Doom Eternal is faster, bloodier, has more diverse locations, incredibly strong shooting mechanics, and is just all around a better game than its 2016 predecessor. Unfortunately all of those changes make me enjoy it far less.
That idea should not make sense. If this game is better than the first in every conceivable way why do I continue to find it far less fun and engaging?
Doom (2016, obviously) was simple in all forms. You had guns. You had demons. And you had a portal from Mars to Hell. There was some plot, but it was so meaningless that you could ignore it. All of this made for a throughly compact, instantly replayable experience.
Doom Eternal meanwhile is chaotic. That is but design for sure. The team wants you to constantly move, jump, shoot, chainsaw, and doom punch your way through waves of enemies. And I have to admit that the base shooting loop works. The guns feel responsive, the explosions are chunky, and zipping around slicing demons to bits looks great. It just feels like the team missed two two key features of the first game.
Doom Eternal gives you the shotgun as your standard weapon along with a refilling chainsaw that allows you to cut enemies to get ammo. If you cannot tell the issue here then recall the first things you could do in Doom. You can punch and had a blaster you that refilled.
Those two two game play pieces leant Doom a feeling of stability. It was clear what you had at minimum in any situation. Doom
Eternal does not work that way. Instead of stability in what arsenal you have, it just gives you weapons and you have to scrounge for ammo like a survival horror game and hope your chainsaw is refilled by the time you need it. That would be fine if you could still punch all the demons to death, but you cannot do that either.
In Doom you could simply melee weaker zombies and low level demons. They would then glow so you could melee them a second time to regain health. The flashy glow returns, but you have to shoot all the demons to get them into that state. The problem about that is the aforementioned ammo scarcity, but also you cannot control when an enemy will survive the shooting or just explode into bits. Meaning you would have then wasted ammo and your dying.
I say that like the shooter sections is where I died the most. It was not. The most I ever felt unfairly about the shooting sections is when I’m blocked and for whatever reason cannot jump over the enemies and just die.
No, the real reason I do not like this game as much are the platforming. The platforming is garbage. Straight demon trash. The sensitivity is all over the place. Sometime I will grab a surface no problem, other times I grab it only to punch the wall. The protruding railings have the same issue of if I should have made contact or not. On top of that, this is a first person game. You cannot see all of the surroundings making it all that harder to tell where to jump next, or if you missed a jump, what went wrong.
When will developers learn that first person platforming does not work unless tightly, tightly, controlled and equally responsive.
There are some good things about the game. The UAC hologram lady is the perfect kind of blunt satire you want in the game, and the wide range of collectibles to find makes exploring the level really fun.
All the criticism (expect the platforming sensitivity. They could not have wanted it that bad) feels all designed to give the chaotic, energized experience. It succeeds at that. It wants to up that ante more and more, but I find doing that misses part of what made Doom what it was. It went from simple to hand holdie when giving out weapons, collecting ammo, and fighting demons. It’s a chore.
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