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Doom 3 was a pretty big deal back when it released in 2004. It’s the sequel to, what is in my opinion, the greatest first-person shooter ever made and I think fans had some pretty high expectations. John Carmack had developed yet another incredible game engine and Doom 3 would end up being a ridiculous resource hog, with even top end computers struggling to run it maxed out back in the day. Doom 3 places a big emphasis on the horror elements which seemed like a natural evolution of the series at the time. While it still retains the run and gun style, it lacks the fast-paced action and maze-like levels in favor of a more slower paced linear experience. The expansion pack, Resurrection of Evil, was released in 2005 and included a new storyline, weapons, and enemies. Developed by id Software and published by Bethesda, the Doom 3: BFG Edition was released in October, 2012, for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The BFG Edition includes enhanced versions of Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil. It also includes a brand new campaign titled “The Lost Mission”. Also included, is classic Doom games, The Ultimate Doom and Doom II with the extra episode, “No Rest for the Living”, originally exclusive to the Xbox 360 version of Doom II. I wouldn’t say the BFG Edition is an HD remaster of Doom 3 but it does contain several changes including support for widescreen resolutions and 3D, revamped lighting, more ammunition, and the controversial shoulder mounted flashlight. This review will cover Doom 3 and its expansion from the BFG Edition and I’ll actually be covering these games as a whole rather than just their improvements in this release. I will not be covering the classic Doom games here since that’s planned for a separate review. But I will cover Perfected Doom 3 v7, a mod for the original game and even Resurrection of Evil. And, no, this mod will not work with the BFG Edition.
Doom 3 is considered a remake of the original and the storyline contains the same core elements. You’re a silent space marine and must stop the invading forces of Hell. The story is set in the year 2145 at Mars City, a UAC Research facility on the planet Mars. After uncovering underground artifacts that revealed the existence of an ancient civilization, the research team learned that the uncovered stone tablets contain information on teleportation technology. Dr. Betruger, head of research at Mars City, becomes obsessed and things start to get strange. Workers report being terrified of strange occurrences, some request transfers off Mars, and several fatal accidents occur under Betruger’s watch. Eventually, a whistleblower calls the UAC board of directors to report the incidents. The opening cut scene shows the board representative Elliot Swann and his bodyguard, Jack Campbell, arriving at Mars City to investigate the facility. The space marine arrives shortly after and is always at least one step behind Swann and Campbell throughout most of the story. The space marine is sent to locate a missing scientist and upon finding him, the demonic invasion begins. Hell’s forces begin to take over Mars City, slaughtering everyone. It’s up to the space marine to stop the invasion. Resurrection of Evil is set two years after the events of Doom 3. A UAC marine team is sent to investigate a strange signal coming from one of the Martian satellites and they discover an artifact which triggers another demonic invasion. You play as a different space marine and after the invasion begins you need to find Dr. Elizabeth McNeil, the unseen whistleblower in Doom 3. She guides the marine throughout the story and once again the ultimate objective is to stop the invasion. Now The Lost Mission is a new campaign, exclusive to the BFG Edition, and is easily the weakest of the three. You play as the only surviving Bravo team member after an ambush by demons in Doom 3. You end up working with a scientist to stop an experimental teleportation array that was captured by the demons and is capable of sending an army all the way to Earth. The stories in each campaign aren’t that in depth or anything but there is quite a bit of lore. In each campaign you’re provided a PDA that provides you information. You can acquire additional PDA’s throughout the environments that will provide user data, emails, video disks, and even audio logs from various workers that are most likely dead. This information can provide you with backstory and information on what’s happening. Other than that, there’s a few cut scenes here and there but the story is never shoved in your face. The voice acting is decent during cut scenes but I found the voice work for the audio logs to be of much better quality.
Doom 3 places a big emphasis on horror. Now I’m not a fan of the horror genre but I make an exception for Doom 3 because it’s a game in one of my favorite franchises. While previous games were limited on tech, felt more campy, and placed more emphasis on fast-paced action, Doom 3 actually contains a good mix of horror and action. This game excels when it comes to atmosphere and its dark tone is pretty much the driving force behind the game. Mars City is a very dark place. Lights are off, broken, or flickering. Dead bodies and body parts will be scattered throughout the environments along with blood smeared all over the floors, walls, and ceilings. You’ll experience hallucinations, hear voices, screams, moans, groans, and growls as you traverse the facility, and the dark atmosphere never really loses a beat throughout both Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil. The Lost Mission, on the other hand, really lacks in atmosphere. Many of the levels set in the facility feel familiar and recycled from the other two campaigns. These levels really lack any form of horror and sense of terror. However, throughout all three campaigns is an excellent level of immersion. You can interact with various terminals in the environments and even play arcade games. When you need to exit the facility to trek across the Mars surface, you’ll slowly lose oxygen until you get back inside or acquire air canisters. You’ll encounter a few random NPC’s that survived the invasions and they will provide information on what’s happening and aid you on your quest. Now the original Doom 3 is a very dark game, requiring you to use a flashlight to see and even rely on the muzzle flashes from your guns during combat. The entire research facility is basically shrouded in darkness and it does add a sense of tension, making encounters with demons a terrifying experience. At least in the beginning of the game. One of the biggest problems with all three campaigns is the repetition of demon encounters. The first few times a demon lunges at you or comes creeping out of the darkness, it’s truly terrifying, maybe even causing a “jumpscare”. Unfortunately, this never ends and the encounters become very predictable. After the first dozen times getting scared to death, you’ll realize that every corner you turn or every shadowy area is a demon or zombie waiting to attack. Once that realization hits, much of the fear is gone. Another issue I have is all the ambushes. Whenever you activate something significant or even pick up specific items, enemies normally start spawning in around you. It gets old quickly and there’s also too many instances where you open a door and are immediately attacked with no time to react. It’s just cheap. The BFG Edition includes either more lights or increased brightness because the levels don’t seem nearly as dark as they used to and this may be a positive or negative for fans of the original. I prefer the increased visibility because it reduces some frustration of specific enemy encounters late in the game.
All of the classic Doom weapons return along with some additions. The pistol, chainsaw, shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma rifle, and BFG-9000 are all here, or you could punch demons in the face with your mighty fists. But I would advise against that. Doom 3 introduces the machine gun, grenades, and late in the game you’ll acquire the Soul Cube, a weapon that needs to be charged by killing a specific number of enemies before you can unleash it’s power. It can kill enemies instantly and transfers their health into you, making it a somewhat useful weapon. Resurrection of Evil adds the double barrel shotgun to the arsenal which is more powerful than the standard shotgun but it needs to be reloaded after every shot. The expansion also includes an item known as the Artifact and a tool referred to as the Grabber. The Artifact allows you to briefly enter Hell Time, meaning time is slowed down. During Hell Time it’s easier to kill enemies and it can be powered up by killing specific bosses. The first power-up lets you move faster during Hell Time and the second power-up grants you invincibility. The Artifact can be used a total of three times and you can recharge it from the souls of dead humans. Because of the Artifact’s Hell Time abilities, there’s a lot more demons to deal with at once during most encounters. It’s basically the expansion’s way of telling you to utilize the Hell Time mechanic to survive. The Grabber allows you to grab and throw objects, great for clearing paths, but it’s more useful against enemies. You can grab flying projectiles like an Imp’s fireballs or Hell Knight’s plasma balls and hurl them back at enemies. You can even grab Forgotton One’s. Compared to the original game, the BFG Edition contains a lot more ammo scattered around the levels which kind of makes the gameplay a bit more action packed since you never really have to worry about ammo. Unfortunately, all of the guns sound weak and underpowered, making the gunplay feel unsatisfying. I also don’t like that you can’t lean. Getting hit means your aim gets messed up and the zombie enemies like to use guns and getting shot repeatedly is annoying. Being able to lean around corners could have helped. The Lost Mission consists of a mix of weapons from both Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil but nothing new, not even new enemies.
