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Doom Eternal Review: the Best 2020 Shooter

Heavy metal, gore, and blasting demons. That’s what you get with Doom Eternal, a sequel to 2016’s DOOM. It had no right to be good given the franchise’s slow ascent to greatness. But it is. I’d even say this is the best first-person shooter of the year.

Doom Eternal is the best 2020 FPS
Doom Eternal is the best 2020 FPS
4.6Superb

Developed by ID Software and published by Bethesda, 2020’s Doom follows the same ideas as the original: it’s incredibly fun, incredibly goofy, incredibly smart, and, most of all, incredibly metal. It’s a perfect blend between fast-paced explosive action, fine-tuned gameplay mechanics, and a ravaging soundtrack blasting through your speakers as you slash demons left and right.

Doom Eternal expands what we already saw on Doom 2016 and takes the action up to 11. Fire, blood, and metal are everywhere and anywhere.

Don’t worry, though, if you’re new to the franchise, you don’t need anything to play this. The plot is almost non-existent. Just like the 1994’s Doom II, you are “space marine” who returns from Hell to a ravaged Earth. Demons are roaming through the land, billions have been slaughtered, and there’s nobody to fight back. You are the only one who can fix everything.

Doom Eternal is the most excessive first-person-shooter you’re going to play.If you  played 2016’s Doom and carry the save file on your console or PC, some of the things will carry over. For example, you get to keep some of the unlockable skills like the double-jump, and you also get to start the campaign with a shotgun and a chainsaw. Otherwise, Doom Eternal is perfectly okay for total franchise amateurs. It invites you to play with its kinetic cinematic intro.

Easy to get. You’re are the DOOM Slayer and you have to take Earth back from the forces of Hell. This fast first-person-shooter gets very clear and messy from the get-go. The adrenaline-rush starts as soon as Mick Gordon’s OST starts kicking. Your journey across dimensions is just a few clicks away.

A game like this doesn’t need further plot. Tthey are the monsters, you are the hero. Seek and destroy.

Doom Eternal Gameplay: metal-fueled shot & slash

Is easy to see how Doom Eternal’s gameplay is the absolute highlight of the game. Doom’s combat is like 2018’s Mad Max on steroids, cocaine, and booze. It’s also the perfect equivalent of eating a delicious double-meet burger with extra cheese and sauces on a local bar while Gojira’s L’Enfant Sauvage sounds behind the bar. Can you get the idea?

If you look closely, you will appreciate the artistic style, the colors, the graphics, and the mechanics. If you…you know…just look, you’ll get how everything goes in just a couple of seconds.

And it is just how you imagine it: you have guns, lots of guns. You have abilities as well, but you need to learn them. And there are hideous monsters all around the Doom Slayer. A hint? Kill them all until you kill the final boss and it’ll set you free of this obsession.

Explosive mechanics

There’s a couple of extra mechanics here, though. For example, if you do a certain amount of damage to the enemies before they die, they will stagger and glow orange. This lets you do a gruesome  “Glory Kill”  move to restore some health.

There’s also a chainsaw that’s just as fun as it sounds. This is a one-button option that can cut heads and carve enemies apart. Killing an enemy with the chainsaw gives you some extra bullets, but you need to find gas to keep the weapon’s tank full.

Gas also powers the flamethrower, which is by far the goofiest weapon. It can toast your enemies to death. Killing an enemy with the flamethrower gives you some extra armor, but this ability is set to a cooldown.

Furthermore, there’re collectible items that increase your character’s powers, which include abilities, weapon upgrades, and passive upgrades. Each extra you add to your character increases the levels of -you guessed it- explosions.

Overall, the action is fast, non-stop, crazy, and easy to grasp. You can even select between 6 different difficulty levels to fine-tune your experience.

Here’s a video showcasing the first two hours of gameplay:

New abilities, twice the fun, thrice the speed

Doom Eternal includes some of the abilities we’ve already seen in 2016’s Doom plus some new ones. As a result, there’s a whole set of abilities that will help you close the gateway to Hell.

Your skills are part of the armor you’re using, the Doom Eternal Suit. There’re 4 Suit upgrade locations through the game you need to find to learn new skills. These abilities are:

  • Blood Punch:  allows you to pulverize demons with your fist.
  • Frag Grenade: like it reads. Just a grenade!
  • Ice bomb: it freezes enemies in place
  • Dash: this is a movement ability that allows you to slide forward. You can then improve it to a double-dash and use it together with your jumping abilities

On top of that, there’re two special weapons you can find to add extra explosions to your arsenal.

