I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who feels that way, its been really disheartening to see a loose consensus forming that Eternal just has to be worse than 2016. I’ve seen so many variations of the phrase “no one wanted [insert feature of Eternal] from Doom”, and it feels like there is a very narrow conception of what made 2016 work that has become accepted as axiomatic truth. I feel as though no other franchise is perceived so monolithically. It’s well accepted that there are different types of Zelda fan, Pokemon fan, or Final Fantasy fan, but Doom? There’s a perfect formula for what makes Doom good and the author of whatever article you’re currently reading just happens to know it.
I’ve spent a lot of time immersed in Doom fan culture, from modders explaining the code of how the BFG works in original Doom to Redditors eagerly pouring over lore entries, and I can say that saying there is a “one size fits all” capital R Reason that people like Doom is just plain wrong. I’m personally not super invested in some of the deeper lore questions, but I know with absolute certainty that tons of people are. “Who wanted the new Doom to explain all this lore, or who the Betrayer is?” May I kindly direct you to a forum thread with hundreds of replies of heated debate over exactly those questions?
As for the Marauder in particular, I personally found fighting him to be a consistent treat. I love duels in video games, and while he was challenging he never felt unfun or unfair. However, I’m someone who has put nearly 100 hours in since release and who put nearly 200 hours into 2016, and who plays pretty much always on Nightmare. I think that @miscu put it best by saying that the tactics that make the Marauder fun to fight are ones toward the top of the game’s skill ceiling (weapon switching, split second dodges) and that if you haven’t mastered them fighting him isn’t fun. I think most of the game is actually very good about giving you room to make mistakes or play inefficiently but still have a good time, especially on lower difficulties. The Marauder, however, is too Dark Souls for the game’s own good in the way he gates progress. That people who were having fun with the rest of the combat so consistently find him a stumbling block is indicative that he is too inflexible in comparison to the rest of the game’s challenges.
I disagree with the assertion that he “ruins the flow” of the combat, to borrow an analogy I read in a review (sadly cannot remember which one), its that he occupies a different place in that flow. Usually, the player is setting the pace with the highly aggressive playstyle the game is built around, but when the Marauder arrives he takes the lead and sets the pace. If you match him step for step, you find that you’re dancing as fast and aggressively as you were before, but not to your own frantic beat. If you fall behind, you take the place of the demons as someone outmaneuvered and outgunned. While I think that this is all intentional, and personally really enjoy it, I think for most people its a bridge too far and I get that.