In Doom Eternal, you have to save Earth, again. Hell has unleashed its demons on Earth, killing millions and overrunning 60% of the planet by the time you, the Doom Slayer, arrive on the scene. You can stop the invasion by locating the Hell Priests and bringing them down, and mowing down every other boss in sight.
As I said in my review, I can confidently say that it is one of the finest first-person shooters that I have ever played. And for those of us who need a distraction from our own apocalyptic reality, I am so glad that I can spend many more escapist hours fighting bosses and demons in Doom Eternal — all to the sound of heavy metal and gunfire.
These are my tips and tricks, if you want to avoid maximum embarrassment while playing in front of your friends or the entire internet. I’ve finished the game on the easy level, and I’ve played the ending level a couple of times. I have miles to go before becoming an expert or even proficient at the game, so take the advice for what it’s worth. This game is very replayable, particularly if you want to keep ratcheting up the fine-grained difficulty settings. I know my limits, and I’m glad Bethesda and id Software offered a lot of choice in difficulty settings.
If you’re facing that decision, every setting gives you the same game. But the harder ones differ in the amount of things that are happening every second. You can’t make nearly as many mistakes on the Nightmare level, but you pretty much get the same game. I chose “I’m too young to die” because, ahem, I’m Dean Takahashi. This is what I would call advice for regular gamers, not experts. Because, obviously, I’m not helpful there. Beware, this story has some spoilers.
The basic combat advice
Always stay on the move. If you don’t move, you’re dead. Demons spawn behind you if you’re camping, and there isn’t much good cover. So the designers intentionally pulled you out of your safe spots and they make you run for your life. Fortunately, this is a power fantasy, and it’s the demons who should be running away from you.
You die if you don’t pay enough attention to your damage. You die if you’re in a mis-matched battle, like when you are using a regular shotgun against a fast Hell Knight, if a bunch of demons corner you, or you fire a rocket at close range and the splash damage takes you out. If you can remember these things, and remember how aggression solves every problem, then you’ll survive.
That means you have to take advantage of jump pads, which give you a breather while you’re in the air and some much-needed intelligence about where all of the enemies are on the map. You can escape with a Dash (circle button on the PlayStation 4) or a Double Dash. You can swing on a pull-up bar to stay airborne, and you can move to high ground. If you circle around, you’ll be able to catch demons from behind.
The chainsaw gets you ammo. When you’re near a weaker demon, you can take them out with the square button, to get ammo. This fills up everything, or sometimes it just fills up half of your capacity for rockets. It’s probably the only way you’re going to get useful ammo, because the pickups are relatively rare. The chainsaw requires fuel, which you can pick up. Or you can wait for the cool down as it gradually comes back.
Remember to flame belch. I played on the PS4, and the triangle button releases the flame belch. When enemies are aflame, they drop armor for you, which can protect you from losing health while taking damage. It’s easy to forget in the heat of battle, or fail to notice when the the cool down is over. So you should get in the habit of pressing that triangle button.
Get your Glory Kills. When you wound a demon enough, it will start glowing blue and orange. If you do a melee attack (down on the right stick), you’ll get a Glory Kill. This replenishes your health.
Do your Blood Punches. When you kill a couple of Glory Kills in a row, you can do a Blood Punch. A Blood Punch can take a demon out in a single punch or even take out a whole row of them, as you level up.
Paint the map. The map tab is a very useful 3D layout of the level. You can find an Automap station to automatically map a level. It has icons on it for all of the secrets that you need to find. This helps you ensure that, before you finish a level, you have “painted the map” and found everything that you need. Make sure you turn as much green as possible when “painting” the map.
Learn your platforming. Doom Eternal has some great tutorials, and it has a lot of tips when it is loading a level. You have to remember these tips, as you need to be able to recall it when it matters. When it comes to platforms, you have to Dash or Double Dash to make it to the next point where you can grab a ledge. Quite often you’ll do a Jump, Dash, Jump, Dash, and Grab (down on the right stick) to make it across a chasm. I didn’t master this in a preview, and it showed in my widely panned video. This is a very big part of Doom Eternal, as it’s not all just run-and-gun.
Get used to puzzle solving. It’s not just a shooter. You have to figure out some very complicated movement puzzles to survive. The platform gets harder, as do the puzzles, the further you get into the game. I’ve spent hours on it. My other piece of advice is to solve these videos on your own. It will be satisfying when you finally succeed.
Get your resources. In between fights, don’t just jump to the next level. Wait around and see if minions will spawn. You can get them with the chainsaw for ammo, stagger them to get health, or flame belch for armor.
