For many long-time gamers, PC or otherwise, there is one title that sticks out as the breakthrough first-person shooter, and grandfather of an entire genre of video games. id Software‘s Doom redefined the industry in December of 1993, and pushed the limits of what was thought to be possible with a 16mhz processor – a far cry from the multi-core, multi-gigahertz processors that exist today.
After a successful sequel and thousands of player-made maps and mods, id rebooted the franchise in 2004 with Doom 3. Now, eight years, several sequel teases and one new IP later, id Software has released an updated version of the instant-classic: Doom 3: BFG Edition.
The updated version of Doom 3 makes use of graphical advancements achieved in the past several years, including a complete HD overhaul and 3D and virtual headset support. It contains the 2005 expansion, Resurrection of Evil, as well as a new single player expansion, The Lost Mission. Also included are the original Doom and Doom II, each with their own expansions. While many of Doom 3‘s special effects have been updated in the new edition, the original games have been preserved, providing a nostalgic experience for players who remember them fondly.
Doom 3’s story and gameplay are largely unchanged, except for one key feature: a suit-mounted flashlight, as opposed to the default handheld item. This seemingly small change is a rather large shift in gameplay, and allows for more fluid, run-and-gun style action. id has already expressed interest in changing up the format of the next Doom title, going back to its roots in terms of gameplay and style, and this is a small but effective nudge in the right direction. Instead of hiding or otherwise carefully playing the game with horror schtick looming over every turn, the player is free to run and shoot, as the flashlight is now a permanent addition to their arsenal and can be activated at any time.
As Doom 3 was ahead of its time when it was released, it stands to reason that it would still hold up now. The HD support doesn’t draw any attention to the game’s age – in fact, everything that id Software did right with Doom 3 is even more enjoyable in a higher resolution. Shadows lick the futuristic decor, monsters look much more frightening, and cinematic sequences have the “oomph” that was difficult to perceive years ago. Like any new title or re-release, however, there are always negative aspects that need explaining.
Possibly the biggest issue plaguing the BFG Edition is a general lack of new material. While the feature game is supplemented with two expansions and the original Doom titles, the two major graphical upgrades to the game will be completely lost on most players. 3DTVs are still relatively new, and 3D support in computer hardware even newer. On top of that, VR headset support is far less common, and id Software may be jumping the gun on this technology before mainstream devices like the Oculus Rift are even released.
As for the new expansion featured in Doom 3: BFG, much of it is rehashed content from the original Doom 3 campaign. Many major set pieces are reused and made to look new, and entire areas and corridors have been re-purposed, instead of the developers taking time to craft a new series of levels. This was immediately discovered by players, with many side-by-side analysis pictures and videos posted in response. While the value of the bundle is great on its own, the problem with Doom 3: BFG is simply the lack of new features that are immediately useful or widely available to players.
id Software changed the gaming industry for the better with each iteration of its beloved Doom and Quake series, and Doom 3 is no different. The BFG Edition certainly does an admirable job of assembling the Doom series into one package, but ultimately the lack of new content keeps it from pushing boundaries in the way the original games did. Fortunately, the $30 price tag on PC is not steep by any means (the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are $40), and for the complete Doom anthology, it’s a great deal.
Doom 3: BFG Edition is recommended for anyone who may have missed out on Doom 3 in its prime, or fans of the series who want easy access to all of the games and their expansions. No Final Doom, unfortunately – but maybe one day!
Doom 3: BFG Edition is available now for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Game Rant reviewed the PC version of the game.