otherwise about brutal, over-the-top violence. However, the crown jewel in DOOM Eternal is the UAC’s insistence on calling the Hellspawn the “mortally challenged”. At several points in the game, a hologram can be seen imploring Earth’s (presumably remaining) residents to welcome the Hellspawn with open arms, and the UAC has deemed the phrase “dæmon” to be a slur, hence the change. However, the Hellspawn are, of course, intent on exterminating all of humanity, and the ludicrous thought that one must welcome one’s death is what drives the humour. DOOM Eternal is, in short, poking fun of the idea that there are those who would cling to political correctness even where there is no grounds for doing so. In general, folks who play games like DOOM play DOOM to unwind, and jokes like these are taken in stride, a small aside in a game whose focus is combat efficiency, reflexes, adaptability and resource management. However, there are some who insist that such jokes are harmful and may promote real-world misbehaviours despite a lack of evident indicating otherwise. Such beliefs manifested as a handful of articles on game journalism websites expressing outrage at this, and one wonders if the writers of such articles would be even more outraged to learn that they are alone in their perspectives: a couple of jokes poking fun at society’s more asinine opinions isn’t the end of the world, and at the end of the day, DOOM Eternal excels not because of its narrative or its ability to “drives home a truism that many people, against good evidence, still struggle to accept”, but because it is able to push the limits of what is possible with technology and encourage players to better themselves. DOOM Eternal‘s sales speak for themselves in this regard, and it becomes clear that a few jokes alone do not break a game.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The Doom Slayer returns to Earth with the aim of destroying a Super Gore Nest that could summon enough dæmons to overrun the planet. I overlook a ruined city here armed with the plasma rifle, and despite my old EVGA GTX 1060 SC lacking the hardware for real-time raytracing, the game nonetheless looks gorgeous. One thing I was particularly surprised by was the fact that I’m actually running the game with everything set to ultra settings (and the memory pool is set to “medium”), but in spite of this, I’m still getting a smooth 60 FPS.

  • After learning that I could customise the UI’s colour scheme, I immediately switched over to the UAC colours, which provides a much subtler UI than the defaults, which I felt to be a little too cartoonish. The distinct colours actually do serve an important purpose: at a glance, one can ascertain the status of their resources. However, they’re also quite distracting, and the UAC colours make it much easier for me to keep my eyes on the fight without sacrificing ease-of-readability. This small change made all the difference, and I am impressed with how DOOM Eternal provides players with this level of customisation.

  • The Super Gore Nest was one of the missions demoed at E3 2018, and back then, the UI more closely resembled that of 2016’s DOOM compared to its modern counterpart. However, having now acclimatised to the new UI, I prefer the style in DOOM Eternal. In their original playthrough at E3, the demo had shown numerous features available to DOOM Eternal that impressed viewers. However, to the community’s great surprise, id Tech had actually not told the community the whole truth with their E3 demo – most developers end up altering their final product from what an E3 demo as the game gets further into production, and sometimes, fans are left disappointed when studios under-deliver. DOOM Eternal, on the other hand, gave fans a product that was superior to the demo.

  • The Super Gore Nest level was even more fun in person than it had been in the demo: id Tech’s artists create a sense of scale to really emphasise what’s at stake. A recurring theme in DOOM seems to be the fact that no matter how gargantuan something is, there’s always a way to bring it down, and so, while this Gore Nest looks insurmountable, exploring the city for options eventually leads VEGA to indicate that the Gore Nest was built around an electrical generator, which produces a current strong enough to disintegrate flesh when operational.

  • Thus, the Doom Slayer heads into the depths of the facility to reactivate the power generator. The first breaker is easy enough, but par the course for most games, the second switch requires exploration and a bit of creativity to figure out. After entering the radioactive sewers underneath the city, I came upon a radiation suit. This is an old classic from DOOM, allowing the Doom Slayer to traverse toxic sludge and swim through submerged areas. Pickups replenish the suit’s abilities, but the suit itself offers no defense against enemy attacks in any way.

