|System: PS3, Xbox 360*, PC|
|Dev: id Software|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks|
|Release: October 16, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence|
by Adam Dodd
In case you haven't noticed, remastering and re-releasing older games has become incredibly popular recently. With everything from Resident Evil to God of War, Shadow of the Colossus to Beyond Good & Evil, Devil May Cry to Halo coming back with new "HD visuals," there's never been a better time to revisit games you haven't played in years, or finally get around to playing games you've always wanted to but have never had the chance. For me, it took Beyond Good & Evil HD to get me to finally play that beautiful game, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Unfortunately, not all HD re-releases are treated equally. Some are fantastic, but there are others where it's blatantly obvious that very little time was invested into making sure they're even worth playing, or in many cases, playing again (I'm looking at you, Resident Evil Code: Veronica HD). It seems the horror genre has been mined the hardest, so when the Doom 3 BFG Edition was announced, I wasn't all that surprised. The original was a lovingly crafted, eerie action horror game that made abandoned space station exploration intensely terrifying long before Dead Space took everything to a whole new level.
For the unfamiliar, Doom 3 is set in the year 2145, where the Union Aerospace Corporation, or UAC, has become the largest corporate entity in existence. I like to think of it as the Umbrella Corporation on steroids. A research facility on Mars, one that's owned and operated by the UAC (naturally) has been having issues. Scientists are going missing, and the ones that remain are reporting of unexplained hallucinations or hearing strange noises. That's where you come in.
You take on the role of the archetypal silent space marine that's sent in to investigate and calm the scientists' frayed nerves. Then, unsurprisingly, all hell breaks loose, and the facility is overrun by terrifying monstrosities that would like nothing more than to tear you apart. The people who aren't brutally slain in the ensuing demonic invasion are transformed into zombie-like creatures that take a lot of bullets to take down. That is, unless you aim for the head. You should always aim for the head.
I've always had a serious issue with monster closets. These are the rooms where enemies spawn—they're usually small, with no identifiable purpose outside of delivering fresh fish for the proverbial barrel. My problem with these rooms is they often ruin my suspension of disbelief. I'll be on the edge of my seat, wondering from which darkened corner the next gruesome creature will crawl out of, when I stumble across the spawn area and I remember I'm playing a game. The monster closets were an issue with the original game, and unfortunately, they're still a problem.
Monster closets aside, for the most part, a majority of my issues with Doom 3 have been remedied in the BFG Edition. In case you don't remember your time with it back in 2004-05 (depending on which platform you purchased it for) or if you never played Doom 3, one of the more annoying issues was the flashlight. This is a very, very dark game, and the bad things that want to hurt you tend to hide in the darkest parts. This made the flashlight, which was exclusively attached to the pistol, tremendously annoying. This time around, the flashlight has been mounted to your armor, so no matter what weapon you have equipped, you'll always be able to see where you're going.
Obviously, the game is going to look better than it did nearly a decade ago. That's ultimately the whole point of this edition, so we can see what it would look like with updated graphics. As far as HD re-releases go, this is one of the more visually impressive ones. Everything is cleaner, the visuals are crisper, and the vastly improved lighting looks especially good. Like Dead Space, this is the type of game that can succeed or fail depending on the visual and sound design. Seeing things out of your periphery, catching glimpses of moving shadows, etc. are crucial to the success of this particular type of horror game.
Before Dead Space, Doom 3 was my top choice for outstanding sound design in a horror game. I love the music in Silent Hill, and the sound effects in Resident Evil, but as a whole experience, Doom 3 was incredible for its time. Playing it now, it's still one of the better sounding games I've ever played. If you're the type of gamer who likes to wring every last ounce of story out of your games, the many text and audio logs will provide a healthy amount of content for you to soak up. The voice work in this game is great, and it's at its best when you're listening to the deliciously creepy audio logs.