It’s time for another review of an HD-re-release of an old game, with two slight differences. Firstly, it doesn’t have HD in the title, and secondly, it’s a game I didn’t get to play when it was originally released. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
As badly as we wanted to play Doom 3, the PC hardware needed to run it properly was prohibitively expensive. This is because Doom 3 was just as innovative and ground-breaking in 2004 as the original was in 1993. It was probably the first game that started to look like the video games of today, with unified lighting and normal maps to fake the illusion of geometric detail. Unfortunately, this visual splendor came at a cost, and even the best rig I was able to create through scrounging, begging and trading could barely crunch it with most of the graphics options turned off entirely – which is pointless. So I missed out on it.
If you found yourself in a similar situation, well, now’s your chance to make up for it. Doom 3: BFG Edition has just been released, and while there are some minor graphical tweaks, like the conversion to widescreen HD, it’s almost exactly as it was before. Your PS3 or Xbox 360 will make mincemeat of the formerly hardware-punishing action shooter, and if you’ve got at least a halfway-decent modern gaming PC, it should do fine also.
In case you need a refresher course, Doom 3 is essentially a reboot of the original Doom. Rather than the simple manual-entry story and text-screens at the end of the game the original used, Doom 3 narrates both cinematically and through ambient means, like voice messages on PDAs, radio messages and conversations you could overhear, all of which combine to create an atmosphere of dread and uncertainty you could cut with a chainsaw.
Players were once again cast in the role of a nameless, voiceless space marine whose only task is to shoot his way out of a demonic invasion that ravaged a research base on Mars after a crazy scientist figured out how to open a portal to Hell itself. It’s one of the simplest, yet most compelling video game concepts ever. There’s no need to think, there’s no need to hold back – you’re up against the devil himself and your only resort is to lay the unholy smackdown on everything in your path.
What surprised me is how much fun Doom 3 is to play, even now. It’s simple compared to modern shooters, but sometimes that’s a good thing. It also has the expansion, Resurrection of Evil, and an entirely new expansion called The Lost Mission. As if that’s not cool enough, the disc also contains unaltered versions of Doom and Doom II: Hell on Earth, also with their expansions – and I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure if I was more excited about owning these again than Doom 3.
I had kind of an epiphany here. I thought this would be a nice little nostalgia package – but instead, it proved to me that Doom is still relevant. It’s a timeless piece of gamer culture that we’ll never forget. Now bring on Doom 4!