  • After acquiring the chaingun, the Doom Slayer has an effective close quarters, high RPM weapon capable of shredding groups of dæmons or melting through a single tougher opponent. The chaingun shares the same bullet pool as the heavy cannon, and once acquired, the heavy cannon becomes the preferred weapon of choice for sniping: two to three rounds will kill the weakest of dæmons, and the precision bolt makes it a great weapon for picking off weak points on tougher foes from afar,  before closing the distance to finish them off. I ended up going for the energy shield attachment, which gives me superior survivability in close quarters firefights.

  • Looking back, the Fire Bars of Super Mario are a far more intimidating hazard than their counterparts in DOOM Eternal: the presence of armour and health means that one could survive a glancing blow from these without dying, although care must be taken not to get knocked into a bottomless chasm from taking an impact. I’m not the only one who was reminded of Super Mario‘s Fire Bars by these hazards; at least a few other players have noted the similarities. While decades of gaming experience mean I no longer fear the Fire Bars, I can’t say I have an inclination to go back and play Super Mario: my skills simply aren’t there for 2D platformers.

  • Here, I come across one of the Slayer Gate keys, along with some health pick ups. The Slayer Gate challenges have been remarkably fun, and DOOM Eternal touts them as being a step up from ordinary combat encounters. Having played through five of the six so far, I conclude that these challenges are immensely fun, and immensely demanding on players, but they’re not impossible. My strategy for Slayer Gate challenges were to equip a high RPM weapon and a heavier, slower-firing weapon (e.g. plasma rifle and super shotgun, heavy rifle and rocket launcher), and then quick-swap between the two. In this way, I was able to even beat the Barons of Hell that show up during these challenges.

  • DOOM Eternal is very unforgiving when it comes to ammunition, and in the heat of a firefight, one will run out of rounds for their active weapon if careless. This forces players to constantly change weapons, and get creative: if one has no more shotgun rounds, dealing with Cacodemons requires a bit of lateral thinking. Once all of the keys are unlocked, it’s time to return back into the heart of the Super Gore Nest and take it out once and for all: here, I’ve found all three keycards, and unlocked the final segments of the level. However, before I continued, I decided to sweep back through the mission and finish finding all of the secrets that I could.

  • Admittedly, the massive, pulsating heart at the Super Gore Nest’s core brought back memories of Metro 2033‘s Biomass, a similarly repulsive and putrid organic construct. Both cases require activating a power source to destroy it, and the results are immensely satisfying – I’m not sure if the commonalities are intentional, but a cursory search finds that no comparisons have yet been drawn. Once the threat to the planet is averted for the present, the Doom Slayer returns to his stronghold and prepares for the next mission, to retrieve Samuel Hayden, who knows of Deag Grav’s whereabouts.

  • Thus, the Doom Slayer returns to Earth and makes his way to the ARC facility: the Armoured Resistance Colation, which was formed after the UAC’s corruption. This mission sees players return to the city streets, bringing back memories of Halo 3: ODST‘s New Mombassa. Before the Doom Slayer can actually get to the ARC building, the area must first be cleared of dæmons, and defensive batteries must be brought online so that tentacles obstructing the path can be cleared.

  • Prior to setting off for the ARC headquarters, VEGA will instruct the Doom Slayer to pick up the Ballista, a Night Sentinel weapon that uses the same ammunition as the plasma rifle to create a highly destructive bolt for long-range combat. The weapon is not of human design and replaces the Gauss Cannon from DOOM, and in practise, it’s a powerful single-shot weapon for destroying weak points. Lore suggests that the Ballista is more deadly than the human Gauss Cannon, and the weapon looks absolutely nasty. I do miss not having Siege Mode, but the Arbalest mod is supposed to combine the raw power from the Gauss Cannon’s Siege Mode with the penetration power from the Precision Bolt.

  • The second mod for the Ballista is the Destroyer Blade, which fires a horizontal blast of energy that can cut through entire groups at once, altering the weapon’s functionality and turning it into a miniature BFG. Here, I’ve finished an intense firefight against a group of dæmons in a restaurant, and during this fight, there was a Berserker powerup that allowed me to physically rip dæmons apart. I’ve heard that the Berserker sphere is exceedingly rare during the campaign, and considering how powerful the powerup is, I suppose this is fair – it’s said that with this powerup active, the Doom Slayer can kill even the mighty Barons of Hell instantly, exploding it with a single punch.

