Oh, the friends you'll make in Doom Eternal!

Title Oh, the friends you'll make in Doom Eternal!
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Game reviews
When April 1, 2020

There are lots of issues with Doom Eternal, but only one has been a deal-breaker.  It's probably not even the one you think..

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I’m sad for Tom (or anybody else) that he can’t enjoy this game as much as I do.

— yes, flame belch —

Ha ha, ok that got an actual LOL from me. I’ve been holding strong on buying this game up front, figured I’d wait for a deal down the road, but my resolve is constantly tested. This might be the breaking point, and I don’t even know what it is.

Doom Eternal set a really, really bad first impression for me. Well, perhaps not quite; the first impression actually suckered me with a pretty well executed nostalgic throwback to Doom II’s starting room mixed with (and I had no idea how much I yearned for this) the gothic aesthetic of the original Quake.

Unfortunately, it then proceeded to open its big dumb mouth and drown me in all the nonsense Tom mentions. It felt utterly bewildering; the ugly 2 texture boxed-in tutorial rooms in particular merely exacerbating that fact rather than addressing it. Perhaps the biggest failure of the whole mess is that it failed to really call out that the chainsaw is now infinite use and effectively becomes Eternal’s reload button. Oh, it mentions this, in passing, but doesn’t quite get across how important this is to the core gameplay loop, more so than any flame belch or glory kill.

So I sorta hated it to start with. I certainly remember mourning that most of, if not all, the things I thought were sublime in Doom 2016 were jettisoned so readily to double down on aspects that were weakest. Not to improve, but to expand. Most of that stuff is, in fairness, optional. So I wont dwell on it.

Anyway, I persevered despite having somewhat written it off. After all, what better to distract from a depressing real-life apocalypse than a fake one with big guns and bigger guts? Then it clicked. Around the time I wrapped up the level when you (finally) get the super shotgun I realised I was having an absolute riot. So many of the mechanics that it had been almost going out of its way to miscommunicate had finally worked their way into my playstyle. I was always one bad hit away from death, sure. The old power fantasy of the lumbering juggernaut was gone, almost completely subverted and inverted into a resplendent ballet of death, destruction and dismemberment. I was the dancing butterfly, stinging like a bee and despite the crushing weight of my mortality I nonetheless felt like a god.

I read another comment elsewhere that disparaged the game along the lines of “it threw away everything I’ve learned about how to play FPSs in the last 20 years”. I honestly couldn’t agree more and would hold that fact up as its underlying genius.

Despite being book-ended in disappointments, I ended up loving it. A lot. A couple of days ago I finished an ultra-nightmare run :muscle:, something I attempted in Doom 2016 but rapidly tired of. The game is at its absolute best if you’re prepared to stack the difficulty as high as you’re willing to tolerate.

Just so long as you learn your ABCs (Always Be Chainsawing).

For me, there was never really a click. At least it didn’t feel like a click. It was something more gradual. About halfway through, I begrudgingly thought, “Well, I guess I better finish it if I’m going to write a review.” But along the way to the end, I had less and less resistance to booting it up, and I was willing to spend more and more time in a sitting actually playing it. And by the time it was over, I actually liked it! I’m not sure I feel like I want to spend more time with it, and I certainly didn’t stack the difficulty (there’s no incentive to play harder difficulties, as far as I can tell, and one of my hang-ups about difficulty levels is that I need an incentive). But I feel like we were the buddy cop movie who can’t get along when we first meet, but by the time the movie is over, we’re fast friends.


Was there something at the end that disappointed you? I actually didn’t mind those last two boss fights because they were just so batshit crazy over-the-top with their “now you get everything!” enthusiasm.


One of the best game reviews I’ve ever read! “More Tex Avery than Texas Chainsaw Massacre…” had me chuckling all the way to the end. Bravo.

Was there something at the end that disappointed you? I actually didn’t mind those last two boss fights because they were just so batshit crazy over-the-top with their “now you get everything!” enthusiasm.

