The first great video game of 2020 has arrived: ‘DOOM Eternal’ is the catharsis we all need in these scary times

Making friends.

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Making friends.
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id Software/Bethesda
  • “DOOM Eternal” just launched on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia.
  • It’s a gorgeous sequel to 2016’s reboot of the classic “DOOM” gaming franchise.
  • The new game is the first truly excellent game of 2020, and a perfectly cathartic experience in a bizarre moment of human history.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

At any given moment in “DOOM Eternal,” you can stop and look in any direction and you’ll see it: A perfectly-framed shot of cover art for a deathmetal album.

Whether you’re floating around the Earth in your space castle (yes, really), or ripping and tearing through the dregs of Hell that are invading Earth, “DOOM Eternal” so completely embraces its style that it bleeds into outright self-parody.

It is the “Mad Max: Fury Road” of video games – a brilliant, violent masterpiece that’s exactly as weird and silly as it intends to be, while remaining dead serious about that weird silliness.

It’s for these reasons, and many more, that “DOOM Eternal” is the first truly great game of 2020.


“DOOM Eternal” is the natural evolution of 2016’s “DOOM” — an excellent game that set a critical foundation for “DOOM Eternal.”

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Yes, you have a chainsaw that you carry everywhere. Really. If you chainsaw an enemy in half, ammo explodes out of their body.
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id Software/Bethesda Softworks

“DOOM” is a classic video game franchise, and that comes with a lot of baggage. It was the first major first-person shooter, and one of the first major horror games.

But in 2016, the “DOOM” franchise got a major refresh. The game was simply named “DOOM” (known by many as “DOOM 2016”), and it was incredible. It took all the elements of the old games – demons, big guns, heavy metal, and the iconic main character, “Doomguy” (seriously!) – and gave them a massive visual update. The game itself took the classic first-person shooter “DOOM” formula and turned it into a totally new type of shooter, where combat felt more like a tactical dance than a more traditional cover-and-shoot experience.

There were still ammo and health and armor pickups on the ground, and tons of secrets to discover, and so, so many demons to murder. It felt like “DOOM” – but this was clearly something new.

With “DOOM Eternal,” id Software takes 2016’s “DOOM” game and builds.


“DOOM Eternal” is the best “Halo” game ever made.

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id Software/Bethesda Softworks

There’s an infamous quote from “Halo” designer Jaime Griesemer where he talks about what makes the beloved “Halo” first-person shooter series so great.

“In ‘Halo 1,’ there was maybe 30 seconds of fun that happened over and over and over and over again,” Griesemer said. “And so, if you can get 30 seconds of fun, you can pretty much stretch that out to be an entire game.”

It wasn’t about repeating the same fun over and over, but about creating a type of fun that could be replicated in different scenarios.

It was about “taking that 30 seconds of fun and playing it in different environments, with different weapons, different vehicles, against different enemies, against different combinations of enemies, sometimes against enemies that are fighting each other. No 30 second stretch of ‘Halo’ is ever repeated; the missions are constantly changing the context on you.”

This ethos powers “DOOM Eternal.” The moving parts in both series are roughly the same: You play as a supersoldier tasked with world-scale tasks, like taking on an invading legion of demons from Hell all by yourself, and the only way to win is by outgunning and outrunning the bad guys.

Both franchises combine superhuman movement with a small armory of weapons and gadgets, and both feature a variety of specific enemy types with specific weaknesses.

Most crucially of all, both “Halo” and “DOOM” provide the structure for “30 seconds of fun” and then iterate on that structure for hours.


“DOOM Eternal” is a first-person shooter for people who don’t like first-person shooters (and people who do, too!).

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id Software/Bethesda Softworks

“DOOM Eternal” is not a precision-based game. If you pull the left trigger, your character doesn’t pull up iron sights. There are parts of enemies that are more vulnerable to certain types of attacks, and that can be important during especially intense fights, but you don’t have to worry about not being an FPS master.

Instead, “DOOM Eternal” focuses on what I like to call “The Dance.”

Let me explain: At any given moment in a fight, you need either ammo, health, or armor. If you pull your chainsaw and saw an enemy in half, ammo explodes out of them. If you hurt an enemy enough that they start glowing, you can perform a one-hit “glory kill” that makes health explode out of them. If you set an enemy on fire using your shoulder-mounted flamethrower, armor pops off of them; if you kill the enemy when they’re on fire, a fountain of armor explodes from the body.

At any given moment in a fight, you have to monitor which of these resources you’re most in need of, and prioritize which enemies to kill and how to kill them in order to gather resources.

Some enemies are huge, and soak up a ton of bullets before going down – you may need to tackle some easier enemies to replenish ammo/health/armor before taking on that mancubus!

It’s this resource management, combined with the absurdly fast movement of the main character, that makes every fight feel like an absurdly violent dance.


“DOOM Eternal” is funny, and crazy fun, and exactly the catharsis I needed while stuck at home during a freakin’ pandemic.

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id Software/Bethesda Softworks

As I write this in late March 2020, everything sucks. The world is in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, and pretty much everything is canceled as a result. If you’re lucky, you’re working from home. If you’re like millions of other folks, you’re out of work with no pay.

And we’re all scared. I’m scared. It’s a tremendously frightening time to be alive.

Playing something as silly, creative and expertly crafted as “DOOM Eternal” has helped a little bit. Bouncing from one absurd looking creature to another, shotgun in hand, blasting through the hordes of Hell, offers a sweet moment of respite where my brain can’t think about the unfortunate situation we’re all in right now.

More importantly, “DOOM Eternal’ is a game that makes me smile – from its aggressively silly aesthetic, to its voluminous “lore,” to its brilliantly-designed gameplay moments. And couldn’t you use more stuff that makes you smile?


“DOOM Eternal” is available on pretty much every platform, including Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia. Check out the insane launch trailer for the game right here: