DOOM 3 BFG Edition Review
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a trend that’s been sweeping the gaming industry. Lately, we’ve gotten a lot of re-releases and HD re-mastering of classic titles like Beyond Good & Evil, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, God of War, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 4, and a few others. There are more on the way, too, but the most recent re-release is id Software’s DOOM 3. Released in 2004, this game set a new standard for action horror games, and depending on whom you ask, might’ve actually lived up to the years of hype that surrounded it before its release. So has it aged well? Let’s find out.
Before we jump into the review, it’s been awhile, so let’s recap what this game is all about. DOOM 3 is set in the year 2145, where the Union Aerospace Corporation, or UAC, has become the largest corporate entity in existence. I like to think of it as the Umbrella Corporation, if Umbrella had even more money and did most of their evil in outer space. A research facility on Mars, one that’s owned and operated by the UAC (naturally), has been plagued by some serious issues. Scientists have gone missing, and the ones that remain are reporting of unexplained hallucinations or hearing strange noises. That’s where you, the silent soldier with a mean crew cut, come in to investigate.
The buildup is deliciously eerie. You get a tour of the station as you make your way to the facility that’s been having the issues, and along the way you’ll come across various text and audio logs that narrate the history and purpose of the facility, as well as personal journals and emails of those who inhabit it. If you’re the type of gamer who prefers to wring every last drop of story and content out of the games you play, you’re going to want to look for these. Even if you aren’t terribly interested, a majority of the audio logs are fascinating, and thankfully, they can be played while you go about your duties. Unfortunately, on several occasions I would enter a room, initiating a cinematic or communication transmission, and that would overlap the audio log I was listening to, but that’s a minor gripe.
When it comes to HD re-releases, the current offering is a mixed bag. Some have been great – the Shadow of the Colossus and God of War collections are beautiful adaptations that are definitely worth your time. Then there are a few that aren’t, like Resident Evil Code Veronica HD and, for the Xbox 360 owners, the intensely buggy Silent Hill HD Collection. This collection is easily one of the better ones, especially if you’re a DOOM fan, as it brings with it all three DOOM games, the DOOM 3 Resurrection of Evil expansion, and several never before seen Lost Mission scenarios.
The Lost Mission quests include seven all-new single-player levels – think of them as deleted scenes, as opposed to an expansion – and an original storyline, so even if you’ve played the game, there’s something for everyone here. The Lost Mission quests aren’t anything to write home about, since they’re essentially deleted scenes, and more often than not those tend to be less interesting than what id Software decided to keep in the main game. Still, they’re interesting enough to warrant checking out after you’ve relived the horrors of the primary story.
One of my biggest complaints about the original DOOM 3 was the abundance of monster closets. For the unfamiliar, a monster closet is a term used to describe a poorly hidden spawning room for an enemy or group of enemies. If you’ve ever played a game and seen enemies pouring out through a door, then looked at the door only to see an empty room behind it – that’s what I’m talking about. Sadly, DOOM 3 has a lot of those, and this problem hasn’t been remedied in the BFG Edition. It’s unfortunate, because they often ruin your suspension of disbelief. I’ll be on the edge of my seat, wondering from which darkened corner the next gruesome creature will crawl out of when I stumble across the spawn area and I remember I’m playing a game.
Id has fixed a few of the other issues many fans had with the original game, including the infamous pistol-exclusive flashlight. This time around you’ll enter the Mars facility with an armor-mounted flashlight, so you’re free to use whatever weapon you’d like without sacrificing a much-needed light source. I have a love-hate relationship with this: on one hand, the flashlight is one of the few survival horror aspects in this game, but on the other hand, this game is seriously dark, so it makes many of the levels less frustrating.
I would’ve liked to see a dedicated melee button, because that’s something this game is sorely lacking, but it’s not surprising that it wasn’t added. Being unable to knock away the baddies does make some of the fights a little more intense.
Obviously, you won’t be mistaking this for a new release. It’s seen a definite visual upgrade since its release eight years ago, but it’s still decidedly old school in the graphics department. As far as HD re-releases go, this is one of the more visually impressive ones. Everything is cleaner, the visuals are crisper, and the improved lighting looks especially good. Like Dead Space, this is the type of game that can succeed or fail depending on the visual and sound design. Seeing things out of your periphery, catching glimpses of moving shadows, etc., are crucial to the success of this particular type of horror game.
DOOM 3 BFG Edition is basically an appetizer for the main course that is DOOM 4. Still, it’s a fantastic bundle for any horror enthusiast or DOOM fan, or even anyone looking to relive one of the better games of the last generation. It’s flawed, sure, but there’s almost a bit of charm in that
Reviewed By: Adam Dodd
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of DOOM 3 BFG Edition Review provided by Bethesda Softworks.