Title: DOOM: Eternal
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 20/03/2020
Price: £54.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
If you haven’t already seen our video review of the new id Software title DOOM: Eternal you can check it out below. What follows below is the video transcription from our very own, and very talented Kiley Wilde.
Take it away, Kiley!
In case, for some reason, I’m telling you something you don’t already know – in 1992, a fellow by the name of John Carmack developed a little something called the Doom Engine for Texas-based company id Software. Yeah, they’re the ones that made Wolfenstein 3D. The DOOM engine was unique at the time as it was able to render separately – meaning the graphics side of things was running at one speed while the game itself maintained a steady 35 frames per second basically ensuring that no matter what computer was running it, the multiplayer would run stable.
And then, in 1993 id Software self-published and released DOOM.
Doom was an early days 3D first-person shooter, or FPS, based on a concept that had arisen one night from a DnD campaign that the creators were playing. The game’s plot, such as it is, centres around an unnamed Marine as he kills demons from hell on Mars’ moon, Phobos to save the planet Earth.
Confused yet? Yeah, Carmack once famously said, “Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie; it’s expected to be there, but it’s not important.” That explains a lot about this franchise.
Doom was an instant hit, with both pirates and purchasers and an instant classic. A franchise including sequels, spin-offs, comic books, novels, board games, and even a *cough*movie was born
Then, in 2009, Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks – known mostly for their Elderscrolls and Fallout properties – bought id Software. Rumour has it, it was somewhere around the 105-million-dollar mark.
That led to a reboot of the franchise in 2016 w/the release of…DOOM. (I mean, no points off there for creativity, guys.) DOOM 2016 as it’s more commonly known was ok. I liked it. It introduced upgrades and different environments and my personal favourite: Glory kills! Both Skyrim and Fallout have their own respective versions of these, so it wasn’t really a surprise to see it in another Bethesda backed game, but I welcomed it in all its rip and tear glory! Encouraged by the reception of their new DOOM iteration, they went back to work and at 2018’s E3, Bethesda Softworks announced DOOM Eternal.
*add trailer intro cut here for a few seconds then fade out*
DOOM Eternal is very unlike any DOOM game that has come before it and yet feels very familiar. First, there’s the new engine – the id Tech 7 engine to be precise. It’s smooth and sleek and while I’ve only played through the campaign at this point in time, I’ve experienced no frame rate loss, no slowdown, no flickering, no nauseating blur – in short, it’s beautiful.
And so are the graphics! I’m playing this on an Xbox One X & I’m still blown away – the colours are sharp and crisp, shadows are natural and not overbearing, the sparklies are sparkly – sigh, I felt drawn to it.
And then it dawned on me why as I got into an incredibly high paced skirmish with the baddies, which is what DOOM is known for, of course. But, without prompting or tutorial, I found myself using the “sticky grenade” mod on the shotgun automatically. From out of nowhere, muscle memory took over my hands and I realized that the old multiplayer skills I’d picked up from my halcyon Halo 3 days were a natural fit for this version of DOOM. Yeah, if you’re an old hand – ha – at multiplayer FPS games, you’re going to go right into this without needing much guidance on controls.
You’ll also be struck by the fact that there…lore?! Yeah! Lore! And spoilers! That I won’t share! Because Bethesda will kill me! But LORE IN A DOOM GAME?! It’s rich and deep and I’m strangely entertained by it. Yes, it strongly echoes of the myriad of games that have come before it – and you will find Easter eggs and homages aplenty in true id software style – but, it doesn’t come across as cliched. There are moments of unbelievability but remember, this franchise started on a Mars Moon Base – I think we can keep an open mind for what they’re serving up now.
In addition to a new, more in-depth story, there are upgrades galore including abilities, skins, badges, backgrounds, icons you name it – and I’m a BIG fan of earnable upgrades! Also, collectables! So, get ready to replay because who in their right mind would ever finish a level with only 9/10 secrets found?! Nobody sane, that’s who!
And ohhhhh, the music! Mick Gordon, composer for DOOM 2016 is back and his stylings on Eternal have matured and deepened in comparison – with choral style vocals setting the mood in parts while still retaining the chunky guitars that will have you ready and willing to send those demons straight back to hell.
Now, onto the weapons system. Ok, full disclosure, I do not like weapon wheels. I know there is really a limitation on consoles with a controller vs a keyboard on a pc and there aren’t very many alternatives, but I do find the weapons wheel a bit laggy and an annoyance. Having said that, that’s a small, tiny annoyance in an otherwise near-perfect game.
Did I say a near-perfect game? Yeah, I did! Obviously, I can’t test Battle mode yet as the servers aren’t up but from the minute, I first pressed that campaign button until – well, right now as we speak – I have enjoyed DOOM: Eternal! It is a well-developed, wonderfully fast-paced FPS that evokes the old school feel of the original while exploring new territory. Bethesda and id Software have produced a game they can be proud of and, in my opinion, be confident they’ve unlocked a new path in the DOOM Franchise.
My Rapid Reviews score? 5 controllers! TIMES A MILLION! HAHA!