DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part 2 is a climatic end to the Doom Slayers chapter, but with it, comes some massive changes to the overall experience including difficulty, new demons, weapon uses, and exploration methods. Here’s our review for DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part 2.
+Andrew Hulshut and David Levy crank the volume once again with a very DOOM-like score
+Every weapon attachment plays a huge factor into the core gameplay loop including all-new enemies
+Fights are bigger, meaner, and more hectic than before thanks to Escalation Encounters
+Each zone has its own unique feeling ranging from Dark Sci-Fi to High-Fantasy
-Difficulty spikes could be a turn off to some
-More jumping and climbing could deter players who struggle with platforming
Looking back to DOOM (2016), I have come to the conclusion, it was the tutorial for what was to come. It was the game that would warm you up for the things to come at a later date. It set the pace, combat became fast, it became furious, and it never felt so damn good to rip and tear the way we had.
That was five years ago, a bit of a shocker really, but it gave us an idea of what the future would become. Large, mean, demonic, and hard as all Hell by the time “The Ancient Gods – Part 2” stomped its way onto PCs and consoles.
In the scope of things, you became a God, who kills the Gods, and buries their rage in the guts of their foes as you rip, tear, and blast your way through unsightly foes. Before you know it, the chapter of the Doom Slayer has come to a close, setting fans down and letting them know their rage-induced massacre is now over.
It adds variety, unlike anything we’d seen before, allowing fans to go up against some of their long-awaited encounters, including an armored Baron of Hell, one of the nastiest of nasties that don’t know how or when to stop.
The Doom Slayer becomes a god killer
One of the biggest things about the entire story, we already know, is that all things are coming to an end for the Doom Slayer as we know it. His long-awaited battles have come to a close, watching him massacre his way through Hell’s forces time and time again over the course of 28 years.
The story itself, simply put, is a closure of sorts. Letting players know more about The Father, Dark Lord, and the Doom Slayer himself. In many ways, this was the “End Game” of the franchise, giving id Software some creative freedom with where to go from here once the final shotgun shell has fallen and the last enemy has been ripped and torn.
Many may see the uncanny likenesses between DOOM II: Hell on Earth and DOOM Eternal rather quickly. Enemies get more frequent than they had been previously. The Marauder becomes a regular as do enemies such as the Cyber Mancubus and some of the new baddies that are lurking around including the Stone Imps, Armored Baron, and the Screecher to name just a few.
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part 1 was just a practice session for what was to come as the gameplay loop evolves
Now as we don’t do very many spoilers here, we’re going to keep it that way and just let you know, you’re in for one Hell of a story. That being said, “The Ancient Gods – Part 2” does what we would have hoped: Evolves the game.
In the expansion, there are a few noteworthy changes including an immense increase in the difficulty spike. Fights that one would assume should be easy, are far from it, which is refreshing to those looking for a challenge, but for those that struggled before, this expansion could be almost impossible when dual marauders and the Screecher’s get tossed their way, making them have to ignore the latter as they buff everything around them when killed outside of a Glory Kill.
The Armored Baron is another good example of this gigantic leap in the challenge DOOM Eternal has to offer, making players pay close attention to the mace in its hand as its flashing green indicator informs them of a vulnerability spot. This evolution comes as the fanbase has requested that more of their loadouts be utilized, making it nigh impossible to focus on just using the combat shotgun, super shotgun, or ballista.
Instead, now everything gets used, making players aware of what each attachment does and their importance in each and every situation. You will find some redundancies in this loop as precision shots on the heavy rifle do get heavily emphasized throughout the entirety of “The Ancient Gods – Part 2”, and well, DOOM Eternal altogether.
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods- Part 2 is more than just a 3-4 hour experience due to the challenges it has to offer
Now, one thing is true, the last expansion was roughly four hours long, which to some, was a damn shame due to the fact it was the first true expansion the rebooted franchise has ever received. Mostly due to the fact it had been broken up into two separate parts. Understandable, however, given the detail and the level of polish the two expansions received in the light of a global pandemic.
