PS3 Reviews: DOOM 3 BFG Edition Review

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DOOM 3 BFG Edition Review

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Graphics:

 

5.9

Gameplay:

 

6.8

Sound:

 

6.2

Control:

 

6.6

Replay Value:

 

6.4

Overall Rating:       6.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Bethesda Softworks

Developer:

id Software

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

FPS

Release Date:

October 16, 2012

DOOM 3 was one of my favorite games when I first played it almost eight years ago. It was freaky, challenging, filled with thrills and chills, and was essentially a combination of first-person shooter and survival/horror themes and mechanics. It really worked beautifully and I remember being quite gratified with the whole experience. That’s why I was excited to dive back into that dark, foreboding world when DOOM 3 BFG Edition arrived. Sadly, while some older games age like a fine wine, others age like…milk.

The graphics are by far the biggest problem. I’m one of the first to give a pass to subpar visuals provided the gameplay rules the school, but when the full experience is heavily reliant upon the visual presentation for the overall fun factor, it can’t be glossed over. Unfortunately, DOOM 3 looks almost archaic; the textures are terrible, the narrow, confining corridors seem more repetitive, and there are really ugly hard-edged lines and malformed features everywhere. The enemy design remains great but this is a perfect example of just how far the genre has come.

The sound holds up a little better, but that’s only because the majority of what you hear is silence tinged with creepy ambient effects. The latter still do a good job of increasing the palpable tension, and those horrid foes emit appropriately terrible sounds when they attack. The soundtrack is okay; I remember it being a little better but then again, standards were lower back then. The music and effects are probably a high point for the production but because even these seem dated, they only turn our attention to how much time has passed since DOOM 3 originally released.

They just didn’t take any time or effort to update and upgrade, which definitely needed to happen. When you look at the gameplay, one finds a familiar concept and solid, reliable control. But at the same time, when faced with an obviously archaic technical presentation, which has a negative impact on every aspect of the game, you’re disappointed with every step. You’re saying to yourself— “Yeah, I remember this…it was pretty cool and it kinda still is. But man, time goes fast.” You’re trying to be nostalgically entertained, but it just isn’t working.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, shooters have made tremendous strides over the past generation and a half. I’m speaking mostly in a technical sense, although even the storylines and general artistry has gotten much better. For a game like DOOM, we require some super stellar graphics, an environment that is believable and effective, so we ultimately feel very alone and very vulnerable. The feeling of being hunted is paramount in such a game, which is part of the reason I say DOOM III utilizes distinct elements of the survival/horror category.

But when you can’t deliver that environment, when it’s paling in direct comparison to the competition, you’re simply not as emotionally invested in the action. Furthermore, the realism of shooters has really gone through the roof; the kickback of the weapons, the movement of the character, the tremendous audio, etc. This is found wanting in the BFG Edition of what once was a fantastic game. The weapons don’t feel or sound powerful (with a few cool exceptions) or the lack of general authenticity makes this feel more like a cartoon and less like a tension-filled quest for survival.

Then you’ve got the old-fashioned save system; the time between auto-saves is too long and if you screw up a certain difficult encounter, you might lose a lot of progress unless you manually saved along the way. There isn’t much health lying around, either, but I don’t mind this because it should be a challenge to emerge victorious; there should be this awful sense of urgency and desperation that accompanies your adventure. That’s still here to some extant and with games getting easier these days, it’s nice to see this focus on some stiff difficulty. Gotta plan ahead and gotta execute.

Perhaps the best that can be said for this new edition is that despite the obvious shortcomings, it’s still quite atmospheric. There’s really nothing like it today; shooters are either military or sci-fi, and they don’t normally go all freaky on you. F.E.A.R. is the closest but in all honesty, if you want a blend of FPS and survival/horror, I’d have to recommend F.E.A.R. 3. At least that feels a bit more modern and there’s still a hefty challenge involved, too. It’s the only other shooter I can think of that provides the player with a truly frightening environment through which you creep, listening intently.

