Doom Eternal: The Ancient Gods Part 1 seems like an exciting motion film often interrupted by a sport of I Spy. You need 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 can remind you that Doom Eternal centered method 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 purple sword Doom Guy scored towards the top 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 combat with a Marauder lower than an hour in.The Ancient Gods does 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 rather a lot to recollect! Doom Eternal, at its finest, is a chaotic, frenzied, tactical, bloody dance, and I noticed 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 sport’s marketing campaign, and the place it succeeds, it does so on the idea of what Doom Eternal already did effectively. 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 sport 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 sport, so too does it falter in acquainted methods. Eternal is as story-heavy as a Doom sport has been, and for gamers, like myself, who come to Doom for ripping and tearing, that focus does 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 sport consistently anticipated you to know who an vital angel or demon was, however didn’t take the time to introduce them. The Ancient Gods, to this point, has the identical drawback.The Ancient Gods’ non-combat platforming is a slight enchancment over the traversal within the base sport. 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 sport actively slowed your progress in irritating methods. In this enlargement, nonetheless, the platforming is much less in depth and largely easy, permitting for a higher concentrate on the fight. And when the platforming is the main target, it really works effectively. I particularly loved one part, which duties the Doom Slayer with punching timber to make and transfer bridges. It’s temporary, but it surely 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 pace that Doom Eternal does so effectively 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 effectively designed, with quite a lot of attention-grabbing play areas. The multi-tiered arenas of Eternal are nonetheless prevalent, however they’re damaged up by diverse aims and degree hooks. One part, the place you are tasked with following a ghostly canine by means of a miasma that hurts you should you get too distant out of your companion, is a welcome break from the standard fights, simply forgiving sufficient that it does not get irritating, and simply lengthy sufficient that it does not get boring. One late-game battle has you hopping amongst platforms to keep away from harm as they catch hearth. 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 a number of attention-grabbing setups like this, however even when the arenas are extra customary Doom Eternal fare, they’re nice enjoyable to combat by means of. The environmental artwork is robust, too, and every degree, whether or not it is a stormy army 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 course id moved in with The Ancient Gods Part 1. The axe-wielding, shield-bearing, hearth dog-commanding demon felt extra like a Dark Souls enemy than the form of opponent you’d count on to see in a Doom sport. Marauder fights require an intense focus, cautious timing, and vigilant measurement of the space between you and your foe. While I just like the Marauder for the vicious change of tempo it offers, The Ancient Gods Part 1 provides a number of new enemies that operate 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 seems like a candlestick with a purple eyeball the place the flame can be, performs peekaboo should you look its method 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 brief window after it completes a heavy assault. All of those enemies require exact intention and timing, and you will want to observe them carefully to hit their weak spots on the proper second. The result’s that The Ancient Gods typically feels slower than the bottom sport. You spend much less time within the dance of fight and extra time ready for a gap. Over time, I acquired accustomed to this transformation of tempo, however I do not assume that makes it an excellent one.Gallery
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 consequence, 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 implies that in sure sections of the sport, you’ll have no need for the remainder of your lethal arsenal. In one late-game combat 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 conventional scope. As a consequence, this DLC alternates uneasily between the all-out pace that Doom Eternal does so effectively 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 leads to a good time. I simply want Doom Eternal may get out of its personal method.