Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part One DLC is out. We’re taking the opportunity to review both the base game and its follow-up expansion. Without any arguments against me, I name the bundle as the best first-person-shooter game of 2020 and beyond.
Doom Eternal is as crazy and metal-fueled as ever, and it thrives on everything that has made the series so awesome.
Killing demons has never been so fun. And it’s even better on PC as Doom Eternal is perfectly optimized. More so, if you play it with the upcoming Nvidia RTX 30 series cards!
Aside from its PC performance, what we’ve got here is the perfect shooter. It comes from iD Software as the sequel of Doom 2016. And, by all means, Doom Eternal makes its successful predecessor almost unplayable.
Doom Eternal – Review
With a total lack and disdain for plot and storytelling, The Slayer / Doom Guy will make things explode with a badass attitude. With a chainsaw, a flame thrower, and hatred to fuel a whole ship, the Slayer will also push you to become a badass.
In the literal sense, a God killing machine, as the game sets you up as a fallen unbeatable warrior looking to save sinful humanity. And, most of all, an angry badass thirsty for revenge.
And if you don’t live by the standards of the game, you won’t be able to push yourself to the end. Choosing an easy difficulty level is not an option…well, it is an option, but it renders the game not as great.
Sounds good? Follow me on this review now that The Ancient Gods DLC is out. We’re reviewing the base game and then jumping towards its first expansion.
- Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Bethesda Game Studios
- Developer: iD Software
- Genre: FPS
- Release date: March 20, 2020
“Hell’s armies have invaded Earth. Become the Slayer in an epic single-player campaign to conquer demons across dimensions and stop the final destruction of humanity. The only thing they fear… is you.”
A massive upgrade over Doom 2016
It’s surprising how far Doom has gone in four years. 2016’s Doom is already an award-winning game, and so its sequel demands your attention. It made the game bigger and better with massive upgrades in gameplay, graphics, performance, and OST.
Doom Eternal is a simple game, as pure as being the Doom Slayer with the mission of saving Earth from a demon invasion. Did you get it? It doesn’t matter. Grab your electric chainsaw and your shotgun and open your way through hordes of demons.
From the minute you first open the game and the heavy metal music starts pumping, you know you’re in for a ride. And after you listen to the introductory track for a couple of seconds, the music is going to haunt you in your free time to get back.
Moreover, the game only takes about 2 minutes to set the stake. It’s all pretty fast, just as the game expects you to play. And it will all get pretty crazy, pretty soon.
And about an hour into the game, you’ll realize just why people love it. From its “destructible demons” mechanics that allow you to destroy your enemies to the core, to its vast mobility powers and an insane arsenal of power, Doom Eternal is the FPS of dreams. It executes all of its mechanics to perfection.
By the way, if you’re wondering if you need to play Doom (2016) to understand the sequel, you don’t. Still, that game is impressive; check it out whenever you can (we’ve got a free alternative down below!).
What is Doom Eternal about?
Plot-wise, it’s not as straightforward as you might think. It doesn’t go as deep as, say, Fallout: New Vegas. Instead, Doom Eternal is a linear game that tells the game in two ways: its Codex entries and other NPCs.
For example, one of the main enemies in the game reveals a whole lot about your character. The game goes more profound than the Doom franchise ever has.
Alongside our “hero,” Doctor Samuel Hayden also makes the deepest reveals about the world. Without spoiling much, it seems the suffering of human souls turns into God’s substance for immortality.
Nevertheless, the plot is fun, evil, and good enough to follow to the end. And, oh boy, the boss battles – and the FINAL BOSS BATTLE – are reason enough to end the single-player campaign.
We’re still happy just following Doom Guy. He’s badass, short-spoken, and threatening. He’s the most intimidating hero humanity has ever seen, with origins unknown to all but himself.
The Doom Slayer is part demon, part human, part angel. Yet, he decided he’s a human above all things, as he must sacrifice his former masters’ home planet to save Earth from the demonic invasion. Human-kind must end for Maykr’s realm to survive.
“They are no longer your people to save.”
