Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part 1 appears like an exhilarating motion film often interrupted by a recreation of I Spy. You wish to hold watching John Wick’s balletic slaughter however your impertinent host received’t unpause the Blu-ray till you see the ficus within the background.
It’s additionally robust as nails. If you have not performed Doom Eternal because it launched again in March, the primary moments of its new DLC, The Ancient Gods Part 1, will really feel like a kick within the teeth–n a great way, largely. Once you get again within the demon-slaying swing of issues, it is thrilling to have extra high-level Doom Eternal to play, unconstrained by the necessity to reintroduce you to the fundamentals. But, nonetheless: Be prepared.
The Ancient Gods Part 1 picks up proper the place Eternal left off. After a gap “previously on” textual content display screen and a cutscene that may remind you that Doom Eternal targeted means an excessive amount of on story and Proper Noun-riddled lore, the DLC tosses you again into the motion. Your whole roster of weapons–save the Crucible, that overpowered glowing crimson sword Doom Guy scored towards the tip of the vanilla game–is unlocked proper from the beginning. The Ancient Gods additionally throws the massive bads of Eternal’s late-game roster at you proper out of the gate. I had my first battle with a Marauder lower than an hour in.
The Ancient Gods would not take the time to re-tutorialize you on Doom Eternal’s mechanics. You want to recollect to blast the Marauder with the tremendous shotgun when his eyes flash inexperienced, that grenades belong within the cacodemon’s gaping mouth, that the mancubus have to be pelted on his arm cannons. It’s loads to recollect! Doom Eternal, at its finest, is a chaotic, frenzied, tactical, bloody dance, and I spotted as quickly as I began The Ancient Gods that I used to be foggy on the steps.
Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part 1 is a direct continuation of the bottom recreation’s marketing campaign, and the place it succeeds, it does so on the idea of what Doom Eternal already did nicely. The Ancient Gods maintains Doom Eternal’s sturdy roster of enemies together with the Doom Slayer’s matching arsenal of weapons. Fights nonetheless largely happen in multi-tiered arenas, with platforms to hop on, portals to sprint by means of, and monkey bars to swing from. It’s an acrobatic recreation that requires fluidity of movement and chess-like tactical pondering, roughly in equal measures.
But simply as The Ancient Gods succeeds on the strengths of the bottom recreation, so too does it falter in acquainted methods. Eternal is as story-heavy as a Doom recreation has been, and for gamers, like myself, who come to Doom for ripping and tearing, that focus would not work. Doom Eternal’s story fails as a result of it goes all-in on self-serious lore, a pairing that feels out of step with the inherent goofiness of its gory kills. The Ancient Gods is not any exception. The Doom Slayer is scouring the realms of demons and angels and mortals for McGuffins and little time is spent establishing the mandatory stakes to get you to care. The base recreation always anticipated you to know who an essential angel or demon was, however didn’t take the time to introduce them. The Ancient Gods, so far, has the identical downside.
The Ancient Gods’ non-combat platforming is a slight enchancment over the traversal within the base recreation. In Doom Eternal, it was typically tough to inform the place to go, and sometimes–as within the Arc Complex degree, which coated the ground in movement-halting purple sludge–the recreation actively slowed your progress in irritating methods. In this growth, nonetheless, the platforming is much less intensive and largely simple, permitting for a larger concentrate on the fight. And when the platforming is the main target, it really works nicely. I particularly loved one part, which duties the Doom Slayer with punching bushes to make and transfer bridges. It’s temporary, however it performs to Doom Eternal’s strengths, refashioning a platforming puzzle into an excuse to punch one thing new for novel outcomes.
This DLC alternates uneasily between the all-out velocity that Doom Eternal does so nicely and slower, cautious sniping that stops the dance in its tracks.
The three new ranges that comprise The Ancient Gods’ 5-to-10-hour marketing campaign are nicely designed, with a wide range of fascinating play areas. The multi-tiered arenas of Eternal are nonetheless prevalent, however they’re damaged up by different targets and degree hooks. One part, the place you are tasked with following a ghostly canine by means of a miasma that hurts you in case you get too far-off out of your companion, is a welcome break from the standard fights, simply forgiving sufficient that it would not get irritating, and simply lengthy sufficient that it would not get boring. One late-game battle has you hopping amongst platforms to keep away from harm as they catch fireplace. Then, when the platforms elevate up above your head, you end up skirting the fiery hydraulics that lifted them. The Ancient Gods Part 1 has just a few fascinating setups like this, however even when the arenas are extra normal Doom Eternal fare, they’re nice enjoyable to battle by means of. The environmental artwork is powerful, too, and every degree, whether or not it is a stormy navy base or a foggy swamp, is visually distinct from what comes earlier than and after.
I discussed the Marauder above, and the devilish warrior appears to have influenced the path id moved in with The Ancient Gods Part 1. The axe-wielding, shield-bearing, fireplace dog-commanding demon felt extra like a Dark Souls enemy than the form of opponent you’d anticipate to see in a Doom recreation. Marauder fights require an intense focus, cautious timing, and vigilant measurement of the gap between you and your foe. While I just like the Marauder for the vicious change of tempo it supplies, The Ancient Gods Part 1 provides a number of new enemies that perform in related methods. The Spirit, which might possess and empower enemies, have to be hit with the plasma rifle’s microwave beam within the temporary second after you kill its host and earlier than it possesses one other. The turret, which appears like a candlestick with a purple eyeball the place the flame can be, performs peekaboo in case you look its means and have to be shot rapidly within the eye earlier than it disappears once more. The Blood Maykr must be shot within the head with the heavy cannon within the quick window after it completes a heavy assault. All of those enemies require exact goal and timing, and you will want to look at them intently to hit their weak spots on the proper second. The result’s that The Ancient Gods typically feels slower than the bottom recreation. You spend much less time within the dance of fight and extra time ready for a gap. Over time, I bought accustomed to this alteration of tempo, however I do not assume that makes it one.
That’s very true as a result of accuracy and excessive harm output are required to rapidly dispatch the turret and Blood Maykr. As a end result, I ended up leaning on the heavy cannon, Doom Eternal’s assault rifle, which additionally features as a sniper. It’s a strong antidote to each enemies, which signifies that in sure sections of the sport, you’ll have no use for the remainder of your lethal arsenal. In one late-game battle I observed that I had hardly used the remainder of my weapons in any respect. The Doom sequence is among the few FPS holdouts that continues to reject aim-down-sights design in favor of speedy strafing. But The Ancient Gods Part 1 feels prefer it was constructed to showcase the Heavy Cannon–the one gun with a standard scope. As a end result, this DLC alternates uneasily between the all-out velocity that Doom Eternal does so nicely and slower, cautious sniping that stops the dance in its tracks.
Despite some new and enduring weak spots, Doom Eternal’s frantic fight (largely) continues to shine by means of. Once you get again into the swing of the motion, the rock-paper-scissors design philosophy nonetheless ends in a good time. I simply want Doom Eternal might get out of its personal means.