Review: Doom 3 BFG Edition

DOOM 3: Shoulder your BFG and head on down to face the minions of Hell and Nostalgia.
DOOM 3: Shoulder your BFG and head on down to face the minions of Hell and Nostalgia.

It's happening everywhere. Hollywood is high on big name remakes and the games industry loves a good High Definition re-release. In both cases sometimes things should just be left alone, a case of 'if it's not broke, don't fix it'. Other times it works well, breathing new life to a franchise or title for a new generation of gamers.

Bethesda and id Software have brought back one of gaming's most popular franchises, Doom. To do this, they have 'touched up' Doom 3 and included Doom and Doom 2 for nostalgia's sake. As a collective, this is known as Doom 3 BFG Edition. In this instance, let's say the initials BFG stand for 'Bargain For Gamers'. Consumers will rejoice at acquiring 3 games for the price of one, as well as having expansions and new levels included. This is value gaming at its best. Between all three games there is well over twenty hours of gameplay available.

As Doom is a pioneer of the first-person shooter, there shouldn't be a gamer alive who would not grin ever so slightly while playing Doom or Doom 2. Players should not expect anything new other than achievements, although there are quite a few of them for the trophy hungry. Even the simplest of actions, uncovering a hidden room for example, will bring at least a minor achievement or trophy. Dooms one and two are still as fun and challenging as the day they were first released, and their minor extras are warmly welcome.

The main focus of the package, however, is Doom 3, a game that arrived with great fanfare on PCs in 2004. Set on Mars, the environments depicted in Doom 3 are intimidating and claustrophobic, with dark narrow halls and limited space, which can make taking on the enemies difficult. They do seem slightly repetitive, sometimes, causing some disorientation.

There are elements of this HD remake that are slightly disappointing. The lines are not as clean as one would hope for. All characters who appear without some type of head gear or helmet possesses a cranium resembling Kryten from Red Dwarf. Adding 3D visuals to Doom 3 works well and looks great, but some on-screen fonts remain on the smaller side, and struggle to be readable before disappearing.

The controls for Doom 3 are the standard first-person shooter setup and can't really be faulted. One obvious downfall is the requirement to cycle through all weapons to find the desired arms. This often lends to unnecessary player deaths. Crouching, moving and shooting at the same time is also slightly problematic, with natural motion leading the perspective downwards. The introduction of a weapon-mounted flashlight is both welcome and confusing. The battery life is highly questionable and how it recharges is a great scientific mystery. It is interchangeable with each weapon.

The single most unbearable flaw of this remake is the painful loading times. Loading times are not only frustratingly long, but autosaves occur, some even mid-firefight. These really take away from the intense gameplay that this title is trying to generate. This is not so bad it is unplayable, but problems like this should be addressed prior to release.

Doom 3 BFG is great value, considering everything that is included. But as a stand-alone HD remake of Doom 3, it's slightly disappointing, despite the inclusion of a whole new mission. Just a little more polish would have made this a must-have just for Doom 3 itself. Thankfully its two predecessors are along to provide some added value.

Doom 3 BFG Edition
Bethesda Softworks
For: PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Classification: R16
RRP: $79.99

Ups: Three games in one means good value for money. New content included for Doom 3. 3D option for those who can do it.
Downs: Unpolished remake doesn't improve enough. Terrible loading and autosave intrudes on gameplay. Transition between titles is awkward and poorly thought out.
Score: 7/10