Game Review: DOOM (2016)


Gameplay: 9/10
Aesthetics: 8/10
Story: 3/10 (but who cares?)
TOTAL: 8/10

It is the 22nd century, resources are running low, and the world is almost exclusively powered from a Mars base owned by the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC), a ruthless Mega Corp that has hit upon the idea of creating an interdimensional rift on the red planet and harvesting energy directly from the pits of Hell.

What could possibly go wrong?

Once the inevitable happens, you are the supersoldier tasked with ripping and tearing your way through the invading demonic hordes and sending them back from whence they came.

You hardly get to meet any (living) humans in DOOM, since you are plunged into the bloodbath straight away. The only demographic details you find about the UAC Mars base is that it suffered 61,337 casualties in the incident; seeing as there were almost no survivors, that would also be about equivalent to its pre-apocalypse population.

However, there was a bit more human interaction in Doom 3, the previous installment of the franchise. There, you got to wander around the Mars base for half an hour before the apocalypse got going. This gamer-ethnographer might have noted that apart from one Black, all of the security guys were either whites, or some kind of White-Latino métis, with perhaps a sprinkling of Asian mixed in. However, one third of the technicians and scientists were distinctly East Asian. That’s pretty much the ethnic mix you’d expect a 22nd century American corporation to send to provide security and technical support at their Mars base. Since UAC is explicitly stated to “engage in research outside of moral or legal obligations,” we might safely assume that onerous diversity requirements would not be a thing by then either.

Although on the other hand, I don’t recall it ever being explicitly stated that the UAC is an American corporation, or that the United States even still exists.

For all we know, maybe there was a translation mistake and UAC actually stands for United Aircraft Corporation and is run by Russian racists, who knows.

Anyhow, before we wander too far off the reservation… At the end of the day, DOOM is for the Chad gamer who wants to rip and tear right off the bat; it is the last stand of implicit gamer masculinity before the harpies of Gamerghazi. Any further social commentary would be as pointless as it would be autistic. So onto the mechanics and gameplay.



Amazing engine. Great graphics. No stutter.

Playing this right after the buggy wreck that was Fallout 4, the difference was like between night and day.



The controls are intuitive, and thanks to the design choice to do away with fall damage and make ammo drops dependent on kills, the combat “flows” in a way I have yet to see replicated in any other modern FPS, harkening back to the spirit of classic Doom but with the power of modern graphics.

The flipside of the action focus is that there is much less of a survival horror element than to Doom 3, with its psychological horror and much darker atmosphere – literally so, given that there is “no duct tape on Mars” for your flashlight. Although you will probably get more enjoyment from DOOM, you will remember your first encounter with a Pinky in Doom 3 for longer.


I also appreciated that the map interface was in true 3D, which you don’t encounter too frequently even today.


And there is no shortage of in-jokes and Easter eggs.

You get to punch turkeys again.

You get access to mini-maps from the original Dooms.

And of course you get your Big Fucking Gun.

In short, this is your classic Doom recipe with all the old spices and seasonings you miss and remember, presented on a much nicer platter.


As I promised last year, I am going to (belatedly) try to start reviewing more books, video games, etc. (I don’t care for cinema – I watch about two films and a Game of Thrones episode per year. Besides, you have Sailer for this anyway).

I expect to see a few surly complaints about the video games. They will almost all come from the boomer race. Considering these people watch TV for about eight hours a day I don’t see the need to take them seriously.

Next video game review will be about something much less banal than DOOM, probably either Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (this series is to cyberpunk in video games, as Neuromancer, Blade Runner, and Ghost in the Shell are to cyberpunk in their respective genres) or Fallout: New Vegas (whose factions almost perfectly encapsulate the “debate” between ZOG, NRx, and the Alt Right).

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Daniel Chieh says

    I highly approve of this direction and incidentally, you might have made a sale for Doom.

