The problem with Doom is it’s still good. The fact Doom 2016 managed to find ways to improve or at least add to that formula remains an incredible achievement. The idea another sequel can do the same for that game is pretty outrageous. Yet, Doom Eternal might just manage it. If only in small ways.
Doom Eternal’s title alone is a bold mission statement, an acknowledgement perhaps that yes, ‘This is more of the same because let’s face it, Doom will always be good.’ And hey, developer Id Software is not wrong. Despite that statement of intent, it’s still in the tricky position of following up on a beloved reboot that revitalised a classic formula. When you’ve already shaken things up, do you try to keep mixing or do you let this new formula settle first? After an hour or so with Doom Eternal, it’s fair to say there’s little surprising about it, but that really just means that yes, it’s an absolute blast.
In some ways it seems like an even better distillation of the classic Doom fantasy even if it’s further away mechanically. The absurdity of the Doom Slayer’s impossible badassery is dialled up to 11, the heavy metal landscapes tower over Mars and Mick Gordon’s back to deliver another set of demon slaying anthems. Much more than Doom 2016, it wants to back up the design and mechanics with a presentation that sells its fantasy.