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

By Athanasios 20.03.2021

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

The Ancient Gods - Part One, the first DLC of the fantastic, high octane FPS by the name of DOOM Eternal, offered three levels full of unrelenting carnage, making the base campaign feel easy by comparison, especially due to the addition of some new foes. Perfect? No. Battles would frequently overstay their welcome, and the story and overall presentation, while not the main focus, were a bit messy, lacking the much better feel of DOOM Eternal, and especially DOOM - a taste of things to come, sadly, as the wonderful journey that begun in 2016, ends in a pretty lacklustre fashion, despite the DLC generally being quite enjoyable from a gameplay standpoint.

Part One concluded with the battle-hardened protagonist essentially bringing the Dark Lord of Hell into being. The purpose? Why, to exchange arguments about the nature of Christ, and whether the philosophical implic… oh, sorry different game. No, Doomguy brings the Devil to life, in order to kill him with his double barrelled shotgun. Plan fails, though, and good ol' Slayer must now travel to the capital city of Hell (Livingston County, State of Michigan) to rip and tear his huge guts. Like the previous chapter of this tale, Part Two has you traveling between three maps, where, despite the chance to do some exploring and impressive acrobatics, you are mostly tasked with shooting at things. So, the adventure starts on the medieval fantasy land of Argent D' Nur, and the hero begins ascending a planet-sized crystal spire.

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

Once again, the Slayer's arsenal and abilities are maxed out, but there is one addition here. After a very short time, players will receive the Sentinel Hammer, which basically fills the gap that the Crucible sword left in the previous expansion. With the push of a button, the Slayer jumps high into the air, and smashes the ground with it like Thor (more MCU comparisons later on). Using it feels great, but its use is even better. Its AoE damage instantly demolishes lower rank foes, and staggers the big guys for a handful of seconds - especially useful in extending the opening through which the notorious Marauders can be hurt. Even better? Killed foes shower you with ammo; enemies killed while on fire drop loads of armour; and, finally, frozen demons spill tons of health.

The layer of tactical depth the Sentinel Hammer adds is great, mainly because it depends on destroying weakpoints and doing Glory Kills to charge it up. Needless to say, you'll need the benefits that this piece of equipment can provide. This will be a tough, adrenaline-pumping ride, which will once again put your skills to the test. Strangely, enough, however, this is easier than before, despite one or two "painful" spots, like a buffed, double marauder battle in the end. The levels are also smaller than before, which is probably a good thing, though, since Part One wouldn't know where to stop, with many fights lasting longer than needed. Platforming is much simpler too, but remains very enjoyable, mostly due to the brand new hovering handles that can be used with the Super Shotgun's grappling hook.

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

What most Doomers (the original Doomers) wanted to see, of course, isn't the new weapon, but the new nasties - and, sadly, this is where the main issues with the DLC start to appear. No, the monsters aren't bad, just… unoriginal, and once again lean into the more "gimmicky" side. There's an armoured Baron, for example, which is basically just that: a Baron. Same design, same AI. The difference? He is now armoured (well, duh), and thus invulnerable, unless his weakpoint is destroyed on the brief moment it flashes green, or the armour is slowly damaged with the Plasma gun. Fun to battle against, as it is one more demon that pushes you to keep many balls in the air, but once again, it's an enemy type that limits you a bit, and there are already way too many of that kind in DOOM Eternal.

The same continues with the rest of the bestiary. The chaingunner from DOOM II has finally returned… only now he is one more shield guy, who - guess what? - is completely invulnerable to ALL weapons, and can only be hurt when something explodes behinds him; the Stone Imp is a grey palette swap of the normal Imp, has a much tougher skin, and an - annoying - rolling attack, with its only weakness being the Full Auto mod; there's a cursed Prowler, which is basically the same exact thing as before, only he can now poison you… and then become impervious to all damage apart from your Blood Punch, and your Blood Punch alone; and, finally, there's a Screecher Zombie, which explodes upon death, and buffs all enemies nearby. Interesting, as it forces you to avoid killing it, but at the same time annoying.

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

As mentioned before, these aren't bad… but it feels as if id Software can't introduce a new demon without it being invulnerable in one way or another, with the biggest disappointment being the final boss. Essentially a big, mecha Marauder with five health bars, he forces the player to wait for an opening in order to do some damage, but the demonic bastard can heal 30-50% of its health upon hitting the Slayer, or if he is hit in the wrong moment. He is probably the worst boss fight in the whole freaking franchise, which was never that great with that aspect to begin with - and don't forget that this tedious (and surprisingly easy) fight is against the guy who is supposed to be the big bad cheese of the whole thing; the final step of the journey that begun in 2016. Depressing…

Unfortunately, like many others, The Ancient Gods - Part Two fell victim of two things: the current pandemic, and the obligation of its developer to have both DLCs ready before a year passes. These two are reflected in how rushed this feels. It must be said once more, in case it hasn't been made abundantly clear, that this is a very good game - it just that it's the weakest link of the heavy metal chain that is DOOM Eternal. It is shorter, not as "smart" with its battle scenarios, has only one boss fight, and has three stages that look fine and all… but are almost identical to what came before. The capital city of Hell is especially boring to look at. It's basically the city of Urdak… only everything is now red, and an Endgame-like battle is raging in the background - and it's not as epic as it sounds.

Image for


The work conditions changed for the team behind it all, and it's definitely a pity. This excuse doesn't apply to all problems, however. Back in development, Hugo Martin took a huge risk by building what he called the "Doom Universe." The end result was great, but it had the nasty habit of trying to explain everything, many times at the cost of the mystery that previous instalments were known for. The first DLC made things worse, by having some plot twists that, for the most part, just didn't feel right. Without spoiling anything, Part Two is a complete mess. By, once again, trying to explain everything, it ruins the whole thing, and whether born out of haste or not, the plot now feels as if the writers just made things as they went along - but it's just a Doom game, right? Who cares?

...Well, no, some actually do care. The "it's just a Doom game" feels like the "oh, it's just a comic book movie!" Like it or not, part of DOOM and DOOM Eternal's charm was its story and presentation - especially the latter. In an attempt to avoid spoiling things, nothing specific will be mentioned. Generally speaking, this has jumped the shark. The Doom franchise is basically a corny, '80s heavy metal album cover into video game form, but that doesn't mean that anything goes. Id Software (and mostly Hugo Martin) did exactly that, however; it went overboard, with the end result being something that's basically a piece of fanfiction, which just wants to add as many "cool" stuff as humanly possible, ruining the awesomeness that begun with the much more conservative DOOM of 2016.

…At least that final word uttered by Doomguy was pretty badass.

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

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The Ancient Gods - Part Two is very good… or, more precisely, just very good. Compared to the near flawless core game, and the slightly rough around the edges, but still great Part One, this feels kind of rushed, with the new additions once again following the tired formula of gimmicky enemies. As for the story, and most importantly, the presentation, it's a blatant mess. A disappointing one at that, as this isn't just a simple expansion, but the culmination of what was basically the resurrection of the venerable franchise that 2016's DOOM initiated.

Developer

id Software

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Azuardo, Dragon0085

There are 2 members online at the moment.