Big Drunk Satanic Massacre

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: RPG/Action
Developer: Big Way
Release Date: Oct. 10, 2019


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PC Review - 'BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre'

by Cody Medellin on Nov. 6, 2019 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Big Drunk Satanic Massacre (BDSM) is a dazzling ironical action RPG where you play as a son of Satan named Lou, and fight people, who took over the Hell.

BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre will elicit messages from friends when they see you playing it on Steam. Everyone will ask what in the world you're playing and if you're hiding other games from everyone else. The truth is more mundane, however, as BDSM doesn't seem to aim to be anything more than serviceable.

If the warnings at the beginning of the game don't give it away, then the plot will inform you that BDSM doesn't take itself seriously. Somehow, a man found a portal to hell, but instead of demons pouring forth from it, the humans decided to go in and take over. With Satan's surrender, hell has become another tourist attraction. Lucifer, the prince of darkness and next in line to be the rightful ruler of hell, has been drinking himself into a stupor for about 30 years, but he finally decided that he's had enough. Armed with firearms, he takes a stand and starts to liberate hell from the humans.

For a game with a nonsensical plot, BDSM doesn't nail the humor quite as well as expected. The title has more references than jokes, and those references are quite dated, as you'll see with April O'Neil, Cartman, and Peter Griffin. Aside from the very tired references to gimps, imps and succubi that populate hell, the ponies are probably the most relevant reference, but even that's been done quite often in recent titles. The only attempt at a joke is a reference to all booze as milk, but that joke falls flat no matter how many times it's mentioned.

For a game that derives its name from a fetish, it fails to be titillating. There are some dancing succubi on a level, but their limited animation routines don't do anything beyond what you may have seen in Duke Nukem 3D. Tri-breasted beings litter the levels, but you can't see them too well, and they fail to sound sexy. About the only thing that comes close to warranting the more mature DLC patch occurs during a few minigames that result in topless pictures. If you're buying this game as a risqué shooter, you can get more from cheaper titles.

BDSM mixes in the isometric perspective of Diablo with the mechanics of a twin-stick shooter. You start with a pistol with unlimited ammo, but it doesn't take long before you get an AK-47, bazooka and shotgun, to name a few. Those guns all have alternate fire modes, so the shotgun can also have a narrower spread cone for more concentrated damage. Killing the various enemies makes them drop cash and orbs; the latter fills up your rage meter for a prolonged attack beam, while the former lets you pay for upgrades like a health boost or increased damage. You only have one life per level, but you can drink your milk to get a boost at the expense of dulled hearing.

Players quickly discover that BDSM doesn't provide anything new beyond the above description. The features of secondary fire never feel too significant in a firefight, and there's nothing new to be gleaned from the guns. Similarly, the spells will be familiar if you've played other shooters. Leveling up only offers minimal stat bumps. There's no strategy to the minion fights aside from pumping them full of lead, and most boss fights only get as advanced as the tried-and-true circle strafe to knock them down. The boss fights that do feature something new lose their luster, since you receive a hint about how to get the boss in a more vulnerable state, so that sense of discovery gets ruined.

Despite the lack of new and exciting gameplay experiences, the shooting is enjoyable in BDSM. The game gives you a ton of monsters to shoot at, but the foes are doled out in acceptable numbers so you aren't easily overwhelmed. Ammo is plentiful, and there are only a few situations where you'll be forced to rely on your pistol to do any damage. The AI is good enough that you need to put up a defensive fight to make it out with your health intact, and boss fights are also pleasing once you understand how simple they get. Again, this isn't amazing stuff, but it works well enough that genre vets won't complain too much.

There are two oddities in BDSM that some will see as frivolous additions. The first is a strategy game that you can access at the merchant. There's no tutorial or any instructions, but you can sort of figure things out after a few moves. Basically, you're trying to move around the board one square at a time as you collect cash and power-ups so you don't immediately die when an enemy hits you. Compared to the main game, this bonus game is slow and not exciting since you have no control over your attacks. The cash payout is paltry compared to what you'd normally earn in the main game, and since you can only play the mode once per merchant encounter, you'll end up skipping the bonus game.

The other oddity has to do with the sex minigame that you play when you encounter a succubus that doesn't kill you. The game tasks you with flicking the thumbstick at various speeds to build up a meter, with a few button presses for boosts. If you have the uncensored DLC, you're rewarded with a topless picture, but those without the patch will get pixelated pictures. Either way, there's no real benefit to playing the minigame, but since it's the only real risqué content in BDSM, there's more incentive to spend a minute or two playing it whenever it appears.

There are no other modes to explore once you've beaten the campaign. You can replay the game on different difficulty levels or wrap up all of the achievements you didn't get in the first playthrough. The other incentive for replaying BDSM is that the game has more than a few endings, all of which are triggered via certain criteria way before the final level. There's also a secret bonus boss fight, but some will balk at how this fight is much more difficult than the preceding ones, and there are no hints about what to do in certain situations. These are nice touches, but the lack of a level selection screen or a New Game+ mode will disappoint those who don't want to spend another 3-5 hours to get a different ending.

Like the rest of the game, the presentation is fine. Since BDSM is set in hell, there are a ton of browns and grays for the environments, with a smattering of lava red and yellow. There's some physics at play, so you're able to kick most bottles and bricks. Things do look up in the back half of the game, when you visit brighter environments such as brothels and the big boss headquarters. The game does a good job of filling up the screen with enemies and particle effects without getting bogged down, and while the camera being so far away means that you can appreciate the carnage, it also means that any dismemberments or character details can get lost. The camera distance also means that unless you're facing the larger minions or bosses, you'll have little to no idea about what kind of enemy you're shooting.

Sound-wise, the game fares a little better with the soundtrack. The persistent rock and metal that hits every level might not make for a diverse soundtrack, but it's pleasant and fits well with the game. The sound effects are fine for guns, but the persistent and loud footfalls produced by Lou are annoying since no other character does the same thing. His voice is much better, as it sounds like a gruffer version of Winston from Overwatch, but every other voice is pretty bad. Whether it's bad delivery or a lack of emotion, no one sounds good in their roles.

BDSM: Big Drunk Satanic Massacre is a decent experience. The shooting is acceptable if you're fine with uninspired weaponry and a lack of combat strategy. The game length is good enough that the campaign doesn't become a chore, and the presence of multiple endings gives you a reason to replay the game. However, there are simply better, more engaging twin-stick shooters on the platform. This is a decent game to play for a day or two if you can get it on sale — and if you've already played through those other shooters.

Score: 6.0/10

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