  2. German_reader says

    Next video game review will be about something much less banal than DOOM

    That would be nice, there’s not really much to say about something like Doom, apart from “nice graphics, fun gameplay”.
    Though tbh most games are still pretty dumb (at least that’s my impression), the medium seems not to have advanced that much, I can’t think of many games that really tell a story worthy of serious consideration. Even the original Deus Ex has a really stupid story imo. It has a few dialogues that almost seem relevant to real-world concerns (one even criticising the EU as a tool of corporations, intended to destroy national cultures), but ultimately it’s really demented conspiracy nonsense with Knights templars, Illuminati etc. More X-Files or Dan Brown than anything that could even remotely be taken seriously.
    I guess you only play “manly” games like shooters and strategy games? Because one of the few games I know whose vision of the future (late 21st century) actually seemed somewhat deeper is an adventure, Technobabylon (2015). I didn’t really find it entirely convincing, but it seemed more realistic (and more depressing) than any grand visions of space exploration and the like.
    Have you ever played the Metro shooters, set in a post-apocalyptic Moscow? If you really have to review games (I’m still not sure it’s a good idea), something like this might at least be more interesting that something as generic like Doom.

  3. Daniel Chieh says

    Planescape: Torment, sir. Truly one of the best examples of gaming as medium to ponder philosophy.

    The amount of effort involved in its development and poor sales show that the audience isn’t really there for it, however.

  4. German_reader says

    Oh, I know Planescape Torment. Good game, if overly verbose at times, and the gameplay isn’t without flaws either. But its narrative is certainly well above the usual game standard. Yes, it wasn’t a commercial success. I think partly this must be due to its unusual setting, and the clunky gameplay (plus the deliberate subversion of standard RPG mechanics) probably didn’t help either. Sad though that 20 years later it’s still pretty unique and nothing like it has been attempted again (I don’t really play new games, apart from the occasional adventure, but if anything, games seem to have gotten even dumber since the late 1990s).

  5. the Supreme Gentleman says

    or Fallout: New Vegas (whose factions almost perfectly encapsulate the “debate” between ZOG, NRx, and the Alt Right).

    Sounds like it’d be a great review; FNV really is an under appreciated (by normies) predictor of current ideological fault lines and aesthetics. (As Mena pointed out on Twitter, a good chunk of BR2049’s aesthetic strongly parallels FNV’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

  6. … but ultimately it’s really demented conspiracy nonsense with Knights templars, Illuminati etc.

    I used to hate that too but then about a year ago I realized it was brilliant and I am looking forwards to trying to explain why.

    I guess you only play “manly” games like shooters and strategy games?

    No time or mental energy for strategy games nowadays unfortunately, last one I played in that category was HoI4.

    Technobabylon (2015)

    Very unlikely I’ll play it but will make a note to read about it.

    Have you ever played the Metro shooters, set in a post-apocalyptic Moscow?

    1. Yes, and read the books.
    2. Likewise thinking of writing an essay on the differences between American (Fallout: optimistic, bloody but cartoonishly so, you have a Fat Man) vs. Russian (Metro, Stalker, the more esoteric Pathologic: gritty, grimdark, you have a Makarov, two bullets, and a rusty knife) visions of the post-apocalypse.

    … something as generic like Doom.

    Why I started with it, it’s a convenient blank slate. 🙂

  7. Braid by Jonathan Blow had interesting gameplay with time manipulation.

  8. German_reader says

    Fallout: optimistic, bloody but cartoonishly so, you have a Fat Man

    I’ve only played Fallout 1 and 2, and didn’t find them convincing as post-apocalyptic settings, the 2nd especially so. There also was that whole concept of retro-future (a future as imagined in the 1950s, with huge pre-microchip computers filling entire rooms, nuclear-powered cars etc.) that some people apparently regard as a clever satire of 1950s America, but which just irritated me. Don’t know if they kept that concept in Fallout: New Vegas (very different game from the first two after all), but if so, it’s probably part of the contrast with more “realistic” and grim settings like those of Metro and Stalker.
    In any case, interesting ideas for your future gaming pieces, I’m looking forward to it.

  9. I found Fallout irritating too.
    Never played Doom, though you’re a Deus Ex fan and I recall you stating that Civilisation V was a disgrace to the series, especially it’s predecessor, so I guess I trust you.
    I haven’t enjoyed a straight FPS since FEAR, I think. The original Halflife and it’s spinoffs remain the benchmark as far as I’m concerned.

  10. random rand says

    What about Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri? Blew me away when I first played it. They tried to remake it with the Civ V engine but didn’t play it since aesthetically it just looks so much less interesting than the original.

