Grade: Skip it.
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Rated: 17+ Mature for Blood, Gore, and Intense Violence.
The Gospel Reminder: DOOM Eternal is exactly what we should expect from a game in the DOOM franchise. If your child wants to play this game it’s a great opportunity to talk through how far we should go for fun as followers of Jesus. You don’t have to argue that this game isn’t fun, well made, or incredibly realistic (because it is certainly all three), but we do need to emphasize that our lives our not our own and we need to be intentional in our pursuits (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Having the gospel at the center of our conversation allows us to talk with our child, not just to them, about what God calls us to (Ephesians 2:10), who we are in light of our new hearts (2 Corinthians 5:17), and what we should set our minds on (Philippians 4:8).
Review: DOOM Eternal is exactly what the game designers wanted it to be: An over-the-top violent, fast-paced shooter where you play a chainsaw wielding space marine Doom Slayer (aka Doom Guy) who rips demons limb from limb with quasi-sadistic gusto and confidence (I’m not casting aspersions, I’m attempting to be accurate with that word choice). The violence of these battles goes a long way to prove simply killing the demons is not the point. This is a game to skip until you’re an adult and get to walk your own faith out with fear and trembling.
Overview: DOOM Eternal is made by Bethesda games who make popular game series such as Fallout, Rage, Prey, and Skyrim. Those series are not intended for younger audiences and this latest release, DOOM Eternal, does not deviate from the theme. DOOM Eternal game is rated M for Mature due to “Blood, Gore, and Intense Violence” according to the Entertainment Software Review Board (ESRB).
Characters: 1/5. The main character, Doom Slayer (aka Doom Guy), kills minions of hell. He is incredibly violent and goes well beyond the call of duty in emphatically dismembering, vivisecting, and otherwise creatively mutilating his kills. Making in-game enemies humanoid demons makes the kill feel more justified but hardly puts any skin on why we seem to be lingering on the pulsing stumps of necks so much.
Themes: 0/5. There is no redeeming themes in this game and, in fairness, they don’t even try. Doom Guy shows up and starts pumping hot lead into anything that moves. There are themes of demons, hell, pagan symbols (pentagrams, candle-lit incantations), lore of summoning hell spawn, lots human suffering, spells, mutilation, death, and carnage. There are sadistic themes: Things that get pleasure just from causing pain in creative ways. An argument can be made that, while Doom Guy fights for the right side, he may not be much better when it comes to what brings him joy.
Violence: 0/5. Over the top gore is the goal in this game and they meet it (and meat it). Players cut enemies in half with a chainsaw, kill them with their own body parts, dismember them, bash their heads in, rip their eyes out, and tear them to pieces with your bare hands.
Language: 3/5. Doom Guy isn’t much with the words. There is an online playing option, however, and whenever there are live players in a competitive shooter game there will be foul language.
Play Time: 3/5. Roughly 14 hours to beat main storyline with up to 20 hours of extended play nad then multiplayer. This will be a time sink.
Game Experience: 0/5. The focus of this game is violence, killing, over the top gore, dark themes, and while there is a small piece of redemption (after all, I’m pretty sure I invented the “But he’s killing demons” argument for my parents back in ’93), his love of the violence in the meantime undoes anything heroic he accomplishes in the process.
Want more info on this game? You can watch some gameplay here:
Here are a few in-game screenshots to get a feel for the game.
In Conclusion: This game is an excellent chance to remind our children what God asks us to do, have, and be as children of his. While there are concerning topics covered in this game, the actual concerns should come from why we turn to such activities for our joy. Yes, it’s exciting, but is it worth the price of admission?
Start with a conversation just on the cover art (and the the game title), and take this chance to talk through what’s going on in your child’s heart, what they find exciting, and how you can continue to have adventure with out sacrificing purpose.