Plus, it’s nice to have the eight new levels (known as the Lost Mission) and the Resurrection of Evil expansion. And with the first two DOOM titles thrown in, how can you go wrong when revisiting the classics? After all, this is a well-known and respected name in the genre; DOOM is one of of the franchises that started it all. So we should definitely give it the proper respect. However, those new levels and extra content can’t change the fact that above all else, everything appears and feels dated. Rather than a frightened sensation, we feel a trifle bored…and a little empty.

The DOOM 3 BFG Edition still boasts some decent thrills here and there, it controls fine, and the atmosphere remains impressive. However, id Software didn’t do enough (if they did anything) to upgrade the presentation, so we’re left with glaringly old-fashioned technical elements that hinder the quest at every turn. You still have to appreciate the style just because you see it so rarely, but that isn’t quite enough. There are a ton of great games out there right now, and the new shooters clearly outstrip this game. Hence, it seems that nostalgia isn’t always all we need…

The Good: Freaky, creepy atmosphere. Good enemy design and effective ambient sound effects. Smooth, reliable control. Bonus content adds longevity.

The Bad: Outdated graphics lead to a lesser experience. Old-fashioned save system is a downer. Repetitive areas. Weapons don’t sound or feel powerful.

The Ugly: “Didn’t feel like touching up those chunky textures even a little, huh?”

10/23/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (16 posts)

xenris
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 @ 10:46:43 PM
Reply

Your review is well done. I figured this would be the score it got. I just don't know why they would release this what almost a decade after Doom 3 originally launched?

I loved it when I played it in highschool, it creeped me the heck out and at the time the graphics blew me away.

But I just dont get what ID thought they were doing launching this period....let alone this time of the year.

Oh well, maybe its to build hype for Doom 4, in which case I think it failed a bit.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 @ 11:09:59 PM
Reply

Hmm, I head heard it got an HD update. How do the first two Dooms look on PS3? Too pixelated or is there any AA?

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fatelementality
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 @ 11:42:28 PM

Looks pretty good. I'll be honest when I say I haven't really played either that much. Just did a level or 2 of each for ol' times sake. It's weird to not be able to look up and down as the gun just fires the bullets in those directions if an enemy is above or below you. All of the guns have homing capabilities, YAY!!!!!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 12:24:55 AM

I love those homing capabilities, it's total run and gun without thought. Those games are still fun to me.

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Amnesiac
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 @ 11:29:55 PM
Reply

I was considering buying this, since I missed out on a great deal of pc game experiences by not owning a computer.
\Now after reading this review I'm not so sure I want to play it anymore. I was under the impression that ID SOFTWARE would have updated the look of the whole game not just slap a -Now in HD! label to an otherwise 10 year old game.
I suppose when this came out it was a defining moment for a lot of gamers
I guess I missed my chance to really enjoy DOOM3..

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fatelementality
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 @ 11:46:33 PM
Reply

Was hoping you'd review this Ben. Don't think I would've been that harsh because it's a lil' dated. I still think the fear is there when you're playing it alone at night. I actually expected more of an HD upgrade to the 1st two titles to be honest. Would've been nice to have The Final Doom and a level editor for all the games included in the package as well. That would have sent me to old school heaven!

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Temjin001
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 @ 11:47:54 PM
Reply

I've seen some video of this HD remaster. It appears they cropped the original 4:3 aspect ratio into 16:9. Yeah, so what Temjin. The problem with this is that the already dated textures will appear even more dated because your field of view sits quite a bit closer than before. Anyone remember when Terminator 3 pulled this stunt for DVD release? The widescreen edition was actually just the 4:3 Fullscreen cropped to 16:9.

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___________
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 5:13:42 AM
Reply

its a shame they did not give this the upgrade it deserves!
i wish they would of done this as a PC exclusive, so they could give it the true HD textures some of the fan made mods have been showing off!
oh well, hopefully john actually delivers on his promise this time and releases mod tools so we can start getting some proper HD upgrades to this!

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Lotusflow3r
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 6:34:57 AM
Reply

Is anyone really buying this for Doom 3?

Doom 3 was an average game to begin with, it had the same predicament as Rage - innovative technology, average game.
It had zero of the magic and charm the originals had.

