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Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part Two review — A hellishly good finale to the Slayer's saga

The war goes to Hell in a winner-take-all showdown.

Doom Eternal Ancient Gods 2 Dark Lord
(Image: © Windows Central)

Doom Eternal was a gory mess of fun, and the DLC has lived up to that same standard. With the launch of The Ancient Gods - Part Two, id Software has completed the current Doom story arc, introducing new abilities, enemies, and an epic final showdown with all of Hell's might.

With the Dark Lord unleashed, the story revolves around gathering forces to fight him as you access an awesome new ability across four action-packed levels. It's a satisfying conclusion to the Doom Slayer saga, one that cements Doom Eternal as one of the best Xbox games available.

Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part Two: What I liked

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Right away, it's worth mentioning that this DLC is (for now) the conclusion to the Slayer's story that began with Doom 2016. It's a bold choice, one that hearkens back to the days of massive expansions introducing major plot developments and I seriously respect it. Without spoiling what happens, the story here feels definitive and I'm curious to see how id Software continues Doom in the future.

The story here feels definitive and I'm curious to see how id Software continues Doom in the future.

I enjoyed both Doom Eternal and The Ancient Gods - Part One DLC, but the latter felt imbalanced. Fights went beyond frenetic — they were chaotic, far more difficult than almost anything the base game had to offer. The Ancient Gods - Part Two seems to address that issue, providing a wide variety of encounters that seem intelligently challenging and based on player skill and thoughtfulness, not sheer reflex. Make no mistake, encounters are still difficult and require you to exploit every weakness and trick in the book, but it's not overwhelmingly brutal anymore. It all culminates in a final boss fight that feels worthy of everything that has come before it and will test everything players have learned. It's everything a final boss should be.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One thing that helps to make players' lives easier is the Hellbreaker hammer, an ability earned shortly into the DLC that allows you to stun groups of enemies and earn even more health or armor back. It's fantastic for crowd control and perfectly complements the existing arsenal. There's new demonic sub-species to face as well, requiring specific use of alternate weapon fire or particular strategies to overcome. The new demon types from The Ancient Gods - Part One also return, meaning you're constantly swapping to find the right gun or weapon setting for the job.

Doom Eternal already looked fantastic running on id Software's custom id Tech 7 engine and the environments in this DLC showcase even more variety. All of this culminates in the final assault on Hell and the Dark Lord's forces look great as well as the final boss fight, which is suitably epic to behold and take part in.

Finally, you should be aware that a next-generation update for the game is still coming. Speaking with Game Informer, Executive Producer Marty Stratton indicated that the free Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PS5 upgrade will involve ray-tracing but there's no other details or timeframe right now.

Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part Two: What I didn't like

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

It's incredibly difficult to conjure up anything to complain about in this final expansion but I do have one major complaint: you don't get to pilot the big mechs. Why would id Software choose to show awesome anti-demon mechs throughout the entirety of the base game, have one under repair at the Slayer's base, and then forgo allowing us to utilize said mech in the final battle? Completely beats me and it's definitely a disappointment. Showing awesome mechs that can't be used will always lead to disappointment.

Showing awesome mechs that can't be used will always lead to disappointment.

I also think it's worth noting the price is just a hair steep given how quickly you'll likely get through the expansion. The production quality speaks for itself and shouldn't be questioned, but you'll get the best deal grabbing the Season Pass that includes The Ancient Gods - Part One and Part Two, which I strongly recommend.

Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part Two Should you play it?

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Any Doom fan that has enjoyed Doom Eternal should definitely pick up The Ancient Gods - Part Two and see how the story finishes. The fights are well-balanced, with the mix of new enemies and the hammer ability providing satisfying action that doesn't feel too overwhelming but still necessitates everything in your arsenal to survive. This is what id Software has been working towards since Doom 2016 and it leaned even further into using your entire arsenal in Doom Eternal. The Ancient Gods: Part Two is the culmination of all of that effort.

I'll reiterate that it's disappointing we didn't see the big mech suits used outside of level backgrounds though, especially if this is the last we'll see of the Doom Slayer for now. That doesn't take away from what is here though: one final effort against the forces of Hell that's awesome to watch and even better to play.

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.