Does it sound compelling enough? Because it is. The problem is you’re going to be too busy making demons explode, and so the codex is no longer exiting.
But even without paying too much attention, the plot is easy enough to follow. And, for a fast-paced shooter games, it makes a whole lot of sense.
How does the game work?
Doom Eternal is about making you feel like a God. It’s the craziest, fastest shooting game there is. That is unless you can name another because I sure can’t!
The experience is simple. Doom Eternal sets you across a dozen maps on a linear adventure. You’ll be upgrading your character in every chapter with new skills, weapons upgrades, and guns.
Doom Eternal has 13 levels. It’ll take about an hour and a half to complete each map. However, your character progresses so much that the last couple of scenarios will feel more comfortable and straightforward.
Each map functions the same as the last, although the scenery is entirely different. It’s always new, exciting, and gorgeous to behold.
Your progress on linear levels and solve puzzles to follow through. Puzzles usually involve jumping, dashing, and destroying levers or walls.
Then, you reach large areas that resemble a multiplayer arena. These are the fighting pits, where hordes of demons are there to face you.
Some of the areas are more challenging than others, sure. But never in my playthrough, I felt like the game was too easy or too hard. It’s just perfectly balanced.
It helps that there’s a wide array of enemies to kill, from simple fodder zombie demons to massive skeletal monster empowering his buddies with the fires of hell.
Away from arena battles, there’s also the opportunity to explore, and exploration yields rewards. You can get tokens to improve your praetor armor, weapon upgrades, character upgrades, and more.
On top of that, other collectibles include heavy metal albums and toys you can check back in at the hub, your space ship. There’s also “cheat codes” you can use to replay a level with some extra overpowered boost. And, lastly, there’s a series of collectibles you can find to play the original 1998 on your headquarters ‘ computer.
Dashing through the abyss
In retrospect, Doom Eternal is so good it made 2016’s reboot less valuable.
The addition of double jumps and mid dashes makes this game faster and more exciting than we could ever imagine. It continually asks you to play more quickly, be more creative, more skilled, and more tricky.
That’s one of the highlights of the game. Mobility is second to none: it’s fast, it’s responsive, and it’s creative. Moreover, it’s something you need to master to stay alive.
Then, you have about 10 different weapons in your arsenal, which includes a kickass blade you unlock late. Most weapons have two other mods that change their functionality, and each mod has a series of upgrades to make it stronger.
You also need to master those features if you want to be as badass as the game wants you to be. Moreover, you’ll need every weapon from start to finish. Not even your modest shotgun, your first gun, becomes useless by the end.
That’s because each demon needs different measures. Also, most demons have weak spots you discover either through the codex or load screens. You can exploit these weaknesses to destroy them quicker. Otherwise, they are going to overwhelm you.
It helps that Doom Eternal showcases a unique mechanic that allows you to see the damage you take on the demons. For example, you can tear down the armor of a monster, then tear down the flesh and, finally, rip up their heads. Rip & tear, baby.
Moreover, every level feels like a multiplayer map. You’ll be jumping up and down platforms and obstacles to kill your enemies with all kinds of crazy stunts.
Is it possible to shoot a monster while swinging on a pole? Yes, it is. There’s no other game allowing such insanity. And there’s always gore to reward your best kills.
Did I say that finding a new gun is fantastic? There are these cool moments of discovery where the Doom Guy is checking the weapon he just founds. He takes it and praises it in science with a badass attitude. It just makes you get real acquainted with the new member of your arsenal as soon as you can.
It’s not all about slashing through demons, though. Doom Eternal is a full experience. As soon as you open the game and the heavy metal music starts kicking in, you’ll understand the game means business.
The game then goes full round with its cinematic and explosive cut-scenes. id Software never misses an opportunity to introduce some over-the-top humor and showcase just how much of -The Real Thing – is the slayer.
There’s also one extra layer to the gameplay: your Praetor Suit. Aside from the upgrades, you can unlock, the suit delivers four essential gadgets for your playthrough.
First, it’s the chainsaw. Cutting demons in half is never-ending fun, but it also refills ammo. However, you need fuel to use it, and you can only cut lesser demons.
