2004: Doom 3 is released, to sterling reviews, and was heralded as another amazing shooter for the then new generation, though was rather too similar to the first Doom. Graphics tended to break most high end computers and it was ported over to the original Xbox in 2005.
2012: We now have more FPS’ than anyone actually needs, with COD and Battlefield leading the charge. Doom 3: BFG edition is released to little or no fanfare, with a very minimal demand by its previous fans. 8 years have not been kind to old Doom 3, and anyone looking for a particular nostagia trip is likely to be very disappointed.
So the big question is, what exactly is the BFG edition offering over its predecessor? iD have thrown in both the first and second Doom’s, which are essentially the ultimate edition of each game, the standard Doom 3 campaign and its add on, Resurrection of Evil, and The Lost Mission, which basically plays like the original Doom but with much better graphics. You are not short of quantity, and for shy of £20 you get a lot of bang for your buck, but the whole experience feels like a bit of a patience test at times. Doom 3 has actually aged the worst out of what is on offer, as it has been bested by many FPS since then; Doom and Doom 2 were and are timeless, and started off the trajectory of FPS as we know it, and thus the age problem that Doom 3 faces is barely a problem in comparison.
Nameless Marine arrives at Mars, something goes bad, doesn’t affect Marine, Marine kills everything and goes home. Back story is littered throughout the complex but its unlikely that you will pay much heed to it as the voice recordings come off as almost B movie esque. The detail on enemies and the surroundings is still top notch, unsurprising considering it was mind blowing 8 years ago. Facial models on the human characters tend to fall flat on their face however, perhaps the biggest area that reminds you that this was released on the original Xbox first. Lighting effects are still pretty good, but become borderline rubbish when any light source other than your trusty torch barely does its job properly. Mars is no longer dripping with the same atmosphere as it was once, with scares being reduced to walking from room to room, waiting for enemies, rinsing and repeating. Weaponry also seems archaic ,with the pistol coming close to being one of the worst guns ever to grace an FPS, and even the trusty shotgun sounds like its firing spuds rather than shells. You have now been given the ability to use a torch and a gun at the same time, something which the original stopped you from doing to add tension, but instead caused you to upper the brightness on your PC so you could actually see what the hell you were doing, and that’s great. There is very little difference between then and now, no added HD textures, which makes me wonder how much time and money was actually put into this remaster at all, and the only real inclusion is the ability to play it in 3D, a gimmick that still hasn’t taken off yet.
Oddly, switching between any of the games, say you were had had your fill of old school Doom and wanted to play Doom 3, causes you to head straight back to the Dashboard, essentially treating each as an Xbox Live Arcade game, which is far more hassle than it ever needed to be.
Doom 3: BFG edition is perhaps one of the most difficult games that this reviewer has had to review for a long time. The package on offer is very generous for the price that it is, but the whole endeavour seems rather pointless; what was pioneering and top notch in 2004 is never going to be the same in 2012. Doom 3’s attempt at horror with plenty of gore has been bettered by so many games since its release, especially the Dead Space series, that a lot of the scares tend to feel cheap. Guns feel useless, damage detection against enemies is pretty poor, and the actual plot is non existent. Plot was never important back in the day, and good shooters can still chug along quite nicely without one, but Doom 3 seems all the more archaic without it.
This reskin was never going to be on the top ten list of games to buy for this year, or this coming Christmas. The game will more than likely stay on your shelf for a long period of time until the nostalgia will hit and you will play the first 2 Dooms, ignoring the 3rd completely. Doom was a masterpiece and so was Doom 2. Doom 3 had amazing graphics but switched all out action for an attempt at psychological horror, neither of which stand up at all well in today’s market. Get the game for the short trip down memory lane, before that nice place Doom 3 occupies in your mind is quickly obliterated; this is not a case of wine that tastes better with age.