Doom 2016 shattered all expectations. Upon release, fans of the original Doom, released in 1993, virtually jumped through their ceilings with delight. Doom 2016 was everything they had hoped it would be, focusing on fast paced action, and tossing such silly notions as ‘taking cover’ and ‘reloading’ right out the window. Obviously, it went on to be a massive earner for developers id Software, which basically guaranteed that a sequel would be on the horizon.
Doom: Eternal released in March 2020, and was mostly met with an equal amount of praise. However, there were a few opposing voices this time, desperate to point out the flaws amidst a veritable tsunami of praise.
So now that a few months have passed, and the hype has died down, let’s go back and take another look at what was being referred to as a ‘perfect’ game.
Adapt Or Die
What made Doom 1993 so enjoyable was its focus on speed. The original id developers were forced to tackle technical limitations of hardware at the time, and knew that their only option was to make enemy numbers, and dodging projectiles, the meat of the gameplay. Little else was really possible, given that this was a time when online bingo in New Zealand wasn’t even a reality, never mind advanced 3D graphics.
Although technology has come a long way since then, Doom 2016 stuck to the original formula. Dodging, moving, and shooting were the primary means for players to face enemies, and it all worked out well. There were some advancements over Doom 1994, however, including a multitude of new weapons, and the Glory Kill system. An enemy on low health could be killed with a melee attack, which earned the player back some health. This meant that players never needed to take a break from the action to look for health kits.
Doom: Eternal is a very different game from Doom 1993 and Doom 2016. Although looking similar on the surface, the flow of the game is drastically different.
Is This Doom?
Doom: Eternal focused heavily on the Glory Kill system. Running and gunning is still possible, but the game will now quickly overwhelm the player if they are not carefully approaching fights. Essentially, if the player doesn’t utilise the Glory Kill system, they are going to die. This flies in the face of the original Doom formula, which allowed players the freedom to simply tackle every battle with mass firepower, and speed.
As far as the Doom franchise is concerned, Doom: Eternal is not true to what has been established as the core gameplay. Some have called it an evolution, but others call it a betrayal of what was expected. There is also the matter of a few areas in which frustration can quickly bubble to the surface, where death is almost inevitable. Puzzles are placed in poison water, for example, and this isn’t a comforting way to die, especially given the game’s constant encouragement for players to try and finish levels on limited lives. But if you want to win big, this is the game for you.
Doom: Eternal is a good game, but perhaps in hindsight a very bad Doom game.