When Doom 3 first arrived in 2004 it was met with a mixed reaction from fans. Some loved that the series had taken a bold, new direction while others were less than impressed with the new, more serious and realistic tone. Eight years later and Id software have decided now is the perfect time to revamp and re-release this much-debated sequel along with a few extras to boot.
So was this triple-A title ahead of its time and does it hold up or is Doom 3 now showing its age? Unfortunately for Id, Doom 3 may now be lacking the very things that made it stand out.
Unlike its predecessors, Doom 3 took things in a much more serious direction. Sure some of the enemies of the much-loved franchise are back however on the whole it grounds itself in a much more believable reality allowing for a more coherent story.
Set in the year 2145AD, Doom 3 opens with its nameless protagonist arriving on a Mars Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) facility. After a few errands things quickly turn bad for the player as the armies of hell descend on the facility through mysterious portals and you are left with no option but to fight your way through and put a stop to this invasion.
In terms of plot the Doom series has never really taken itself too seriously so it is commendable that the third entry in the franchise tried to expand this element. Despite this however, Doom 3’s story is nothing particularly original or awe inspiring in the realms of Science fiction and won’t leave you remembering it for years to come.
What Doom 3 did do amazingly well back in 2004 was look good. If you were willing to invest in a decent rig, this title broke new ground in visuals especially when it came to lighting. The BFG edition attempts to bring this to a new era by releasing a HD version of this visual flagship title, however the increased clarity unfortunately only serves to highlight Doom 3’s flaws.
While the lighting still looks better than some modern titles, some of the textures have not aged well. This is also true of the character models and facial animations, which look even worse when running on the current gen tech. The characters are wooden and some enemy animations are just not fluid. When it comes down to it, this title looks about as good as the Xbox 360 version of Quake 4 did back at launch and unfortunately visuals have moved on significantly.
There is also a strange lack of satisfaction laced throughout much of the games content. There is no feeling of impact when shooting enemies and the scripted set pieces are incredibly stale by today’s standards. Obviously Doom 3 is eight years old now so some dated content was inevitable but I just wonder if more could have been done to update this title. Over recent years we have seen many impressive remakes and as this is more of a re-release, you can’t help but wonder if Id just rushed this out a little to make back some money after the commercial failures of recent titles such as Rage.
Another major issue with this title comes in the form of the game’s controls. As well as feeling aged in comparison to contemporary shooters, some of the decisions made during porting are just crazy. For example, rather than having the weapons assigned to the D-pad, you are forced to scroll through them using the bumpers until you find the one you want. As some parts of the game are incredibly challenging and ammo is often sparse, changing weapon is something that you will find you will have to do often, meaning this only serves to frustrate.
The other updates boasted by this edition are 3D support, new surround sound formatting, Achievements / Trophies and a new checkpoint system. Although these are welcome additions, to boast them as ‘new features’ is a little cheap in my opinion. Most games released nowadays come with some, if not all, of these features as standard and I can’t help but feel that Id Software are just trying to make it sound like more content is packed in than it actually is.
In terms of value for money this package is decent. It tends to retail at around £29.99 and for that you get Doom 3, the Resurrection of Evil expansion and the brief new chapter titled The Lost mission, as well as full versions of Doom and Doom 2. There are definitely some hours to be put in here but fans will be treading familiar ground for the most part as the new content is so minimal. With regards to newcomers, the BFG edition will struggle to convert you as shooters have moved on so much and with a market this competitive Doom 3 is a relic of a bygone age.
Doom 3 is not a terrible port but it has some fundamental issues. The controls are not well realised, the story is forgettable and the new features are not awe-inspiring. When it was first released it was forgiven some of its shortcomings because of the ground it broke visually, however, much of that content has been cheapened by clearer visuals or has simply aged too much. This coupled with ‘extra content’ that leaves you feeling a little disappointed makes for an overall weak package. With Halo 4 and Black Ops 2 just released, there are much better investment opportunities in the world of the FPS for your disposable income, making this re-release Doomed to the bargain bin.
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