Doom Eternal

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Doom Eternal
Packaging artwork depicting the Doom Slayer fighting The Marauder and a horde of demons
Developer(s)id Software
Publisher(s)Bethesda Softworks
Director(s)Hugo Martin
Producer(s)Timothy Bell
Programmer(s)
  • Evan Eubanks
  • Billy Ethan Khan
Artist(s)Tony Garza
Writer(s)
  • Hugo Martin
  • Adam Gascoine
  • Jon Lane
  • Chad Mossholder
Composer(s)Mick Gordon
SeriesDoom
Engineid Tech 7
Platform(s)
Release
  • PC, PS4, Stadia, Xbox One
  • March 20, 2020
  • Nintendo Switch
  • TBA
Genre(s)First-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Doom Eternal is a first-person shooter video game developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks. The sequel to Doom (2016), and the fifth main game in the Doom series, it was released on March 20, 2020, for Windows, PlayStation 4, Stadia and Xbox One, with a Nintendo Switch version planned. It received highly positive reviews, with praise for its campaign, graphics, level design, soundtrack and combat mechanics, though some disliked the increased focus on storytelling. Set some time after the events of the 2016 game, the story follows the Doom Slayer once again, on a mission to end Hell's consumption of Earth and foil the alien Maykrs' plans to exterminate humanity.

Gameplay[edit]

Players once again take on the role of the Doom Slayer, an ancient warrior who battles the demonic forces of Hell, from a first-person perspective. The game continues its predecessor's emphasis on "push-forward" combat, encouraging the player to aggressively engage enemies in order to acquire health, ammo, and armor. The player has access to various firearms, such as the Combat Shotgun, Super Shotgun, Heavy Cannon, Rocket Launcher, Plasma Rifle, BFG 9000, and Ballista. Melee weapons such as a chainsaw, the "Crucible Blade" energy sword and a retractable arm-blade called the "Doomblade" can also be used. The arm-blade provides the opportunity for a larger variety of quick and violent "glory kill" executions, which drop extra health. The Super Shotgun is now equipped with the "Meat Hook", a ranged accessory which grabs on to enemies and slingshots the player towards them, functioning as a grappling hook, useful both in combat scenarios and environmental navigation. The Doom Slayer's armor now includes a shoulder-mounted Equipment Launcher with the ability to lob grenades and ice bombs. Additionally the Flame Belch is a flame thrower, which causes the enemies set on fire with it to drop armor pickups. Finally, killing enemies with the chainsaw will drop ammunition.[1] New movement mechanics such as wall-climbing, dash moves, and horizontal bars to swing from have also been introduced.[2][3]

Like its predecessor, Doom Eternal involves the player to develop simple tactics. As the game gets harder, the player needs to use the advantages of fight arenas and their bonuses smarter. They also need to decide which enemy has to be killed firstly and how to move on the battlefield.[4][5][6]

Creative director Hugo Martin has stated there would be twice as many demon types as in the 2016 reboot. There are new types of enemies, such as the Marauder and Doom Hunter, while others, such as the Pain Elemental, Arachnotron, and Archvile, have been reintroduced from previous Doom entries. A new system called "Destructible Demons" is featured, in which enemies' bodies become progressively destroyed and deteriorated in combat as they suffer damage. Through this system, certain parts of a demon's anatomy can be destroyed to eliminate their ability to use their stronger attacks. There is also a new lives system. During gameplay, players can collect 1-up items (which look like green helmets) scattered around the environment. When the Doom Slayer perishes in combat, he will respawn where he died if he has spare lives, instead of restarting at the nearest checkpoint.

The game features several asymmetric multiplayer modes, including "Battlemode". This game type is a 2v1 PvP multi-round match where two player-controlled demons take on one fully loaded Slayer. There are five playable demons at launch, with more to be included in free updates post-launch. The five initially available demons are the Marauder, Mancubus, Pain Elemental, Revenant, and Arch Vile. In addition to regular attacks, each demon has a "summoning wheel", which contains a selection of four additional abilities. An additional mode, called "Invasion", is also in the works, and is expected to be released as a free post-launch update.[7] In this mode, players will be able to join others' single-player campaigns, fighting against them as demons.[8] This mode can be turned off by players who wish to play the game solo.[9]

Also new to the game is the hub area, called "Fortress of Doom", which players can visit between missions, containing a number of rooms with upgrades and gear locked behind doors. Players can also unlock a bonus weapon, the Unmaykr, after clearing six challenging Slayer Gates.[10]

Plot[edit]

Eight months after the events on Mars, Earth has been overrun by demonic forces, wiping out most of the planet's population, under the now-corrupted Union Aerospace Corporation. What remains of humanity has either fled Earth or have joined the Armored Response Coalition, a resistance movement formed to stop the invasion, which has gone into hiding after suffering heavy losses. The Doom Slayer, having previously been betrayed and teleported away by Dr. Samuel Hayden, returns with a satellite fortress controlled by the AI VEGA to quell the demonic invasion by killing the Hell Priests: Deags Nilox, Ranak, and Grav. The priests serve an angelic being known as the Khan Maykr who seeks to sacrifice mankind. The Slayer teleports to a destroyed city and kills Deag Nilox, but the Khan Maykr transports the two remaining priests to unknown locations, forcing the Slayer to continue searching.