Spend your Sentinel Batteries. When I picked up these Sentinel Batteries, I didn’t know what to do with them. When you’re in your headquarters, the Fortress of Doom, you can walk around the levels. When you find these Mod Bot bays, you can put two batteries in them to buy upgrades for your weapons, your Praetor Suit, or cosmetics. This is way to easy to forget.
Snipe when you can. Sometimes, you’ll have a chance to spy the next battleground, and you can watch the demons fight with each other. If you can take a moment to snipe, do so. You can knock the turret off the Arachnotron or the Missile Launchers off the top of the Revenant. You can also take the guns off of the Mancubus with well placed shots. It’s not fair, but hell, these are demons you’re fighting.
Try out the Ripatorium. When you get some new skills or loadouts, you can test them in the Fortress of Doom’s Ripatorium. It’s better than learning to use a weapon in combat.
Use the Ice Bomb. The left bumper can release a Frag grenade, but I used it for the Ice Bomb, when I earned it. If you use it, you can freeze every enemy (except the Marauder) within range. It buys you important time, and if you upgrade it, you can do more damage to frozen enemies.
The most difficult enemies
Use the Super Shotgun on Marauders. The Marauder is a fast demon that is good at both short-range melee attacks and long-range ax throws. Your only chance is at medium range. And you can’t fire anything else at it, as it will dodge the slower weapons. It will also shield itself against most attacks.
Your only hope is during a well-timed moment. When the Marauder’s eyes glow green, it’s about to strike. That is your chance to fire the Super Shotgun at it. If you hit it once, you can fire again and hit it twice. After that, it will move around you and you have to be prepared to run. In my first battle with the Marauder, it was in a confined space. That was somehow easier.
I had a hellish time trying to run away from the Marauder during my second battle with yet another one of these demons. (They throw a few of them at you in the game). I kept running and waiting for minions to spawn so I could get back armor and health. I finally got enough shots in on the Marauder to stagger it and take it down. But it was grueling. It’s best to take out all the minions and other demons around it so you can give the Marauder your full attention. Eventually, I got better at the Super Shotgun timing, but Marauders were always the toughest enemies.
Find the Archville. This demon is like a commander. It buffs other demons’ strength and speed, and spawns a bunch of them. At first, you won’t know where the Archville is, but you’ll see the demons glowing. If you don’t get to the Archville in time, they will spawn. You can spot it trying to do a spell, or you can see its flaming shield. You can take out the Archville’s shield with a Blood Punch, and then a bunch of shots with the Super Shot gun can bring the Archville down. But all of the other minions will converge on you as you do this. You may not be able to take him down in a single fire session, so you’ll have to come back a second or third time and finally take him out.
The Gladiator has a weakness. When the Gladiator’s eyes flash green, he is about to attack you. Shoot him at that point to make him stagger, giving yourself an opening. In the first stage of the battle, you have to dash a lot to avoid his mace and shield attacks. He spawns a lot of demons, and you can use these as fodder for your resources.
In the second stage, he drops his shield and is faster. He has flails, or long whips, that can trap you. If you are caught, find the high point for the flail and stand under it to minimize damage.
The Plasma Rifle fells the Doom Hunter. It takes a while to bring down the Doom Hunter, who is half demon and half machine. He is protected with a shield, which you can take out with the Plasma Rifle. Once that is done, you can keep that up or switch to a rocket or a Heavy Cannon Precision Bolt mode sniper rifle to take out his mechanical side.
Pinky demons are weak in the butt. If you find yourself faced with this pink rhino-like demon, you have to dodge its charge. And if you do so, it will run into something else and just hit a wall. That’s your chance to sneak up behind it and fire a rocket or Super Shotgun blast into its rear. That will take it out. You can take it out from the front, but it takes a lot more rocket hits. You can also take it out with a Crucible.
Find the freaking Buff Post. The Buff Post is a little cross that enables enemies to become stronger and more aggressive. It also enables them to respawn in wave after wave. It is usually hidden, and you can tell it is in place because enemies are bright red. You have to find this post as soon as possible and destroy it with a melee blow. If you don’t you’ll have an endless fight.
Use the Grenade Launcher on the Cacodemon. The Cacodemon is a flying demon that will bite you over and over. You can stun it quite easily with a grenade launched into its mouth. I didn’t equip my grenades, since I used the Ice Bomb mostly. So I used the regular Combat Shotgun’s grenade attachment to shoot a grenade into the mouth of the Cacodemon. That staggers it, and then you can do a Glory Kill on it to get some health back.