  • Having initially picked up the microwave beam mod for the plasma rifle, I ended up acquiring the heat blast, as well. Looking back on the changes between weapon mods of DOOM and DOOM Eternal, it seems that DOOM Eternal had changed up some weapons so the mods were more distinct: weapons with mods that seemed similar in functionality, so id Tech ended up rolling the functions of DOOM‘s mods into one and then introducing a new mod that accommodates a different play style. The heat blast is a fun mod to run with, acting similarly to World of Warcraft‘s Dragon Breath – when fully charged, it discharges the weapon’s built-up heat in a cone in front of the player.

  • I’ve seen that with real-time ray-tracing running, DOOM Eternal looks impossibly good: the water reflections here are impressive, and one detail I’ve become immensely fond of is the play of light on my active weapon. However, even on ultra-nightmare without any real-time ray-tracing, DOOM Eternal looks much better than it has any right to, especially considering that I’m still getting silky smooth frame-rates for most of the game: I’m averaging 60 FPS for most places, and while I occasionally seem frame-rates drop in more intense firefights, the game handles very well. Some testing finds that I use about 5 GB of graphics memory out of my available 6 GB, which isn’t too bad.

  • To be honest, I am a little surprised that my machine has held up this well over the years: it’d originally been built to play the best titles of 2013 (Battlefield 4Crysis 3) at 1080p60 on ultra settings, and back in 2016, I upgraded the GTX 660 SC to a GTX 1060 SC such that I could run DOOM. The machine has handled Battlefield 1Battlefield VBattlefront II, The Division 2 and Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War reasonably well; I neither stream nor have any plans to play games at 1440p or 4K in the foreseeable future, so my current setup continues to meet my current requirements. While I do have plans to build a new machine in the future, I’m glad my rig continues to hold out in the knowledge that hardware continues to be scarce.

  • Here, I return to the street level after using the defense turrets to rip apart the tentacles. A purple fluid covers the ground, and this mixture prevents the Doom Slayer from jumping or moving as quickly. In a firefight, this can prove absolutely deadly, but fortunately, there are options available to the player – use of the super shotgun’s meathook allows one to latch onto a dæmon and beat a hasty escape from a bad situation. I typically use the super shotgun for its meathook – the massive firepower means the weapon is wasted on the weaker enemies, but being able to pull oneself out of a tricky spot and then utilise a combination of double jumps and dash, then switching weapons, makes the super shotgun as much of a tool as a weapon.

  • I’ve read a lot of complaints about DOOM Eternal‘s gameplay; the leading criticism is that the game supposedly pigeonholes players into a certain play-style and routine while simultaneously punishing them for deviating from the optimal route. This couldn’t be further from the truth – the so-called optimal approach is used when one has a chance to prepare, but when the fluidity of combat catches one off-guard, it’s a matter of creatively using what one has available to them in order to get out of a difficult situation. Unskilled players (like video games journalists) lack the forward thinking needed to extricate themselves from overwhelming enemies numbers and brutality because they expect there to be one way of playing, but competent players will see alternatives solutions, both in terms of their equipment options and utilising the map to their advantage. When the Marauder is introduced, a handful of players found this foe to be so overwhelming they quit playing outright, and those who insist on fighting a certain way demanded the enemy be removed from the game.

  • The Marauder is actually one of the best designed enemies in any video game ever: it forces players to focus their attention on them and fight them on the Marauder’s terms. In short, this foe gives players a taste of their own power; the Marauder dominates CQC with its super shotgun, and can throw its Argent Axe for long range combat. It is protected by an impenetrable shield, and it will summon a spirit wolf when shot at. This enemy is designed to punish impatient players, all the while rewarding strategic movement and weapon usage. To beat a Marauder, one must bait it into swinging its axe, and then shoot it – after it is stunned, one can immediately follow up with a second shot. Of course, one can use indirect fire to stun it, as well. On my first fight with the Marauder, I had come in with some knowledge of how to fight it, so I used distance to bait its attacks and struck with a combination of Ballista and the super shotgun.

