DOOM Eternal: Everything we know about DOOM's highly-anticipated sequel
DOOM Eternal is ready to prove the series really has gone to hell. Here are our tips ahead of launch day.
It’s a generally accepted fact that the 2016 reboot of DOOM was one of the best things that’s ever happened to the series. Countless spin-offs and reboots saw the series stray from the core principles that made it such a megahit back in the 90s, but DOOM 2016 snatched fans’ attention back with breakneck speed.
DOOM Eternal is set to improve on practically every facet that made the 2016 reimagining of the series such an uncompromising success: it’s more bloody, it’s more barbaric, and it’s more brutal. It’s everything an audience in 2020 needs from a DOOM game.
As well as the full arsenal of tools from the last game, hellbent players in Eternal will also get the chance to play around with a pneumatic wrist-blade, a shoulder-mounted flame turret, a grappling hook (attached to a shotgun) and a slew of revised traversal tools to boot.
If that’s not enough for you, the developers have crammed the game full of enemies – twice as many as you ripped and tore your way through back in 2016. To accommodate the burgeoning forces of hell, id Software has also expanded the scope of the game – it’s now twice as big as before.
Though the story-driven sequel to id’s previous title has seen a few setbacks, it’s finally due to come storming on to consoles and PC very soon, and ahead of Doomguy’s unholy return, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about DOOM Eternal… including some developer-sanctioned tips on how to raze your own small section of hell. Here’s what you need to know...
Doom Eternal will launch on Xbox One, PS4, Google Stadia and PC on March 20, 2020.
The game is also listed for a release on Nintendo Switch, though Bethesda has yet to announce a release window for this version of the game. This port will be developed by long-time Bethesda collaborators, Panic Button. Expect it to launch some months down the line.
The game was originally announced at E3 2018, with a full gameplay reveal coming later that same year at QuakeCon 2018.
Back at E3 2019, id announced the title was to launch in November that year, but the game was pushed back to allow the development team more time to get it up to the standards Bethesda and id were happy with.
Quite a lot of the game has been shown to date, thanks to a slew of trailers that have been released for the fast-paced, ultra-violent first-person shooter.
The first trailer, shown at the reveal of the game, was a whistlestop tour that focused on everything id and Bethesda knew people wanted from the game: violent action, imposing scenery, frenetic gunplay and demons being ripped limb from limb.
Later came the gameplay, which showed off the first look at the newly rejigged gameplay – here’s where we first started to glean this game would be faster and fuller than its prequel, cramming in more demons and giving us more tools with which to suppress them. It was also the first appearance of that imposing-looking new energy sword, the Crucible Blade.
As the studio announced the game’s delay back in October 2019, it placated fans with the unveiling of the game’s multiplayer – or BATTLEMODE. The development of the multiplayer part of the game has been moved in-house now, with Bethesda and id taking responsibility for the mode entirely. The trailer gives you an idea about what to expect. It’s all very DOOM.
Since then, we’ve also had a couple more general trailers that serve to set the tone about the game’s story and help set the scene for this extensive new gameplay experience, whilst also teasing a fair few narrative revelations.
Tips and tricks
1. Work for your resources
DOOM has never been about playing it easy, and DOOM Eternal is no exception. DOOM 2016 introduced players to a tight economy when it came to dominating the battlefield, making you change up your priorities on the fly – scrounging for ammo, armour and health depending on your situation.
DOOM Eternal takes that idea, and dials it up to 11. “DOOM Eternal is a power fantasy that you earn, that you work for,” explains game director Marty Stratton. “The game doesn’t just give anything to you – you earn it.”
He’s right: depending on how you remove demons from the battlefield, you’ll be rewarded differently. Flame Belch kills make demons spew out armour until they croak, whilst chainsaw kills (limited by fuel, which is hard to come by) give up ammo, and Glory Kills (achieved by executing a melee within range) cause demons to drop health.
“It’s aggressive resource management: burn, execute, kill,” says Stratton. “If you need something, it’s there. You just have to think about it, then go out there and take it. It’s push forward combat.”
Be creative, be reactive, and you might just stay alive for longer.
2. Target weak points
New to DOOM Eternal are weak points. You should know the drill by now if you’ve been playing shooters for a while – if an enemy has something big that it’s targeting you with, chances are it can be broken off. Once it’s broken off, they’ll be weaker and you’ll gain an advantage you can use to press the enemy line.
“We’ve added weak points to some of the bigger demons,” Stratton explains, urging players to use their eyes and focus on what we’re blowing off our enemies to our advantage – it’s not just cosmetic.
“The destructibility system is great visual feedback. You can take out key attacks of various demon types and make everything easier for you.”
Note that this advice only really applies to the Heavy or Super Heavy demons you’ll come up against, though – you’ll have to off the drones the old-fashioned way.
3. Keep moving
If you stand still, you’re dead. It’s as simple as that. DOOM Eternal is not a game that’s going to reward you for gluing yourself to cover and taking potshots at the enemy waves pressuring you. No, instead you need to be aggressive – fight fire with fire (in some cases literally).
The fast-paced combat and the surprisingly nimble set of traversal tools the enemy forces are armed with means stoicism equals death. Even if you survive flank attacks, splash damage and the sheer weight of the enemy forces, you’ll soon find yourself out of ammo if you don’t get in amongst the action and start ripping demon heads from demon shoulders.
An improved suite of traversal mechanics including (but not limited to) grappling hooks, dashes, double jumps and wall-climbing are at your disposal. Even getting above the battlefield to seek out higher ground is a better alternative to staying on the killing floor.
Think with your X-axis and your Y-axis, and you’ll likely be heading in the right direction.
4. Exploration makes you better in battle
Similarly to its predecessor, DOOM Eternal has a myriad of things you can upgrade. From the armour you’re wearing (the Praetor Suit), to hidden runes that apply modifiers to your combat, to every single weapon you can find and equip, DOOM Eternal has surprising depth when it comes to upgrades.
The downside of that is the sheer amount of resources you’ll need to uncover them all. DOOM as a series has always been playful in its treatment of secret areas and hidden treats, and Eternal is no different.
Keep your eyes out for pathways that look a little too intentional to be there by accident, be watchful for breakable walls, suspicious alcoves and cunningly placed platforms. We even nabbed a few secrets that were simply above us – but because we bothered to look up, we came out with a weapon upgrade.
DOOM Eternal as a game is basically an ebb and flow between adrenaline-inducing combat sections and slyly-crafted exploration/puzzle-solving sections. Prove your might in brains and brawn, and you’ll make even some of the trickier encounters trivial by the time you’re powered up.
5. Learn your lessons
Every encounter in DOOM Eternal is teaching you something. The first few hours of the game are designed to rhythmically introduce new tools to your toolkit, and in most cases you’re given the chance to take on various enemy types to ‘practice’ your newfound lethality.
Got the shotgun? Learn to clear groups with it. Nabbed the grenades? Practise whipping them into the mouths of Cacodemons so you can ensure you get the one-hit melee kill. All the guns (and their secondary fire options) have the potential to win or lose battles for you, and you need to know their strengths and weaknesses – especially on harder difficulties.
If you’re repeatedly dying in an encounter because an Arachnotron is flinging explosives at you and offing you in one beat, consider alternatives. Can you take it out sooner? Can you reach higher ground? Can you spare a grenade or Rocket Launcher ammo to break the weapon off its frame? Can you risk three chainsaw ammo to simply remove the demon from the picture altogether?
Thinking of each encounter like a combat puzzle is your key to success. After all, that’s exactly how id designed the game.