Bethesda just showed off DOOM Eternal‘s gameplay footage for the first time at QuakeCon. It featured a whole load of new gameplay elements that appear to take the fast and furious action the series is known for and ramp it up to a ludicrous level. DOOM Eternal is DOOM turned up to the extreme, which is a frankly ridiculous prospect, as the original was one of the most intense first-person shooters imaginable.
They started by showing off Doom Slayer‘s new look. The mountainous main character now has a blade built into his classic green suit. Classic enemies have been given a new lick of paint and new weapons, as well. They’re joined by some hellspawn returning from DOOM II: Hell on Earth, including the Spiderdemon, Pain Elemental, and the much-despised Revenant, who resurrected dead enemies and shot you with fireballs from miles away. They also showed concept art for some new enemies like the Doom Hunter, a big skeleton with a chainsaw arm who is stuck to a tank, and a mysterious new monstrosity that bears a striking resemblance to our hero — and apparently will have some kind of storyline implications revealed nearer to launch.
Enemies can also now be blasted into bits, showing battle damage as you rip and tear away at them with your arsenal of weapons. It looks delightfully grim, but it also provides a nice visual indicator of how much damage an enemy has received. No doubt, this will be useful when in one of the game’s frequent frantic firefights. Try saying that ten times fast.
City on Fire
The first section of gameplay featured a large open city. This time around, the Doom Slayer has a more spacious playground to cut about in. The city, taken over entirely by demons, is instantly more graphically striking than anything that was in the previous game. Skyscrapers are collapsed around you. Massive chunks of the hell landscape — all teeth and meat — stick out of the roads through the remains of buildings, while ominous Cthulhu-esque horrors float in the sky.
Doom Eternal with grappling hook action pic.twitter.com/0QpDnD8cFr
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Movement was always key in DOOM, with double jumping and dodging around the chaos being key to survival, but now you have a grappling hook. Attached to the Super Shotgun, you can use the grappling hook to grab hold of enemies and pull yourself towards them — or to use airborne beasts to launch yourself up to higher ground. This is essential because there’s a lot more verticality in the levels.
The Glory Kills, the central combat mechanic from DOOM returns, offering you a way of getting health and ammo back without taking you out of the action, and they appear to have a sick sense of humour this time around. One particularly memorable moment involved a Mancubus having its explosive core removed and shoved down its throat. The enemies also appear to be much more expressive — especially as the Doom Slayer pounds their heads into their necks. At one point, a Cacodemon appeared to swallow a missile fired at it, only for it to explode internally like a Looney Tunes cartoon.
Hell off Earth
The game isn’t just set on Earth. Concept art teased new areas that looked nothing like anything that had appeared in previous DOOM games. They were coy on the details, but there is a much greater variety of locales in DOOM Eternal. A section set on Phobos showed more NPCs and story development as the Doom Slayer walked through a control room — scientists look at him with equal parts awe and fear — and out onto the battleground that rages on the planet’s surface. This section ended with the reveal of the Revenant, pulling the same attack pose from DOOM II, and the Doom Slayer revealing The Crucible, an item found in the previous game, but with its hidden sword form only hinted at. Here, he prepares to unleash the full blade before the footage ends.
It was a great way to end the presentation. 2016’s DOOM was a great example of a game taking core concepts from a classic title and bringing them up to date without losing that core “soul” that made the original so beloved. DOOM Eternal appears to build on that base, seemingly going all in on the “bigger, better” school of sequels. It also showed, with the reveal of The Crucible’s sword form, that they’re also developing their own lore, creating a backstory and “universe” for a series that has been the poster boy for games that simply don’t need a plot. DOOM Eternal is doing a good job of adding a bit of thought to the otherwise brilliantly mindless violence.
DOOM Eternal looks like it’s going to be a whole load of gore-soaked fun when it drops next year.