  • The Mars Core mission starts out at the Phobos BFG-10000 facility. The 2019 E3 began here, and it was here the “mortally challenged” joke first became known to the world at large. However, this was nothing but a manufactured controversy from video game journalists overreacting to the idea that a game poking fun at political correctness could somehow be “harmful” towards society; DOOM Eternal itself is a fine game, and it is ludicrous to suggest that entertainment could influence the way people think. Here, I fight my way across the facility to the BFG-1000 itself, a massive cannon of immense power.

  • Because of the BFG-10000’s presence, this mission was particularly exciting since I knew it was time to finally pick up one of the most iconic DOOM weapons of all time. With this past long weekend, I’ve been able to really make progress in my larger posts, and in a few days, I’ll be ready to publish a talk on Violet Evergarden: The Movie; this post is going to be as large as my old talk on Tenki no Ko, and as such, took a while to prepare. The Heritage Day long weekend was a fantastic chance to do this, along with just kicking back in general: I went for a walk earlier this morning and then enjoyed a home-cooked burger and fries.

  • Once the Doom Slayer reaches the BFG-10000 and uses it to blast a hole in Mars, he then rips the weapon from the cannon. On the PA network, the facility is to be evacuating to the surface of Mars: the thought of the Doom Slayer with the BFG is sufficiently terrifying such that the UAC’s staff would rather move to the surface of Mars, which the Doom Slayer had just blasted, rather than occupy the same facility as him. After acquiring the BFG-9000, players will have a chance to fire it for the first time, clearing out an armada of Cacodemons with a single shot. The BFG-9000 is best fired in an open space: the energy discharges emanating from the plasma orb do more damage the longer the orb is in the air.

  • The size of the hole in Mars becomes apparent when players move to the mission’s next phase: the crater has collapsed, giving the Doom Slayer a clear shot to the core. While I know this was simply a skybox, it speaks volumes to the impact that a good skybox can have on the scale of a level. This segment of the mission requires a bit of platforming: the Phobos facility has fragmented, and it will take some good coordination to get to the ion cannon that will propel the Doom Slayer to the next part of the mission.

  • The combat shotgun might be less useful later in DOOM Eternal as more powerful enemies show up, but the weapon remains highly effective with the sticky bombs; upgrades allow the weapon to reload faster and have a larger blast radius, making it an immensely useful tool for clearing out rooms. The weapon challenge entails destroying the Arachnotron turrets fifteen times, and while these enemies were common earlier in the game, I’ve noticed they’ve become less common of late. With this in mind, I made the mistake of not spending weapon upgrade points earlier, leaving me less time to unlock the weapon mastery upgrades.

  • The Doom Slayer’s casual disregard for Samuel Hayden’s remarks is hilarious: after recovering the remains of Hayden from the ARC Complex, I was surprised to see that Hayden’s powerful robotic body was destroyed during the events of Operation Hellbreaker. However, his computational matrix still remains functional, and while the ARC scientists weren’t able to transfer him to a new body, the Doom Slayer sees fit to take the remains back to the Fortress of Doom. The Doom Slayer’s personal stronghold is based on the same architecture, allowing Hayden to resume his reluctant assistance of the Doom Slayer.

  • One thing I’ve noticed about DOOM Eternal was that the campaign missions load very quickly: on my machine, I can get from hitting the start button to the campaign in the space of a minute, and I imagine that folks with more modern setups and sufficiently large SSDs can accomplish the same on shorter order. In spite of the game appearing to possess steep hardware requirements, DOOM Eternal is superbly optimised and runs very well even on older machines.

