The Insight: A Cathartic Trip To Hell With Doom Eternal In The Time Of Coronavirus

By Isaac Espinosa

Now that we’re all confined to the safety of our homes, what better way to vent some of the resulting frustration than to rip and tear the demonic scum that dares to invade the Earth? Doom Eternal, which was published by Bethesda, and developed by id Software and Panic Button Games, takes you through a Demon-infested world. Your main objective? Kill every last demon in your sights, and don’t stop until they’re all dead. 

As veterans of the series know, you play Doom Eternal from the perspective of Doom Guy, and it falls on you – the single last hope for humanity – to destroy every single Demon you see. Annihilating demons will seemingly be an easy task, because you have a vast array of weapons at your disposal, including (but not limited to) the Plasma Cannon, the Rocket Launcher, and Doomguy’s signature Super Shotgun. Each of these weapons is unique in its own way, and useful in many different situations. For example, the Plasma Cannon, with its fast fire-rate and powerful shots, is able to overwhelm those enemies that can take a lot of bullets, as well as quickly destroy enemy shields. And the regular Shotgun has a sticky bomb upgrade, which can be effective for taking out certain enemy weak points very precisely..

Because Doom gives you so many tools to slay demons and the ability to finish off enemies with a flashy and violent glory kill, it’s immensely satisfying to play. Whenever I defeated a wave of multiple mighty enemies, it was like nothing could stand in my way, a feeling I’ve never had in a game before. That’s especially good to feel when we’re trapped by a virus not of our own creation. Even when I play the online mode, a rush of dominance flows through me. Online multiplayer allows you to play as different types of Demons, such as the flamethrower-wielding Mancubus, or the axe-throwing, shotgun-shooting Marauder, so that you experience the sheer destructive capabilities of the enemies you face. And online pairs you with a demonic ally to double the fun! 

However, this feeling of power comes at a hefty price. At times, Doom Eternal doesn’t give you enough room to breathe. The most intense points of the action leave you no space to take a break: it’s just demon, after demon, after demon. If you can’t adapt quickly, you’ll soon become the hunted rather than the hunter. Eventually, you either die from the pressure or live on to progress through the level. As someone who’s new to first-person shooter games, and the Doom series, it was difficult for me to gain my footing. It was irritating when I couldn’t defeat a wave of enemies on the first try, and the bosses were something else entirely. They would output such extreme amounts of damage, I found myself dying to them over and over again. I knew I should be able to overcome those challenges, which was why it was so annoying for me. It was a matter of my own lack of skills, rather than the game cheating me out of a victory. 

Doom Eternal is the very definition of action, with its bloody and grotesque visuals and its clean and intense gameplay. Even the game’s heavy metal soundtrack adds to the atmosphere of combat, especially when it plays during a wave of enemies or a boss fight. The gruesome and destructive violence is definitely a cathartic way to let out some pent up anger and fight the negative impact the current pandemic has had on my daily life – and yours, too. 

Isaac Espinosa is a New York Videogame Critics Circle Intern. He’s the founder of the Lehman College Videogame Critics Circle.

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