Doom Eternal developed in some ways the ideas of its predecessor in 2016, but in many ways turned out to be a completely different game – both in terms of storyline and gameplay. The two-part expansion The Ancient Gods further distances itself from the Doom relaunch. All flirting with science fiction finally gave way to pretentious techno fantasy with a touch of Warhammer, and battles are more demanding than ever before in the ability to juggle an arsenal.
Last guitar gash
The Icon of Sin is defeated, and humanity is saved from the demonic hordes. However, the work of the Doom Slayer is not finished – he must eradicate the hellish spawn once and for all. This is the whole plot of both The Ancient Gods. The Doom series of the last two issues did not bother with deep history at all, and the add-ons generally returned to the level of the original 1993 game. One notable difference: the codex revealing the mythology of the world is located directly in the menu – the retelling of the plot of the original Doom, recall, lay in the readme.txt file in the daddy with the game.
The flying fortress is a thing of the past, and a trainee from UAC helps our protagonist navigate the world. I do not know on what conditions the Executioner cooperates with humanity, but I would also not deny services to the guy who solo deals with the entire demonic army. Both parts of the Ancient Gods contain three levels, filled with a wide variety of evil spirits. The hero has already collected a full arsenal, the suit and guns are maximally improved, so in the very first episode we are immediately thrown into the meat grinder. No lisping.
Ancient Gods – Part 1 is harsh even to veterans who broke through Eternal in “ultraviolence” or “nightmare”. The balance in the first DLC raises very big questions. To master it at high difficulties, you need not only to understand the mechanics of Eternal, but skillfully – masterfully – to master it. There is nothing to catch here without the ability to switch weapons at lightning speed and maintain a steady flow of lead and energy towards the infernal creatures.
At the same time, on the first level, at the station in the middle of the raging sea, although you are overwhelmed by a bunch of powerful monsters (from the first minutes mancubuses and knights of hell with blades are pressing on you), this still does not feel like mockery. Each battle is a harsh but adrenaline-pumping test of your skills, practiced in the main game. The platforming episodes that annoy some players are kept to a minimum, so gunfights follow one after the other, giving no rest.
This exhausting pace is one of the main troubles of Ancient Gods – Part 1. No interludes in the Fortress between missions, no relaxing platform jumping. Trust me, even if you’ve spat on them before, you’ll miss them. After a fight with two marauders, hands naturally tremble at once, but the only way to catch your breath is to turn off the game and return later. Eternal had a well-defined rhythm, it is not here.
The further, the more the addition is annoying, and at some point it begins to be perceived as simply dishonest. The new Doom’s are pretty darn fast, so it’s imperative to let the player read the situation: what routes are there in the arena, where is the danger, where to retreat. The Ancient Gods, on the other hand, plays dirty: the tentacles are hidden under the water surface, and you simply do not see the trap; fog can hide enemies who shoot at you; at the same time, monsters appear on the battlefield, which can only be shot in a short period, when they are preparing a powerful attack. Miraculously dodging biting creatures, waiting for one of them to open up for a well-aimed headshot – this is not what you want from adrenaline-filled action with maximum difficulty and crazy dynamics.
Doom Eternal offered different approaches to any enemy in every situation. Some are more effective, others are not, but in any case, the shooter did not put on the rails. The Ancient Gods is pinching in pincers and requires that you fight with a specific opponent in the only correct way. And the first part of the DLC makes it overly tough. Spirit-possessed enemies appear that are much faster and stronger than normal ones. And as soon as you deal with such a demon, the spirit can be destroyed only with the help of the plasma gun beam modification. What, there were no charges for the plasma? Well, you look, while the spirit will move into another creature. For example, the baron of hell. And there was nothing to yawn!
Such innovations, if they are dosed, are good for refreshing battles and make you think not only quickly, but also tactically. But in Part 1, everything is dumped on the Executioner’s head at once, put in dishonest conditions and crushed with quantity, not letting him breathe out. I have no idea what skill is needed to master this on maximum difficulty with one life.
Fortunately, the two parts of The Ancient Gods are half a year apart, and during this time the developers have made adjustments to the chosen course – Part 2 looks much more balanced. In it we will walk through the world of the Guardians, the Earth after the apocalypse and Hell itself. While they are not particularly remarkable in terms of visual design, the levels are much better designed. Extensive arenas have appeared, where there is room for maneuver, while traps remain when you are locked up with monsters in a small patch. In such situations, the types of demons are chosen quite well, and the fight from a banal firefight turns rather into a mystery.
A sense of rhythm arises again: tough cuts are diluted with platforming (very in moderation) and unpretentious skirmishes with cannon fodder. Sometimes you just want to tear a couple of dozen imps to pieces, and the game feels it. Although the second addition also uses spirits, monsters with a short window for killing, and introduces a couple more nasty opponents, it does it in doses and provides a tool to overcome the difficulties that have fallen down.
This, of course, is about a new weapon – the energy hammer. It hits an area, deals decent damage and stuns most enemies. Or it increases the attack window in case the demon is vulnerable only for a limited period of time. Thanks to this, a skirmish with two looters at once is no longer perceived as “God, as much as possible!” The readability of the interface has also been improved – the charge status of some gadgets now hangs near the scope, which is convenient.
In terms of balance and pace, The Ancient Gods – Part 2 was a success. But as the final chapter in the bloody campaign of the Doom Slayer, unfortunately, the addition looks rather weak. If this is not the final for the hero, then at least the next coming will have to wait a long time. A memorable point did not come out. The epic confrontation between the army of Guardians and the hellish hordes from the trailer is just a lure that unfolds exclusively in cutscenes or just in the background, while the Executioner, as always, runs from arena to arena. And the final boss came out ambiguous. In fact, this is a duel with an improved version of the same ill-fated marauder. Nicely staged, but rather boring by the sensations.
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An uneven but nice addition for all Doom Eternal lovers. If you like the mechanics of the main game, then the expansion is definitely worth a try. Those who were left disappointed with the vector of development of the series have nothing to do here – the gameplay is the same, only even more brutal, and the plot ending came out blurred at best.
- the mechanics still works well and makes you juggle with weapons;
- additions to the bestiary added depth to the battles;
- The Ancient Gods – Part 2 offers a variety of situations.
- imbalance in The Ancient Gods – Part 1;
- a weak ending for a story started in Doom (2016).
Doom Executioner goes on a long hiatus. Unfortunately, not at all on a high note.
Rating: 7.0 / 10
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