DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One (PC) Review

By Athanasios 24.10.2020

Review for DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One on PC

DOOM Eternal is one of the best first-person shooters ever made, and definitely the best of its kind for the year 2020 - and probably of the last decade. That's not the beginning of a debate, but a solid fact. DOOM remains a great title, and actually does some things better than its everything-turned-to-eleven sequel, but the latter improved the combat "chess" first introduced by the 2016 gem by tenfold, and provided a power fantasy like no other, while also making every other similar title out there pale in comparison. This humble id Software nerd brings good news to those who loved it, as The Ancient Gods - Part One has finally been released.

Unlike the multiplayer-only DLCs of DOOM, this focuses solely on the single player experience, by adding a new, stand-alone campaign that continues right after DOOM Eternal concluded. It only adds three more levels, yet while that number might feel disappointing, each map has an impressive size, and can last for about one hour - more if you count the dying that will ensue. Being a direct continuation of the core game, it starts with the Slayer at peak level, with all his skills maxed out, and all the tools of the trade - bar his demonic lightsaber - being available. Good, because you'll need them.

Expect trios and quartets of heavy demons like Arachnotrons, Cacodemons, and Mancubi, next to multiple dooting Revenants, Whiplashes, and armoured Pinkies. You thought one Baron of Hell in a cramped room was trouble? What about three, then? Your heart rate increased whenever a Marauder would appear? Try fighting with two, or with one of these happy green fellows buffed by a Totem. You think all these are a bit too much? Wait to see the bosses that the boys and girls at id Software had decided to conjure for everybody's demon-slaying pleasure.

Screenshot for DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One on PC

The Ancient Gods - Part One will really test your mettle, even at 'Hurt Me Plenty,' which is the Normal difficulty setting - and it's not just the increased enemy count alone the one to blame. For starters, there are a few new satanic (and angelic) blokes here, like a very precise turret that pressures the Slayer by having him play what is basically a game of whack-a-mole, as it tends to hide if you look at it for too long. Another addition is a new Maykr that's basically vulnerable only when it deals its heavy attacks, and which, like the Maykr Drone, drops lots of ammo if killed with a well-placed (and satisfying) headshot.

There are three more enemies to talk about, but while the invisible Whiplashes (as if the normal ones weren't annoying enough), and titanic tentacles are nice and all, it's the third one, the Spirit that really stands out from the rest. Visually a ghostly version of DOOM's Summoner, this creature possesses, and seriously buffs a single beastie. Once the powered-up foe goes down, players get a small opening to fry it with the Plasma Gun's microwave beam. Wait too long, though, and it will "jump" to another demon. Needless to say that you'll even get to fight two Spirits here - and then some…

Screenshot for DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One on PC

Don't expect much in the way of exploration. There are a few pieces of lore to find that basically deal with the Seraphim that initially gave the Slayer his powers (and much more), and there are three support runes to find as well, but this DLC mainly focuses on the action. Note that, apart from throwing everything at the player in terms of demons, this spices things up by introducing a couple of interesting battle scenarios, with most arenas being a bit more complex, or having more things to look out for, like traps and so on, forcing you to use all you got if you expect to survive.

If there is a flaw here, and for some it will be a big one, that's how some battles overstay their welcome by a few extra minutes or so. Enjoyable as the combat might be, that can certainly become tiring and repetitive, especially since The Ancient Gods - Part One isn't exactly big on variety. The overkill offered here is certainly cathartic, and the tough but fair challenge will certainly please veterans of the main campaign, but it would also be great if the developer had exercised a little bit of restraint, and not throw so much from the very first area, as it makes the rest of the experience feel kind of samey.

Screenshot for DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One on PC

Thankfully, while not perfect, this remains a great DLC. Moreover, it's hard not to be impressed one more time by how effortless the id Tech 7 renders the (now increased) on-screen mayhem. The levels look fantastic and fittingly epic too, with a gargantuan UAC ocean rig during a fierce thunderstorm, a demonic mega-swamp that feels as ancient as it is putrid, and, finally, another side of Urdak, this universe's twisted version of heaven - and don't forget the awesome metal OST by Andrew Hulshult, which feels… Mick Gordon-y enough, yet at the same time a brand new thing.

As a final note, while no one really comes to a DOOM game for the plot, the last two instalments, and especially Eternal, sought to change that, by offering a storyline worth paying attention too. Like with its battle philosophy, however, The Ancient Gods - Part One isn't exactly very subtle in that regard, and is sort of in a hurry to throw lots of new stuff and "shocking" plot twists in the table, something that can occasionally feel a bit awkward. Bad? Certainly not! Most will actually love where the story is going to, even if the presentation isn't up to the high standards of DOOM and DOOM Eternal.

P.S. Doomguy + Intern = BFF

Screenshot for DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Spewing larger-than-life encounter after larger-than-life encounter The Ancient Gods - Part One can get a bit on the repetitive side, but it's easy to forgive it for this minor misstep, since more DOOM Eternal is never a bad thing. Don't let the low level count fool you. The three available maps are fairly large, and the high challenge will manage to keep you on your toes, especially due to how some new demons affect the battlefield. As a whole, and while a bit more variety would be more than welcome, the first DLC is very enjoyable, looks great, carries some new, and pretty neat tunes, and finally leads the narrative down a pretty intriguing path. Can't wait for Part Two!

Developer

id Software

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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