Level up your weapons
If you level up your Praetor Suit, you can get protection from environmental hazards like barrels, dash faster, switch weapons better, get better AutoMapping, and upgrade your Frag and Ice Bomb grenades.
I found the grenade launcher mod for the Combat Shotgun to be invaluable. It has an endless supply of grenades, though they are a bit slow to load. And I used my Mastery Coin (one of a couple of rewards you can find in the game — or you can earn it with great gameplay) to level up the shotgun so it could fire five grenades before reloading.
The Sticky Bomb mod on the Combat Shotgun can be upgraded to cause a bigger explosion size and increase the reload speed of the bombs. Weapon points are earned naturally through gameplay by completing combat challenges in a level. The Demonic Corruption Meter tracks the points you have earned, and each level offers a potential of 10 Weapon Points to collect. Spend them in the Arsenal tab in the Dossier to upgrade your Weapon Mods.
You should also make sure you get the Precision Bolt mod as quickly as possible. It gives you a sniper scope, which lets you shoot the turret off the damned Arachnotron, from afar.
The final battles
The ending is long and drawn out.
The Super Shotgun stops the Khan Makyr. You can use heavy weapons to take down the defenses of the Khan Makyr.
And, as is fitting, you have to deal with very difficult bosses. Each one is hard. The Khan Makyr is protected by Makyr drones, which you have to take out by sniping their heads. They drop on a lot of ammo and health, which keeps you alive in that boss fight, but it is very distracting. When you are sniping the drones, you obviously aren’t watching the deadly Khan Makyr, which rains down area effect flames on you. She also shoots lasers from the sky, and makes areas of the ground glow red (and that’s deadly to you).
Once you temporarily take out the Khan Maykr’s shield, she is vulnerable. You have to switch to your Super Shotgun, get close to her, and then use the meat hook (L2 trigger) to pull you up to her. Then you have to hit her with a Blood Punch. Be careful not to miss. Then she will take some damage. Sounds simple enough. But you have to do this around seven or eight times before she falls.
It gets hard to find cool spots where you can stand, so use the jump pads and your Double Dash ability to keep on the move. Stand behind cover when you can, and alternate your time between the Khan Makyr and the Maykr drones.
You have to run the marathon with The Icon of Sin. In the run-up to the final battle, you have to survive through an enormous number of enemies, battling to the top of a building, so you can finally take on the last enemy, the Icon of Sin. It may feel good to start the chapter, dubbed Final Sin, but you have to mow down a lot of enemies, including Marauders, to get to the real end.
The final demon is a huge monster, dubbed The Icon of Sin. and it can spawn a bunch of demons that will keep you busy. You have to take out its armor first and then take it down. It is easy to get distracted because the Icon of Sin spawns so many demons from earlier in the game. There are huge numbers. At the end, don’t be surprised to see 10 Cacodemons and a half-dozen Pinky Demons chasing you, as you try to get a few shots off at the Icon of Sin.
Fortunately, you have a lot of Crucible (one-shot kill swords) items that respawn, as well as BFG ammo. Save the BFG ammo for the Icon of Sin. But be careful with the aim, as I often missed with the BFG as the Icon of Sin keeps moving. That was most embarrassing. You should use the Crucible liberally on the big enemies, such as the Revenant, Arachnotron, Hell Knight, the Dread Knight, the Mancubus, the Cyber Mancubus, and the Pinky. It’s quite satisfying to slice them in half with one stroke that doesn’t cost a lot of time.
If you run around enough and eventually take enough pot shots at The Icon of Sin, you’ll finally bring it down. But it’s a long battle.
After you are done
Doom Eternal is infinitely replayable, as you can keep on trying higher difficulty levels to get through a lot of the same content.
Stop and read the Codex.
You’ll miss out on a lot of the story if you don’t read the Codex. You’ll pick up these story bits along the way (as flaming pages). I read most of them, and it tells you the rich back story behind the game. The designers (probably wisely) didn’t include any of this in cut scenes, but I would have liked to see more of it told that way. Instead, you have to read. It’s worth going back to after you’re done.
Leave the Slayer Gates to the end. These are optional in the campaign. If you go into the Slayer Gate arenas early, you’ll lose and waste your time. After you’re done with the game, you are stronger, and you can go back to play the Slayer Gate levels.
Improve your score. After each level, you get a summary of how you did, how many secrets you found, and a general reward for your performance. If you want, you can go back and play it again.
Live for lucky moments. The best way to enjoy Doom Eternal is to live for those lucky shots, like this one above.