DOOM Eternal Update 1 – A Potential Risk to your PC?

So Doom Eternal is a great game, that's never in doubt. When I reviewed it on release, I loved it, giving it a solid 8.5/10. The launch was solid, the game ran great and the grubby mitts of Bethesda actually improved Doom Eternal, rather than making it worse, because the company accidentally left in an executable for the game that worked around the Denuvo Anti-Tamber software.

This was quickly patched out when found, but it was still a lovely feature for those who purchase the game - why wouldn't those who've spent their hard-earned money want to play a game that isn't slowed down by a terrible piece of additional software?

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Doom Eternal's Anti-Cheat Issue

Why am I talking about this? Well, that's because Bethesda seemingly doesn't understand what constitutes as a feature. In the patch notes for Doom Eternal Update 1, Bethesda state this:

New Features for PC

Added Denuvo Anti-Cheat software required for playing BATTLEMODE on PC

  • Denuvo Anti-Cheat uses a kernel-mode driver
  • Use of the kernel-mode driver starts when the game launches and stops when the game stops for any reason
  • Denuvo Anti-Cheat does not take screenshots, scan your file system, or stream shellcode from the internet
  • Denuvo Anti-Cheat can be uninstalled at any time through the "Add or remove programs" dialog
  • For more information, please see or refer to Denuvo's launch day blog here

It's quite strange that Bethesda feels the need to offer that much of a defence for a piece of anti-cheat software, but the reason why is already identified in the first bullet point. With Denuvo Anti-Cheat (not the same as Denuvo's Anti-Tamper software) comes the issue of it installing a kernel-mode driver which is dropped at the core of your system.

The large concern is that this driver could be a large vulnerability to your system and easily exploited. At the time of writing, there has been a response to this in negative feedback on Steam, with 565 negative reviews since the release of this patch. While it's stated that Denuvo Anti-Cheat can be uninstalled at any time, there is always a concern that something could be left behind and then the simple fact that Doom Eternal will be limited in function if Denuvo is removed.

The Rest of the Patch Looks Good

So Doom Eternal Patch 1 brings a lot of nice-sounding features, making it even more of a shame that it's linked to Denuvo Anti-Cheat. One that stands out are the new Empowered Demons:

Empowered Demons are now online! When a player is killed in the single player campaign, the demon that felled them is beefed up and transported to another player’s game to fight again! Take out an Empowered Demon and you’ll not only be rewarded with tons of health and ammo, but also bonus XP to progress in-game events! Toggle Empowered Demons ON/OFF in the Game tab of the Main Menu Options.

In addition to Empowered Demons, Doom Eternal also brings along Echelon Leveling, essentially acting the same as prestige ranks in games like Call of Duty. Joining this system is a new event, Precious Metals, which allows you to earn a large number of new cosmetics. Finally, in the new features, you can now add people to your favourites list.

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Of course, the patch also comes with a host of quality of life updates, as well as bug fixes and more. There are more than I can go into, but they can all be found on the earlier linked patch notes, with changes made to both the single-player and the online Battlemode. There are a few known issues that Bethesda have pointed out too and, hopefully, will manage to get them fixed as soon as possible.

With the wealth of new features, updates and fixes, it is a shame that the patch and game, in general, is now marred by the inclusion of this new anti-cheat software.

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