  • Here is a another perspective on the hole in Mars: the planetary core is visible here, and it’s time to go before the planet collapses back on itself. I would imagine that in the event that such damage could be done to a planet, the mass of a planet’s material would close any hole. The amount of damage done to the surface would be enormous, enough to fracture the crust and create planet-wide seismic and volcanic activity. Thus, when the UAC facility order its staff to evacuate to the surface of Mars, one can immediately infer that the Doom Slayer is such a terrifying presence

  • After platforming over to the escape pods, I prepare myself to head on over to Mars’ core, where the lost city of Hebeth is located. According to the in-game lore, reaching Hebeth requires navigating a treacherous path through Mars’ mantle to reach the core. I’ll note here that this past weekend, the Halo: Infinite technical test was running, and while I’m a part of the Halo Insiders programme, I did not receive an invitation to participate. While this would’ve been a great opportunity to see how Halo: Infinite ran on my machine, not participating was a blessing in disguise, allowing me to finish off a few other things and spend time doing things like outdoor walks. I wonder if 343 Industries will do an open beta closer to the launch, and while it would be nice to get an invitation, since I have plans to buy the game anyways, I won’t be bothered if I were to sit the open beta out.

  • The presence of Hebeth suggests a hollow planet: these theories are not scientific in any way, but in the realm of fiction, make for fantastic settings. Godzilla vs King Kong was such a work that took the protagonists to a hollow space inside Earth, and while one would expect it to be dark inside, there’s even a light source. How this works defies conventional understanding, and DOOM Eternal‘s portrayal of Hebeth makes more sense, with flowing magma providing the lighting to this diabolical environment.

  • With the portal to Sentinel Prime just a stone’s throw away, all that separates the Doom Slayer from his foe is a small army of monsters which are easily defeated. It goes without saying that I’m excited to press on forwards with DOOM Eternal: the game has exceeded all expectations, and my initial reservations proved unfounded. One element about DOOM Eternal that was a deal-breaker was the inclusion of Denuvo’s anti-cheat software, which uses a kernel-level solution that runs even when the game isn’t. Denuvo has a track record of creating CPU-intensive anti-cheat solutions that also requires multiple hard drive reads, degrading hardware performance and lifespan. This inclusion was controversial and rightly removed from DOOM Eternal, and at present, no such software is installed with the game, allowing it to run efficiently.

As such, halfway into DOOM Eternal, I’m having a fantastic time: this is a game that is clearly crafted for fans of DOOM who want a more exhilarating, more challenging and more immersive experience. Instead of simply copying the DOOM mechanics whole-sale, DOOM Eternal introduces new mechanics that promotes creative and strategic play on top of having swift reflexes and a steady aim. Initial remarks about DOOM Eternal‘s gameplay being lesser than that of DOOM‘s prove unfounded; despite its dazzling array of options, it was claimed that DOOM Eternal pigeon-holes players into approaching a given fight one way. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and players who gripe about DOOM Eternal‘s gameplay are likely folks who stick with what are colloquially referred to as the meta way to play the game. In other words, for a given game (or situation), there is an optimal way to play, and players artificially limit themselves to these constraints because other games reward sticking to meta approaches or, in some cases, the individuals simply lack the creativity to solve problems in novel ways. Such narrow-mindedness can result in a degraded experience, but for games journalists, their pride means rather than admit they haven’t made an effort to learn game mechanics, they’d sooner dismiss DOOM Eternal as a “…a dizzying catastrophe” that is “not nearly as good as the original” because the story is “more convoluted”. DOOM Eternal‘s story is simple enough: to save the Earth, the Doom Slayer must kill high-ranking dæmonic and roll back an ancient conspiracy from those who tapped into Argent Energy as a power source, unaware of its dangers. The story has always been secondary in DOOM, and in DOOM Eternal, it is sufficiently serviceable as to justify a fantastic rampage of blood, guts and gore as the Doom Slayer rips and tears his way through hordes of Hellspawn to save the world. The supposition that all games necessarily need a story meritorious of The Booker Prize for Fiction can only stem from the belief that DOOM Eternal is a mindless shooter, and one can deduce that the games journalists who hold such thoughts likely started up the game, found themselves overwhelmed by every fight and ran out of ammunition because they’d made no effort to learn the game mechanics. Then in their frustration, they needed some sort of flimsy justification to put DOOM Eternal down. Fortunately, since I’m no games journalist, I do possess a modicum of skill for games like DOOM Eternal: my experience is dramatically more positive, and I can say with confidence that I am going to continue enjoying a game whose developers understand full well what fun constitutes.