Now, with that said, there are a few key things to take note of is that DOOM Eternal isn’t getting a bunch of fluff in the expansion, but rather, a nice set of challenges that sit just over the horizon. Some of these come in the shape of Escalation Encounters, which are a welcomed challenge and can be skipped after the first one has been completed, but come with nice little rewards if both are completed.
The other draw is that new puzzles have been added, making those of you who weren’t thrilled about jump puzzles, about to scream in rage as the Meat Hook for the Super Shotgun have been added in, which is fun, but in some ways, more of a nuisance than anything. They do serve a purpose in combat, but, they are far and few between.
Much of your time in the campaign will evolve as you adjust to the use of the Sentinel Hammer, which has taken the place of the Crucible Blade due to it having been used against the Icon of Sin in the base campaign itself. A nice little gameplay change as the Sentinel Hammer does evolve with each of the Escalation Encounters completed on your way to face down against the Dark Lord himself.
It’s a great item to use that regenerates energy with each glory kill performed, allowing players to take advantage of both Ice Grenades and the Flame Belch in order to earn more health and armor when the Sentinel Hammer is tied into those abilities, alloiwing players to change their flow of combat to their liking.
It also comes with a nice little stun, which against certain enemies, is a key element of how to defeat them, including the Marauders. Nothing like stunning them after their eyes flash green and making them regret every decision ever. This even includes the Cursed Lurker who requires being blood punched in the face in order to end his curse that kills players over time and makes him invlunerable to any other form of damage.
A high-fantasy element encounters dark sci-fi at its best in DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part 2
One of the big changes here isn’t just the core gameplay loop itself. Even the scenery has shifted, giving fans a chance to move from the aesthetics they’d grown used to whether it was otherworldly, UAC-themed, or our very own world.
This time, the game settles for a post-invasion Earth where humanity has been nearly wiped out, leaving very few remnants of mankind left. What is left, however, is a world where demonic forces seem stranded, lost almost, as their leadership has begun to tumble with the death of the Khan Makyr and the Icon of Sin has become reality.
Now, the world is healed, giving off a high-fantasy element, one that seems more comfortable to HeXen or Heretic fans than it would those used to ripping and tearing demons apart in a Hell-infused world. The Earth is healing, life has returned where the Hellscapes had begun to overtake the land, allowing for lava flows to end, demonic tentacles to perish, and the UAC’s influence to all-but-disappear.
While nice, it does give off a wondering idea of what is to come and if this is a tease at future plans id Software has. The downside is – it just doesn’t feel at home, which is a bit offputting, even if a welcomed change as the world had begun to evolve as our story begins its conclusion.
This includes the idea that the Doom Slayer has begun to find peace in the carnage and that his final battle is just over the horizon. The downside? We never truly get to see everything come to fruition and the effects that the war between good and evil have had on humanity or if humanity is even able to recover outside of the UAC bases that may or may not have been influenced by the invasion of Hell’s forces.
When said and done, even with more questions than answers left to be asked, DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part 2 does what it set out to do. It gives closure to our current story, allowing for the Doom Slayer’s story, for the time being, to conclude, opening room for the future of the franchise as there is seemingly a lot to be done with the entirety of the doom universe itself.
The only drawbacks for some will be the emphasize on platforming-based gameplay elements that involve the double dash, double jump, meathook swings, and timing themselves so that they don’t meet their demise if they aren’t quick enough. For others, such as myself, it’s an asbolute delight that makes aerial combat even more enjoyable than ever before when plucking a Armored Baron in the head with a few rockets while swinging around like a madman from pole to pole.
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part Two
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)
Well, for now, fans can master the new gameplay loop by learning to utilize every attachment every weapon has, taking note of each and every enemy’s weakness, and ultimately becoming the ultimate Doom Slayer; a force to be reckoned with and a slayer of Gods. Just don’t be ashamed if you have to turn down the difficulty and adjust to what’s awaiting you, if you haven’t jumped in just yet.
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.