After retrieving a celestial locator from the Sentinel world of Exultia, the Slayer travels to Hell to retrieve a power source from a fallen Sentinel known as the Betrayer, who gives him the power source and a special dagger. VEGA directs the Slayer to a citadel in the Arctic where Deag Ranak has taken refuge and kills him. In response, the Khan Maykr moves Deag Grav to a hidden location and accelerates the invasion of Earth. With no leads on finding the last Hell Priest, VEGA suggests finding Dr. Hayden, who knows his location. The Slayer goes to an ARC compound where he retrieves Hayden's robot chassis and the demonic crucible.

Upon uploading Hayden's mind into the fortress, he reveals Deag Grav is hiding on Sentinel Prime, the only way to get there being a portal located in the city of Hebeth in Mars' core. The Slayer travels to a facility on Phobos where he uses the BFG 10000 to shoot a hole in Mars, which he uses to reach Hebeth. After reaching Sentinel Prime, flashbacks reveal the Slayer to be Doomguy. Found badly wounded by Sentinels, Doomguy was brought before the Deags and was forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena. Impressed by Doomguy’s ruthlessness in battle, the Deags inducted him into the Sentinels, while the Khan Maykr inquired into Doomguy's knowledge of the Demons. In the present, the Slayer finds Deag Grav in the arena and kills him but is excommunicated from the Sentinels for murdering him on sacred ground and returns to the fortress.

Upon the Slayer's return, the fortress is shut down remotely by the Khan Maykr to prevent any further interference in her plans. She reveals her intentions to resurrect the world-eating super-predator, the Icon of Sin, to consume mankind. The Slayer uses the demonic Crucible's latent Argent energy to reactivate the fortress and travels to Argent d'Nur to retrieve his own Crucible from his time in the Sentinels. Further flashbacks reveal that during the ill-fated battle of Argent d'Nur, a rogue Maykr known as the Seraph had imbued Doomguy with superhuman abilities, transforming him into the Doom Slayer. After retrieving the hilt of the Slayer Crucible, it is revealed that the Khan Maykr formed an alliance with Hell to produce Argent energy, which is created through the mass sacrifice of human souls. In return for providing worlds for Hell to invade, the Maykrs receive a share of the Argent energy produced by Hell which allows their own dimension, Urdak, to survive.[11]

Hayden directs the Slayer through Hell's massive citadel, Nekravol, until he finds a portal leading to Urdak. He finds the Khan Maykr and halts the awakening ceremony by using the Betrayer's dagger to destroy the Icon's heart. Free from Maykr control, the Icon of Sin awakens and teleports to Earth. With the dimensional barrier destroyed, the demons break their alliance with the Maykrs and proceed to invade Urdak. The Slayer kills the Khan Maykr before returning to Earth to confront the Icon of Sin, although VEGA is left behind to ensure the portal stays open. After an intense battle across the cityscape, the Slayer kills the Icon of Sin by stabbing it in the head with the Crucible, putting an end to Hell's invasion of Earth.

Development[edit]

Publisher Bethesda Softworks announced the game at E3 2018, with the first gameplay footage being unveiled at QuakeCon 2018. The game was set to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.[12] In 2019, it was announced that Doom Eternal would come to Google's Stadia streaming platform.[13] The game was developed by id Software with the Nintendo Switch version being developed by Panic Button.[14] Doom directors Hugo Martin and Marty Stratton both returned, with Martin as game director and Stratton as executive producer.

The game is the first to be developed with the id Tech 7 engine. According to Stratton, the team aimed at making a "Doom universe", featuring larger and more varied locales, including "Hell on Earth", for players to explore.[15] Unlike its predecessor, id Software developed the game's multiplayer component in-house, as opposed to being outsourced to the previous game's multiplayer developer Certain Affinity,[16][17] with the goal of making the experience more "social" and "connected" with the single-player campaign. The team decided to remove the SnapMap mode and reassign its resource to develop post-launch campaign downloadable content.[18] While originally scheduled for a release on November 22, 2019, Doom Eternal's release was later pushed back to March 20, 2020 with a Nintendo Switch port coming at a later date.[19][20][21]

Aesthetically, the game aims at having a closer resemblance to the original Doom games, with the enemies' designs having been modified from those in the 2016 game to match the designs of the original games.[22] Additionally, the developers included the option to have a centered weapon view, which was traditional in the first two Doom games and was added as a post-release update to Doom 2016.[23] Games cited as influences on the gameplay include arcade-style action games such as Devil May Cry and Bayonetta as well as chess.[24]

