The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods

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 an anime blog renowned for its emphasis on military-moé and fanservice, and whose author was from the Pacific Northwest region, suddenly stopped being active. This left me to write about Brave Witches at my own pace: that particular blogger didn’t like being corrected and supposedly 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 always wanted to be right, and on this anniversary to Typhoon Songda, five years after that particular blog fell silent, there is much to be thankful for.

  • 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 reflected on how I’ve been lucky enough to continue to be able write about and sharing the things I enjoy most. 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 of Forged 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.

DOOM Eternal: Opening Impressions and Reaching the Doomhunter

“Against all the evil that Hell can conjure, all the wickedness that mankind can produce, we will send unto them only you. Rip and tear, until it is done.” –King Novik

The Doom Slayer returns to Earth and finds it overrun by dæmonic forces; the UAC’s efforts prove insufficient, and over three fifths of the population have been wiped out. Aware that the dæmonic invasion is being orchestrated by three Hell Priests serving the Khan Maykr, the Doom Slayer has already killed Deag Nilox and travels to a Argent D’Nur and Hell itself to first collect the parts needed to build an apparatus called the Celestial Locator for locating the Hell Priests. With the working apparatus, the Doom Slayer next fights through a UAC facility that cultists have taken over, acquiring his old Super Shotgun in the process and eventually reaching Deag Ranak. While Ranak has successfully reconstructed a monstrosity called the Doom Hunter in a bid to destroy the Doom Slayer, the Doom Slayer defeats these beasts in combat and confronts Ranak; while Ranak pleads for his life, the Doom Slayer kills him and leaves, intent on killing the remaining Hell Priest. DOOM Eternal, sequel to 2016’s DOOM, thus returns in a big way. Upon hearing about a new DOOM game, I’d been excited until said news also entailed the fact that there’d be DLC. Suddenly, it became more prudent to wait; previously, I bought Ace Combat 7 shortly after launch and felt shafted that there’d be a DLC campaign; the Deluxe Edition would feature the additional content on top of the base game, and during a sale, could be had for considerably more reasonable prices. I thus elected to wait for DOOM Eternal to go on sale and determine what the Deluxe Edition would entail. This patience was met with reward, and during the summer sale, I ended up picking up the Deluxe Edition for a mere 40 CAD, where it normally goes for 120 CAD. Besides the base game, DOOM Eternal‘s Deluxe Edition also comes with both instalments to The Ancient Gods. Considering I’d bought 2016’s DOOM for 48 CAD, suddenly, it became clear that I was getting a considerable deal here. With DOOM Eternal purchased, I immediately set about making my way through the campaign. The first mission was admittedly underwhelming; ammunition was scarce, and I found that I was running out after almost every firefight. Punching enemies had no impact, either, and the lack of a pistol meant I was forced to waste limited shotgun ammunition dealing with individual zombies. However, I was merely an hour into DOOM Eternal, and so, I persisted, eventually picking up a chainsaw, heavy assault rifle and plasma rifle to help things along. As I made my way through the early levels, my arsenal grew: the Doom Slayer adds an ordnance launcher and shoulder-mounted flame-thrower to his load-out, along with the highly lethal Blood Punch.

