Doom has always been about constant movement, and Eternal is no different. Hell Knights charge at you with blistering speed. Revenants pelt you with missiles from the sky. Arachnotrons rain down plasma fire to melt through your health and armour. So much as stay still for a moment or second guess yourself, and it's bye-bye Doomguy.
Even on Hurt Me Plenty difficulty—medium to you and me—Doom Eternal's motley crew of hellspawn demand my undivided concentration if I'm to have any hope of turning them all into tiny crimson gibs. In the game's toughest fights I'm utterly consumed. For that reason I'd say it's the perfect game for now, if it wasn't for its unsettling post-apocalyptic themes.
Anyway, Doom Eternal is more intense than ever, as James' sweaty hands and bruised knees can attest after his Doom Eternal review. That's not only down to the relentless heavy metal, but the endless, split-second decisions you have to make if you want to live. Combat has you finely balancing armour, health, and ammo as you linger on the edge of death at all times. Extended play sessions put you in a kind of gore-drenched trance. Then, just as I find myself clamouring for it all to stop, as if I'm kicking my legs desperately to come up for air… then the last target is eliminated, the drop-D metal dissipates, and I can breathe out.
Even though Doom Eternal goes harder and fiercer than any shooter I've ever played, there are sequences that let everything settle. It takes you right to the edge, before dusting you down and building the suspense for the next fight, with ominous, guttural chanting surrounding you. Doomguy's spaceship hub and platforming sections with monkey bars and wall climbing are moments of relative restfulness that ensure a sound pace. Unless you're hunting for collectibles, that is.
There are collectibles all over the place. Music albums, cheat codes, toys, and more to tweak your demon hunting and adorn your bedroom. The trouble is, despite my best efforts, I must have them all. It's why I struggle with Metroidvanias: I can't handle moving on without wolfing down every last secret.
Sometimes I feel like Doom Eternal knows this. The teasing green question marks that indicate the existence of a collectible hide in plain sight, taunting me behind bars or smugly looking at me just out of reach. Sometimes they're hidden behind breakable walls, which is fine because, if I've missed it, I can move on, blissful in my obliviousness. But when the bouncing bastards are right there, I progress the level in a right mood if I can't work out how to get at it. I know I'm PC Gamer's Guides Editor so I shouldn't really be admitting that, but it can be our little secret.
It's not just collectibles either, but story: I want all of that, too. The way Doom Eternal tells it is a rather elegant fudge—there are pages upon pages of lore for your codex for those that don't mind taking the time to read them, but everyone else can ignore it almost completely—but that slows me down even more. In the end it feels as if I'm bumming around new-new Doom's lavish levels doing basically nothing as much as I'm dishing out demon death. It interrupts my rhythm, that murderous stupor that's essential for survival.
In other words, don't be like me. Doom Eternal gives me every opportunity to get properly lost in its high-octane action, but instead I spend most of my time pointlessly punching some bars with a toy behind it. So I'm going to make a pact with myself, to never spend more than a minute or so getting stuck on a secr… ooh, is that an extra life?