Doom 3 BFG Edition Review
Go to Hell. Again.
If you happen to be of a certain age, the Doom series probably holds a special place in your heart. Whether it was your introduction to the first person shooter as a concept, or just the first game where you found a chainsaw, Doom was one of the founding fathers of the shooter genre. Doom 3 proved that games could use advanced graphics technology to frighten you, and not simply to look pretty, and now that it’s getting an HD makeover, I’m interested to see just how well this classic holds up.
The Doom 3 BFG Edition includes the XBLA/PSN versions of Doom and Doom 2, as well as the new HD version of Doom 3. Since the first two Doom titles have been available for download for quite some time, so I’m not going to get too deep into the details of either. They do appear in their full, standalone, versions so they will retain their original list of achievements/trophies if that was something you were worried about.
The dark, hard shadows of Doom 3 are back in full force in the BFG Edition and they will take some getting used to now that you’re accustomed to the current generation’s advancements in lighting technology. The way Doom 3 handles light and shadow would absolutely be considered primitive if it were a new game, but the oppressive darkness is what really made this game scary when it was first released back in 2004.
Though we’re many years past the point when Doom 3 was the pinnacle of PC game visual quality, I’m glad that it retains the feeling that each light source is just barely holding back the darkness, and what could be lurking within. What we do get is a game that’s visuals hold up quite nicely, giving it a look that is simply dated instead of being completely primitive.
The same can’t be said for the audio, however. My second favorite element from the original Doom 3 was the way it used sound to fill out the scene. I loved turning off the lights, putting my headphones on and crying like a small child as demons came screaming out of the darkness at me but somehow iD Software have managed to drastically reduce the quality of every sound in the game.
The guns all sound like muffled, toy versions of the originals and anytime anyone talks to you they sound like they’re being broadcast over a low-bandwidth internet audio stream. The enemy sounds, on the other hand, are overpowering almost to the point of being distorted and the music tries to drown out both. The game no longer seems to have a way of balancing audio either so if the music decides it’s going to kick in while someone is talking to you, you won’t have much luck in making out what they were saying. To top it all off, you’ll find no help in the game’s menu as there is only one volume meter that controls every sound in the game. No separate sliders for effects, music, voice, etc.
Doom 3 does still manage to be a fun and darkly tense first person shooter, but half of the ambiance is killed by the ridiculous audio. If you decide to check out the Lost Mission, the brand new single player content that has been added to the Doom 3 BFG Edition, you won’t have to be worried about any of the story being drowned out by the other sounds, because there is barely any story to speak of. The Lost Mission seems to want to trade any atmosphere the game had, for a chance to throw as many enemies at you as it possibly can. If you simply want to blast demons with a shotgun, you’ll have a decent time with the Lost Mission, but if you were a fan of the original Doom 3 you’ll probably be disappointed with the new content.
Try to stay with me, things are about to get confusing as there are a bunch of different options for multiplayer, depending upon the platform you choose to play on. As far as competitive Deathmatch style gameplay goes, you’ll be able to play online or off with 2-4 players in Doom and Doom 2. But only on consoles, the PC versions will have no multiplayer. Multiplayer came to Doom 3 with the Resurrection of Evil expansion, which is available for 2-8 players on the PC, but only 2-4 players on consoles.
Confused yet? I know I am. The saga continues with the co-op offering; as with the original XBLA and PSN releases of Doom and Doom 2, you’ll be able to play 2-4 player online or local co-op. On the PC, however, there will be no co-op for Doom and Doom 2. In even more disappointing news, the 2-player co-op that came to Doom 3 when it was released on the original Xbox is gone from all versions of the BFG Edition. Any way you look at it, you’re always going to be losing something from the original versions, so why would you really want to purchase this one?
If you’re going to re-release a game from your back catalog you’re supposed to deliver a better package than the original. If you aren’t going to do that, you should at least make sure the new version is of the same, or ideally higher, quality than the original. iD Software did neither of these things with the Doom 3 BFG Edition release and what you’re left with is a package that would be much better if you simply purchased the originals individually. Doom 3 is still a great game, but I really recommend finding a copy of the original PC version and sticking with the copies of Doom and Doom 2 you may already have, or can easily purchase, on your Xbox 360 or PS3.
Available On: Xbox 360 / PS3/ PC