With increasing tools to utilise, and a deepening sense of understanding of what DOOM Eternal intends for players to do, it becomes clear that DOOM Eternal is a straight upgrade over its predecessor in terms of combat. In DOOM, it had been sufficient to gain an understanding of one’s map, and then continue moving around while engaging enemies with whatever weapon one had on hand. DOOM Eternal, on the other hand, is more unpredictable and unforgiving. Certain weapons work better on certain monsters, and starting a firefight without an understanding of one’s tools is highly punishing. Attempting to attack a Cacodemon with the heavy assault rifle will simply waste one’s bullets, and Arachnotrons initially are mini-boss fights in their own right, requiring almost all of one’s shotgun ammunition to handle. However, enemies in DOOM Eternal now have distinct weaknesses that can be exploited: Cacodemons are particularly vulnerable explosives, and if they should swallow a round from the explosive shotgun mod, they are instantly staggered, rendering them open to a glory kill. Similarly, Arachnotrons possess a plasma rifle on their scorpion-like tail, and if this were destroyed by explosives, or sniped from a distance, they’re suddenly less threatening. DOOM Eternal thus encourages players to pick their fights accordingly, switch weapons appropriately and manage their resources well during each firefight, actively reacting and adapting to whatever the situation calls for. Every firefight requires thought going in, but if one is caught unprepared, with the wrong weapon and mod in hand, creativity can still get them out. Not having explosives against a Cacodemon, for instance, is forgiven by the fact one can still use their grenades to briefly stun one. The addition of weak points and resource management transforms firefights into a thinking man’s game: while map knowledge, smart movement and swift reflexes remain as essential as ever, this additional layer adds depth to each encounter, making every victory feel more rewarding. This is where DOOM Eternal excels in its combat, and having now spent six hours learning the basics, I feel confident in using the mechanics in DOOM Eternal to prevail over my foes and stop Hell’s invasion single-handedly.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • According to the blog’s archives, it’s been five years since I’ve last written about DOOM. Back then, I’d just finished graduate school, and after joining a medical visualisation/data collection startup, I began learning iOS development in Swift to complete a project for a computational oncology company in the States; prior to that, my work had been using the Unity engine to do cancer visualisations using similar techniques that I’d developed for my thesis, but the world of startups is very fluid, so I ended up picking up Swift so I could work on a mobile app that would be used to collect survey data from patients. Unfortunately, that particular company suffered from a lack of dedicated in-house mobile developers, and my first-ever commercial app was never properly maintained, eventually becoming obsolete and removed from the App Store.

  • I took those learnings to build several more-successful apps for the start-up I was with, and with my coworkers, we chatted at length about DOOM and its revolutionary design. I enjoyed my work, but this startup ended up kicking the can two years later from a lack of interest in the concept and the corresponding angel investors. The apps I released were pulled from the App Store, since no one was around to pay the Apple Developer program fees needed to keep the apps up and running. However, despite this disappointing outcome, I would leave my first startup with a better command of what app development entailed, and now that I knew where the gaps in my knowledge was, I was able to vastly improve these skills with my next position.

  • In this way, I was able to become very confident, and more competent, with things like UIKit, protocols and delegation, auto-layout, completion handlers, network calls and NSNotifications, to name a few – at present, I am able to build an entire app from front to back, from laying down the first storyboards and setting up build configuration files, to creating pixel-perfect UI elements based on what designers provide. Of course, my knowledge is constantly changing, and what I am working on now is learning more SQL and database design, as well as JavaScript, so that I can eventually build my own databases and the endpoints to communicate with my apps. This is about the gist of what can happen in five years, and it’s clear that for the developers at id Software, their craft over the past five years have improved dramatically, too.

  • For DOOM Eternal and future gaming posts (barring Halo Infinite), I have decided to switch over to hosting my images through Flickr – I’d previously hosted all gaming images through WordPress so that readers can see my exploits in higher resolution, but after nearly a decade of blogging, I am finally beginning to run out of space. Flickr’s image hosting solution has proven to be the most robust and versatile, and I’ve had no trouble with anime screenshots, so for the future, this is going to be the approach I take – while the gaming screenshots won’t be as crisp or sharp as they previously were, they should still get the job done.

  • DOOM Eternal‘s first mission entails fighting one’s way through a ruined city on Earth as Hellspawn continue to tear the place apart. The level of destruction is apparent, and the world we call home is unrecognisable, and indeed, this first level is reminiscent of DOOM II: Hell on Earth, which was similarly set on Earth. However, this is about the only similarity: in DOOM II, humanity had constructed spacecraft with which to flee the planet, and ends up venturing into Hell itself to fight the Hellspawn’s leaders. Conversely, by the events of DOOM Eternal, even the UAC are unable to slow the onslaught.

