here are some words i wrote about it and didn't edit, to fill up space on this page, so I can really get into it with the css. behold...
i think id's mistake was in trying to tie the lore too closely to the story. i'm speaking as someone who read every codex entry in 2016 but i think you could have understood the game without having ever opened the lorebook.
principle of KISS - keep it simple, stupid
the immediate off to the races beginning worked great for doom 2016 because we felt like we were there with doomguy - we have that banger of a first person animation where you're busting out of the coffin and smash a demon skull with your bare hands. you the player don't know what's going on but it feels ok because like. you just busted out of a coffin and it seems reasonable that you're not supposed to know what's going on.
Doomguy proceeds to carry out the bare minimum of trying to find out what's going on, which clues you into "doomguy didn't know what was going on either, ok, we're finding out what's going on together"
and then you get those lovely personality hints through the first person animations and some story hints through the holograms, which you can watch or ignore as you please. and then you're set off into the great unknown with a shotgun. have fun!
the immediacy of that intro, the fact that the firstperson opening cutscene ends with you holding a gun pointed at a posessed - it's brilliant. to me, doom 2016 achieved one of the highest fusions of player goals and player character goals. i always felt like i was really in tune with doomguy...the fact that combat is so damn fun and they give you so much so early helps that alignment of player and player character goals. by the time you exit the elevator to the surface you really feel like you're doomguy. you're a badass. you just killed a bunch of imps and you liked it. and you're ready to kill more. you don't give a shit about the science guys. you're going to kill all the demons on mars!!the combat is so satisfying it leaves the player wanting more, and that's a really significant part of becoming doomguy as well.
anyway! the intro to 2016 gives you the player a ridiculously effective combat, character, and story intro, and it sets the tone for all of the player's chosen interactions with the plot because you know what kind of person you are - you can choose to take it in "i'm not reading a single word" or "I have to know everything about this place and what happened here" and it works both ways.
doom eternal begins with a third person cutscene, which i consider slightly less effective for letting a player get "into character", AND it makes a couple really different choices for delivering the narrative which hinder its effectiveness. the direct-into-the-action approach is confusing when contrasted with the end of the last game!!! it doens't work. it would be just "ineffective" and just ok for new players, but for anyone who played 2016 it's a total miss and it ACTIVELY confuses them. where am i?? i'm out of hell? how did I get here?? what is this place? what's happening on earth??? vega is alive?? and in my space castle?? hell priests?? what?????? it starts the player in a state of not knowing what's going on, but crucially, it's treating doomguy as though he knows what's going on, and it's at the expense of the player experience.
i only once felt in tune with the doomguy character's goals, and it was when you head to nekravol. you have a clear goal - get to the home of the kahn makyr, who's been appearing sporadically in the game to menace you, and uh......something something stop her. that's not a really complex or deep goal, but it's one you can get behind, because you're familiar with the KM at this point and it's clear enough that she wants to stop you. whatever. we're carving a path through the city of the damned to kick down the gates to heaven!! listen to those guitars!!
it clicked because i felt involved in the stakes, even if only marginally. it doesn't make any crazy timeline jumps, it doesn't introduce any new plot elements from nowhere. it's built on things you've been seeing already for the whole game.
thinking about it now...I think the goal of doom 2016 is to kill demons. there's all this fluff in the way of killing demons in doom eternal, like cutscenes and mandatory lore (and arguably some of the more involved battle mechanics??)
it's not simple.
doom 2016 gives you all the stakes you need to feel invested within the first 15 minutes. doom eternal...doesn't. it gives you a bunch of questions that it never answers and then answers a lot more questions that you didn't have
there's nowhere to get a stake in it besides "saving the world," but it's not personal. the goal of doom 2016 is to kill demons, because killing demons is fun. there's a gameplay hook and kind of a narrative one, but the game can stand on its own without it imo.