Most of the classic Doom enemies return, many with all new appearances, including zombies, Imps, Hell Knights, Cacodemons, Revenants, and even Mancubus. Pinky, or “Demon”, looks like a mutated dog with robotic legs. Lost Souls also make a return as flying blazed heads which I never really cared for. But Resurrection of Evil rectifies this with a new variant called Forgotten Ones which look like horned skulls, resembling their Lost Soul counterparts from the original Doom. The asshole Arch-Vile returns and he’ll spawn in enemies until he’s killed and even try to set you on fire if you get close. Commando’s may be the most annoying enemies in the game. They have a tentacle-thing for an arm that can reach you from close to medium range and these guys usually charge directly at you and if you don’t know they’re coming, it’s often a difficult attack to avoid. There’s several new enemy types but, ultimately, all enemies feel like pushovers. The AI isn’t too bright either. Zombies will jog around and occasionally get behind cover but most enemies come charging at you or remain in one spot and fire projectiles. If demons get close they’ll slash you repeatedly and it doesn’t take many shots to put most enemies down. Most of the new enemies introduced in Doom 3 are what I’ll call “slashers”. Demonic babies leap and slash you. Maggots charge at you and slash if they get close, and Wraiths slash as well but they can teleport around. More annoying are spiders which normally arrive in large numbers and swarm you. All of the classic enemies feel like they did in the original games but with no improvements, they just look more menacing. Imps and Hell Knights are pretty much identical. Both hurl projectiles and require the same dodging tactics. It’s just that the Hell Knight’s attacks inflict more damage and they’re also bullet sponges. Resurrection of Evil introduces some new enemies including Vulgars which are literally Imps that move around faster. Vulgars also hurl projectiles and they make up most of the demon encounters in the expansion. Then there’s the Bruiser which seem like a reskin of the Mancubus but he fires his projectiles quicker. The new enemies are disappointing mainly because they don’t offer anything new and seem like replicas of existing enemies. Then there’s the bosses. The bosses in Doom 3 are okay at best, nothing special. Two of them stand out, the Hell Guardian and Cyberdemon. Just like the enemies the bosses, too, feel like pushovers but the Guardian stands out because this battle is more of a spectacle than it is a challenge requiring you to dodge his projectiles and kill the flying seekers to make him vulnerable to attack. The Cyberdemon battle is the greatest fuck up Doom 3 has to offer. You are required to use the Soul Cube to defeat him and it’s not even a battle. He chases you around the area firing his rockets which are very easy to dodge and you just need to keep killing the enemies that spawn in to refill the Soul Cube and when it’s full, unleash it on the Cyberdemon. Rinse and repeat. It’s a terrible final battle. I thought it was known that to defeat a Cyberdemon you just shoot it until dies. I don’t know how they messed that up. Resurrection of Evil introduces new bosses which are still too easy but at least the final boss is more exciting and it’s probably the most challenging encounter out of all three campaigns. The Lost Mission only includes a final boss which is just another Guardian only this time there’s no seekers. You just shoot it until it dies. There’s four difficulty modes – Recruit, Marine, Veteran, and Nightmare which needs to be unlocked. The higher difficulties determine how much damage you can take before dying and when playing in Nightmare, your health will always drain to twenty-five percent even after visiting medical stations. Now I didn’t try Nightmare but from what I understand, there are no med kits lying around.
