Doom Eternal Ancient Gods Part 2: An Epic Ending or Demonic Disappointment?

When the first of Doom Eternal’s DLCs came out I was super excited. While I did enjoy it, I had a lot of problems with the new enemies introduced (much to the chagrin of angry fans). Now, I’ve played the second part let’s take a look and see if it’s any better.

Off to a good start.

The Ancient Gods Part 2 gets off to a really good start, in terms of gameplay at least. I couldn’t tell you what the story is and I don’t remember when Doomguy got a bunch of viking ghosts on his side. But anyway, it begins by introducing a new mechanic to use with the hookshot. There are now these floating grapple points that you can swing on, and you have some control over where you go when you swing on them so it’s not just a glorified extra jump.

At least that’s how it seems at first. It’s not used very well throughout the DLC’s 3 levels. Most of the time it just serves to help you cross large gaps or passages that are only possible because there’s a grappling hook. It does appear in some enemy encounters too but I was never in a situation where it made sense to use one. It seems like the only use it has would be to get higher up in the air or to get out of a jam when you’re surrounded. However, there are never times when enemies are outside your range and if you need to get out of a jam you can just hookshot a weaker enemy in the distance or jump and use your 2 air dashes.

Motion blur makes everything look fast!

It’s a shame too because it could’ve been used to mix up some encounters. Imagine if there were Cacodemons or some new flying enemy type that stayed high up most of the time and were either resistant to the hookshot or out of its reach. If there were a few grappling points floating around you could use them to launch yourself up. This could then lead to encounters wherein you’d have to juggle ground combat with aerial combat. As it stands, you never need to do that and the grappling points are pointless.

So many new friends to play with!

But how bout them new enemies? If you read my article about Ancient Gods Part 1 you’ll know I didn’t like them at all because of the impact they have on player agency. Well I’m glad to say the new enemy types here do not have that problem. The first one you’re introduced to is the Armored Baron. They’re Hell Barons but with armour and a big mace. I like that their armour can be destroyed just by shooting it enough or if you shoot their mace when they’re doing their charge attack. Doing so puts them in a stunned state, allowing you to deal damage. It’s cool that they make the Hell Baron tougher but still give you options for how to fight it.

After that we get to fight Stone Imps. I’ll be honest, these guys suck. They’re just imps but now they’re made of stone and they have a homing charge attack. They’re weak to the regular shotgun’s full auto mode so encounters kind of force you to use that. Other weapons do hurt them but just barely. As someone who never used the full auto, forcing me into it by giving me hordes of stone imps to fight has not changed my mind on it.

Then there’s the Screecher Zombies and they’re a really cool addition. They die super easily but buff all enemies in the area when they do. They present a choice to the player in that you can play carefully and avoid killing them straight away or just get rid of them and deal with the buffed enemies. That’s what enemies should do, reward skillful play but also add interesting decision making to the core combat loop.

Stone Imps go down just like any other demon, blurry and full of ammo.

The last major addition is the Cursed Prowler and unfortunately I don’t get them at all. They poison you on hit. This takes away your dash and hookshot as well as draining your health constantly. The only way to get rid of it is to blood punch the Prowler. The poison effect really disrupts the flow of battle and finding the Prowler after getting poisoned can be tedious and annoying, especially because they teleport. It’s even worse if you’ve used up your blood punch before knowing there was a Cursed Prowler in the arena. Thankfully they only show up 3 times. So they’re annoying but you don’t have to see much of them.

That’s it for the big enemies. There are also Riot Soldiers, which are just like the regular Soldiers but now their sheilds are invincible and they have to be killed from behind. Neat idea but it makes little difference since at this point in the game you have such a big arsenal and several movement options that make them inconsequential.

There are new toys too!

So overall the new enemies are a mixed bag. I actually do like a couple of them in theory but there’s one big caveat that I didn’t mention. The Sentinel Hammer, the replacement for the Crucible sword, completely negates all of the interesting decision making presented by the Armoured Barons or the Stone Imps.

It stuns big enemies and kills minor ones. It’s basically a get out jail free card. It kills Stone Imps in one hit, it’s super easy to charge up and has a huge area of effect. So the Stone Imps are basically meaningless. It also extends the stun period of Armoured Barons, giving you plenty of time to kill them before their armour regenerates. Marauders are also susceptible to it, thankfully.

The Sentinel Hammer really just makes the game too easy. I’m sure you’re thinking “well just don’t use it then”, but it’s so hard not to. When you’re being swarmed by Stone Imps, it’s not fun to blast them with the full auto shotgun because there are so many of them. It’s better just to wipe them out and fight the fun enemies. You probably won’t need it anyway since Ancient Gods Part 2 is way easier than the first, and I think even easier than the base campaign.

I know people complained the first DLC was too hard but they went way too far in the other direction this time. If you’re playing Part 2 then you’ve most likely beaten the main campaign and AG Part 1, so you would hope the big finale would provide at least an equal challenge but it’s honestly boring a lot of the time.

The Climax – A Flaccid Finale

The absolute worst case of this is the final boss. It’s Satan in a giant power armour suit! And it only took me about 10 minutes. It would’ve taken less time but you have to wait for him to be vulnerable. You might think Satan would be a badass fight but he’s literally just a big Marauder. Invincible until he does his melee attack, then you stun him. You need to use the Sentinel Hammer or he’s only vulnerable for long enough to get one shot it.

Still, that’s no problem since he summons dogs that drop charges for your hammer and is surrounded by weak demons. You only need to melĂ©e two of them to charge the hammer up. Even the final stage of this 5 stage fight is pathetic. Sure, he summons the strongest demons he can, but they’re all ghost forms so they die in ONE HIT from the hammer. The hammer that has a huge range and can be recharged super quick. It’s such a disappointment.

This is the big showdown. It should be the most epic fight the Doomguy has ever faced, the ultimate evil! But it’s just a marauder with a bigger health bar. They couldn’t even come up with a new enemy type for the final boss. Absolutely pathetic.

Why yes, that is 4 boss level demons summoned by Satan himself and they do indeed die in one hit.

That’s kind of how I’d sum up The Ancient Gods Part 2. It’s such a let down. The trailer shows armies of good and evil demons clashing, a giant dragon and a power armour satan. Well guess what? The giant demons do fight, but in the background of the final level. The dragon is in the game, in a single cutscene where it brings you to another level. And power armour satan is easier than most of the normal encounters in the game. At least it was over quickly. Both parts of the Ancient Gods are 3 levels each but Part 2 will be over in about 2 hours. Normally I don’t consider game length when reviewing something, but it’s the same price as the first DLC and doesn’t add anything significant.

So there you have it, Doom Eternal just keeps getting worse as it goes on. I loved the base game, I liked the first DLC despite its problems but the finale was a complete waste of time and money.

If you’ve played it yourself, I’d like to hear what you thought about it. Let me know if you thought it was a good finale, or even a good DLC in the comments below. Or you can contact me on Twitter @Kevlooks. And if you like my writings, why not check out the podcast I just started with a couple of friends? Our first episode is a discussion of the best and worst gaming had to offer in 2020.


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