Doom 3: BFG Edition Review

The original Doom 3 launched to both commercial and critical success, selling more than 3.5 million copies by 2007. Now, nearly ten years after the original release, Doom 3 is back in HD, and while the PC version has aged well, Doom 3: BFG Edition is the best way to experience the franchise on a modern console. 

John Carmack has been infamously quoted, stating that story is not a necessary part of video games: "It's expected to be there, but it's not that important." Doom 3's narrative consists of a portal to Hell on Mars being opened and the player, a nameless marine, must prevent the demons from reaching Earth. While that sounds like a somewhat simplified version of the events, there's really not much more to the shallow writing.

 

If the jump scares don't get to you, the enemy designs undoubtedly will.

 

Even the gameplay in Doom 3 is not much different than its two predecessors. While it includes the ability to adjust the vertical perspective, players still move from room to room, clearing out enemies that wait in the shadows. To help players defeat the legions of Hell demons, the marine employs a myriad of entertaining weapons, ranging from your trusty shotgun to the fan favorite Big F**king Gun, or BFG for short. The popular "duct tape" mod has been added to the game, too, allowing the player to equip any firearm and the flashlight simultaneously. While this may turn off some hardcore fans of Doom 3, it's interesting to see id Software finally implement the change.

The third installment in the Doom franchise really hits its stride in environment design. Dark corridors and malfunctioning lights, tension builders the id Tech 4 engine was praised for, set up a terrific atmosphere. Although the game often receives criticism for it’s abundance of so-called “monster closets” (closed-off areas that release enemies to frighten the player when triggered), these do provide a functional, albeit cheap feeling of dread that there may be something lurking behind you. These jump scares may have worked in their time, but their effect is fleeting, and today’s titles have found better, more sophisticated ways of instilling fear in gamers.

 


Source may have great physics, but id Tech's lighting is where the horror lies.

 

Doom 3 is a more than competent shooter, though it definitely shows its age. Even with the HD overhaul, many of the textures still look blurry; character models appear oddly shaped and exhibit stiff, previous generation movements; and the controls, while functional, could have used an update. One of the biggest problem haunting Doom 3: BFG Edition is the checkpoint save system. The new system's a much nicer alternative to the original Doom 3, which only provided checkpoints at the beginning of a level, but the process becomes very invasive, completely halting gameplay and breaking the pace.

Doom 3 multiplayer has also returned, and while matchmaking is functional, there are far too many problems present. Matches randomly spawn players around the map, often times placing you in the enemy's line of fire. Although this madness dates back to older Quake and Doom titles, weapons can still highly unbalanced. Don't even bother attempting to go toe-to-toe with someone wielding a chaingun when all you have is a pistol. You'll loose very time. 

 

It's good to see both Doom and Doom II included in the BFG Edition.

 

Doom 3: BFG Edition also includes Doom, Doom II, and two expansions for Doom 3. Resurrection of Evil sends a group of marines to investigate a strange signal emanating from a mysterious artifact. Upon finding the artifact, known as the Hellstone, the armies of Hell are once again awakened, leaving the player to put them down. The Lost Mission, an all new expansion, is a pack of seven levels that were supposedly cut from the original release of Doom 3. Placed in the boots of a surviving member of Bravo Team, who get slaughtered during the events on Mars, you must aid in the extraction of the scientists stuck on the red planet, and, in the process, close a portal powerful enough to transport the companies of Hell to Earth. As it clocks in at only around an hour of playtime, The Lost Mission makes the BFG Edition a hard sell on it own.

Still, if you're searching for the best collection of the Doom franchise to date, look no further. If you are a Doom fan rocking a gaming PC, you already have all these titles with enough mods to replicate the HD re-release of Doom 3, but this is a great chance to jump in if you're a console gamer. There are many problems present in the BFG Edition, though. Multiplayer barely passes as a functional bore with poor balancing, the graphics are far from the upper echelon of HD collections, and checkpoints are far too invasive. If you're curious about the series, take a look, but there is much for diehard fans to nitpick.

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: id Software
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Number of Players: 1 (Campaign), 2-8 (Multiplayer)
Platforms: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PlayStation 3, PC

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