October 25, 2012
Time is a funny thing. It can make things seem better than they actually were. In certain cases, some games stand the test of time, while others – like Doom 3 – don't hold up quite so well. Doom 3: BFG Edition celebrates the Doom series' impending 20th anniversary with a HD revamp of Doom 3, bundling Doom I & II on the disc, alongside Doom 3's additional mission add-ons. That's undoubtedly a lot of spiky demon shootery for your money, but Doom 3 suffers from the kind of repetitive rinse and repeat gameplay that might have been acceptable back in 2004, but doesn't quite cut it against today's stable of big budget shooters.
In terms of tactics, Hell's minions only really have two, and that's to either jump out at you or teleport into a room. They then relentlessly pursue you in a bid to kill your hapless Marine dead. Whether it's an Imp, Wraith, Cacodemon, Maggot, Lost Soul or a Revenant, there attacks generally involve chasing you down and hurling fiery projectiles at you. You'll be hard pressed to find any intelligent enemies here.
And that's about the long and short of it really. Doom 3 is still the linear corridor shooter you remember, and while the remastered high-resolution visuals with redone rendering and lighting all looks perfectly dandy, there's still a few rough edges clearly visible on the character models. Pointy heads and being able to see the joins in close-up textures isn't great, although for the most part Doom 3: BFG Edition does look the part.
Despite its linear, corridor shooter nature too, Doom 3 is still able to ratchet up the tension at certain points, although some of that tension is lost with the addition of the armour-mounted flashlight, which means no more swapping between your gun and the torch during close encounters. From a gameplay perspective, it makes far more sense, but the game might have benefitted from having both the armour-mounted light and the traditional flashlight as an interchangeable option. As it is, you're stuck with your armour's light, making you feel far more brazen than you might otherwise have, strolling into a battle with several flame spewing demons without nary a seconds thought.
The light has a finite battery life that constantly recharges, so you can't leave it on constantly. Yet it still doesn't manage to convey the same kind of tension that wielding a separate flashlight conjured. Managing you flashlight's battery life isn't difficult, as it charges in about a second or two, while managing ammunition is an equally non-urgent concern, especially on the default Marine difficulty, as you'll be armed to the teeth with all manner of weaponry in no time. Cycling through your weapons with the left and right bumpers however, feels laborious and clunky, which probably means you'll neglect to use most of them.
Invariably, Doom 3 will have you doing a lot of strafing – remember the Imp always throws fireballs with his right hand – and keeping your distance from the legions of Hell while you do so. It simply doesn't seem to get the heart racing like it used to, and feels slightly hackneyed and stale. That old ghost train might have been terrifying the first time around, but after a second, third or fourth ride, the scares have become predictable. That's not to say that Doom 3 is a bad game. Far from it in fact. It just hasn't aged particularly well.
This is even more apparent in multiplayer, where you'll find yourself speedily running in circles fragging the opposition in online or local deathmatches, pointing and clicking at rival Marines until they fall over. It's not particularly deep or involving, and after a few rounds you'll be crying out for something with a little more to it. Co-op has been removed for Doom 3 too, which is a shame. Still, you can always co-op your way through old-skool Doom and Doom II if you like.
Sadly, if you want to acquire all of the game's achievements, you'll have to play multiplayer. There's only a handful devoted to multiplayer, but they're fairly tough and ultimately hinge on beating the odds. Complete a multiplayer match without dying? You're better off hiding in a dark corner to grab that one. Kill two players with one rocket in a room? Get two willing buddies to help you with that one, we reckon. Otherwise, you'll struggle to 100% what is a rather unappealing achievement list.
Doom 3: BFG Edition is a package that represents fantastic value with Doom, Doom II and Doom 3 all in one box, alongside the Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil and Lost Mission expansions. The latter is a disappointing slice of recycled assets in which you play as a member of Bravo team 6 hours after the demonic invasion. Upon playing the Lost Mission expansion, you'll understand why it was lost up until this point. Nonetheless, Doom 3: BFG Edition makes a compelling argument for a return visit to Hell, even if the years haven't been particularly kind to the series. If you've yet to experience the diabolical charms of Doom 3, then as an entry point, the BFG Edition isn't a bad place to start. Just don't go expecting anything too deep or varied. Expect lots of shrieking demons and mild jump scares. Boo!
Lots of monstrous roaring amid the creaks and groans of the UAC Mars base. The audio is still superb, but there are some instances where certain elements sound a bit flat.
A pretty decent HD paint job that doesn't quite manage to round off the pointy bits or smooth over the rough edges. It's obviously the best Doom 3 has ever looked, but you can still tell that it's an eight-year old game.
Hardened Doom 3 heads will bemoan the armour-mounted flashlight, and to be fair, it does dilute much of the tension. Where you once feared to tread, you can now waltz in with your BFG primed and ready. It's a solid, yet linear and somewhat repetitive FPS with old-skool appeal. It just doesn't hold up well against today's shooters.
Doom and Doom II are the XBLA versions bundled on the disc, while Doom 3 and its expansions are all crammed into a generous package. Lost Missions is disappointing however, so it's really only Doom 3 and RoE that's worthwhile. Co-op has gone from Doom 3 too. Overall, it's something of a mixed bag.
A bit of a dull list with some pretty run-of-the-mill requirements. The multiplayer achievements are unwelcome, although a list for Doom 3 and its expansions is a nice touch. You only get 600 Gamerscore attached to these bits though. The other 400 is provided by the XBLA versions of Doom and Doom II stuffed onto the disc.
Doom 3: BFG Edition is still an enjoyable romp through armies of hellspawn, and if you've yet to play the Doom series, there's a lot to like here. Just be prepared for plenty of repetitive strafing and hours of fragging ugly demon ass. This is quite clearly the devil's work.