  11. Daniel Chieh says

    Mr. Karlin – a Russian acquaintance of mine says that Russia has an active internal gaming industry that produces good titles but rarely exports them. If that’s indeed the case, I’m curious and would like to know if there are any gems circulating in the internal market that we wouldn’t normally hear about in POZlandia.

  12. reiner Tor says


    What do you guys think about the Las Vegas shooting, in light of the many question marks recently raised?

    I mean, the guy was supposedly making millions of dollars by playing video poker. Which is impossible, video poker is essentially a slot machine. If you are very good at it, you will make a million out of 1.05 million you pour into it. In other words, you’ll be losing on it.

    Let’s assume for a minute that the guy somehow managed to game the machine. I’m sure that the casinos would notice, and ask him to leave the premises. Also tell the other casinos in town about this. There’s no way he would be allowed to win millions of dollars from the house year in and year out. One thing the casinos sure wouldn’t do is giving extra perks like free hotel suites to the guy who syphoned off millions from them.

    He was unknown in real poker (where professional players do have a shot at making a living), and a lot of people saw him playing video poker, and nothing else.

    So I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume that he was losing money, and a lot of money, to boot. So why did he report millions in gambling income in his tax report? Where did his money come from? Obviously from crime. It’s a well-known money-laundering scheme.

    Why is nobody interested in it? Why is it that we still don’t have a motive?

  13. Unfortunately, never played Alpha Centauri, though everything I’ve read about it makes it sound like a great game and Academician Prokhor Zakharov’s comments on scientific progress are even on my list of favorite quotes.

    I think even the Civ 5 defenders agreed that Brave New World was unadulterated crap.

  14. Not really sure that’s the case – my impression is that Steam is as central to Russian video game developers as it is in the West.

    For instance, here’s one recent – and topical – Russian game from a small developer (four people I think), Syrian Warfare. All happened on Steam. (PS. I don’t recommend buying it).

  15. When real men gamed.

    Man…. I miss Quake.

  16. I used to hate that too but then about a year ago I realized it was brilliant and I am looking forwards to trying to explain why.

    Please do.

  17. Only read the first book. To give an unvarnished opinion: it is a pulp with (perhaps influenced by the great Russian writers) too much literary pretension. BUT the author is REALLY gifted in creating a Lovecraftian world, filled with interesting monsters and a sense of dread. And that is a very rare talent.

    I would recommend it to anyone who likes Lovecraft or those types of stories.

  18. anonymous coward says

    Why is nobody interested in it? Why is it that we still don’t have a motive?

    As always, 4chan already solved the mystery:

  19. If you didn’t enjoy Fallout 1 + 2, then I’d recommend skipping New Vegas. It was a fusion of the wild west with the futuristic “retro” tech you mentioned.

  20. Daniel Chieh says


    I shall ask him to clarify and/or inform him that he is full of lies & trickery and probably assisted in Putin’s nefarious campaign in electing Donald Drumfh.

  21. If you’ve played any of the Witcher games I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on their depictions of Slavic (and I suppose European in general) folklore. Not sure if you’re really into fantasy, though.

  22. reiner Tor says

    I don’t think it’s a good explanation. By the way, apparently video poker is no longer considered an important part of his income. Besides, apparently it’s not impossible to make a living from video poker, because some machines and games have slightly positive theoretical returns, of course only if played with the perfect strategy, and also only over the long run. Most players don’t use a perfect strategy.

    So I now think he probably was no criminal, and he was the only culprit.

  23. I am going to complain. According to your reader survey did anybody want to see video game reviews? No. What we wanted more of is your prime specialty of international political economy and HBD. Don’t forget it’s your output of that stuff that will make a name for yourself.

    Can you review India’s future prospects once again? I’m curious about your take going beyond the simple average IQ in India v. average IQ in China.

    What about India’s numerous forward communities? (Brahmins, merchants, and various non-upper caste southern groups) How much of the overall population are they? How capable are they of the upliftment of all of India? Even if the rest of India isn’t smart, what about their inclination to middle class behavior to make up for it? (see non-upper caste Sikh migration to the UK, seems to have worked out very well because of middle class values not intelligence of that group)