How do you make guns cool again, in a genre that has a million of them to play with? What’s the winning recipe, what’s the secret to success? Here’s my theory: You copy what DOOM Eternal is doing, because that game has somehow transformed an arsenal of weapons into the most sought-after toolkit with which to wipe a demon scourge out of existence.
While DOOM Eternal has more than just guns that players can wield, such as a fantastic wrist-mounted sword or a shoulder cannon that is giving me full Predator vibes, it’s the tried and trusted guns that make the game feel so good as you’re playing with firepower, unleashing everything from classic lead to far-out future tech that’ll slaughter anything in your way.
Ahead of its release, I decided to take a quick look at how the weapon inventory has evolved in DOOM Eternal, how its mods change the game and make for a more a brutally satisfying experience. Here are the explosive fruits of my research.
Ah, the combat shotgun. Reliable! Trustworthy! Deadly. In 2016’s DOOM, it was a handy tool of destruction. The perfect weapon for the fresh out of the furnace Doomslayer, the shotgun could be enhanced to deliver explosive shells and quick blasts of rapid-fire action. In DOOM Eternal, not too much has changed. You’ll still be using it to throw grenades at demons, albeit this time with the Quick Rack, Bigger boom and Five-shot enhancements that allow you to send an entire party of explosives right into the gaping maw of a demon.
Alternatively, you can focus your upgrade points into Full Auto mod, which as its name suggests, turns your trusty combat shotgun into a buckshot Gatling gun of mass destruction at whatever it happens to be pointed at. Tick tick boom baby.
Sure the Combat shotgun may be a useful beginner’s guide to rearranged demon faces, but you just cannot beat the classics. And nothing says classic more than the good ol’ super shotgun. In an age of plasma rifles and hell energy vomiting sniper rifles, the super shotgun is direct and to the point: Get close to your target, squeeze the trigger and hope that you’ve got enough washing powder to wipe all the demon blood off of your armour.
As classic as can be, this version of the Super Shotgun is built to close gaps. The new Meat Hook attachment means that you’ll be swinging between demons like a homicidal Spider-Man with an unending rage, ending lives and taking names. Nothing says up close and personal like the Super Shotgun, and now that it has a meat hook upgrade, one thing is for certain: There is no escape from its twin barrels of death.
If it’s worth firing once, it’s worth firing twice! One of the new weapons in DOOM Eternal, the Ballista functions in a similar manner to the Gauss Cannon from the previous DOOM, albeit in a lighter and more compact package of carnage. First used by the Night Sentinel Marksmen and infamous for being wielded by a battalion to drive back demons from the city of Ilkana, the Ballista can be upgraded with two mods:
Arbalest will allow you to fire off sticky shots that have a delayed detonation with a stronger blast that shoots multiple projectiles once fully upgraded, while the Destroyer Blade is preferably the more destructive option. With that mod, players will be able to charge up the argent energy of Hell itself, unleashing all of it once it reaches critical mass and using it to cut through any demon unfortunate enough to be caught in its path.
Well I know what I want for Xmas now: Cool parents, who’ll be rad enough to get me my own Ballista for the holiday season.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Archaic in its choice of ammo, the Heavy Assault Rifle from DOOM was still a reliable piece of technology that served as a Swiss army knife for demon surgery. With DOOM Eternal, the Heavy Cannon builds on that gun and adds even more surgical precision to the final product. Don’t like using bullets? Then the micro missiles add-on can fire off a dozen rockets that’ll swap lead for explosions.
Prefer to be more precise? Swap that mod out for a scope, and revel in accurate four-burst rounds that are fast, lethal and can make heads explode into bloody little chunks of demon bits. The old faithful of DOOM Eternal, the Heavy Cannon is a bunch of options all in one attractive package. And yes, all of those options end with a smoking barrel and dead demons around you.
It may have belched out orbs that looked like tasty candy, but anything coming out of the Plasma rifle in DOOM was guaranteed to leave you with a burn that no amount of ointment could soothe. In DOOM Eternal, the plasma rifle has undergone a massive redesign in the looks department. Harking back to its original appearance in the classic DOOM games, this Plasma rifle still spews out an endless stream of death but this time it has some brand new mods to equip.
If you fancy yourself a marksman, you can equip a microwave beam that’ll cause anything caught by it to violently explode after enough damage has been done. Even better, cooking an enemy until it bursts will result in anything near it being concussed in the process. Long story short? Hold the microwave beam to cook, and revel in seeing an especially chunky demon take out its brethren when it eventually pops like a marshmallow left too long inside of a microwave.
The second mod unleashes a wave of superheated plasma energy, but its power level is enhanced by a supercombine effect that rewards precision kills with an even bigger surge of energy once unleashed. Nice.
Heavy Assault rifles were fantastic in DOOM, but they had one minor flaw: They just didn’t have the stopping power of a chaingun firing at full blast. The type of weapon that Rambo dreams about before he goes on a rampage, DOOM’s chaingun was death through multiple barrels and it’d eat through your ammo reserves like a fat kid left unattended in a candy shop.
In DOOM Eternal, pretty much every kink minus the ravenous appetite for bullets has been worked out. There’s no more warm-up time as the Chaingun can start firing without needing to start spinning, it now uses EMG rounds and it can be deployed as a turret in case you feel lime making a last stand. With a gun shield in front of you and the only exit in a level behind you, the improved chaingun will make mincemeat out of anything that gets in your way.
I mean it’s a rocket launcher. Ammo make demons go boom and bye bye. How much different can it get between games? Answer: Very! DOOM Eternal’s rocket launcher at its most basic level still provides a mobile airstrike with every salvo fired, but this time you’ll be making use of some new mods with which to play around with on the battlefield.
The lock-on options are still there, with upgrades that allow for faster acquisition of multiple targets and a quick reset between rounds fired. It’s the other mod that sounds more fascinating, a delayed explosive launch that can be upgraded with Proximity Fire and Concussive Blast enhancements. Get good enough, and you’ll be able to master the weapon with its ultimate mod upgrade, the explosive array.
I’ll leave you to guess what that is, because I…uh…I kind of have no idea myself.
And here we are friends. The creme de la creme of destruction. The avatar of death, an extinction-level event with no equal. The big. BIG. FREAKING. GUN. When you’re surrounded by demons on all sides, your health is low and hope is in short supply, the BFG 9000 is salvation with a trigger. It clears rooms, it eviscerates anything organic and I’d bet my chainsaw it’s probably lemon-scented as well.
There’s not much else to say about the BFG 9000, other than this being the weapon of mass destruction that lives up to its name and legend. Its ammo is in short supply, it’s a last resort weapon and everything else pales in comparison to it. I think I’m in love.
Last Updated: March 6, 2020