  • One of the aspects about DOOM Eternal that I really liked was the fact that the game sent players to locations with a distinct high fantasy feel to them: the second mission is set on Argent D’Nur, an Earth-like planet with coniferous trees, snow-capped mountains and moody, overcast skies. In DOOM, the Doom Slayer was sent off to a more hellish part of the planet that was corrupted, and here, the goal is to repair the device needed to track the Hell Priests. The Warcraft-like castles belong to the Night Sentinels, a warrior group who existed to protect the Wraiths, powerful beings who granted them the capability to oppose Hell’s worst.

  • By this point in time, I’d unlocked the Dash and Blood Punch abilities, as well as the Flame Belch. Initially, I found DOOM Eternal‘s HUD to be a shade too cartoonish for my liking, and the colours were quite distracting. However, DOOM Eternal offers extensive customisations, including the choice to alter HUD opacity, colour schemes and crosshair settings, among other things. While I’d not modified anything initially, at the time of writing, I’ve since changed the HUD colours to the UAC default, making it resemble the colour scheme from DOOM, and with this single modification, my screen feels like it has less visual clutter.

  • The second half of the mission sends the Doom Slayer to Hell itself; the Doom Slayer is in search of the Betrayer, a Night Sentinel who was briefly mentioned in DOOM and had committed the crime of striking a bargain with a Hell Priest in order to resurrect his son by allowing him an audience with the Wraiths. The Hell Priest deceived him and ultimately was able to mount an assault on Argent D’Nur, and returned to the Betrayer his son in a hideous, monsterous form. Upon meeting the Betrayer, the Doom Slayer promises to help him lay his son to rest and in turn, receives the Celestial Locator.

  • Hell is defined by grotesque surroundings, with blood, organs and skeletons from vast beasts lying scattered about. The massive scale of monsters in DOOM and DOOM Eternal bring to mind Lovecraftian horror, where cosmic beings beyond comprehension and the inability to know them creates terror and madness. While DOOM and DOOM Eternal don’t use Lovecraftian principles per se (the monsters are, after all, in a form players are familiar with), a part of the horror in DOOM comes from seeing the sheer massiveness of these long-defeated monstrosities.

  • With the Celestial Locator in hand, the Doom Slayer prepares to return to the exit portal. The last portion of the mission entails some careful platforming in order to pull off, and here, a special power-up that instantly refills the dash is visible. Having access to the dash gives players the ability to create a great deal of forward momentum very quickly, and in conjunction with double jumping, allows for perilous chasms to be cleared. Flaming chains reminiscent of those seen in Super Mario can be seen: as a child, the fortress levels terrified me owing to the fire-bar hazard, and seeing a modern equivalent brought back memories of these times.

  • The next mission sends the Doom Slayer to the Arctic, where the cultists have converted a UAC research facility into a base for the Hell Priest Deag Ranak. The facility itself might be a cutting-edge research centre, but it bears the Gothic architecture characteristic of high fantasy settings, as well. Here, the Doom Slayer will fight Mancubi for the first time: unlike their DOOM counterparts, whose dual flame-throwers are completely natural, the Mancubus of DOOM Eternal more closely resembles its DOOM II counterpart, and its powerful flame-throwers are vulnerable to fire. Once destroyed, the Mancubus can be dispatched with relative ease. The alternate for engaging Macubi is to hammer them from a distance using the rocket launcher.

  • I ended up unlocking the precision bolt for the heavy cannon first and picked up the micro-missiles attachment after, while for the plasma rifle, I opted for the microwave beam purely on the virtue that it looks cool, and generally found the plasma rifle in DOOM Eternal to be a superb close to medium range weapon, capable of staggering enemies in a few shots and vapourising them outright when killed. I tend to use the heavy cannon for weak enemies like zombies and imps, while Hell Soldiers, I prefer using the plasma rifle for.

