April 26, 2017

Doom (2016) Christian Review

Blood, sweat and demons. Doom returns in the 2016 iteration for more pulse-pounding, ghoul-slaying wholesome goodness for the whole family.*

*(Not meant to be taken literally.)

Thoughts and Impressions: Never once having a slow moment, Doom 2016 manages to be pretty entertaining if a little bare-bones,. Sure, the dark sense of humour makes things interesting, but after slaying the same demon a million times, it gets a little repetitive.

Storywise, it's pretty much "Destroy all demons and close the gates of Hell", with no real meat given to the story, piles of gore notwithstanding. For what it's worth, it should satisfy those looking for old-school thrills sacrificing emotional depth or satisfying storylines.

Now for those interested, let's get to the Content Guide: 

Content Guide:

Violence/Intense Content: (9)

Doom is a bloody game, to say the least. Heads, arms, legs, torsos are all decimated by gunfire, hand-to-hand combat and explosives, blood spraying out in fountains as limbs are snapped off and severed. High powered weapons blow enemies apart entirely, huge amounts of blood splattering across the environment. Intestines are strewn across the floor. Certain enemies tear themselves apart upon being killed, skin tearing with blood and gore spraying out.

Players can get up close and personal with a chainsaw, tearing enemies open with gore spraying, sawing their heads, arms and torsos in half, The player can also use their bare hands, tearing jaws apart, shattering skulls, ripping arms and legs off. As a special move, they can tear tusks off certain enemies and stab them through the eyes, all with resulting blood. 

Players can enter "berzerk" mode, punching enemies with abnormal strength, causing them to explode into bloody pieces. Hearts are also torn out, and shoved back into the mouth of the victim, causing them to explode, blood and guts shown. Heads are ripped apart, sinew and brains shown briefly along with an explosion of gore.

Certain fleshly growths featured in environments have to be destroyed in order to progress. Pieces of said growths are turned out with blood splatter, gore, and explosions of fluids shown.

Dead characters are shown lying around environments, having head their legs, heads, arms, spines and organs torn out, with lots of blood surrounding them. Certain areas have literal lakes filled with blood, gore, bones, skin, and membranes. Skeletons with viscera still attached are shown, along with blood-stained eyeballs still inside certain skulls to comical effect. (9)



According to the ESRB, there are uses of F**k, S**t, and other profanities. However, in my time with the game, I heard no swear words being uttered at any point.

Spiritual Content:

--As per the series, spiritual content is featured heavily in Doom, which has a Satanic theme. Upside down pentagrams with circles, demon faces, goat heads, and so on are shown.

Characters are depicted worshiping altars surrounded by candles and muttering incantations. Skulls, candles and black magic books are scattered throughout environments. 

We see a human sacrifice, with a couple of people bowing down around a man who plunges a knife into another man. This brief sequence is supposed to depict people ritualistically trying to harness the power of "Hell".

A brief reference to God having created the "seven-day work week". 

One of the music tracks contains a "backmasked" message, with the numbers 666 being said. This instance is clearly inserted to mock the "satanic panic" of years ago. (7)


Should I bring the Banned rating back specifically to throw this game out the window? That won't be necessary. Doom 2016 doesn't even come close to falling in the same category as games like The Darkness II or Outlast. Heck, even Silent Hill is worse than this.

The demons in the game, while stylised to represent traditional depictions of dark spiritual entities, are more akin to alien creatures than actual demons. Consider the following:

1. Demons are spiritual entities and therefore, not physical.

2. Hell is a state in the afterlife, not a physical location. (We can debate the theology of Hell for an eternity, no pun intended, but that's what it basically comes down to; Hell is an afterlife, not a dimension or physical location.)

3. The entire treatment of demons and Hell is much more akin to rogue scientists trying to open another dimension to an alien world. If the demons were replaced by aliens and Hell changed to an alien planet, not much about the plot would change.

One might make the argument that the story is allegorical, and therefore, promotes Satanism. Even with this viewpoint taken into consideration, the allegory would be far more Christian than Satanic, as the plot involves your character stopping the "forces of evil" at all costs. Your character doesn't ever wax philosophical or consider the occultic implications, he simply "rips and tears", destroying all the demons and conduits powering them he can find with definite conviction.

At the end of the day, does this mean I'll play the game? No. Due to my own beliefs on the occult, I'd rather not. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm going to give this a Not Recommended rating. As stated above, the spiritual content is dubious at best, and nothing about it really pushed it beyond the pale for me. 

The violence is the greatest concern. If you have any sensitivities to blood and guts, you may want to give this a pass because this game is literally (read: literally) soaked with blood and guts. Not for the faint of heart.

Content Verdict: 18+

For Symbolism and Pervasive Gory Violence

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