If DOOM Eternal was the kick up the arse the gaming industry needed towards the start of this year, DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One will leave those buttocks raw. The Slayer himself has returned with the first instalment in a new expansion so utterly relentless that a rude awakening is in order for even those who reckon they mastered the base game. At its heart, this is much more DOOM Eternal. However, given the outstanding quality of that particular title, an even tougher take on what we've come to know and love is an irrefutable proposition.
Due to the DLC's naming convention, there may be some assumptions floating about suggesting this is a fairly short undertaking. And while there are just three new missions to work through, they're by no means lacking in content. Each packing brand new environments and secrets, it'll take you a good six to seven hours to roll credits. This is a meaty package despite the narrative linking together each and every combat arena ending on a cliff-hanger.
Speaking of which, there is a story to DOOM Eternal, isn't there? We always saw it as nothing more than just another reason to slaughter the legions of hell, and the case is very much the same with The Ancient Gods. Following the events of the base game, an imbalance of power in the universe has forced the evil infantries down under to make one more claim for top spot. Or something like that.
Yeah, there are some curveballs along the way, but it's probably the least important aspect as far as the DOOM franchise is concerned. Intense, fast-paced gameplay is king and Part One remains true to that philosophy. The Texas-based studio hasn't messed with what works in the months since DOOM Eternal's launch, meaning the DLC is still all about diving headfirst into the action. Glory Kills reward health, the Flame Belch drops armour when enemies set on fire are defeated, and the chainsaw spawns ammo for all your weapons after tearing through flesh. That satisfying loop hasn't been tinkered with one bit.
If anything, that's actually a through-line you could make through virtually every element the DLC encompasses. Alongside minor complaints about not having enough ammo to see an encounter through to its conclusion, platforming sections were also a source of criticism. They are back and better than ever — forcing you to properly analyse your surroundings and come up with a way of progressing. They can become slightly tedious on your third or fourth attempt, but for the most part, platforming continues to be a bundle of fun. id Software has doubled down on its vision for DOOM and the series is all the better for it.
New locations help to give those tried and true mechanics a breath of fresh air and the expansion does not disappoint in this respect. Kicking things off on a gigantic oil rig before heading underwater to its underground lair, Part One is packed full of impressive settings that deserve a second or two of appreciation. They even introduce new and interesting ways of moving a fight about a larger area.
As alluded to, though, it's actually the overall difficulty level that feels like the biggest game-changer when The Ancient Gods is compared to the base experience. If you haven't played the game since its March release, expect the first half an hour or so to revolve around dying over and over again. The DLC isn't afraid to throw the kitchen sink at you from the word go and that could lead you to lowering the difficulty, at least for starters — don't worry, we committed the very same sin. But even when you do get up to speed, this expansion still doesn’t pull any punches.
The Ancient Gods is persistent in its adherence to throwing waves upon waves of the title's most resilient enemies at you. And then doing it all over again just a few minutes later. It almost borders on a sort of Bullet Hell take on DOOM Eternal that absolutely never lets up. Although, that also gives way to unfair difficulty spikes. It feels like too much sometimes. A boss fight in the second level is miserable, simply put, while some combat arenas are so overwhelming that we were begging for mercy. Sure, some players will revel in this sort of encounter design, but we're confident the average user could seriously struggle here. And that's even on the easiest difficulty setting (yes, we tried it).
If that wasn't enough, hell's legions have also been bolstered by three new enemy types. Each taking centre stage in the three different levels, they range from turrets and temporarily invulnerable harpies through to a spirit that possesses fellow monsters to improve their damage output and health pool. All of them have a unique trait, meaning you'll have to quickly learn their weakness and incorporate it into the dance between offensive and defensive output. It's a bit of a shame then that the Doom Slayer doesn't gain access to any new weapons for himself then throughout Part One of the post-launch campaign.
At least there aren't actually fewer guns, though — a fate that has befallen the music. After the public fallout between id Software and Mick Gordon, the composer did not return to write the DLC's soundtrack and it absolutely shows. In his place is a set of largely generic tracks that feel like the sort of tunes a tribute band would put out if they were trying to emulate their favourite act with new songs. It's all rather forgettable, unfortunately.
DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods - Part One is so much more of the PS4's best first-person shooter. It doesn't do anything dramatically different from the base game, rather letting its phenomenal gameplay loop revel in new environments and against new enemies. Difficulty spikes present more problems than we'd like, though, to the point where casual players might feel like giving up. Nevertheless, bring on Part Two.
Every time I see articles about ES/Doom/Fallout etc...I have to wonder about the future of these titles sequels. sigh...
I'm sorry, I know everyone joked about MS first party not being as good as Nintendo or Sony, but it's completely whack to just buy a publisher and make all their stuff exclusives. I hope this is not what's going to happen as MS just uses these studios to boost gamepass sales, but can't help but wonder with the "case by case" basis comment.
