You know what I love? Doom. You know why? Because it’s mindless fun. You know what’s better than mindless fun? More of it. The added bonus of having two short stints attached to Doom Eternal’s initial campaign has been nothing short of spectacular. The Ancient Gods – Part One posed a potential, long term extension to Eternal’s foundation with great promise. While it was received in an appreciated manner, its lukewarm reception questioned its position in the Doom franchise, and how it aesthetic was an unequivocal juxtapose to the traditional, blood red, rip and tear gimmick the series has been praised around, for decades. It was an ambitious change that id Software were determined in melding with Eternal’s mainline campaign, and I for one was all about it.
While Part One left us with more questions than answers, its cliff-hanger ending did enquire more of an astonishing proposition for its faithful fanbase. A city overrun by the corrupt, a guardian possessed by unfortunate circumstances, and of course the resurrection of the Dark Lord, only to return in what would be his most dangerous form. The allure of The Ancient Gods’ follow up, is unanimously delegated to Earth’s regression after Eternal’s main campaign. The ramifications of Doom Slayer’s victory was nullified after Hell’s gates reopened after the death of Khan Makyr. The dire consequences may leave Doom Slayer outmatched as he continues his expedition to eradicate the satanic horde that has resurfaced, and to annihilate this evil incarnation of the Dark Lord.
Shred & Slay...
As the title implies, this is a direct continuation of the Ancient Gods – Part One, with its sequel following up on events that had transpired during the initial chapter’s final moments. After our protagonist makes the mistake of reviving the Dark Lord, his headstrong approach makes the snap decision of attempting to kill the him, however he evidently fails as both stand within the Luminarium. Blood may not be shed within the confines of the holy temple of Urdak. A place of worship, the pantheon rejects Doom Slayer’s violent nature. The Dark Lord leaves the Slayer, informing him to that he will be waiting for the warrior in Hell’s capital of Immora. A confrontation will be had between the two, to finally settle the score.
Unsure of how to reach the deadly metropolis, The Father informs Doom Slayer that the only way there is to reactivate the Gate of Divum, only then will the portal to Immora re-emerge. Setting an objective to the soldier, The Father tasks the Slayer in recovering a Wraith Crystal needed to power the gate to Hell’s capital. The problem? It’s placed within the World Spear, an alien space ship that remained dormant on the planet for eons. Making quick work of the many creatures that threaten his safety, the Slayer is confronted once again by the Betrayer. Assuming his original identity, Valen hands the Slayer an Argent Sentinel Hammer to aid him through his quest. This in turn replaces the Slayer’s Crucible as his close-ranged melee weapon of choice.
Defying all odds, carving his path through the bloodied, battered and bludgeoned, the Slayer manages to congregate the remaining Sentinel’s by lighting the Torch of Kings before immersing himself within the confines of the World Spear. Traversing through the unsanctimonious soiree of overzealous mutants, the Slayer retrieves the Wraith Crystal and returns to Earth, activating the Gate of Divum. Teleporting to Immora, he encounters the capital’s defence force. A huge construct restricts access to the mountainous swarm of mutants encased within Immora. The opposed army of demons loom over the Slayer, but is backed by acquaintances in the Sentinel’s and Valen who choose to follow the Slayer into the city.
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods is an absolutely terrifying treat for those that are looking to close out their audacious adventure through an overturned Hellscape.
The assault begins with the group destroying all demons and creatures. A bloodied warpath is left behind while Demon Slayer marches forward in a path left by the Dark Lord. Breaching the centre of Immora, the Slayer follows the deity through another portal. An arena is prepared for the Slayer and the megalomaniac’s climactic encounter. The Dark Lord does his best to intimidate the Slayer, explaining to our protagonist his rich history that has connected throughout generations – a really cool sequence that rediscover’s Doom’s roots and has the potential to change the franchise forever. An unconventional set piece that’s quite the immersive pre-battle blowout before the real confrontation begins.
A Parting Gift...
✔️Short and sweet, just like dadd– The Father likes.
✔️DOOM Slayer’s history is unravelled in an epic climax.
✔️A new addition to our arsenal; the Sentinel Hammer is an absolute joy to utilise in tandem with firearms.
❌My god, is this difficult. Give us some space, seriously!
❌The shriekers and their imposed buffer can be quite irritating.
So let’s get this pressure cooker to from simmer to boil, immediately. The Ancient Gods – Part Two is such an epic thrillride. The immersion in its wild escapade moves so quickly that its over in almost an instance. The three hour add-on to its titular follow-up had me on the edge of my seat. A sheer delight for the devout that has enjoyed the series for its illustrious duration, since DOOM’s inception. To see it all tied-in with this additional chapter is nothing short of marvellous storytelling. Now let’s not sell this short, The Ancient Gods was notorious for its difficulty. While I may have stated a solid three hours, this will take many out there a while longer to complete. It is unforgiving how rambunctious this rumble can get. While not much has changed in terms of gameplay, the aesthetics were something else.
Never would I have expected DOOM to take on a subtle approach in lush environments, and a contrast in tone for lighting. An experiment that plants a hallmark upon this chapter – an appearance that deviates from the norm. I was awestruck by the Sentinel Hammer, and it’s power. Its capability of taking chunks out of the opposition gives our hero an upper hand. The advantage of stunning an enemy then blasting them into pieces is a devilish delectable that I had no idea I desperately wanted. There are a range of new enemies known as shriekers. Most converge in waves and are actually quite weak, but pose an impediment that handicaps you while combating familiar foes.
Defeating a singular shrieker will have the demon cry out in pain, in which will active a defence buff for surrounding enemies, elevating the combat’s difficulty for a certain period. These swarms are best avoided while trying to contain an area. It’s quite a task to ignore the purple zombie-like humanoid mutants while going in guns blazing, but it will make for an easier crusade by neglecting their presence. There were moments of growing frustration where enemies were lumped in groups, and waves would swat you from the onset. DOOM’s modus operandi has been criticised for decades, but its trademark “Rip and Tear” moniker would emphasise a difficulty spike on occasion. There’s nothing quite like diving into its hellscape, having some colour stain your hands crimson and obliterate the obtuse nature it demonstrates.
Performance wise, The Ancient Gods continues to be a treat to experience. No bugs, no glitches, no graphical wear and tear. One of gaming’s id Software’s greatest accomplishments comes compartmentalised in its short and sweet conclusion, jam packed with intensity that may be hard to top. With Bethesda titles becoming an exclusive feature for XBOX Game Pass in the near future, this is quite the parting gift for gamers to experience on other platforms. Running at a solid 60FPS at 4K resolution, I was once again bewildered by the detail placed in this gore-laced overlay of gorgeousness. The downside of Doom Eternal’s overall experience has been the omission of Mick Gordon’s hall of fame worthy, Heavy Metal tunes that get the blood pumping; I hope they can iron out their relationship and work together again, someday.
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods is an absolutely terrifying treat for those that are looking to close out their audacious adventure through an overturned Hellscape. While DOOM 2016 aided the franchise in its reboot, and bought the arcade shooter back to prominence, Eternal and its delightful DLC elevates its enormous existence to new heights and may now permanently prime itself ready for its emerald branded future. The Ancient Gods is an enigmatic sequel that closes out a compelling chapter in DOOM’s growing legacy. All facets and features literally scream – No I mean they scream – bloody murder. A brutally bodacious escapade, that’s bound to prove itself worthy of the shooter’s bequest.
Doom Eternal is a first-person shooter game developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks. The fifth main game in the Doom series, it was released on March 20, 2020, for Windows, PlayStation 4, Stadia and Xbox One.