Every now and then we come across something that stops us in our tracks and makes us rethink our perspective. It can come from anywhere, a video, a book, a video game or even a well placed ad. This is what happened to me while playing DOOM Eternal. Its presentation is incredible, pretty much up to standards of a blockbuster movie. Yet its art style, tone, and HUD design clash with one another and this pushed me to think about the game and my expectations of it in a new light.
With that being said let me start by diving into what makes DOOM Eternal so brilliant. Off the bat the game’s textures and models are crisp, and when I say crisp I mean “holy crap it looks like an animated movie” CRISP. It’s so detailed that you can see little things like enemy facial expressions during combat, reflective surfaces on weapons, and the environment textures look almost lifelike. Enemies also have different damage states which makes you feel like you are really putting the hurt on them.
Chunks of their armor and body begin to fly off as you mow them down with the updated weapons. Combat is fast, brutal, and satisfying. When you can finally master all attacks and combine them together, the game can feel like an over the top trailer, simply EPIC. And to top it all off, DOOM Eternal shows off its creator’s true talent in the artwork and level design. Each level is masterfully crafted and feels fresh, even when you are in the hellish and fiery not-so-fresh looking levels. On multiple occasions I found myself just staring into the backgrounds after a firefight just to admire the detail.
In addition to the amazing visuals, DOOM Eternal also has a larger backstory than previous games. There are new details revealing a balance between heaven and hell. It’s as if they both depend on one another to function. As well, the Slayer is actually a defender sent to protect Earth and humanity. While they never explain where he came from, this idea of the DOOM Slayer being the “chosen” one also reminded me of St. Michael the Archangel. He is known as the protector of humanity against all evil, and as DOOM Slayer, you carry a similar responsibility. I appreciated that the story suggests that DOOM Slayer is not entirely human either. Supposedly he is some kind of human hybrid which created a mystery about his true origin. Not much else was explained about him but hopefully ID software will further explain his origin story in a future sequel. DOOM Eternal does a great job of providing a clearer outline of where the story is headed and DOOM Slayer’s purpose which I felt brought new meaning to the series.
The Clashing Elements
Here is where things started to get weird in my play through. Within an hour or two into the game I began to notice overly highlighted things like the brightly colored HUD, the neon green, red, and yellow interactive sections of levels that stuck out like a sore thumb. Being that the game features super realistic shadows and lighting I felt the tone was more serious and these indicators did not blend in with the general theme. Out of nowhere you can spot random neon red explosive objects or a bright green switch which made the game feel childish in comparison to the violence and graphic action. Personally, it felt like the neon elements were trying to make things TOO obvious. It was as if the game was suggesting players could not figure out where to go by themselves. I would have preferred if ID software just just used a few less vibrant colors which would have made the game feel more immersive and natural. While this is not a big deal, for some reason it kept bugging me every time I saw a ridiculously bright level interaction. See below for some examples.
Initially my reaction was that the game is an incredible shooter that felt awkward because of some strangely colored game design elements. I didn’t sit well with the initial HUD colors or brightly colored level interaction indicators. They gave some levels a plastic toy kind of feel which in my head clashed with the serious level design and dark tone. This made me reflect on my own expectations and what I wanted DOOM Eternal to be.
I wanted DOOM Eternal to keep a consistency with its story, tone, setting, and game play. I expected it to play more like DOOM 3 which was heavily focused on the survival horror aspects and less about stylish violence. Sadly this never happened but thankfully DOOM Eternal has options included to help make your play through more immersive. While you cannot turn off all the brightly colored elements, you can change your HUD colors and even turn it off if necessary. You can also dim down the colors of the pick ups throughout the game. Having those options allowed me to play in a more straightforward style and enjoy the game a little more in the way I wanted to.
After reflecting on my issues with the game, I finally settled on the idea that DOOM Eternal just does not want to take itself as seriously as I expected it to, and that’s okay. Gaming is about having a good time and doing awesome things we cannot do in real life, like beating the crap out of demons to save the world and there should be no pressure or unnecessary expectations along with it. I was glad to play DOOM Eternal. It is an epic shooter that allows you to cut loose and have fun causing all kinds of carnage against dark forces. I was glad that the overall experience forced me to look at my own expectations about it and just accept the fact that sometimes a game is just a game and it’s okay not to take things too seriously. It made me calm down and just enjoy it as a fun modernized version of a classic shooter.
Update 2.0: Adding To The Sweetness
A few weeks ago, ID software released Update 2.0 which brings a ton of new features to enhance your game play experience. Starting with some balancing, ID corrected some bugs that were allowing players to jump out of specific maps in Battlemode as well as other various fixes across all platforms. They also added a new map for Battlemode and improvements to photo mode as well. However, my favorite part of the update comes from new visual modes that have been added to the campaign.
If you are feeling nostalgic you can now relive those old school DOOM glory days with the use of new render modes. ID went all out with these visual filters and you can now experience the game in a whole new way. Some of the options range from “Gritty” to “DOOM Classic” and even “Retro Handheld” which looks like an original Gameboy screen. Check out some of the render screenshots above! For the full breakdown of the update here is the link to the web page: https://slayersclub.bethesda.net/en/article/5pEQleLLohnhgw2C9WmkiB/doom-eternal-update-2
For those of you who haven’t played DOOM Eternal and are interested, I definitely recommend it. It is a fun and fast shooter that keeps you on your toes the whole way through, especially if you are a classic shooter fan. My experience with it was amazing despite my issues with the clashing colors. There have been a ton of summer sales going on so take advantage and check it out for a discount if you have the option.
If you have stayed with me up until this point I just want to say thank you for your time and attention. Honestly I truly appreciate the support from all of my readers. Moving forward though, I am planning to roll out a ton of new articles. They will be ranging from past game releases all the way up to present times with new upcoming games, personal thoughts, experiences in gaming, and gaming life in quarantine. Again, thank you so much for reading. This piece should have been released much sooner however, personal issues have been holding my progress back but I am turning all of that around. Writing is a passion of mine that I am looking to expand on and make more than just a hobby. Stay strong and stay safe.