Doom Eternal UN Run
I finally did it...
Doom Eternal has been such an amazing game. It's one of my favorite games! There is just something about the combat loop, picking the best weapons and mods, learning your enemy's movements and attacks, failing thousands of times to get that one win. The challenge that Doom Eternal brings to the table is unrivaled and simply addictive. When you mess up, you can evaluate what happened and say, "You know, my aim is really off today and that cost me the run."
It can be frustrating when you play for so long and your progress can seem to be slowly getting better or getting worse. I can recall days where I couldn't get past the first two levels without dying in a really stupid way. The struggle is real but it is something that can be overcome with time, patience and persistence. There is no jumping into the game and "git gud", you have to put the time into becoming a "black belt" as Hugo Martin, the game director for Doom Eternal, would say.
It has been exactly 600 days since Doom Eternal launched and I bet that I have played it at least 550 of those days. 2 DLCs have been released, Horde Mode was introduced and many Master Levels have dropped from the updates. Out of those 550 days, there have been many victories, but at least 4 times the failures. It's hard to play a game that you love, that you've put so much time into playing, studying and trying new strategies, only to die because you did something stupid. You didn't anticipate that Gargoyle to make that move or you didn't expect to get cornered when a Buff Totem appears.
You have to study the enemy movement, where enemies spawn, how many there will be in this or that room. You have to be able to constantly move with accurate aim and precision so that your shots count. You have to know what areas are a waste of time and that you can skip to save your ammo (and life). You have to know what runes work best for you, which weapons and weapon mods work best for you.
There are runes in the game that give you special abilities. For example, "Air Control" allows you to adjust your movement while in mid-air or "Saving Throw" that allows time to slow down and give you a second chance to regain health when you get down to 5 HP. Could you believe that I beat the game the first time without Air Control? I can't believe it either now that I look back on it. Being able to decide which runes are the most important or that fit my play style the best has been a challenge in itself.
Failure is something that you have to accept if you want to master Doom Eternal. Find the mistakes, analyze them and learn from them.
On November 9th, 2021, I started an Ultra Nightmare run, going through a little over half of the game. My run was solid and my combat skills were just on point. The next day, I started on Nekravol Pt. 1. This level includes Kalabas, which is a huge brain with 4 eyes that are either covered or exposed over time. I had been here before, marking it the furthest I had ever been in the game on Ultra Nightmare. Luckily, there is a Youtuber "Allstin" who I've had the pleasure of talking with via Discord. He linked me to one of his videos about "Triggered Demons"; it was about how the game will trigger events based on demon deaths, the number of demons left alive in a room, when you cross a threshold, etc. But in this room, while you are fighting Kalabas and knocking out the 4 eyes, there is a trigger sequence you have to pay attention to. Knock out two of the four eyes and a Pain Elemental appears. The strategy is to use all 3 chainsaw pips to chainsaw the Pain Elemental quickly and allow the other PE to appear. Take that one out and all there is left is Kalabas (with some Gargoyles to help with ammo). The first time I tried this fight, I got pummeled by the Pain Elemental because I wasn't paying attention; I wasn't ready. But on my victory run, I took out both Pain Elementals quickly and the rest of the fight was super simple.
I seemed to really be on my "A game" this time and I just kept breezing through the levels. I never really got choked up until the last level, Final Sin. It's probably one of my favorite levels so I've played through it many, many times. It was no problem until I got to the first large arena where there were 3 Tyrants and a Buff Totem. Technically, this should be a simple fight because the Master Levels and even Horde Mode are more challenging. My strategy was to use my BFG to take out most of the enemies in the room, then use the Crucible on all 3 Tyrants for an easy kill. The Buff Totem appeared before I could get to the third Tyrant and I got cornered. The Saving Throw rune activated because I was down to 5 HP. I thought "Here we go, I got this far and this is what will end my run..." Luckily I took out some fodder enemies (weakest enemies in the game, like Imps and Gargoyles) and found some armor to regain my strength. It was definitely a close call.
Finally came the time to face the final boss: the Icon of Sin. This is a 2 phase fight to where you just have to simply take out the armor and body parts, while dealing with its different attacks and a few heavy demons that run around. I took my time on this because the key is to take controlled shots of your BFG. If you get hasty with this part, your BFG shot will miss; it's very easy to get overly excited and do this. Every one of my BFG shots made contact and made my fight easier. On the second phase, the Icon will summon a "meteor shower". When I hear the thunder strike, I immediately know to get out my Crucible and go hide under the platform. If any heavy enemy finds me, my Crucible will take them out immediately and give me health.
When you are able to get the Icon's health all the way down, you basically have to wait until his animation is complete before the game realizes that you've beat him. It felt like an eternity. I went back under the platform with my Crucible drawn, just waiting until the ending showed. It finally happened. I had beaten the game that I loved with no deaths. I had finally earned my black belt.
Fun story is that right before the ending sequence, my Apple Watch alerted me, saying that my heart rate was high for a period of time; it had been as high as 153 BPM!
If you haven't figured out by now, I love video games, especially Doom Eternal. There are still challenges that I want to defeat, such as Ultra Nightmare in both DLCs and the Master Levels. I think now that I have the main campaign under my belt, I can focus more on these and defeat them with more practice, patience and persistence.