DOOM Eternal: Ancient Gods, Part 1 promises to expand upon the series, bringing the DOOM universe into full perspective and taking Slayers on a bigger, bolder, and even more metal experience than before. Here’s our review for DOOM Eternal: Ancient Gods, Part 1.
+Andrew Hulshut and David Levy crank the volume to an 11 in the all-new soundtrack
+New perks power up the overall experience
+Fights are bigger, meaner, and more hectic than before
+Each zone has its own unique feeling and vibe
-Difficulty spikes could be a turn off to some
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part One is just as big as you would imagine. It’s three new levels and each one clocks in at about two hours, give or take your ability to rip and tear throguh each of its encounters. The story itself picks up moments after the Doom Guy had a chance to polish off his double barreled shotgun and give his BFG a nice little slap on the butt of its stock.
The story itself, well, it’s pretty much another reason to watch the Doom Guy put his fancy helmet on, go through his portal, and wreak havoc on the demon’s of Argent D’Nur once again. The story itself isn’t actually all that forgettable and to be honest, it’ll almost feel like you’ve jumped into a story-driven MegaWAD for DOOM II: Hell on Earth.
One Marauder, Two Marauder, oh crap that Tyrant is possessed
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part One sets out to do two things: Crank the ripping and tearing dial from a 10 to a 20. Enemies in this expansion are far more aggressive than before, which cranks the difficulty scale up rather high.
This doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing, but it will ensure that players have their work cut out for them as their skills are put to the test in some of the hardest encounters yet. This shouldn’t be too unfamiliar though, DOOM II did this back in 1995 and DOOM Eternal is following in its steps through and through.
Enemies themselves are aggressive as Hell, making encounters like the double Marauder, and double Tyrant fights something to be amazed by. Toss in buff totems and Spirits that can poss other demons – you’ll see the game of ripping and tearing begin.
To change up the experience, every encounter is done in wide-open arenas, some using corridors and chokepoints to both the Doom Guy’s advantage or the demon’s, depending on your situational awareness. To further enhance the experience, you WILL be using every piece of the Doom Guy’s arsenal (Flame Belch and Grenade Launcher included).
Each of the locales visited in the expansion are lethal and beautiful
Terrains themselves can also be as lethal as the enemies you will encounter. It’s not uncommon to find jump puzzles to be the root cause of your demise. There is also a rather late slew of lethal hazards you will encounter. Some will seem as if they are new while others are returning hazards.
You’ll of course visit three different set pieces from a UAC owned oil rig, the Hellish and lethal Blood Swamps, as well as a rather alien, but beautifully designed mystical city that will set the tone for the finaly of the current expansion.
The shift from the core game sees verticality get emphasized upon. You will find swinging from platform to platform is common place alongside mountable walls, vertical lifts, and the focus on aerial enemies such as the Cacodemon and the Pain Elemental.
Unfortunately for those that struggle with jump puzzles and maneuvering through the maps using the double jump/double dash mechanic will have a bit more difficulty getting through each of the three new zones. It can be almost as annoying as how large some of the arenas are, which makes finding that last demon in a wave harder to find.
Ancient Gods does finetune some of the base game’s weaker elements
Now, DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part One, does improve upon past mistakes. You won’t see the Tyrant, Slayer Hunter, and Marauder be as rare as they used to be. They’re actually pretty common enemies, which turns the focus on using the Doom Guy’s entire arsenal into a must-do instead of an option.
Possessed enemies are new and they are equally as hard due to the enemy that accompanies them. The spirit itself has to have the Plasma Gun wielded against it, and specifically, you have to use the Microwave Beam attachment to easily take them out, otherwise, you’ll have to charge up the Heatblast attachment.
The Makyr’s also see themselves get improved upon, adding in brand-new variants that remain invulnerable until they use special attacks, making them formiddable foes since they will slow you down and leave you vulnerable to the onslaught ahead.
Runes have been improved upon and new ones have been added
In order to move forth and innovate, you must add to and continue to improve upon your previous endeavors. Runes have been drastically improved upon, giving players even more horsepower behind their punches such as Desperate Punch.
While there are only three of them and three Slayer Gates that come with them, it’s worth noting that they are worth the challenge, but they don’t just turn on God Mode and allow you to walk around unscathed. It’s just the fact they are an extra utility that does become super useful in some of the harder encounters, including moments like double possessed Tyrant situations.
David Levy and Andrew Hulshut deliver an OST worth listening to on
One of the biggest changes is that Mick Gordon has parted ways from the DOOM Eternal project, leaving the doors open for Andrew Hulshult and David Levy to add to Gordon’s already existing chemistry. Neither are rookies at what they do.
Levy has been in quite a few years now, starting with his stent on Red vs. Blue. while Hulshult has been dominating FPS scene for quite some time thanks to his work on Brutal Doom, Rise of the Triad, AMID EVIL, Quake Champions, Rad Rogers, and DUSK.
The score itself stays true to the style of Gordon’s, bringing forth a cacophony of heavy metal arrangments made into an industrial-like puree of ripping and tearing goodness. Those who enjoyed Brutal Doom music, won’t be disappointed, as this is almost exactly the same vibes, just more metal.
When you think that id Software could be running out of steam or ideas, DOOM Eternal continues to defy the odds. It’s a game that can honestly beat its chest thanks to its The Ancient Gods – Part One DLC, which honestly, is a trip to the past in the essence of putting players against wave compositions that easily reflect the franchises history.
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part One
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Zenimax
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $19.99 | $29.99 (Season Pass)
With double Marauders, Tyrants, and new enemies such as the Spirit, we see a lot of innovation coming, but staying true to what DOOM has offered as a series for over 25 years. If this is what the future continues to look like, DOOM will remain eternal.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the publisher for the review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook today.