I liked DOOM a lot but I wouldn't call it the best fps like some people keep saying. Heck my best fps isn't even supposed to be fully fps and that's Fallout 4. The satisfaction using VATS, wide variety of interesting enemies - mutants, synths, killer bots, giant insects, crabs. Wide variety of weaponry - I mean obliterating enemies with a Nuka-Cola gun, tweaking laser machine guns to continuously spray or for more powerful short bursts. I mean a Sentry Bot's speed is even more terrifying than any of the hell creatures in DOOM.
And oh if you think Bethesda games not coming to PS isn't a big deal you're in denial. Check your Library, you can't lie, there's a ton of Bethesda games in there. Maybe there'd be new IPs that'd be exclusive to Xbox but I feel ES6, Starlight and others could be multiplat.
@Omnistalgic Can we remain on-topic and actually talk about the DLC in question, please?
That's really disappointing to hear that the music is very generic. Gordon's tunes are a key element to these new DOOM games, and I don't think I'll have much interest in the future of them if the new music isn't up to snuff.
PS4's best FPS??? really? 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔
PS4's best FPS? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Haven't played DOOM Eternal yet (although I do have it) as I've been holding out for the PS5 upgrades. DOOM 2016 is my favourite FPS on the PS4, so looking forward to it!
@TheArt I really enjoyed what I played of fallout 4, unfortunately I spent around 20 hours only to run into a game breaking glitch. The whole screen went neon and I couldn't see a thing. Really dissapointed given that I played it three years after release.
As such I have to give doom eternal the title of best FPS. It's near perfect to me.
A shame because fallout was very good for the first 20hours.
Been playing Doom Eternal thanks to Game Pass and it's amazing! Glad the expansion is great, too!
I will be holding off on the DLC until the ZeniMax acquisition is final as I am sure it will eventually be part of the Game Pass subscription as well.
All the Dooms are great.
@Omnistalgic you're not alone. I bought the ridiculous Collectors Edition for Eternal, and the whole buy-out has just left a bad taste in my mouth. I went from being hugely excited for the DLC to complete ambivalence. I mean, it's hard to get excited about the franchise now knowing that I may never get to play the inevitable sequel unless I buy an Xbox.
Everyone knows Titanfall 2 is PS4's best FPS 😉
@LiamCroft Surely lamenting the fact that this DLC may be the last bit of Doom to appear on PlayStation is relevant and on topic?
Nice to see that it has got a good review!
I just got the deluxe edition in prime day sales so I'll be playing this when I finish up Doom and Doom VFR! My playthrough of all the Dooms will then be complete!
@LiamCroft It's really hard not to think about the future platforms these games will be available on. but sure...I'll leave it alone and wait and see.
Only problem I have had is clipping through things, massive performance drops on PS4 Pro, surprisingly, the difficulty being....well a bit too high....
and then the game crashing during the final boss corrupting my save file resetting my progress on that level.
@Pinkman Really, that's a shame. Never run into no gamebreaking bug in all my like 4 playthroughs. It's one of my all time favourites on PS4. In regards to RPGs I always say Witcher 3 & Persona 5 = Story, Bloodborne = Combat and Fallout 4 = Fun.
@Haruki_NLI You had those problems in this DLC?
The platforms in the final stages had some...hard to describe but it's like the Slayer briefly falls through them before stopping and being fine.
A large swarm of Imps, a bigger demon like a Baron of Hell and a grenade causes frame drops (which...probably isn't surprise!).
A fodder demon clipped half way through the floor, performing a glory kill on stairs on the rig stage pops the Slayer into the stairs and then out.
As for the crash, the cutscenes to go into the second phase started, voice line goes off, demons spawn and then...it froze. Error occurred. Go back to the PS4 menu, reload the game as it booted me out, go to load my Ancient God's save and it says hey, this is corrupted. Load the save to be back at the start of the final stage.
I have no idea why, but all the other things were weird oddities, the platform one led to some reactions that led to death admittedly, but that crash at the end just put me off for the rest of the day.
@Haruki_NLI Huh, that’s odd. I didn’t have any technical issues whatsoever.
@LiamCroft I found it remarkably odd myself. The crash could just be an off chance thing. Where it happened is why its notable.
Really enjoyed it on UV but did die quite a few times. The summoner spirit is really annoying and the buffed enemies are really tough.
I'm really surprised to read that about the music, I enjoy andrew hulshult's stuff as much, if not more than Mick Gordon's, I was really excited when I heard he was on board. I've got the dlc but not played much yet, I'll play and see what it's like.
Got to say I agree with the review. The difficulty kicked my ass for the first half hour as well. And yes, the music - unfortunately - is just not up to Gordon’s level. Shame cos I was hoping Hulshult would do really well - though to be fair he was never going to win on the back of a ‘make some music and make it sound like someone else and do it quickly please’ brief......
