Id Software’s return to Doom in 2016 was a phenomenal update of the franchise’s classic shooter formula. It was fast and intense, full of huge monsters and scorching metal tracks, modernizing the feel of the 1990s original while adding some new-school flourishes. Where Doom 2016 brought the original Doom into the present, Doom Eternal feels like a big step forward in making the franchise something new: It’s a master class in demon dismemberment after the introductory course to ripping and tearing of four years ago. Like its predecessor, Doom Eternal makes you feel like a monster-shredding badass–not just because you’re the strongest Doom Slayer, but because you’re also the smartest.
Doom Eternal is all about effectively using the huge amount of murder tools at your disposal. Health, armor, and ammo pickups are at a minimum in Eternal’s many combat arenas, and the game instead requires you to earn these by massacring monsters in a variety of different ways. Stagger an enemy and you can tear them apart with a brutal glory kill, which refills your health; douse a demon with the new flamethrower and they’ll start to spout armor pickups; or cut them in half with the chainsaw to grab some much-needed ammo.
In order to stay alive, you can’t just run around blasting madly, expecting to tear through everything in your path; you have to run around blasting rationally to keep yourself at fighting strength. Keeping all your numbers up means continually rotating through your glory, chainsaw, and flamethrower kills while also making sure you’re using the right gun for a particular job. Many of the toughest enemies now have weak points that allow you to snipe off their most lethal weapons, and you’ll need to assess threats and knock them out quickly.