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Doom 3 BFG Edition review (Xbox 360) - Mixed return for shooter legend

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Released on Friday, Oct 19 2012

The latest Doom 3 BFG Edition trailer focuses on the game's brand new levels.

© Bethesda Softworks

Release Date: October 19 (Europe), October 16 (North America)
Platforms available on: PlayStation 3, PC
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First person shooter

Doom 3: BFG Edition is a tricky game to assess. On the one hand, this is the ultimate package of what is a true legend in the world of first-person shooters. But on the other, the actual headlining release, Doom 3, is now seriously showing its age.

The titular 'BFG' does not refer to Roald Dahl's loveable Big Friendly Giant, but the "big f**king gun" that has appeared in each instalment. This pretty much tells you all you need to know about the Doom series; it is ridiculous, destructive, crude and brilliant.

Doom 1 and Doom 2, included in the BFG package, are rightly considered classics of the genre and deserve their place in the shooter Hall of Fame. However, on revisiting 2005's Doom 3, the game strangely lacks the same sense of personality and flair. Instead, you get a shooter that is well made and still very playable as a horror shooter, but also somewhat lacking when compared to more recent titles.

Doom 3
Doom 3 unfurls on a base on Mars run by the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC), a sinister company with unlimited resources that can pretty much do anything it wants. Taking the role of an anonymous marine, it becomes very quickly clear to the player that things are not tickety-boo on the base. Soon, the forces of hell invade, turn everyone into zombies and generally cause merry havoc.

Over its lengthy campaign, Doom 3 plays out its particular form of carnage mostly in tight, oppressive corridors of a research facility, generally cloaked in the inky shroud of darkness. There is not a great degree of subtlety going on here, which may seem a slightly ridiculous gripe considering this is Doom we are talking about. The Martian base instantly turns into a horror house filled with bloody corpses at every corner; and the player quickly gets gore fatigue.

The cookie-cutter horror would not be so much of an issue if Doom 3 was not such a humourless affair. The game takes itself seriously, yet at times slips into parody. Whilst there are some scares here, there is a real predictability to the campaign. You can see the level design signposts a mile off, and so they lack the sense of impact. There is always someone or something hiding in the shadows, and you soon learn the game's bag of tricks.


Doom 3 is still a fun game to play. The shooter gameplay is solid and responsive, particularly as developer id Software has ensured the player can turn on their light and shoot at the same time - something which was lacking in the original release - and is pretty much essential considering the constant gloom. The plot and voice acting are actually not that bad considering the rather ridiculous premise, and the graphics hold up okay as long as you squint a litte.

Doom 3 still excels at providing a world in which to blast the hell out of demons, and lots of them. You continuously enter new areas, hear a demonic voice and then have to take on a range of enemies that appear, including Imps, Cherubs, Hell Knights and Ticks. They arrive in groups and make an instant beeline for the player; hacking, slashing and attacking with extreme prejudice.

Doom 3
But as mentioned above, this simplicity and predictability soon starts to grate. Doom 3 wants to be a horror game, but it lacks the sense of pacing to ensure its scares are deep and affecting. There are other issues; the checkpoints are poorly placed, and the guns - even the BFG - strangely lack a sense of punch. Blasting the shotgun in a demon's face just doesn't feel as satisfying as it should, and that really is a shame.

Alongside the Doom 3 campaign and multiplayer, the BFG Edition also includes the Resurrection of Evil expansion pack developed by Nerve Software. This adds a 12-level single player campaign set two years after events in the main game, along with a physics-based weapon similar to Half-Life 2's Gravity Gun, and some new enemies. There are also new multiplayer maps.

Things get even brighter in The Lost Mission, eight brand new and exclusive levels that will take a few hours to bash through. This gives a sort of 'greatest hits' of Doom 3, ratcheting through the guns, levels and monsters at a breakneck pace that harks back to Doom of old.

Ultimately, this Doom 3 redux reveals a game that conjures the same tricks as its predecessors, but without the humour or flair. The game also seems dated when compared to the more recent shooters. But Doom is still Doom - a franchise that helped pioneer the genre - with its place in history guaranteed. For anyone wanting to reminisce or experience the shooter for the first time, the BFG Edition really is the ultimate way to blast those demons back to hell.


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