Even at the height of its popularity in the 90’s, DOOM’s story was always less about challenging the nature of hell, what it means to be evil and whether humanity is condemned to an eternity of suffering and more as an excuse to turn its vicious hellspawn into a fine red mist.
Now as the latest entry into one of the most notorious game franchises in history is set to be released in March this year Bethesda asks players “why” these creatures deserve the righteous bloody reckoning of the “Doom Slayer”, the voiceless protagonist at the eye of Doom’s hurricane of violence.
As the Slayer takes up arms yet again for another ballet of running, gunning and demon bashing, the Daily Mirror was invited to play an early preview of the game ahead of its release in March.
Returning from Mars and the bowels of hell after the events of DOOM (2016), Earth has been ravaged by an apocalyptic enclave of demons.
Most of humanity has been extinguished and it is up to the Doom Slayer to eradicate the threat and send the hoards back from whence they came.
In DOOM Eternal, players will discover what the meaning of hell’s invasion is as well the Slayer’s enduring mission to destroy it.
Players can expect to see more of what Bethesda has described as “push forward” gameplay – an emphasis on maintaining momentum to pick up ammo, health and other items as they work their way through the ranks of the underworld.
Rather than sticking to cover and taking popshots at enemies, DOOM Eternal rewards its players for sweeping for pickups through each area like a Roomba on steroids.
Demons come in all shapes and sizes throughout the Doom Slayer’s journey. Lowly creatures such as zombies and the iconic Imps that serve as foot soldiers in Hell’s army make for fast fodder but are dwarfed in comparison to the game’s tougher combatants.
Encounters are fast-paced and being reflexive is key to survival. As executive producer Marty Stratton described it, DOOM Eternal is a “power fantasy that is earned.”
As enemies reach critical health they begin to glow, prompting the Doom Slayer to perform a “glory kill” that triggers an over the top execution animation.
Each creature has a unique death and in doing so the player is rewarded with further item drops.
To get the upper hand on these numerous adversaries, the scope of DOOM Eternal’s arsenal is quite extensive.
Weapons such as the trusty shotgun will be familiar to DOOM fans young and old and modifications become available through upgrades with increased lethality.
Like DOOM (2016) this sequel hopes to address some of the burning questions that long time fans have had with the series such as the nature of the creatures attacking the planet and the true identity of the Doom Slayer and in doing so, build a larger universe in which this all takes place.
Those that wish to understand the world around them more are free to explore each area in detail to find hidden collectibles, logs of the in-game history, factions and characters, and even cheat codes (stored on floppy disks, of course).
Understandably not every DOOM fan will be fumbling for meaning within DOOM’s lore and, much like the Doom Slayer himself, are free to plow through each area finding the next behemoth to take down. And that’s fine too.
Doom Eternal is released on March 20th 2020 and is available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. This preview was based on the first 4 hours of gameplay on an early build of the PC version.