I got this for the original Dooms. I've clocked in hours with them so far whether in online co-op, split screen or good ol' solo . 20 years on and i get so much more fun out of these than 85% of games today. Something is seriously wrong in today's gaming.

The new Lost Missions expansion for Doom 3 feels closer to the original method and is quite enjoyable, but it's still, by far, not enough to be called Doom.

Here's to a return to form in Doom 4.

Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 10/24/2012 6:37:11 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 11:16:19 AM

RAGE was a whole lot more than "average."

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Lotusflow3r
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 12:44:55 PM

I understand some think that and maybe average is too harsh, but it's definitely nothing special as a game outside of the technical side. id fans weren't satisfied, it was just a by-the-numbers shooter with a fraction of extra uniqueness, glossed over with innovative technology.

id used to have the whole package, innovative technology AND highly influential game i.e. Doom 1, 2 and Quake. It seems they're more interested in doing new things technically today rather than enhancing the incredible gameplay ingredients they invented.

They promise a game closer to the original Dooms with Doom 4, so we'll see what happens. Doom BFG isn't entirely encouraging, though.

Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 10/24/2012 12:46:36 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 1:03:41 PM

You can't expect id to magically create more innovations and influence in the FPS genre. DOOM and Quake were pioneers for a variety of reasons. There's really no such thing as a "pioneer" in a category that has long since felt pretty stale. Beyond technical capability, what else is there to do?

You can start to involve other genres, at which point it becomes something different, like Deus Ex.

And how exactly is returning to the original Dooms going to be "influential?" I'm sorry, but all that just screams nothing more than blind nostalgia.

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Lotusflow3r
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 10:26:28 PM

No one is asking them to create more innovations...But they're attempting nonetheless, just in sole areas rather than the entire package...that's the problem. If they're gonna attempt it, they need to make sure they do it right.

It doesn't necessarily need to innovate. It has the Doom label, so expectations come with that. You can't just abandon everything that came before with Doom and then do Doom 3 and turn it into Half Life.
If you play the old Dooms and Quake 1 again for example, you'll see what's missing in today's FPS games. If we can return to that magic and usher it into modern day, then we can once again refresh the FPS genre. That's what's left to do with the FPS genre....get it's balls back! id can do this.
With Doom 3, Doom lost all it's major appeal and unique identity. I'm sure you understand this with your repeated new FF complaints....same thing, different game. Difference is that you're a huge fan of FF so you see the problems in later installments much more than you would with Doom, for example, as you didn't really involve in them as i've read you say.

Resi 4 is a great example of innovating an existing formula whilst still maintaining it's core (Resi 5 and 6 destroyed that by going too far). Doom needs the same, i or no other id fan is asking for a repeat of Doom 1 and 2....what we want is that Doom GAME back. Keeping the fundamentals alive whilst innovating the gameplay...or at least making it fresh. NOT changing it into an existing game and losing all that unique magic it had.

Doom 1 and 2 are almost entire opposites to Doom 3. That is the problem.

And you know what? Lets say Doom 4 returned entirely to it's root, all old school, but with modern technology....and that's not what we are asking for, but It actually WOULD be influential. In a market populated with copy and paste, dark colour pallets etc, etc...id comes back to remind us of those great old FUNdamentals.....That would make waves.

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SmokeyPSD
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 8:46:46 AM
Reply

I'm surprised this was a full disc, full priced outing. I would've paid a smill amount on psn but not going to do a big splash on this. Just not worth it for nostalgia.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 11:01:31 AM

I'm pretty sure this isn't "full priced" as I think it runs $40 new.
That's on par with other HD re-releases. Doom, Doom2, Doom3 and it's expansion pack Resurrection of Evil(the best of Doom) for $40 doesn't seem too high for a collection of some of gaming's most influential games.

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Deleted User
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 @ 11:21:28 PM
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Doom 3 is still a pretty good game 8 years after release. I'm playing the PC version. It is true that the graphics were improved little, the scares seem to have lost their luster and game is dated but it's still one of the better FPS in video game history. If you loved Doom 3, I'd definitely recommend it but if you're a younger gamer, I'd wait for a price drop.

I can get so engrossed playing this that I often forget to save.

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