@Pinkman F4 isn't really an fps to begin with.. And Battlefield 4 is the best fps on PS4 period according to my hours played.
@GZoo Hmmmnnngggg....No. But it's good for sure!
I played Eternal on my PC. FPS just equals mouse and keyboard to me. However I played Eternal on an Xbox recently and it was surprisingly controllable. As a result I’m tempted to pick up the standalone version of this DLC for the PS4 instead.
I forgot that this was releasing this soon. Part of me wants to wait until Part 2 drops and play them both on the PS5. DOOM 2016 & Eternal were both an absolute blast to play!
@AhabSpampurse Thats why you're still in luck, because the Xbox didn't have any games since most of them were also on PC according to a bunch of people.... Sooooo you could still very well play the next doom game.
Hated Doom Eternal. Not in 2016's league. The fact that there's not enough ammo or fuel pick ups but mainly the God awful platforming aspects which were not fun AT ALL ! Frustrating and pointless, just pure filler. Worst design decision ever. It's Doom not Super Mario brothers
@LiamCroft no need to be a hard ass mate... let ppl talk and discuss what they want... relax mate
Adding no new guns is a weird choice for a Doom DLC.
@djape We have a forum for that very purpose.
Best FPS...? Oh come on! This isnt even Doom anymore. Good night!
Just completed the DLC this evening and it was a welcome addition to the main game, far bigger than I'd expected but, despite being entertaining, it felt a bit too relentless at times and some of the platforming bordered on the hideous. As for the new additions it'd be the spirits I hated most and I frequently found myself caught in a loop of tracking and killing a possessed demon only to watch as it leaped inside another beast whilst I was bounced around by innumerable foes as I flame belched and glory killed my way to just enough energy to try again. Ultimately I found myself dying more when I was trying to navigate some of the aforementioned platforming nightmares with audible sighs emenating as I reached the next checkpoint only to barrel straight into another overlong onslaught from Hell. Yes, this is what Doom is about but I found frustration creeping in far more than the main campaign. As for the bosses the sub boss that ends level 2 is bland, uninspiring and just stupidly drawn out after a level that already feels like you've just run the same gauntlet twice over and the final boss is suitably tough but again just goes on too long where the Icon of Sin felt just about right. Overall I'd definitely recommend it to fans of the main game but I struggle to think why anyone would buy it separately. Hopefully the second part will be worth the wait and hopefully iron out the flaws in this instalment. To be honest I don't think it will but hey, it's still a damn good game. Just feeling a little tired and hollow now it's finished and can't say I'm in a hurry to replay it!
Doom eternal is epic..load game,turn up the volume and have fun..bulletstorm is my number one shooter but i love titanfall 2 and the shadow warrior games..if i have to go old school...duke nukem still reigns supreme..hail to the king..
Doom Eternal isn't even the best Doom on the PS4. It's a good game, don't get me wrong, but when playing Doom I just want to shoot stuff in the face with a shotgun and mix things up with the chainsaw every now and then. Might pick up the DLC at some point, but Doom Eternal left me cold at times.
@Medic_Alert it's the classic case of sequel feature creep. The platforming sections in isolation while not utterly terrible (although they are mediocre) when dumped into the rest of the Doom experience are jarring. They take you out of the game and for me a few times I just turned the game off when I saw a platforming section because it's just not what I wanted. The whole stab to get bullets rhythm action stuff had merit, but eventually got tiring too. Again not a terrible addition in and of itself, but at times felt awkward and clunky, especially via a controller, not so bad on KBAM. All in all Doom Eternal felt like a backwards step to me on Doom 2016, it's not as terrible as some made out, but it doesn't live up to the reboot.
@Medic_Alert I think id were stung by the criticism Doom 2016 was a bit "basic". What some saw as basic, I saw as a really pure expression of a streamlined design goal perfectly executed. Doom 2016 delivered on what it promised in bucket loads. However, people wanted wall running and emotes, but Doom proudly stood there and said "I'm old skill, deal with it", and in an industry obsessed with copying the latest trends and fads it's unashamedly "basic" nature and homage to FPS games of the past, not least it's own heritage was a breath of fresh air. I loved every second of it.
Ancient gods is terrible. I hate level design. 2nd level with fog you cant see anything and they add invisible enemies on top and the big guy with homing missiles every 5min. What a stupid idea. Why dont you hide everything completely and let the slayer take damage out of nowhere that would feel the same. Music is total crap, no atmosphere, feels bland and cheap. Bethesda you should stand on your knees sucking Mick Gordon to come back. You ***** up completely and I dont even want to finish Ancient Gods. This game is dead for me now. I loved Doom Eternal but this Dlc is worse than the original doom. Nothing entertaining about it and I want my money back.
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