I’ve been taking it slow with Doom Eternal, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t continued to thrill me in much the same way that Titanfall 2 did a few years ago in 2016. Because I wasn’t commissioned to write a traditional review of id Software’s latest, I’ve been able to enjoy the game like any other consumer—maybe just a couple hours at a time, taking in the scenery, focusing on the story and the bits that I like best. I don’t have to obsess over finding every little secret, or playing on a particular difficulty, or spending a lot of hours in Battlemode.
I’m at roughly the halfway point, now, and it’s clearly a brilliant achievement; already I’d recommend it over Doom ’16 in terms of having a grand, interesting vision that feels like Doom while also moving the franchise in some exciting new directions. So much of what I enjoyed in Doom four years ago—and in the 1993 original—is left intact and iterated upon here. But I’m having a lot more fun with it this time around.
From the sense of grandeur seen in the giant Pacific Rim mecha (Eternal director Hugo Martin designed the Jaegars for Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 popcorn flick) to the Doom Slayer’s more varied arsenal, this game offers up the wide range of moment-to-moment experiences I found lacking in the 2016 title. There are glimpses of peace—chances to look out upon the frozen wastes and “hellified” gore nests of Earth and appreciate the game’s artistry. And when it’s time to slaughter some Cacodemons or take down some Doom Hunters, that, too, is a thing of beauty.
With its commentary on propaganda and the effects of human activity upon the environment, this is a game that could only have arrived in March 2020.