Cart: Doom 3 BFG Edition Cab: Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC Coin: ID Software
Unlike Karl Urban, star of the 2005 Doom movie, the Doom universe is not as popular as it once was.
Yet as we approach the original game’s 20th anniversary, the release of the Doom 3 BFG edition is a most welcome addition to the current generation of consoles. After all: there’s no school like the old-school.
Doom BFG ships with the Resurrection of Evil and Lost Mission expansions, as well as Ultimate DOOM 1 and 2. But even with a lower retail price, does this justify the purchase of Doom 3 BFG?
First things, first: you play as a space marine recently arrived on Mars, just in time for all hell to break loose – quite literally. The plot is hardly original yet the NPC dialogue and audio and video logs help to keep you very involved with the story. And while a lot of the shocks are of the simple ‘monster appears from behind’ variety, it still causes the old ticker to jump a fair bit.
There have been a couple of fundamental changes to make the game more accessible but they are problematic. The first is the automatic save system. Every time the game saves your progress, everything freezes for at least 5 seconds before carrying on. For a game that is trying to immerse you in a tense and terrifying situation, this is down right irritating. While it’s not a game-breaker, it’s just another reminder of the game’s rather antiquated engine. Given modern grunt, however, you’d have thought that this would have been ironed-out.
The other more drastic change is the flash-light and gun combination. In the original game, you were given the choice of holding only one or the other. This resulted in a pretty intense atmosphere, where walking into a shadowy room was genuinely nerve-wracking. Now, with the flash-light taped to your gun, the whole ‘feel’ of Doom 3 has changed. Some might find this helpful when playing the game, but including the option to play it as it was, would have been a better idea, methinks.
If you are not a hardcore Doom fan but still have an interest in horror FPS, Doom 3 BFG is for you. It has a suitably creepy atmosphere that still manages to provide a few genuine shocks to this very day. But – and this is a ginormous but – today’s games have evolved to such a degree that its hard to get the same level of enjoyment from Doom 3 that you would have had back in 2004.
Ultimately, as much as I love it, recommending Doom 3 BFG is difficult. The people most likely to want this game will be die-hard Doom fans who’ve already played it; the people less likely to want it perhaps aren’t going to be tempted by a game that, in comparison to more modern efforts, feels like an 80s B-movie.
Either way: Doom 3 is a timely reminder of our longing for Doom 4 and of the need for it to show a real sense of evolution over its ageing predecessor.