Not so much the boss fights as the levels surrounding them I guess. The design of the final level was just so hum-drum compared pretty much anything else I couldn’t help but be disappointed, though the fights were cool. Essentially the design just ended up feeling like the first level, but at night and with a lot less shit on fire. Timid.

I did get a big kick out of the design of the penultimate level but it was somewhat offset by being the zenith of all the annoying jumpy-grabby gameplay Eternal had to offer. I’d been grateful that they’d reigned that in following the starting levels but bringing it back at that stage with such gusto felt really jarring. Obviously that change of pace was intentional but I do have to ask; why craft such a stunning level just to force the player into closeups of the same boring wall texture every other minute? Tsk.

Fantastic review! I didn’t think you were going to find anything redeeming in the game even though I skipped ahead (as I always do) to see the star rating. So I wondered if maybe you clicked the wrong number number of stars LOL. Then it switched tone and I was like “ahhh I see!”

Turns out this space castle is nothing more than a place to leave.

LOL. This review is spot-on (though I’d give it 4 stars myself).

It feels bad saying this but I like the 2016 one way better. I felt like an unstoppable force in that game. In this one I always feel like I’m about to die and it’s a bummer.

Objectively they improved on pretty much everything. The levels look amazing. The monster models look better. The weak spots make the fights more interesting. The weapons feel better to use.

You’re right on with the ammo comment. I’m having fun mowing down assholes with my chaingun and I run out of ammo after a few seconds. They spawn these little pukes that are there to farm pickups, they even tell you these guys are here for you to farm, and it just interrupts my fun. Excuse me Mr Mancubus, I’ll be right back to continue blasting off your bits once I find some shithead to chainsaw for more bullets.

I’ll finish it but I’ll go back and replay the other Doom when I get a hankering for gore.

My only gripe was the marauder. He seemed a bit out of place, felt cheap, and wasn’t much fun fighting. Other than that best shooter I’ve played in years.

Which one is the maurader? The sword hand guy or the bastard with the shield? Because I hate the guy who spams shields.

EDIT: I just googled him, I haven’t fought him yet. I’m only on level 4!

Yeah, it felt like dirty pool to introduce an invulnerable dude who can only be hit if you master a timing gimmick. That said, by the time the game was over, I’d gotten pretty handy at taking him out. The arbalest was good for a hard-hitting quick reaction to his eyes going green. You might realize this, but I didn’t know I could follow up hitting him with another hit if you’re quick. He’s staggered just long enough that you can maybe get in a second attack. Also, you can kill the ghost cat he sends after you. Because it seemed incorporeal, I thought for the longest time it was invulnerable. Nope. It dies pretty easily.


This goes back to my comment about Doom Eternal miscommunicating things but what it really wants you to do here is combo him by weapon switching and skipping lengthy weapon reloads e.g. Arbalest shot → rocket → supershotgun blast.

Or, uh, just do this (yum, cheese).


Ah, right, I bet the meat hook while he’s staggered is just the ticket! Why didn’t I think of that?


I got to him last night and what an absolute bullshit opponent. He’s in this tiny ass room with very little maneuvering space, and the second you shift your focus to a peon demon to heal or his dumb dog he charges in to kill you. This guy feels like a design mistake.

I had to drop the difficulty off Ultra Violence to kill him, because my old man reflexes aren’t up to it.

It didn’t feel like a follow up to Doom 2016 so much as an experiment in how they could take the massive success of Doom 2016 and fill it with the maximum amount of annoying new features that no one asked for while still staying playable.

I quit before the 2 hour mark because I didn’t want to miss the refund window. It was just a melody of shortages and MMO-style cooldown juggling and I wasn’t having fun with that. The breaking point (besides the refund mark) was when I was only in the 2nd level and the game had already forced me to go through like 3 purple slime segments by then.

“you wrassle with them,” is the funniest part of any game review that I’ve ever read.

@tomchick as an aside, any chance we will ever see a return of Shoot Club? This review reminds me a lot of the old shoot club columns.

“Trevor vs Aliens” should always be on the front page.