One of the biggest and controversial additions to the BFG Edition is the shoulder mounted flashlight. The original game dictated that you either hold the flashlight or hold a weapon but you can’t equip both. Over the years some players have argued in favor of the feature and others have argued against it. Those that were in favor often say switching between the flashlight and guns adds tension and immersion to the gameplay. Someone eventually created what’s known as the “duct tape mod” that adds flashlights to specific weapons. I am on the side that’s in favor of using the flashlight while holding weapons. I can understand how many players see the feature as adding tension but I don’t find it immersive. Never did. I love immersion as much as the next guy but in a game like this, it just doesn’t make sense. I also understand games are not meant to be realistic but, for me, certain realistic elements add to immersion and being able to see what you’re shooting at is one of those elements. Yeah, putting away the flashlight and relying on the muzzle flashes of your guns to aid you in combat is cool and all but it really doesn’t make sense for this type of scenario. If I was being hunted by demons from Hell, or any type of evil forces, and I had to traverse through dark areas, I would definitely find a light source and find a way to attach it to me or my weapon. Maybe I wouldn’t use it at all in favor of sneaking through areas, hoping enemies just won’t spot me. I can’t imagine anyone that’s being pursued by the forces of Hell just walking around with only a flashlight only putting it away when they’re about to be attacked. That’s just insane. In this type of adrenaline-pumping scenario, I would have my weapon ready to go, being able to toggle my light source on and off at will, without much effort. I want to clearly see what the fuck is happening. So, yeah, I understand how having to switch between light and firepower adds tension, but it doesn’t really make sense and that, to me, is not immersive. It’s just unrealistic. I’m all for unrealistic settings, stories, and situations. That’s fine, I can dig that. But I think implementing basic realistic elements that apply to movement, controls, and functions for the playable character, especially in a first-person shooter, doesn’t really take away from immersion and, in fact, adds to it. I’m still not clear as to why the light and weapon switching even existed in the original game, maybe it was a technical limitation, and if that’s the case then I completely understand. Either way I’m very happy to see it rectified in the BFG Edition. One could say having both a flashlight and weapon equipped makes the game too easy and maybe that’s true. If so, then I would argue it’s just bad design. It would also mean the difficulty revolves around the lack of visibility. Because for some reason a space marine in a futuristic setting on Mars, surrounded by some of the greatest technology known to man, cannot use a light source during combat. The argument is probably accurate considering the demons in Doom 3 look more threatening than they actually are and it’s not really hard to avoid their attacks and blow them away. It’s one thing if the original game dictated an actual and believable reason as to why the playable character cannot use a light source while engaged in combat but it doesn’t as far as I know.
Throughout all three campaigns you’re required to complete specific objectives to progress through the levels and they’re all pretty straightforward. You’re always going from point A to B to either activate something, retrieve something, locate someone, or fight a boss. Sometimes you’ll be accompanied by a sentry bot and it will aid you by shooting at enemies. There’s a few environmental puzzles here and there but they’re very simple and shouldn’t have you scratching your head. Doom 3 does retain the whole key hunting aspect of previous games. You’ll need to acquire PDA’s found in the levels, and sometimes actual keycards, to grant you elevated security access, enabling you to open specific doors to progress further. Because the levels aren’t designed like mazes in Doom 3, locating the PDA’s isn’t too difficult. A couple of areas include the Berserk power-up that grants you invincibility for a limited time and during this time you move faster and can kill most enemies with one punch. Throughout the levels are med kits, armor, and ammo scattered around and medical stations will let you refill your health. Ammo, armor, and health can also be found in lockers and special areas that require access codes to gain entry. The access codes can be found in emails or audio logs from PDA’s you find and I really don’t like that. As I stated earlier, the story is never shoved in your face because reading the emails and listening to audio logs is optional. But you’ll want to access these lockers for ammo and health, basically requiring you to bring up your PDA every ten minutes which can really bring down the pacing. On your first playthrough it’s not too bad since you may be interested in the lore and are taking your time but if you’re like me, after beating it for the first time, the PDA’s only serve the purpose of providing access codes during any repeated playthroughs. Nowadays I just use my phone to bring up a list of codes.
