After Wolfenstein: Youngblood, we also got some hands-on time with Doom: Eternal, the sequel to the 2016 reboot of the classic innovator of video game violence simply titled Doom. Much like the 2016 Doom (not to be confused with the original 1993 Doom), Doom: Eternal is powerviolence supercharge of what Doom was in years past. Far from the pitch-black survival horror of Doom 3 and hulking through like the original Doom‘s steroid-riddled, uncontrollable, bigger brother, Eternal is a freight train of violence and shooting. The game’s mostly nameless main character (affectionately referred to as the Doom Slayer) shows up at a Union Aerospace Corporation space station (presumably again near Mars) where all hell literally and figuratively are breaking loose. The scientists and guards on hand stop in their tracks in utter awe as the Doom Slayer heads toward the onrushing horde of demons. He wordlessly jumps into the fight and as the player we are immediately confronted with throngs of capable enemies.
Unlike the series very first entry in the early ’90s the demons in the first phase of Eternal are no simple automatons that can easily be dispatched. Here, immediately things are flying at you from all angles. The introduction screens show how to get more armor, health, ammo or fuel, and all of which map to trying to do more, and faster. Each is connected to a different method of attacking, whether it shooting, “glory killing” (which is essentially a brutal direct melee attack) or chainsawing your way through an enemy. It can get chaotic without question as in an open room the demons shoot at you from all sides. There’s no staking out your attack and methodically planning your assault here. In Doom: Eternal you do better to constantly be dashing around, plucking off lesser enemies to make for less confusion while the bigger baddies aggressively stalk you. And believe me, there’s no hiding from these foes once they’ve got a whiff of you. Demons do what demons are gonna do, after all.
The first level was more attainable as we blasted through the hordes exiting Hell into our universe. The second level–much further along in the game–posed a few problems for us. This part involved leap frogging across springboard platforms through the vast expanse of space, heading for a gigantic space cannon in the distance. Jumping these great distances was not impossible, but super difficult if unfamiliar with the range of jumps and free-fall. We died a dozen times just learning what moment was best to plot the jump. After clearing that we arrived at another open space where UAC soldiers were futilely trying to mount a counterattack against the incoming demons, only to be systematically possessed by them. We dove in and took on wave after wave of the game’s myriad enemies, most notably the original game’s brilliant invention, the cacodemon. Either we weren’t up to par for the challenge of this section or there was some kind of code glitch. Several times we battled through here killing hordes of opponents, but a door that should have automatically opened never did. Ultimately, the health ran out and the assailants kept coming and we would eventually perish.
In line with what always has been a key attribute of the Doom series since its beginning, this game is violence defined. As you shoot the demons you run down, they get progressively bloodier, blowing apart bit by little bit. Lesser demons get reduced to GWAR-like bloody stumps or limbless torsos. When a glory kill is effective, the camera zooms in for a Mortal Kombat-style close-up of epic, blood-soaked dismemberment. If possible, the chainsaw takedown of an enemy is even more visceral than ever before as the demons literally fall into slices. If you live for the unvarnished violence of the Doom series, Doom: Eternal will not be a disappointment. Much like calorie rich fast food, it delivers satisfaction in buckets full of bullets. Whether this much of bloodbath is good for you though…… that will depend on your own palette.