It’s been eight months since the first expansion DLC for Doom Eternal launched on other systems and now it’s finally here on Switch. If that feels like a long time, consider that the main game took nine months to come to Switch: if anything, things are getting better! Sort of.
The Ancient Gods Part One is a standalone campaign that follows on from the events of Doom Eternal. Without spoiling anything that happened in that game, basically your mission didn’t end with your actions there, and now Hell’s demons are lining up an attempt to take over every dimension so they can invade Earth again.
The ensuing plot is typical Doom stuff, in that it’s hokier than half a Hokey Cokey marathon, but if you got a kick out of all the nonsense that went on in Doom Eternal you’ll enjoy where the game takes it here, especially its cliffhanger ending (this is the first of a two-part DLC story, you see).
Although The Ancient Gods Part One can be chosen from the main menu of Doom Eternal and doesn’t require you to have even started the main game, let alone beaten it, we strongly suggest you play through the main Doom Eternal campaign first: not only for plot purposes, but because this is pretty difficult stuff. There are no tutorials, no easy-going opening areas with a couple of weak enemies, nothing like that.
Instead, from the second the first of its three lengthy chapters kicks off, you’re immediately thrown into a huge battle with loads of enemies, some of whom are upper tier gits. It may be a standalone expansion but it very much feels like a campaign that assumes you’ve already beaten the main one and that you're perfectly comfortable taking on hordes of its more difficult enemies right off the bat. So if you haven’t played the main Doom Eternal campaign yet (or you’re a bit rusty… it’s been eight months, after all), do that first.
Not that it’s the same old bad guys you’ll be taking on, of course. The Ancient Gods adds a couple of new enemies to the mix, but truth be told they’re probably the weakest part of the experience because they can be extremely annoying to take out.
Turrets, for example, have a small purple eye that emerges from the top every now and then to fire at you. When you start firing back the eye goes away, and there’s really only one weapon that does decent damage to it so if that’s out of ammo, expect an annoyingly long standoff (which doesn’t really fit the Doom Eternal tone, where you’re supposed to be constantly moving around).
Spirits are similarly annoying, though at least they’re more inventive. These big swines can possess other demons, making them far more powerful than normal. Once you defeat the demon, you’ve got a limited window of time to attack the Spirit – again, with a very specific weapon – otherwise they’ll possess another demon and it’s back to square one. At least here if you don’t have the weapon you need you can just kill every demon in the room, because without anyone to possess the Spirit just goes away.
These new enemies aside, it’s more or less business as usual in The Ancient Gods. While the pace can be a little slower this time thanks to the way the newcomers have to be defeated, for the most part fans of the main campaign will be perfectly happy with another roughly 5-8 hours of gameplay to rip and tear their way through. Just don’t play it without taking on the main game first.