WARNING: The following will contain SIGNIFICANT SPOILERS for DOOM (2016).
I normally don’t get hugely excited over upcoming new releases as I usually have a massive backlog of games I’ve yet to play. But gosh darn if DOOM: Eternal, the sequel to the 2016 DOOM reboot, doesn’t have me giddier than a schoolboy hopped up on fizzy cola bottles whilst traversing a ten-storey high tightrope. And that level of giddiness only reached new heights (cranking that tightrope up to *eleven*, as it were) when id Software dropped some brand spanking new gameplay footage at Quakecon 2018 last Friday. If you worship the awesome and badass Doomguy as much as I do, I highly recommend checking out the video. It’s…it’s just awesome. But I want to share with you why I find it so exciting, so I want to provide a summary of what’s seen in the new footage, and the new features I’m most excited about that will be making their way into the game.
1) “We’re not just building a DOOM game, we’re building a DOOM universe.”
During the Quakecon event, two id employees (creative director Hugo Martin and game director Marty Stratton) are discussing the new locations that the new game is going to take the players. Yes, we see the ‘Hell on Earth’ levels teased during E3, but we also saw something…different. What does picture above look like to you? I know, right?? Could it be, for the first time in any DOOM game, that we’re going to take a trip…to Heaven?! Naturally, the employees didn’t speculate as to the location, only that they’re focused on building the game lore and adding a ton of new backstory material to the campaign. It was at this point that one of the employees dropped the aforementioned quote, which drew raucous cheers from the fans in attendance.
I’m salivating just at the thought of possibly going to Heaven in a DOOM game, but even if it’s not the case I can’t wait for the new lore. There should be ton of new material regarding the history of the UAC, which would be awesome. One of my biggest questions at the end of DOOM (2016) was how it went from mining corporation to bloodthirsty demonic cult so easily. But I also want to learn more about the origins of the Doomguy. In a codex entry there was an etching from the Book of Daeva (some kind of ancient demonic manuscript) that depicts the Doomguy doing what he does best to demons in Hell, whilst a shrouded figure looks on from above. Are we going to learn more about that figure, and does that have anything to do with where the Doomguy came from? If you’ve been following the blog for a while now you probably know that I’m a massive narrative nerd, so the continuation of the DOOM saga coupled with new lore, new backstory, and maybe some answers to some of the questions we had after playing DOOM (2016) is going to be sweeter than a snozzberry coated with citric acid and dipped in Princess Peach sweat.
2) The ‘Invasion’ system
Drawing inspiration from the ‘Soulsborne’ games, id announced a new mechanism whereby players can party up, get their demon on and ‘invade’ another player’s campaign. Love this idea. Find the ‘Nightmare’ setting too easy? Well, good for you. (Jerk.) But now you’ll be able to test your FPS skills against a party of similarly talented players all working together, with the expressed purpose of taking the jam out of your doughnut. id have stated that it’s completely upto the players if they want to play in this fashion, which presumably means that there’ll be an option to turn the Invasion system off. The idea is to provide more ways to play, and more opportunities to enjoy the game with your friends. Definitely looking forward to seeing how this fares in the game.
3) New wrist/shoulder-mounted weapons
The Doomguy has a few new toys. Firstly, a large serrated blade built into the gauntlet of the Doomguy’s off-hand. It’s unclear if this can be used at any point in time like a gun (I’m not holding my breath), but what’s abundantly clear from the gameplay is that this is going to make glory kills that much more satisfying. Shoving it down Possessed throats and slicing Imps in half, I’m sure you’ll agree, pretty much embodies the game’s unofficial motto: ‘rip and tear’. As well as the blade there’ll also be a shoulder-mounted flamethrower, which looks like something right out of Predator. Using it in short bursts to set demons on fire is badass enough, but shooting burning enemies will cause armour to erupt from them ‘like popcorn’, creating an awesome visual spectacle. I’m more excited about the blade than the flamethrower, but I plan on making liberal use of both when I’m able to get my hands on the game.
4) The Super Shotgun’s new grapple hook attachment
The first time it’s used in the gameplay footage you can hear the audience noise level crank up a few notches. With the grapple hook (which id are referring to as the ‘Meathook’), you’re able to latch on to demons (though only demons, you can’t traverse the environment with it) and pull yourself towards them before blasting them into a fine red mist with the Super Shotgun. One of DOOM (2016)‘s key strengths was dynamic movement; a fluidity between jumping, climbing and running, and it looks as if id have taken that aspect of the gameplay and ran with it. The Meathook will add a whole new dimension to the level of movement within the game, especially later on in the campaign when floating Pain Elementals and Cacodemons will start to become more numerous. It remains unclear if you can ‘chain’ multiple Meathook shots together in true Spiderman style; it’s probably more likely that there’ll be some form of cooldown between shots. Nevertheless, think of the amount of ground the Doomguy will be able to cover with this new feature, grappling over chasms and soaring over fiery abysses. Keep in mind that you’ll be able to combo the Meathook with the returning double jump, as well as with our next takeaway:
5) The ‘dash-evade’
Seems fairly insignificant compared to some of the other stuff, but worth mentioning. DOOM: Eternal will contain a feature that allows you to dash a short distance (presumably as a Praetor Suit upgrade). You’ll be able to dash in any direction so you’ll be able to utilize it in a number of ways, from closing down fleeing Hell Razers to evading jumping attacks from Hell Knights or from charging Pinkies. It is also usable in mid-air, so chaining it with the Meathook and double jump is going to lead some insane fighting sequences that I for one can’t wait for!
6) THE ENERGY SWORD!!
In the final moments of gameplay footage the Doomguy clears out a wave of demons before opening a massive bulkhead. As the door slowly opens a new demon steps forward, unlike anything we’ve seen before. Not as big as the Cyberdemon but it’s still clearly a boss fight due to how evil and menacing the thing looks; it makes a Baron of Hell look like Him from the Powerpuff Girls. As this new demon raises a lake of hellfire around itself the Doomguy calmly takes out an ornately carved hilt, and ignites it like a freaking lightsaber to reveal an Energy Sword like the one Dr. Samuel Hayden is seen with in the final moments of DOOM (2016)! Needless to say, the audience reacted to it like a crowd watching a nerdy kid besting the most popular kid in school at a dance battle. It was awesome. Though Hugo and Marty never discussed it at the Quakecon event, shortly afterwards they sat down for an interview with Eurogamer where Hugo had this to say when asked if it’ll be used as a standard weapon:
I can only say you’ll end up using it in a satisfying way. I can’t go into details about how you’ll use it because that would be giving away too much, but you’ll certainly be able to use it. It is a Crucible, and there is a Crucible at the end of 2016 – Samuel pulls it out – so yes… It’ll be satisfying.
Whether we can use it throughout the campaign or whether it’ll just be for scripted boss battles, it sounds like Hugo and Marty have big things in store for the Crucible. But what I’d love to know is why this new Crucible looks so different to the one we saw in 2016; the one the Doomguy uses to seal the Well and that Hayden steals in the final moments of the game. Where do these Crucibles come from? How are they made? Is this new one a heavenly version of Hayden’s hellish one? So many questions!
So those are my six main takeaways from our first look at the DOOM: Eternal gameplay. What did everyone else think? Did I miss anything? Are there any DOOM fans out there that are getting just as excited as I am? What were your favourite parts of the footage? Let me know in the comments! Until next time,