Here’s what you need to know about id Software’s hellish shooter.
DOOM Eternal is almost here, bringing with it the promise of exhilarating action, and gory and brutal slaughter of demons. Fans of the series and the previous game have plenty of reason to be excited, because DOOM Eternal looks, once again, like everything DOOM should be- but better than ever. As we approach its imminent launch, in this feature, we’ll be taking a look at a few key pieces of information that you need to know about the game. Without further ado then, let’s get started.
DOOM Eternal will pick up two years after the events of DOOM (2016), and the threat is much closer to him this time, with the forces of Hell having turned their attention to Earth. Yes, this time, there will be literal Hell on Earth. In fact, new locations and environments – such as Phobos – will be a lot more commonly seen in DOOM Eternal than ever before.
When any of us play DOOM, are primary concern is always the action- the relentless shooting, the brutal firefights, the sheer thrill of it all. But DOOM’s also always had some pretty solid lore that players can jump into, which is an area that id are focusing on more this time. Though the focus of the game is still very much going to be the action, story and lore are things that id are focusing more on this time around, as they look to expand the DOOM universe.
DOOM (2016) wasn’t criticized for a whole lot of things, but one of the few criticism that did get levied at it was that its environments were too repetitive. With DOOM Eternal, id Software look to be taking that criticism to heart. We’ve already seen quite a lot of environments from the game, such as Phobos, the Doom Slayer’s hub, and many others environments that echo the look of the previous game, but id are promising even more environmental variety this time around. It should be interesting to see just how much there is, because DOOM Eternal is going to be a pretty big game.
Oh, and speaking of length…
DOOM (2016) was already a meaty enough game, at about 10-12 hours long for a critical path run, but like a good little sequel, Eternal is going to be bigger- significantly so. id Software have said that DOOM Eternal is over 22 hours long, which is a great length for a shooter. Of course, developers do tend to inflate those figures somewhat before release, but even if DOOM Eternal is somewhat shorter than what id says, it still looks set to be a pretty long game.
Something that is quite interesting about DOOM Eternal is that id Software are taking a different approach to difficulty. It’s one that looks to be more balanced, so that players don’t lose anything and experience the same core game regardless of what difficulty they are playing on, the lowest or the highest. Speaking to US Gamer, creative director Hugo Martin explained that approach with an interesting comparison.
“In Mario Kart if I play on easy, it’s the slowest setting,” he said. “I mean, I’m still needing to power slide. I still need to use my resources. I still need to do all the same things; hit the jump the same way. The only difference is that on the hardest setting, it’s just way ****ing faster, you know? So I think that’s our goal.”
“The only thing that changes is the number of decisions you’re being asked to make per second and the number of mistakes you’re allowed to make,” he added. “So the game that you play, if you drop down to easy, is basically the same exact game, the same exact combat loop. You’re gonna be doing the same exact things that you would be doing on Nightmare. The only thing is to just be doing it way faster.”
“Everything you learned on the lower difficulty will carry over to the next difficulty, which will make transitioning to higher difficulties, I think, that much more inviting to players.”
Meanwhile, it’s also been confirmed that DOOM Eternal will bring back permadeath in a new difficulty setting that goes one step above even Ultra Nightmare, called Extra Life Mode.
One of the most interesting new mechanics DOOM Eternal is introducing is Destructible Demons, which sees demons becoming more and more damaged and showing greater wear and tear as you fight them. It will, of course, have more than an aesthetic impact, too. Weak points might slowly get revealed, giving you the chance to deal deadly hits. Meanwhile, certain enemies will once again be weaker to certain weapons as well.
Weapon mods will be making a return in DOOM Eternal, and are looking quite interesting. With the exception of a few, all weapons can be equipped with two mods at a time, and they promise to add an interesting layer of strategy. For instance, looking at the Codex, you can learn about the weaknesses of each enemy, and then mod your weapons to suit specific needs.
CENTRED WEAPONS POV
Remember the early days of first person shooters, when weapons were positioned exactly in the centre of the screen? As games advanced and the idea of having aiming reticles took hold, weapons shifted to the edges of the screen, to give games a more realistic look. DOOM Eternal, however, is all about calling back to a classic, golden age of a the genre, and will include an option that’ll make genre veterans very happy. The game will come with a Classic Weapon Pose option, which will see the Doom Slayer’s gun being positioned in the middle of the screen.
BATTLE MODE DETAILS
DOOM Eternal’s biggest improvement over its predecessor is no doubt going to be the Battle Mode. Built in-house at id (unlike 2016’s multiplayer), Battle Mode is looking to capture the frenetic pace and essence of the series in all the ways that the predecessor’s multiplayer couldn’t. But what exactly is it? Here’s a brief description in case you do not already know. Battle Mode is essentially a 2v1 mode, with one player playing as the Doom Slayer, and the other two playing as various kinds of demons, played over the course of five matches. The demons win a round by killing the Slayer, while the Slayer, upon killing one demon, will get a twenty second window to kill the second demon and win the round. If the Slayer is unable to do so, the dead demon respawns with half health. If the Slayer wins a round, the player gets to summon the BFG-9000, while if the demons win a round, they get to summon the Baron of Hell.
DOOM (2016)’s blaring metal soundtrack was one of the best things about the game, a perfect companion to its action and its irreverent and relentless tone. Mick Gordon, the incredibly talented composer, will be returning to bless DOOM Eternal with his talents once again.
NO RAY-TRACING AT LAUNCH
Those who will be playing the game on PC will miss out on a few upper end features at launch. Ray-tracing, for instance, probably won’t be available. Though id Software will surely have looked into it and at least done some groundwork for it – especially with this being an id Tech 7 game – the actual technology itself probably won’t make it into the game until after release.
NO MOD SUPPORT AT LAUNCH
Similarly, mod support won’t be featured at launch either. id Software have spoken about mod support for DOOM Eternal in the past, and though they recognize that it is important and something they’ll want to include in the game down the road, it won’t be available at launch. That said, id have supposedly made the game’s code more flexible, and have set mod support as a long-term target.
One thing that DOOM Eternal won’t have that everything will be happy about is microtransactions- which is a huge relief, because over the past couple of years – from RAGE 2 to Wolfenstein: Youngblood to Fallout 76 – lots of Bethesda games have had in-game purchases. DOOM Eternal will have no microtransactions whatsoever though- not even the cosmetic kind. There will be cosmetic items and skins in the game, but those can only be unlocked with XP, which is earned in the game.
DOOM Eternal is looking set to enjoy much better post-launch support than its predecessor on multiple levels. For starters, id have confirmed that they will be adding free new maps and playable demons to Battle Mode down the line. A Year 1 Pass for the game has also been confirmed, which will include paid single player expansions. Its very name suggests that there will be even more expansions down the line, while Battle Mode is also something that id can potentially support for some time to come. It certainly looks like DOOM Eternal will end up having a much longer life than its predecessor.
XBOX ONE X AND PS4 PRO ENHANCEMENTS
Unsurprisingly, DOOM Eternal will feature visual and performance enhancements on both, the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro. On both enhanced consoles, the game will be targeting a 4K resolution and a smooth 60 frames per second. Resolution will, of course, take a hit on base consoles, but the game will still maintain 60 FPS. The only version of the game that will be running on 30 FPS is the Switch version (which doesn’t yet have a release date).