  • The architecture in DOOM Eternal is contributing greatly to my enjoyment of the game, and I am constantly reminded of an old friend from high school who was very much into this sort of world back in the day: he’d contributed to my enjoyment of Nightwish and got me into Half-Life 2 at a time when none of my other classmates or friends had a computer powerful enough to run Half-Life 2 and its episodes, although we drifted apart in university, and it’s been a shade under a decade since we last spoke. With this being said, I’m certain that DOOM Eternal would be right up his alley.

  • The first segment of the third mission has the Doom Slayer ripping and tearing his way through the UAC Cultist facility in search of his old property. The Super Shotgun is an old-school double-barreled shotgun capable of obscene damage, but it gains a new utility in the form of a grappling hook called the “meat hook”, which allows for the Doom Slayer to latch onto an enemy and pull himself towards it. In this way, it is possible to, in conjunction with double jumps and dashes, traverse large distances very quickly. The utility is reminiscent of Agent Under Fire‘s Q-Claw, which was a superbly flexible tool in multiplayer, and I’ve heard that in Halo: Infinite, Master Chief will be equipped with a grappling hook, as well: in the trailers, players seen using it to pull in fusion cores and tossing them at Covenant.

  • I suddenly wish that such a feature was present in DOOM Eternal, since there are explosives lying around in some areas that can make it easier to clear out hordes of enemies. I’ve opted to run with the sticky bomb mod for the shotgun: being able to lob explosives is an ability that has saved my skin on several occasions. The alternate mod is an automatic fire mode that turns the shotgun into a short range death machine, but it also burns through ammunition at a very high rate. I’ve heard rumours that the automatic fire mode will replenish ammo whenever scoring a kill, although having tried this for myself, I didn’t find it to be the case.

  • DOOM Eternal‘s rocket launcher is considerably more powerful than its DOOM counterpart, sporting more damage and a larger blast radius. In exchange, one can only carry a maximum of thirteen rockets at a time (previously, one could carry a maximum of thirty-five rockets). The changes mean that the rocket launcher is to be used more strategically, and I prefer saving the rocket for tougher foes like the Mancubus. Here, I’m just about done clearing out one of the arenas outside, and readers will notice a bar filling up on the upper right-hand side of the screen.

  • Weapon upgrade points make a return from DOOM, being earned for clearing out enemies. Whereas DOOM only had a maximum of five points per level, DOOM Eternal offers up to ten points a level: five are allocated to standard combat, two for secret encounters and one involving a Slayer Gate challenge, which pushes players to their limits given their current familiarity and arsenal. There are a total of six Slayer Gates in DOOM Eternal‘s campaign, and I ultimately did end up going back to replay the second mission so I could complete the one I missed.

  • DOOM Eternal‘s story component is more prominent than it had been in DOOM; when reaching areas for the first time, the game will pause momentarily and introduce a cutscene which explores what the Doom Slayer’s actions have resulted in. For returning players, these are easily skipped. The inclusion of these cutscenes is a solid way of presenting story to first-timers like myself, whereas returning players can very easily hop over them for the main attraction. It is clear that player choice is very much a central part of DOOM Eternal, and for me, having the cutscenes really immersed me into the world’s impressive lore.

  • If the current DOOM universe ever received a Tolkien-style legendarium, I’d totally read them: there’s so much depth to the world that the in-game codices provide, and I’m fond of reading them as I find them. Towards the end of the third mission, the Doom Slayer boards a train and heads towards the installation where Deag Ranak is hiding. While he exudes a defiant personality and is confident he’ll survive an encounter with the Doom Slayer, the Hell Priests themselves are still flesh-and-blood, leaving them vulnerable to the violence that the Doom Slayer excels in dealing out.

  • An impressive-looking facility, the Doom Hunter Base feels like a location on Azeroth, or perhaps Northrend. I’ve been speaking about this for months, but I definitely will be aiming to explore Northrend on my private server very soon here; back in April, I finally made good on an old promise and completed Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, beating Alduin in Sovngarde. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to back up my screenshots of the experience, and my current save files for those particular levels were overwritten, so I don’t have access to Sovngarde without using console commands.

