There’s a refreshing sense of urgency about DOOM 3 that harkens back to an era when first person shooters were so much more than complicated load-outs, regenerating health and repetitive military inspired experiences. Some eight years on from its original release, id Software and Bethesda have deemed it appropriate to re-release DOOM 3, now with a “BFG Edition” sub-moniker and bundled with a handful of extras that reiterates just how brutally brilliant the DOOM 3 experience was back in 2004. Still relevant and still terrifying, DOOM 3 BFG Edition is such that it deserves your attention, now more than ever before.
Back in 2004, DOOM 3 was a unanimous hit. Its triumph was layered by its claustrophobic and consternated setting, it’s ruthlessly demanding gameplay, its powerful visuals and intimidating menacing antagonists. In 2012, DOOM 3’s layers still hold up pretty well. Sure, the FPS paradigm has changed significantly this generation, but DOOM 3, on this BFG Edition evidence, was quite ahead of its time when it first dropped 8 years ago. It’s not perfect, but DOOM 3 is an essential FPS, and if you’ve never experienced it before, this revised BFG Edition makes for a more than suitable entry point.
It’s all about the action with DOOM 3 and whatever story is in there is undermined by how trigger happy things get early on. It’s frantic stuff. This is a meaty first person shooter, an unapologetic revolving carousel of relentlessly gruesome monsters that will seemingly spawn and re-spawn everywhere and anywhere. If you think there’s something potentially waiting in the shadows to leap out at you and chew on your face, there probably is. DOOM 3 requires you to be resilient and patient in your aggression towards the seemingly omnipresent demon spawns abound. It’s an incredibly exhausting experience, and while it’s rewarding, the risk therein is that the continuous challenge of eradicating the endless swarms of monsters with very little variation, means that you might just get bored of playing. The balance here is questionable. Some will embrace the constant advance of demonic minions, others will tune out. If you want to see DOOM 3 right through to the end, then good luck. You’re going to be shattered when those ending credits roll – such is the intensity of the experience.
DOOM 3’s scares can be aggregated by any number of quick oppressive “jump” scares. It’s a bit overkill, but there’s genuine terror in here, a terror consistent with DOOM’s legacy. Visually, everything benefits from an impressive HD overhaul, even if certain animations and character models still look dated and are not nearly as lush as they once were. But the terror and shock of the experience is retained in the oppressive level design and macabre and insular confines. The lighting design remains the game’s finest point of technical output. Sure, everything looks a little aesthetically diluted by today’s standards, but the intense ambience of shock and grit, coupled with the repulsive audio beaming through your speakers, won’t make you feel like you’re playing a game that’s past its sell by date.
The shooting is rock solid and rewarding, not least because you have to take on the enemy the old fashioned way. DOOM’s demons don’t drop ammo, health doesn’t regenerate during a quite lull in the chaos of killing and you’ll actually need to ration everything to a point. It’s run and gun stuff and if you decide to stand behind a wall and think about how to strategically finish off the demon on the other side, then you’re probably already dead.
The controls on consoles hold up pretty well and have been optimised with twin stick play in mind. Everything is pretty familiar with nothing really distinguishing it from most contemporary shooters. Mind you, it would have been great if you didn’t have to toggle through each and every one of your acquired arsenal to say, find your shotgun. That’s just plain annoying, particularly in the middle of an intense close quarters fight. This will cost you a life or two along the way. You also can’t alter or customise you’re controls to any significance.
On top of the weighty campaign, there’s the Resurrection of Evil expansion to get through, as well as the never released “Lost Mission” chapters. Both add-ons add a couple of extra hours of gameplay and are certainly worthy of a play through, even if they offer no more than just more of the same. There’s also a competitive online multiplayer mode in there. It’s pretty bare bones stuff and is the definition of basic, but there’s certainly more than a couple of hours of fun to be had with what’s there.
And even after all of that, the BFG Edition comes packed with both DOOM and DOOM II, complete with multiplayer options and achievements/trophies. If you’re playing on PS3, then this is the very first time you’ll be able to get to grips with both classics on the system.
DOOM 3 BFG Edition is the best excuse yet to get to grips with what remains the only 3D instalment in the shooter franchise and a suitable reminder for everyone just as to why the DOOM series is as important to the greater FPS genre as any other big name FPS series out there now. DOOM 3 has as much, if not more going for it than most shooters released nowadays. Now, where’s DOOM 4?
TGL SCORE: 8/10
Format: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: id Software
Release Date: Out Now