Adrenaline is awesome. For our ancestors, it gave them the juice they needed to stay in the trees and avoid predators. For us, it’s an excuse to go skydiving. We are chasing adrenaline now because there are very few people chasing us. That’s why we love a movie with a great chase sequence or thrash to heavy metal. Video games are excellent for tweaking our adrenal glands, although one recent title stands out among all the rest.
Fate: Eternal from id Software is the epitome of first-person shooter prowess. It’s a carnal and chaotic assortment of brutality and speed, pitting players against the forces of hell as they invade Earth. Its intensity belies its delicate balance and bold innovation, especially for a franchise that could trade on name recognition alone. Pick it up and your pulse quickens.
Released in March 2020, Fate: Eternal is the latest entry in a series that helps form the very foundation of video game shooters. Although he did not put the “first” in the first-person shooter, the years 1993 Loss is widely recognized as a key inflection point for the most popular gaming genre. Full of blood, guts, heavy metals and satanic imagery Loss set a tone that is hard to top. Over time, Call of Duty’s forward-loading style has taken over, which is part of what makes Fate: Eternal such a triumph.
Boot it up and you’ll see the same trappings from the series’ heyday, but with a gorgeous modern update. It’s gory and gross in all the right ways, with meaty demonic enemies that liquefy under the barrage of your bullets in a smooth 60 FPS. A rhythmic soundtrack provides the background as you rip and tear through the worst hell has to offer. At the surface level alone, it’s pure gaming fun.
Beneath the blood-soaked hood, however, is an innovative combat system that’s an expansion from the 2016 reboot. Fate: Eternal focus the player on How? ‘Or’ What they demolish enemies to get the ammo, health, and armor needed to keep going. Perform a glory kill, recover health. Bisect an enemy with a chainsaw, collect ammo. Incinerate them with a flamethrower, get armor. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
It may sound dizzying on paper, but in practice it creates a hugely satisfying combat loop that keeps players messing with any particular type of attack or strategy. You’re forced to enter the fray and mix it all up, but you’re quickly and consistently rewarded for it. It ramps up the pace to 11 and quickly takes you into a thrilling play zone, then keeps you there.
All of this is punctuated by clever level design that emphasizes the powerful parkour traversal system that lets you leap from surface to surface. You just can’t sit still Fate: Eternal and the relentless momentum of combat, climbing, and cool music is a welcome departure from more technical modern shooters. And with barely an FPS in sight in the AAA release predictions for 2023, now is the perfect time to play.
Fate: Eternal is available on Xbox Game Pass. It’s also on sale on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC (RIP Stadia).