  • With this being said, I did have a great time finally bringing my journey to an end in Skyrim: even more so than DOOM Eternal and other Bethesda works, the lore in a given Elder Scrolls game is immersive and thorough. Beating Alduin means that I’ve now finished Skyrim, an experience that lasted me a total of 55 hours over the span of eight years. Overall, the experience was well worth it, and while the gameplay now feels a bit dated now (when I bought Skyrim, it’d only been two years old and felt very smooth), the lore and exploration remain unmatched. To finally smash Alduin means I can explore the world at my own pace now, and I’ll likely save this for rainy days where travelling to the mountains isn’t possible.

  • Elder Scrolls VI was announced three years ago, although Bethesda have indicated that it’ll be coming out in the future, after 2022’s Starfield, an all-new franchise. As such, I’ll return my focus to DOOM Eternal, where I’ve entered the heart of the complex. Even though the screenshots aren’t as sharp as the screenshots from my previous gaming posts, it is apparent that the visual fidelity in DOOM Eternal blows anything I’d previously played out of the water. Even without real-time ray-tracing enabled, the game looks absolutely incredible even though I’m on an eight-year-old machine.

  • Having not played a DOOM game since 2016, my platforming skills have somewhat deteriorated, and so, when I encountered an unlock for runes, I immediately opted for the rune that increases control while airborne. This didn’t stop me from making my share of mistakes, and here, I accidentally missed a jump and fell into the molten metal; the Doom Slayer will reference Terminator II and do a thumbs-up, just like in DOOM, which was a clever touch. DOOM Eternal adds extra lives as a mechanic, allowing players to instantly respawn should they die in a spot, and falling into a pit now only pushes players with a small reduction in health and armour on standard difficulty.

  • I’m currently playing through DOOM Eternal on “Hurt Me Plenty”, the default difficulty. Players initially reported being decimated on normal difficulty, I imagine that it’s because they were trying to play DOOM Eternal like they did DOOMDOOM Eternal requires a slightly different mindset going in, and once this mindset is cultivated, DOOM Eternal becomes more fun. It certainly doesn’t become easier, since the game will expect that with more experience, players will be able to handle increasingly challenging situations).

  • By the fourth mission, players will have access to enough of an arsenal and their Prætor’s full abilities (Ordnance launcher, Flame Belch, Dash and Blood Punch) to navigate open areas and top off on resources during firefights. DOOM Eternal stops holding the players’ hand here and opens the floor up to creativity, and while DOOM Eternal is very much a linear game, the amount of options available means the missions actually feel quite open in their design. This is the sort of thing that all FPS fans love to see: while the end destination might be the same, there’s enough choice in each level so everyone will reach said destination in a slightly different manner.

  • One of the things I loved about the Doom Hunter Base was how Deag Ranak and the level design itself would tease at what was upcoming: an ancient monster, torn in half with its spine and internal organs dangling precariously, is gradually shown to be assembled, and Ranak himself will declare that this monster is probably going to be something that impresses even the Doom Slayer. Having gone through DOOM previously and possessing a modicum of knowledge pertaining to what the Doom Slayer is capable of, these remarks suggest that players will be given their first challenge of DOOM Eternal.

  • Reflecting this, the levels’s dæmonic corruption bar (i.e. the indicator that shows weapon point progress) appears differently, with the ticks on the far right organised into one group. A boss fight is coming, and this moment is a milestone in DOOM EternalDOOM previously had three boss fights (one against the Cyberdemon, one against the Hell Guards and then the final one against the Spider Mastermind). Each fight had its own mechanics and felt surprisingly fresh, involving a combination of movement and accuracy to overcome.

