In regards to old games, “Remastered” is a term that shouldn’t be uttered foolishly. I know, I know, its an awesome word but the very sound of it rolling off the tongue evokes… expectations. Expectations which are sometimes hard to meet, and, in the case of Doom 3 BFG Edition, aren’t met at all.
The positives first; coming away from this £19.99 PC purchase will have you feeling quite pleased with yourself. Hard-core Doom fans need not consult mere internet reviews to conclude that this is quite a good deal. What you’ll find in this package is a “remastered” version of Doom 3 and its expansion pack , Resurrection of Evil, which also includes a few bonus levels titled The Lost Missions. And just in case you weren’t sick of playing the original Doom and its sequel, Doom 2, on every single computer-based device released in the past 20 odd years… You got ‘em with the BFG Edition.
A respectable enough package for 20 smackers, but be warned, developers id Software may have smoothed an edge or two in Doom 3, and tacked on a bit of 3D effects to boot, but I wouldn’t call it “remastered” any day of the week. It’s still the same old Doom 3 that most everyone has played, but just in case you’re late to the party, let me fill you in…
Its 2004, and id Software have just released what is sure to be their masterpiece. Equipped with the most advanced visual effects of any videogame ever made, Doom 3 made an instant impact on the scene. id Tech 4 brought a wave of enhancements that had never been seen before, and the result was a terrifying and atmospheric “Masterpiece of the art form” – as PC Gamer put it. However, despite the graphical oomph, Doom 3 just came and went. Sure, it sold a ton of copies and was met with critical acclaim, but it just didn’t break any boundaries. It looked great, but couldn’t punch above the basic conventions of the genre.
8 years later and this re-release does well to remind me of the fun I had when it was first made available. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t warrant a purchase for those who still have the PC original. There are a few minor enhancements like higher resolutions and proper widescreen support, but definitely nothing to write home about. To be honest though, for an 8 year old game, it still doesn’t look too bad, but there are other facets of gameplay that have aged terribly. Even in ’04 Doom 3 was viewed as an old school run-and-gun shooter, so if it was “old school” back then, the games mechanics are feckin’ ancient by today’s standards. You’ll spend 99% of your time running through corridors and rooms filled with all kinds of nasties spawned from the depths of hell. It’s not so bad for the first hour or so, but the challenge eventually dissipates with copious amounts of armour shards and health packs at every turn.
One key addition to the BFG release is the armour mounted flashlight. If you’ve ever played Doom 3 before, you’ll remember not being able to use your torch and fire your weapon at the same time, which was rather stressful to say the least. Doing away with it was essential to appeal to modern gamers, who just wouldn’t stand such idiocy in design nowadays.
Regardless, the atmosphere also eventually dwindles away to nothing as you soon realise you’re in for nothing more than a few cheap jump scares more accustomed to a carnival ghost train. Enemies like zombies and fire throwing imps will appear from nowhere, literally, and punch you in the face. Effective the first few times but ultimately tiresome. Also, with thousands of rounds of ammunition for your minigun, shotgun, rocket launcher and a full tank of gas in your chainsaw, they’re all just lambs to the slaughter. Grotesque lambs, but… you get the idea.
Now that the graphics are dated, and the gameplay experience limited, what somewhat holds Doom 3 together for a 2012 audience is the games design. The enemies are plentiful and beautifully crafted machines of destruction, from morbidly obese zombies to skeletal freaks with shoulder mounted rocket launchers, indeed, all the enemies in Doom 3 will soon find a special place in your heart… after they’ve decorated your chainsaw. Also, the run-and-gun mechanics (whilst a relic in this age) are surprisingly solid and stand as a testament to the original developers commitment to the project. Whichever way you cut it, shooting zombies is still fun when sprinting down a corridor and jumping at the same time, refreshingly so, in fact. Sometimes, I just don’t give a crap about conserving ammo or looking for loot, I just want to spill some guts, dude.
If you get tired of shooting monsters in the campaign, you could also have a bash at shooting your mates in the online multiplayer. It’s kind of fun, but likely much too limited to pull you away from whatever online FPS you usually enjoy these days.
If you’re a massive Doom freak, you’ve probably already bought this and clocked up a few hours on Steam. If not, be wary that this package hasn’t exactly aged like a fine wine, and it has a low asking price for a damned good reason. However, if you’ve never played Doom 3 before and would like to experience it before everyone starts buying it again in the run-up to Doom 4, you can’t go too wrong at this price.
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