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Doom Eternal hands-on: can id's next game possibly live up to expectations?

Three hours of solid play with a preview build of Doom Eternal? I just couldn’t couldn’t pass up the opportunity. For me, Doom 2016 marked id Software’s return to form and in my opinion, it’s one of finest shooters of the last decade. So with that in mind, expectations were positively stratospheric for the sequel and after my session with the sequel, I’ve got to say that I’m feeling good about it. Much has changed since the reboot, both in terms of the game’s structure and thanks to the transition across to the new id Tech 7 engine.

To begin with, let’s talk basic features – Doom Eternal offers an even larger options menu than its predecessor. It’s possible to adjust just about every element of the HUD and controls. Importantly, the centre weapon position and simplified cross-hair are both available and this is my preferred way to play the game. I really appreciate how customisable the game is straight away as it caters to a wide range of players and allows you to dial in that perfect feel.

Once into the game, what immediately becomes apparent is how different progression is handled – and it’s the biggest change from Doom 2016. Rather than focusing on a single location, Eternal allows players to visit different areas around the planet. This is accessed from a central hub location – basically a flying space spire inhabited by the Doom Slayer, which he uses to travel around. It’s a fun idea and thankfully, doesn’t slow down the gameplay. More to the point, it means that each stage can offer a unique look and feel without any big sudden changes feeling out of place or jarring.

It also allows for more pronounced transitions in gameplay, encompassing anything from a standard linear blast through to a Doom-style ultra-violence take on Metroid Prime, with interesting puzzling and platforming sections providing something very different from what you might expect. I also enjoyed a sequence where you take control of a Revenant temporarily to reach an item. It completely changes up your move set and leads to a unique battle sequence that is a lot of fun to play. I guess the point is that there seems to be a ton of variety in the game this time: I never had any issues with the environments or variety in Doom 2016 but it’s neat to see the team expand the visual design so radically.