  • Flame Belch: this is the special flamethrower that allows you to regain armor on each enemy kill.
  • Chainsaw: you must also find this weapon on your gameplay. It allows you to restock ammo on enemy kill.

Additionally, you can double jump as you jump and as you explore. It’s one of the most useful abilities. When you use this together with the dash ability, you’re going to be able to dodge enemy fire, death-rays, and slow monsters.

In particular, you need to perform a Glory Kill to recharge the double jump. See, when you stagger an enemy by doing just enough damage, you can kill it with your melee button for the special finishing move. You’ll know the time is right because the demon blinks in yellow. The Glory Kill recharges your double jump and your double dash. It also gives you some extra health and some orbs to recharge your other abilities.

The abilities work like a charm and you’d find yourself using your whole arsenal during your entire playthrough. It turns the game into an endless cycle of resource management and frenetic but smart desitions

Moreover, every enemy type has a different weakness. As you’re running low on ammo and health at the heat of the moment, you’d better know how to kill your foes as fast as you can.

It makes the game fast, fun, and crazy. Just like the Guitar Hero series, you have to do everything without even thinking. You, as the Doom Slayer, must become an automatic killing machine.

Doom Eternal features the same kind of weapons that makes the franchise so gory and weird.

Doom Eternal Weapons

It’s not Borderland-levels of weaponry because it’s not trying to. Instead, you get a set of weapons you find during your gameplay plus ways of improving your guns. And because every enemy has a different weakness, you’re going to be using all of them up until the last enemy.

The weapons are:

  • Ballista
  • BFG 9000
  • Chaingun
  • Chainsaw
  • Combat Shotgun
  • Doomblade
  • Equipment Launcher
  • Heavy Cannon
  • Meat Hook
  • Plasma Rifle
  • Rocket Launcher
  • Super Shotgun
  • The Crucible
  • Unmaker

On top of that, you will find weapons mods on the maps. The mods can drastically change how the weapons work whilst erasing their shortcomings. There’re many mods, but you can only install two of them on each weapon. Keep in mind these upgrades are far and in between.

Additional RPG Elements

As you go-on, your demon-slayer character grows in power. The way it improves seems inspired in Blizzard’s Diablo 3 as it’s a friendly approach to the often unforgiving RPG genre.

DOOM Eternal’s Runes are a particular RPG element that will make you replay this game over and over to try different “builds.” The runes are returning from 2016′ Doom but with a few tweaks to make them easier to get.

YOu only need to find the runes on the different levels to use them, as each run you find grants you with a character perk. There’re 9 rune locations on the game, but you can only have 3 perks activated at any given time. That means you have dozens of options to experiment with. It also means you can expend hours swimming around YouTube videos to find the best combinations.

For example, the Chrono Strike perk gives you the ability to temporarily slow time, but it has a cooldown.

There’s also a set collectible Sentinel Crystals that add permanent passive abilities to your character. More specifically, they unlock a passive skill tree of sorts. Each Crystal gives you access to a bracket, where you can select between 2 abilities. Nevertheless, there’re 12 Sentinel Crystals and 6 brackets, so you could unlock all of the passive skills if you’re careful.

Lastly, you need to find Sentinel Batteries with careful exploration. These pieces unlock regions of the game to find additional collectibles and upgrades.

Doom Eternal’s passive abilities make you more powerful to face bigger and bigger enemies. Source: Attack of the Fanboy.

Doom Eternal Level Desing

Level design is not something you’d see on your typical game reviews. However, I think Doom Eternal’s level conception is one of its main advantages. The levels are a perfect match for the game’s gameplay, mechanics, and soundtrack.

Right as you’re introduced into the game, you step forward into its creative approach of moving through space. The levels feature a massive display of creativity and danger. There are no restrictions and no limitations. There’re fire-breathing walls, swinging walls, or anything you’d see on an evil Mario Odyssey world.

In essence, each level feels like a multiplayer combat arena where you can jump, glide, slide, run, and enjoy overall expanded movement abilities. The design also forces you to be thoughtful and take advantage of the environment.

There’s a downside to this, though. The level design is so crazy that you’re probably going to dye because of the map’s geometry.

How long is Doom Eternal?

That said, this is a lengthy game. It packs 13 levels (or 13 missions) on its single-player campaign. It could take you up to 20 hours to finish the game but, to be honest, this is an adrenaline-rush kind of experience. You’re going to rush forward.

The 13 levels will see you fighting through hordes of monsters and come across upgrades, weapons, and collectibles (Sentinel Batteries, Runes, and Sentinel Crystals).

After you finish the game, you’re going to unlock the Master Levels, which are a remix of the original missions featuring new challenges and tougher enemies. Right now, though, there’s only one Master Level, but Id Software promises to keep launching new “remixes” down the road. There’s an additional Master Level only available for those who bought the pre-order.

If that’s not enough, you can go to the Battlemode Multiplayer Mode which pits you against other player-controller demons with various abilities. That’s a new one, and it’s certainly fun.

We are sure Doom Eternal will live on for years.

Metalhead Soundtrack

If you’re a pop kind of gay, maybe you’d want to play this whilst listening to a Spotify playlist. Or just skip it altogether. That’s because everything falls into place with the soundtrack.

I’ve said a lot of things about the game’s soundtrack because I’m a rocker. But, to be honest, the composer Mick Gordon wasn’t truly involved with the project. He even resigned after the game debuted because he had no control over his music.

So, while the soundtrack is awesome, the game also suffers from sub-par audio compression and a sound-mix that falls below Gordon’s max potential.

Gordon is the composer of 2016’s Doom and 2017’s Wolfenstein II. He got awards for both OSTs.

What I’m trying to say is that Doom Eternal’s soundtrack rocks indeed. However, it doesn’t live to its fullest potential and that’s a shame.

Doom Eternal Gamer’s Experience

Even though much of the story is told through a codex database, and even though the game adds a hub-like spaceship that adds nothing, I find Doom Eternal to be a 10/10 fps experienced.

The fast-paced gameplay makes you play moment to moment, combat by combat. Each growl, each scene of violence, each blast will make you pull feats of accuracy and precision you’ve never done before on any other game.

There’s a catch, though. These super-fast kinds of games tend to be exhausting. You’re going to find yourself wanting more time to explore and less time to fight.

Other than that, I think the cinematic cutscenes and explosions can overstay their welcome. There’s one too many of them for you won’t pay any attention to the plot.

However, I can’t shake the sense that Doom Eternal is trying to be more serious than it is. Or, on the other hand, it might be trying to be goofier than it is.

That said, the core experience delivers what I think to be the best first-person-shooter of the year. Overall, Doom Eternal is bigger, better, and more ambitious than its predecessor. And it’s just as much fun as you imagine.

Doom Eternal is published by Bethesda and so it carries RPG elements previously seen on games like Fallout or The Elder Scrolls. Source: Bethesda.

Doom Eternal is even better for PC

There’s one last thing I have to name, which is how well optimized this game is.

You can play this game on a moderate gaming PC and suffer no crashes, no hiccups, no slow-downs, and no bumps. Extensive performance reviews are showing how a maxed out Doom Eternal can run with 60 frames per second at 1080p with $150 GPUs like the GTX 1060 or the RX 570. That’s a serious highlight.

That said why don’t you take a look at our list of the best PC cases? You know, just in case you’re feeling like putting together your rig. No pun intended.

Doom Eternal requires at least a 4 GB GPU. Source: System Requirements Lab.

Doom Eternal is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows 10. If you’re reading this from your computer, you can buy Doom Eternal from Steam or directly from Bethesda’s site. It became available in March 2020.

Our Doom Eternal Review is part of our ongoing series of the top 10 2020 games.

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In Summary

Finishing Doom Eternal is as exhausting as it is fun. It’s an endless whirlwind of resource management, cooldowns, ammo, health, and demons all around you. This is an experience as fast as no other. It’s a celebration of violence, speed, bullets, explosions, volume, and excess. Doom Eternal is the most intense and demanding FPS of this console generation.

Doom Eternal is too much. And Doom Eternal is too good. If you’re into first-person shooters, this is a 2020 must-play AAA title. And if you’re into fps games that add RPG elements like Bioshock or Fallout, then, even better

What do you think? Have you already played this game, or is it in your to-do list? Before you go, leave your comments down below. Also, be sure to check our previous top 2020 game reviews, which include Valorant, The Last of Us Part II, and Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Doom Eternal is the best 2020 FPS
4.6Superb
Doom Eternal is too much. It's an excess of violence, gore, silliness, enemies, explosions, and heavy metal music. And it's great,: this fast-paced AAA title might be the best 2020 shooter.

Positives

  • Fine-tuned gameplay mechanics
  • Fast-paced exiting shooter
  • Exiting soundtrack
  • Easy-to-grasp but fun RPG elements
  • Superb level design
  • Creative multiplayer mode
  • Lengthy single-player campaign
  • Perfectly-optimized for Windows, Xbox, and PS4

Negatives

  • Not enough opportunities to explore
  • Too much action is tiresome
  • Not enough post-game content yet

Breakdown

  • Explosive, goofy, and fine-tuned 4.6/5
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