The game is dedicated to id programmer Stephen Ash, who died during development in 2019.[25]

Music[edit]

Mick Gordon returned as the lead composer for the game. In January 2019, he put out a call for "metal screamers" to participate in a recording session to contribute to the game soundtrack.[26] In a video posted March 2020, it was revealed that the "heavy metal choir" would include James Rivera of Helstar, Tony Campos of Static-X, Sven de Caluwé of Aborted, James Dorton of Black Crown Initiate, and the late Nature Ganganbaigal of Tengger Cavalry, among many other metal vocalists.[27] Oktavist Eric Hollaway was also employed to provide vocals to parts of the soundtrack.[28][29]

The soundtrack was released for digital download on April 19 for buyers of the collector's edition. It will release at a later date on streaming platforms and digital. In the hours following its release, fans noticed differences between the official soundtrack and the music featured in and/or ripped from the game; a particular example was the excessive compression on the 2020 version of the track "BFG Division", relative to its original version from 2016.[30] Gordon later confirmed on Twitter in response to a fan analysis that he only mixed a "small handful of tracks", including "Meathook" and "Command and Control", among others. Metadata seems to suggest that most of the soundtrack was mixed by Chad Mossholder.[30] Allegedly, Gordon also stated that he doubted he would work with id again.[31][32]

In May 2020, Doom Eternal executive producer Marty Stratton released a letter on Reddit providing context to the audio compression controversy, highlighting the fact that Mick Gordon was given extensive time to finish mixing the tracks. When Gordon was unable to finish his work before the soundtrack release deadline, Stratton and Gordon suggested collaborating with Mossholder to finish on time, which Gordon agreed with: Gordon shipped about 12 songs for the soundtrack, and Mossholder edited the remaining songs together from in-game assets, which were compressed heavier to compensate for the other in-game audio. Stratton later wrote that id would be moving forward on future downloadable content without Gordon.[33]

Release[edit]

The March 20, 2020 release date for Doom Eternal came to coincide with that of Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Due to the demand expected for both games, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, GameStop decided to begin selling Doom Eternal one day earlier, on the 19th, to minimize crowding.[34][35] Also, the stark contrast in tone between both games, with them being released on the same day, prompted fans of both series to celebrate the coincidence by creating light-hearted crossover art, featuring the Doomguy and Animal Crossing's Isabelle as "best friends".[36][37]

Downloadable content[edit]

Before the game's release, it was announced that two campaign add-ons were planned to be released during the first year after launch. Access to these expansions is included with the purchase of the game's Deluxe Edition.[38] On May 8, 2020, two screenshots were published in the game's official Twitter account, teasing scenes from the upcoming first story DLC.[39]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
MetacriticPC: 88/100[40]
PS4: 87/100[41]
XONE: 88/100[42]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid8.5/10[43]
EGM4/5 stars[44]
Game Informer9.25/10[45]
GameSpot8/10[46]
GamesRadar+3.5/5 stars[47]
IGN9/10[48]
Jeuxvideo.com18/20[49]
PC Games9/10[50]
PCGamesN9/10[51]
VG2474/5 stars[52]
VideoGamer.com8/10[53]

Doom Eternal received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[40][41][42] Critics praised the campaign, graphics, level design, combat, soundtrack, and improvements over its predecessor, while some disliked the game's increased focus on storytelling and lore.[54]

On its initial release, the Windows release appeared to have been intended to ship with the Denuvo digital rights management (DRM) protection software, but it was not set up properly, leaving the game DRM-free.[21] Additionally, on May 14 2020, the game was patched on Windows to include Denuvo anti-cheat technology, which operates by installing a kernel-mode driver.[55] Some were concerned this would open up their computers to security vunurabilities, while others claimed of performance losses caused by the patch. This led to users to review bomb the game on Steam over the decision.[56] On May 20, id went on record stating that they would remove Denuvo anti-cheat upon the game's next patch due in the following week, and would re-evaluate how they would implement anti-cheating measures in the game.[57]

Accolades[edit]

Doom Eternal was nominated for "Most Wanted Game" at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards.[58] At Game Critics Awards 2019, the game won the awards for Best PC Game and Best Action Game.[59]

Sales[edit]

The game had 100,000 concurrent users on Steam on launch day, more than double that of 2016's Doom.[60] The game doubled the launch weekend revenue of 2016's Doom.[61] The game debuted at number 2 in the UK charts behind Animal Crossing: New Horizons, although Doom Eternal's physical sales were 33% less than its predecessor, a likely side-effect of the social distancing procedures implemented in wake of the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.[62]

In North America, the game was the 6th best selling game of March 2020, though this does not include digital sales.[63] SuperData estimated that, as of March 2020, the game had sold 3 million digital copies worldwide, beating Doom 2016's 957,000 units of launch month sales. This made Eternal the fourth highest-grossing console game of March 2020.[64]

In Germany, the game sold 100.000 units as of May 2020.[65]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]