*Insert Tarzan scream*
It has been almost four years now since the 2016 edition of Doom showed us the right way to revisit a classic shooter franchise. But, thrilling as that game was, by the end of its running time the crowded firefights already started to feel a bit repetitive. Doom Eternal, the newest entry in the series, hopes to recapture that same fast-paced shooter magic without feeling like more of the same.
For the most part, it succeeds. Doom Eternal returns us to the familiar feel of its run-and-gun predecessor, with just enough variety to keep the new game from feeling like a mere expansion pack. But a few changes throw off the game’s flow so badly that they threaten to derail the whole experience.
What are we doing?
The story specifics in Doom Eternal are as wonderfully ignorable as they were in the previous game. Instead of fighting in Hell or on Mars, this time you take the fight directly to the demon-infested Earth, tearing through countless grunts to get to three demonic priests. You have to go through a series of plot points on the way to confronting each priest, but each one may as well read “[Insert mystical hell-demon gibberish].”
Some short cut scenes try to build out your character’s history and motivation a bit, complete with a lot of hard-to-follow proper names for demons and settings that will have no resonance for most players. You can pore through pages and pages of hidden lore if you want to get a better grip on all this, but I found it easier to just tune out. I was much more intrigued by the holographic displays and the loudspeaker voice-overs sprinkled through random hallways, all hinting at a vast propaganda regime trying to integrate human society with the demonic interlopers seeking to harvest their souls.