Then you get the Glory Kill. Do enough damage to a demon, and you can perform a cinematic flaying with the suit’s blade. It gives you HP, and it looks terrific.
Glory kills refill your Blood Punch, which is a massive shockwave of hate from your melee attack. It deals a lot of damage, and it becomes progressively stronger as you progress.
Lastly, you have the Flame Belch, which is the demonic name of a flame thrower. Kill an enemy on fire and gain some armor in return.
As you see, these three features are essential to survival. You need to master these weapons just as much as the rest of your arsenal. It will teach you to swap weapons and take different approaches regularly.
Micro-managing ammo is also real on Doom Eternal. Ammo is pretty low. For example, the shotgun only has 26 shells, and that’s after you maximize your ammo capacity to the fullest. Then again, you need to swap your weapons constantly, use your chainsaw when you need it, and recharge health and armor with the other tools of your “Unholy Trinity.”
There are also runes to add to your arsenal. You find rune collectibles in your explorations, each one granting the opportunity of unlocking one of these powers. You can only have three Support Runes active at any time, and they dramatically change your playing experience. For example, the ability to slow time as you aim while jumping (!) is incredible.
Oh, I forgot to mention. You also got grenades. They either explode or freeze enemies, there are no extra mechanics there. What did you expect? Just go and make demons explode into pieces of flesh!
It’s not the best part of the game, but it’s there. Multiplayer is not a standard PVP, though; it’s something else.
Because iD Software feels the Doom Guy is too overpowered to face himself, you’re playing against human-controlled demons.
I’m talking about the Battlemode multiplayer “PVE”. These are 2v1 matches where one of the players takes a fully-upgraded Doom Slayer. In contrast, the others take the part of any demon they choose (with enhanced powers).
Another post-game feature is Master Levels, which becomes available after you beat the game. Currently, there’s only one available – Cult Base – and it presents further challenges.
Besides that, you can replay any level you want either for fun or to look for collectibles you missed. You can replay with any of the Cheat Codes you found, like, for example, infinite ammo.
And…that’s it. Really, there’s not much going on in terms of end-game or post-launch content.
Except…for the Ancient Gods Part One DLC, which premiered on October 20.
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Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part One DLC
Bethesda and iD Software didn’t know they were creating something so massive. At first, The Ancient Gods was going to follow the story with a short playthrough experience.
Now, though, it’s a full-on expansion, a 4-hour episode that doesn’t even require you to own the base game to play. If you play without the original campaign, it gives you a fully leveled Doom Slayer.
- Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Bethesda Game Studios
- Developer: iD Software
- Genre: FPS
- Release date: October 20, 2020
“Experience a new mission in your eternal fight against evil. Unleash your vengeance and face your greatest test as you march back to the Maykr’s realm. Defeat powerful new threats, restore order to the heavens and unearth the corruption that has thrown the universe into chaos.”
What is The Ancient Gods Part One about?
The DLC deals with the consequences of the Slayer’s actions. Humanity’s salvation created a disturbance in the Maykrs world, Urdak.
With Hell overrunning your former master’s realm, you return to Urdak for a new sci-fi evil adventure. You are there to finish the fight on three unique levels with the same amount of gore, challenge, and insanity.
It’s a short-lived expansion, but it takes significant steps towards making the game feel fresh, new, and expanding with unique scenery, boss fights, and lore. There’s a second part coming up, and we’re already excited about that.
Moreover, it sets the stakes for a fantastic finale or follow-up. The evil factor is up to eleven on Doom Eternal’s new child.
“The consequences of your actions are irreversible here.”
The DLC introduces three new Runes to improve your carnage powers. There’s also a whole set of skins for the Doom Slayer, including apparel that sets you on fire. Lit!
There’s also a gold-plated Maykr skin you can unlock by beating the game on Ultra-Nightmare…good look?
However, there’s a thing I dislike about the expansion. Progress carries forward, and there’s really not much else to level after you’ve beaten the base game. Without any power-ups to unlock, you may lose interest as well.
