For starters, Eternal is tough. It throws larger hordes of enemies at the player more immediately than the 2016 soft reboot. Fortunately, it also gives you more weapons, and much earlier, so you can get used to new mechanics. Success means using all of the new tools at your disposal.
We’re going to start with some less obvious tips first, aimed more at veterans of the 2016 game.
Get well acquainted with your new shoulder-mounted weapons
The “meta” of Doom Eternal has been dramatically expanded, thanks to the Doom Slayer’s new shoulder-mounted launcher. Early in the game, you’ll have access to frag grenades, which work like they always do. You’ll quickly upgrade to having ice grenades, which slow groups of enemies down when you need a breather from the game’s breakneck pace.
Get used to all three, especially the “flame belcher,” a new flamethrower weapon that makes fire-engulfed enemies drop armor. I spent much of the game ignoring the flamethrower, until I finally hit fights where I desperately needed more padding from the damage I was taking. Doom Eternal, even on its default difficulty, will push you to eventually rely on these tools, so get used to them early.
Grenades are also a great panic button for crowd control. Your screen will likely be filled to its bezels with demons, so toss a frag or ice grenade to cool them down and back off. And remember, both grenade types each have their own cool-down meters, they don’t share one. So you can freeze a group and immediately launch a frag into the ice sculpture garden of demons you just made.
Unlock the sticky grenades and precision shooter first
Doom Eternal introduces a new mechanic: weak points on certain powerful demons. Certain enemies, like the small spider brain demons, have unique weak points that double as weapons, which empower them with special, damaging attacks. Shooting them off will make them mostly impotent and easier to handle. To that end, prioritize the following unlocks.
Sticky grenades will help you manage pesky flying Cacodemons. Shoot one into their open mouth and you’re just a Glory Kill away from finishing them off and turning them into a health balloon for yourself. You’ll unlock both upgrades for your first shotgun almost immediately, and both are very powerful. But practice your aim with the sticky grenades first.
The automatic rifle also has a precision shot upgrade, and you’ll need that to take out weak points on several larger enemies. These precision shots only become more important in late-game encounters, so get used to aiming sniper shots while moving at 50 miles per hour.
Tackle the big enemies first, leave the little ones alone (for now)
Doom Eternal may feel more like a role-playing game than ever before, thanks to all the upgrades you can earn. But don’t apply RPG tactics to this game.
Especially in multiplayer RPGs, the instinct is to get rid of the smaller enemies first so you have less to worry about while fighting the big enemies. In Doom Eternal, save the smaller enemies for last, because once again, they’re basically walking item drops for you. They’re weak and their attacks are slow and easily avoidable.
Hit weak points to incapacitate the larger enemies, use the small enemies for ammo (by mauling them with the chain saw), or secure health and armor drops via Glory Kills and flamethrower.
Explore the Fortress of Doom every time you go back!
I was more than halfway through the game before I realized that the “Fortress of Solitude”-like base world is much bigger than I initially thought.
Every time you take a breather between levels back home, take a few seconds to walk around and see if any new hallways opened up. You’ll eventually find two floors worth of upgrades. By this time, you might’ve found Sentinel Battery collectibles in the game. This is the time to use them to upgrade your suit for more abilities, or to unlock weapon mods and upgrades.
I could’ve struggled less and been more powerful through a good chunk of the game had I realized these upgrades were here. Don’t make my mistake. Explore the Slayer’s home. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
Save the littered power-ups for later
Each fight in the game has health, ammo and armor pickups scattered around. Don’t pick them up if you don’t need them! Be aware of where they are, but avoid them. Think of it as hoarding.
But don’t be shy about using some of the more classic Doom power-ups like Onslaught or Berserk. You never want to discover them too late, only to find out you’ve already killed everyone.
It’s almost overwhelming how much you have to keep track of: your regular ammo count, the grenade cool-downs, the flamethrower cool-downs, filling up your new “Blood Punch” meter (which helps you clear your surroundings with a single fist) and your health and armor.
Never stop moving
In Doom, there’s only one thing more important than the shooting. Outside of the horror-focused Doom 3, the series has always been about always moving, and that applies in Doom Eternal more than ever.
Don’t be afraid to run away from a gaggle either. I died too many times by backing myself into a corner and letting the demons go to town on me. Jump over them, get some air, reposition yourself — but always keep moving.