DOOM Eternal got delayed late last year, but we're rapidly approaching the game's fresh and shiny March 2020 launch date, and recently, one of our gaming editors Carli Velocci got the opportunity to witness the carnage first-hand at a preview event.
DOOM's formula is timeless, known for high-octane strafing, violent demon-slaying, and oceans of gore, the first-person shooter dredged the depths to unearth new ways to freshen up the bloodshed.
In our video above, we go through six ways DOOM Eternal has begun evolving the game's formula, from deeper resource management, even more agility, and new shiny tools the famed Doomguy has at his disposal for demon, err, disposal.
If you're interested in more of what's to come in DOOM Eternal, editor Carli Velocci wrote up a more in-depth preview of her time with the game, including a further breakdown of the crazy combat and changes made to the story.
DOOM Eternal launches on March 2020 for Xbox One, PC, and PS4, and we can't bloody wait.
Welcome to Hell
Doom Eternal is the next frenetic iteration in the long-running franchise. Set for launch on November 22, the game aims to bring even more fast-paced action to PC and consoles with new enemies, a new story, additional multiplayer modes, and much more.
1. Resource management: Diversifying the tools of the trade
Creative director Hugo Martin stressed that one of the biggest changes to Doom Eternal was the addition of what he calls "aggressive resource management." It sounds simultaneously metal and nerdy and in a way, and isn't that what Doom is all about?
Regardless, unless you're an RPG or open-world fan, or you make or write about games, you probably aren't familiar with the concept of resource management. For the uninitiated, it's basically when that taking care of your inventory becomes a key aspect of gameplay. It tends to be a much larger part in RPGs where crafting and upgrading are common, but in Doom Eternal it looks slightly different.
In Doom (2016), you had to constantly find ways to refill your health, ammo, and armor. This was pretty simple since ripping and tearing granted you health and using the chainsaw on enemies granted you ammo. There was also resources scattered all over the map. This is still the case in Eternal, but the focus is on constantly ensuring you have enough stuff. You get the chainsaw much earlier in the game to ensure you make it an important part of your arsenal, and a new item called the Flame Belch allows you to burn enemies for bits of armor. There's even less stuff lying around, so you have to prioritize using the tools at your disposal. It creates a much more delicate balancing act and provides more complexity to the gameplay without getting in the players' way. At the very least it ensures you'll actually use the chainsaw this time because I… definitely did not.
2. Dash and wall climbing: Increased mobility for the Slayer on the go
In Doom (2016) there were essentially two ways to move: You were either running or you were jumping. Sometimes you were even double jumping. This was generally fine until you tried to jump and fell which was awfullll. Now there are two more ways you can move: one is the dash. A little bit into the game you gain the ability to dash, which is exactly as it sounds: you can now hit a button to dash quickly over a certain distance.
The other is wall climbing. There are certain walls -- tough to see at first but easy to spot once you know what you're looking for -- that you can climb to reach new areas.
This all certainly speeds up and diversifies movement, but do you know what else it does? It leaves the room for even more complicated jumping puzzles. Doom (2016) was full of them, but they're even bigger and more challenging in Doom Eternal. Whether you're dashing in the air to reach a platform that will eventually fall or just want to reach that bar that you can swing off of, there is a much wider range of movement thanks to these two small skills.
3. Enemy weak spots: Find the squishy bits
Another important aspect of Doom? The enemies, of course! Doom (2016) reveled in introducing new and tougher baddies even deep into the game, and Doom Eternal is no different. Sure it has a lot more enemies up front (a lot of which were introduced late in the first Doom), but that leaves room for even more demons to rip and tear.
Just like with resources and puzzles, id Software has managed to make the enemies also more complex. Now a lot of the enemies have weak spots you can directly target. The Cacodemon, for instance, can be stunned if you manage to get a grenade in its mouth while you can target the Revenant's rocket launchers more directly to get rid of its primary attack.
This, of course, helps when you're fighting these tougher enemies so you can tell how you're doing, but it also, like the resource management, changes up the player's strategy. You might save your rocket launcher or frag grenades for the Cacodemon, then switch over to something more long-range to tackle the Revenant's cannons. There were definitely a few times I caught myself using the same weapon over and over again, and this makes sure I don't forget about the others.
4. Arcade-y elements: Adding a little retro flair to the modern shooter
Doom is a retro series, so it makes perfect sense for it to have retro elements. If you thought that Doom (2016) wasn't enough of a throwback, then you're in for a treat with Doom Eternal, which might be the most arcade-like game I've played since I've been to an arcade. Ammo drops, bright colors, and secret exploring were already here to remind us, but what about 1UPs? And not just extra lives: a floating orb that says 1UP. That's all you need to know.
5. The hub: Your home away from Hell
The Doom Slayer, affectionately known as Doom Guy, is a simple man. He likes to rip and tear, he's buff, and he doesn't really care for your plot. For Doom Eternal, the team at id Software though wanted to give him more of a personality, which is where the Hub comes in.
The Fortress of Doom (clever) is a place where you go in between levels to freshen up, upgrade some of your skills, and take care of your collectibles. Doom Guy has his own bedroom on the hub where you can check out all the little toys you collect over time, but also explore Doom Guy himself. You'll find out he's still a simple man, but that he really likes the idea of a guitar made of flesh.
6. New environments: More varied locations to slaughter demons
Martin said that one of the biggest criticisms his team received concerning Doom (2016) was that it became repetitive. This entry does have only two types of levels. You're either in space going through hallways or in hell. In Doom Eternal, however, there are so many more. You start off in space and are immediately thrust into hell, which is already a huge change from the first game where it took a couple hours to reach it for the first time. Then there are even more dimensions to explore. Hell is typically on fire, but a Cultist's base you visit in the third section is covered in snow and, dare I say it, greenery? It's tough to say how varied the environments will get, especially since the campaign is reportedly over 22 hours long, but it's a welcome change at least for the first few hours.
In general there's just more Doom. More environments, more combat, more weapons, more enemies, more... story? Not sure we needed that. Either way, we'll see what's completely in store when Doom Eternal (hopefully) hits PC, Xbox One, Stadia, and PS4 on March 20, 2020
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