That’s just nitpicking, though. The Ancient Gods has a new demonic/sci-fi heavy metal ost, new demons, new bosses, and new maps. Plus, it has the meanest, best-looking cinematic cuts in the franchise.
Either way, The Ancient Gods Part One DLC sells for $20. Otherwise, you can get the Deluxe Edition that packs the base game plus the expansion for a discount.
There’s a second part coming up next year. It’s worth it, if only for the final reveal.
Additionally, you can buy the “Year One” season pass, which will include The Ancient Gods Part Two.
The Ancient Gods Part One – Review
Let me share a short review of a short DLC. The answer is yes, violence is the best solution to all things.
The Ancient Gods expansion doesn’t present anything genuinely new over the base game because it doesn’t need to. Doom Eternal is already a gory masterpiece, a pure art of violence that teaches you to kill demons with a great variety of sharp and explosive tools.
There’s something to say about the DLC, though. The combat is faster and more challenging than the base game. As a reward, you get stunning killing animations, better than the original single-player campaign.
Once again, using every gun and every tool in your arsenal is a necessity. Every arena tests your mastery over your suit and your weapons. You’ll need to be at the top of your game to beat the final boss.
Remember, ammo is low and scarce, so your chainsaw will become your best friend on the DLC. Don’t take it as a problem, though; it’s part of the constant micro-managing of resources. See, a dead Slayer or a Slayer without ammo can’t kill demons.
That said, The Ancient Gods shines bright on its own two legs. It’s just as polished as the base game. Gory, violence, and explosions are, as always, tons of fun.
Take a look at the speed run below! (Spoilers ahead).
Doom Eternal ongoing support and community
There’s something else I want to point out about Doom Eternal, which is its fantastic community. Developers from iD Software, distributors from Bethesda, and fans work together to keep the game alive and healthy.
Bethesda released an update for Doom Eternal on October 20 to go alongside the DLC. Update 3 features bug fixes and minor changes for all platforms. They are looking to keep the game in tip-top shape.
Secondly, there’s the Slayers Club. It’s the free-to-join official Doom fan club that welcomes fans from all over the world.
Joining the Slayers Club requires a Bethesda account, but those are free to create as well.
Members of the Slayer Club can unlock demon skins, demon animations, Slayer skins, and other exclusive content layers.
Your profile on the site keeps track of your actions in the game and rewards points for your demon kills.
You can also earn points outside of the game by being an all-out Doom fan. Some of the stuff you can do on the page to earn points are share fan art, check concept art, check other players’ screenshots, watch live streams, watch behind-the-scenes clips, vote in polls, participate in trivia, and more.
Almost everything you do on the site gives you points. Even joining the club’s discord chat gives you points.
As you earn points, you’ll “level-up” on a 15-rank ladder, from UAC Volunteer to Doom Slayer. Naturally, every rank has a reward.
Doom 2016 on streaming…for free
Lastly, press the mysterious “Orion” option on the Slayers Club site. You’ll access the opportunity to play Doom 2016 on streaming. You can play its entire single-player campaign plus its arena mode.
Orion is Bethesda’s take on cloud gaming. Currently, they are offering the opportunity to try out Doom 2016 from their platform. The company says the Orion technology reduces latency and improves bandwidth to improve streaming performance.
Bethesda built Orion with a game engine, contrary to other streaming platforms like Luna, xCloud, or Stadia. Because the streaming feature is built into the game engine, Orion can reduce latency by %20. Moreover, it reduces the required bandwidth to 40%.
Both Doom Eternal and The Ancient Gods DLC are prime, premium, VIP, insane, top-tier first-person-shooters. And they are fast-paced fps, of all things! Not the easiest of genres.
I consider the whole package to be the best fps we’ve seen in a decade. I dare say since Half-Life 2, although Valve’s title leans more into the survival horror genre.
If you can’t afford the title right now, remember the base game is now part of the Xbox Game Pass bundle for Xbox One and Xbox Series X (soon). You can check out what’s new on Xbox Game Pass for October here.
Also, even though Microsoft bought Bethesda, we think the game will reach the PS5 as well.