  • In keeping with DOOM Eternal‘s underlying philosophy, boss fights also require a dash of strategy and resource management. With this in mind, I faced off against  DOOM Eternal‘s first boss, the Doom Hunter, this past Saturday. The Doom Hunter is described as a Agaddon Hunter grafted onto a hovering platform. It has a chainsaw mounted on its left arm, and its right arm is a plasma cannon, and the platform itself launches missiles. The Doom Hunter’s design reminds me vividly of the sort of thing the average middle school boy might found awesome, and in Bill Amend’s FoxTrot, Jason Fox is fond of dreaming up constructs like this for the cool factor. It’s the best thing to fight on a lazy summer afternoon where it’s too hot to be out and about, and last Saturday turned out to be full of surprises – after a southern fried chicken dinner, I decided to go for an evening walk under the still-warm day, something that only the summer can offer.

  • In the actual fight itself, strategy entails shooting at the Doom Hunter’s unshielded platform first: the Doom Hunter itself is protected by a powerful energy shield that mitigates incoming damage, but the platform is vulnerable to explosives. Once the platform is destroyed, the shields will fall, and the Doom Slayer can resort to any attack to finish this foe off. I ended up using the Plasma Rifle’s microwave beam to explode the first one. However, it wouldn’t be DOOM if things weren’t over-the-top: as I congratulated myself on finishing the first boss of the game, DOOM Eternal then dropped me into an outdoors arena where I would now fight two Doom Hunters simultaneously.

  • While an intimidating thought, I shook the doubt out of my head: having now beaten one Doom Hunter, I knew what needed to be done and set about engaging the Doom Hunters separately, preferring to focus on one and using the area’s design to my advantage: I dashed across openings and cut down lesser dæmons to restock on health, ammo and armour. As the fight wore on, the Doom Hunters’ sleds became destroyed, and I ended up finishing them off without any trouble, bringing my first third of DOOM Eternal to an end.

While the DLC had been one reason I had held off on making DOOM Eternal a day-one purchase, another reason had lay in whether or not my PC could handle DOOM Eternal. In 2016, DOOM pushed my machine to its limits; I could only run the game at medium settings if I wanted 60 FPS at 1080p, and frame drops were not uncommon. I upgraded my GPU to ensure a smoother experience, and the difference was night and day. DOOM had led to the first time I’d upgraded my hardware for one game, and at present, with my machine passing its eighth birthday, I was a little worried that DOOM Eternal would prove too much for my machine. Unlike DOOM, which had a demo that allowed me to determine precisely how my machine would handle, DOOM Eternal had no such equivalent. I ended up going off reading about benchmarks for my CPU and GPU combination to gain a measure of what to expect, but it wasn’t until I found a YouTube channel whose owner had the same setup I did that I became convinced my machine could run DOOM Eternal. After I purchased DOOM Eternal, I powered on the game with some trepidation, and while the first five minutes saw me with some frame drops, as I pushed further into the game, things began smoothing out. DOOM Eternal, like its predecessor, is incredibly well-optimised: movement is just as smooth and responsive as it had been, and on high settings, the game looks amazing even without real-time ray-tracing enabled. Having now gone through the first third of DOOM Eternal, I am convinced that the game’s performance is satisfactory, and moreover, the gameplay is superb. According to DOOM Eternal, I’ve now picked up all of the tools that I will need to be successful in stemming the dæmonic invasion on my own: even though I’m only four levels in, Steam has been kind enough to inform me that I’ve already spent six hours in DOOM Eternal. While my initial experience in DOOM Eternal had been a bit slow, it turns out the game intended to ease players into things: there are a bewildering amount of options in DOOM Eternal, and presenting them all at once would be overwhelming. Conversely, by incrementally unlocking the Doom Slayer’s arsenal, players have a chance to really understand what they can do with their existing toolset before augmenting it with new equipment intended to fulfil a specific role. It is saying something that DOOM Eternal requires four to six hours just to get players geared up: the game is considerably bigger than its predecessor, and all of the signs point to an exceptional experience where I’m sure to have a good time.