Anatomy of a DOOM Eternal Fight

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A DOOM Eternal combat encounter might only last five minutes, but they’re five, utterly intense minutes: filled with quick movement, smart decision making, and more. In this episode of GMTK, I’m going to break down just one fight in the game to see how it works, and how it makes players act.

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Spoiler Warnings

This video shows a combat encounter from the game’s 11th level, Nekravol Part II, and so may spoil some weapons and enemies from the latter part of the game. No major story spoilers are included.

Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance)

DOOM Eternal (id Software, 2020)
DOOM (id Software, 2016)
BioShock Infinite (Irrational Games, 2013)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward, 2019)
Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2018)
Gears 5 (The Coalition, 2019)
Music used in this episode

DOOM Eternal soundtrack – Mick Gordon
Divider – Chris Zabriskie (

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29 COMMENTS

  1. DOOM Eternal was an unstoppable mayhem, but in a good way. I was always full of adrenaline while in the combat areas. Marauders were a pain, but there are easier ways to kill them. I also don`t think that killing a Cacodemon with one shot was a problem, it was actually part of a good strategy since most of the game you are overwhelmed with many demons and if you can kill a monster with a shot, go for it! Doom Eternal forced players to play in a more frantic way than Doom 2016. ID and Bethesda wanted that in the previous game, but in this one, they magnified the gameplay. I never really understood the purpose of the purple liquid that makes you walk slow or even those tentacles that come out of nothing slash you. I thought those things were, indeed, out of the context of the game. Also, I`m not saying it is a perfect game, but it is for sure one of the best FPS games I ever had a chance to play. That`s my opinion.

  2. I just started playing this game. I really like the weaknesses. Just wish they didn't show them to you. Would be more fun if you figured them out.

    But the ammo cap is awful. I think my brain just can't handle how much I have to think about. That's a lot of stuff to make decisions about second to second. In fact I think the weak points already make you want to change weapons. And the health recovery makes you want to be aggressive. They didn't need to add the ammo cap or the armor thing.

    I think both 2016 and the new one have good ideas but I prefer the simplified 2016 if I had to pick one.

  3. I bought DOOM thanks to this video. To be honest I’ve looked at and added several games to my soon to be purchased queue based on your unique perspective of games.

    Your videos aren’t reviews, obviously, they’re more like a far deeper connection to the nuts and bolts of what makes a game tick. I don’t know if you intended to “sell” games based on your analysis but it’s working on me.

  4. I haven't played it yet but I like the structured correct answers of doom eternal better. Doom had a problem of everything works if you're good enough so normal difficulty could be beat first time using just shotgun and rocket launcher 90% of the game

  5. I’d put in a small plug that maybe they both have their place…2016 is a cathartic blood bath, and I’ve found a “Hurt Me Plenty” difficultly as my first play through to be about right. I found myself constantly weighing weapon choice in it, from my rifle for frustrating distant foes (summoner and stubborn sniper-wannabe imps) to my shotties (combat preferred over super for imps and crowds, super for fatties and smashies) and plasma for anything glowing purple (shield guys were the bane of my existence in the first quarter of my play-through) with my rocket launcher upgrade favored for anything I wanted to take damage-over-time like a mancubis with a crowd of friends he’s hiding his bloat behind. But to me Doom 2016 is ABOUT that simplicity. It feels like an ultra-violent first person 3D Mario title where it’s about me zipping around stylishly where as Eternal is, for better or worse (which depends always on the critic; remember Mark’s laudable and deep appreciation for design by reduction which 2016 arguably is more focused on with eternal being the obvious expansion of mechanisms a lot of us would want to see doubled down on) and I think you have your answer for whom might appreciate which one more.

    Also, while Eternal might capture “the feel” of the original for some, 2016 has more slavish devotion to classic Doom design; Doom original is a simple, simple game. And Mark has some excellent videos detailing nostalgia for game-feel versus reality. So maybe Eternal might feel more like classic Doom to some, it’s important to frame how different our tastes and visions of what we like have evolved from since 1993.

  6. What ?
    The weapon weakness system is one of the best things that have happened in this game.
    It rewards the player for using the correct weapon against specific enemies.

    It gives meaning to the weapons instead of them being just things that shoot at different rates of fire, power, projectile speed, etc…

    That's why people say this game is harder than doom 2016, it's because there are incentives for switching weapons, and if you don't switch, you run out of ammo and fumble.

  7. • The decreased ammo pool is a deliberate decision which is both more realistic, and which turns ammo management from an afterthought into one of your four “P”s.

    • I've got no problem with being forced to prioritise one target for a short time. It's functionally the same as a Baron of Hell.

    • Without the special uses for the shotgun and heavy cannon, they'd be useless. In fact if you watch the experts, they still never use the shotgun, so it can't be the “only right move”.

    Also they're harvesting souls for energy. You know that. I don't know why you're pretending that you don't.

  8. I will never understand why you would put stuff in your script like "where Souls are extracted for… umm… I dunno, I wasn't paying attention". Like, that's not just some off the cuff comment, you wrote that into your script. Why? It's not making you look cool…

  9. Now that I've played Doom Eternal I can really appreciate this video and respond to the question you asked us at the end.
    To me I appreciate both Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal for both distinct flavors of combat.
    I look at it like the differences you see between all of the John Wick movies. They feel different but the core of what draws you to those films remains consistent. For the next Doom game, I hope they'll continue to spice up the formula.

    I've summarized my rant in bullet points and dove more deeply in my rant. So feel free to skip the rant if you don't care.

    1. I agree those weak points shouldn't be spelled out for you. That sucks out some fun discovery for learning more about the enemies. Just have it flash a little red like already do and I can figure it out eventually.
    2. So in short I agree with you on weakpoints in terms of Cacodemon, way too op on our end.
    3. I love the resource management in Doom Eternal, and I think it justifies ID's decision to reduce the amount of ammo you can carry.

    [——-Rant Skip———]

    I like the new style of gameplay that Doom Eternal brings to the table through resource management.

    Having to constantly keep in mind my shield, health and ammo makes the game really fun for me.

    I find that it constantly pushes me to switch strategies like you've illustrated with your priorities.

    At the same time, though, it is extremely easy to collect resources once you get in the groove of it. Shields being the only tricky thing for me to collect. Therefore, I think ID was justified in drastically reducing the amount of ammo you could carry in the game. Otherwise, on the rare occasion you ran out of ammo you'd probably chop up only one or two zombies and probably be good for the next half-hour. In Doom 2016 it made sense to have such a high ammo count because ammo was harder to come by. Therefore, stocking up was more necessary.

    Even though I can take out the canons on a Revenant to reduce the damage it can output, but a rocket launcher can also just finish off the enemy for good.
    The only exception for me is the Cacodemon. To me, it's actually pretty sad that this guy has the worst weak point in the game with the sticky shotgun grenade. The fact that this weak point enables me to kill the enemy instantly reduces the challenge of the game incredibly. I think ID kinda knew that this was overpowering and so it feels like they increased the speed of the Cacodemon so it can get a couple of bites out of you. While this was fun the first few times, over time it just becomes a repetitive chore. Granted, I have only played on Hurt Me Plenty difficulty so maybe it's more satisfying to fight this guy at higher difficulties. Otherwise, fighting the Cacodemon is not matter of strategic thinking, but how fast can you pull out the sticky shotgun grenade.

    [Rant Over]

  10. I extremely dislike the idea that you should stop shooting in shooter game, the game forces you to use melee attacks.

  11. Eternal is leaps and bounds better than 2016 to me. The resource management and lower ammo capacity force me to make use of every tool in my arsenal. The weaknesses and weakpoints also get me weapon switching more, and pretty much every demon has more than one answer to approaching it. Your example with the cacodemon is essentially moot once you have the rocket launcher, and is definitely moot once you have the ballista.

    As for other enemies, take the pinky for example. You could jump over it and super shotgun it in the back. You could remote detonate a rocket behind it. You could blood punch it for an instant kill. Now that may make you think "oh, I should just always blood punch if it's an instant kill", but not necessarily so. If there's a doom hunter on the board, you may want to save blood punch for taking out its sled. Or maybe you're low on health and want to save blood punch for taking out a crowd of fodder to restore your health. There are so many choices, and you're constantly solving new problems in combat. It's a constant rush, is always making you think, and is way more fun to me than 2016 which essentially just became a super shotgun simulator for me.

  12. I remember that encounter. I didn't change my weapon once. Full Mastery SSG is all you need in any non-boss encounter. Why I thought the combat/resource mgmt system was bad. The game makes you "learn" how to play Eternal w/ the new ice/flame/chainsaw/GK rotation, but by the time you get SSG Mastery, you just become an unstoppable killing machine god. You have to suffer through this new, unfun system for 2/3 of the game, just have the light switch turned on and be like "oh, this is the one build that works for everything".

    I can appreciate the feeling of getting stronger as you play, suffering through the new design while allowing the new rotation to feel more natural. But god…what an unfun first 2/3 of the game. It's honestly POOR design, imo. To force burdensome resource mgmt and weapon rotation in an arcade shooter, just to have a single cookie-cutter build at the end.

  13. I didnt come here for game design tips.
    I came here to see blood and gore and violence because i like them

  14. My opinion, DOOM 2016 is better, but DOOM ETERNAL is still excellent, and both games run laps around every other shooter on the market.

  15. Interestingly, I prefer the original Doom. Appearently, I never played it right as I went slowly and strategically and explored every nook and cranny. Then I played the beta of Doom 2016 and hated it. Then I found out that most people played original Doom in a crazy fast way and felt the new Doom enhanced that fast pace. I was rather surprised as I never played that way so Doom 2016 felt wrong and defied my attempts to play how I wanted.

  16. It could have been more interesting, if the archvile…
    1. Was a priest (because it's related to summoning) which you fought as boss which returns as a regular foe like the hunter.

    2. Instead of buffing and summoning at the same time, it would do them separately (the first when a player is troubled already by other enemies and the last when the room starts getting empty) and say a specific line of dialogue for each action.

    3. Was weaker than now and needed to be surrounded by stationary and supportive enemies, while it uses more aggressive ones to keep the slayer far and at bay (maybe trough summoning too) to protect himself, and so the player despite prioritizing it above the rest, needs to think on who to take down to reach it.

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