It’s very fortunate both Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil are as atmospheric and immersive as they are because they’re extremely repetitive in terms of environments. Most of your time in Doom 3 is spent in the facility which is full of similar looking rooms, corridors, and assets, making it very easy to get lost. You’ll frequently backtrack through areas and if you don’t take notice of what I’ll call “landmarks”, or even read signs, you’ll probably get confused on where to go. But considering the levels are mostly linear, a good rule of thumb is if don’t encounter any enemies, you’re probably going the wrong way. You trek through different areas of the facility and each area is laid out differently but from a visual standpoint, the environments don’t really change much until you get to Hell. When you do arrive in Hell, it feels like an awesome and refreshing change of pace. There’s fire and lava everywhere, demonic skull structures, shifting walls and platforms, and it’s all very cool stuff but it’s also over before you know it and you’re back in the facility. Luckily the end levels contain more varied environments thanks to more prominent Hellish growths covering various areas, you’ll also navigate through the caverns which is a nice departure from the repetitive futuristic and tech-y look of previous areas, minus Hell. It’s not that the facility levels are bad. In fact, they’re quite impressive and filled with moving mechanisms, platforms, monorails, computer terminals, and little objects that make the entire base feel like believable location. It’s just that most of it feels the same. Resurrection of Evil is a little better in terms of environmental variety and it’s also a much shorter campaign. You’ll battle your way through caverns, different parts of the facility like toxic waste tunnels, and, of course, Hell itself. The BFG Edition actually contains some changes to the levels compared to the original. For example, you no longer have to collect Enviro Tanks in the waste tunnels, meaning you’ll have infinite oxygen for this segment. The Lost Mission campaign contains a very generic looking first set of levels but luckily the Hell environments are much more interesting. The Lost Mission also contains more open areas with more demons spawning in to balance out the difficulty due to having plenty of ammo and better visibility. This campaign focuses less on horror and more on action. It almost feels like the developers were attempting to replicate the feeling of previous games but it really doesn’t work out that way mainly because Doom 3 is just a slower paced game in general.
Visually, the game hasn’t aged that gracefully and it really is a shame the BFG Edition doesn’t provide a true HD makeover. Overall, it still looks like a game that was released in 2004. Luckily the lighting is still somewhat impressive, even if everything is a bit brighter. Now the audio design is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the ambient sounds, demonic hisses and growls, and environmental sound effects all sound great. On the other hand, as I stated earlier, the weapons sound extremely weak and thus feel underpowered which has always been an issue. This game is a perfect example of how sound effects can really make a difference and unfortunately, the weapon sound effects really hinder the gunplay. On the technical side, the BFG Edition performs pretty well overall, at least in my experience. I’ve only played the PC version and noticed the load times are significantly faster than in the original. However, I’ve heard of several issues with the BFG Edition that I never encountered but when I first played this back in 2012 I encountered a serious game breaking bug and I have no idea if it was ever patched out. I feel it’s my duty to inform everyone. When you first reach the elevator door that takes you out of Delta Labs Sector 1, if you try and activate the elevator before meeting the requirements to get it working, it may break the game, making you unable to progress. The elevator just won’t open and when I first experienced this, I had no backup save files, fucking myself over. I had to restart the entire game which I did about year later because I just didn’t feel like replaying it at the time. Like I said, I have no idea if this was ever fixed but it is a significant problem that was never in the original game. You’ll want to quicksave often and when you reach Delta Labs Sector 1, I would highly suggest creating an extra save file at the start of the level just in case.
I know fans were upset with many of the changes the BFG Edition introduced and I can even understand the uproar of it not actually including an HD makeover. It’s brighter, there’s more ammo, and several significant changes really alter the gameplay to some degree, for better or for worse, depending on your preference. If you’re not a fan of the BFG Edition, that’s understandable, and luckily you can still play the original and there’s even a ton of mods available for it. I’ve played Perfected Doom 3 before but this was my first time playing v7. I’m going to state this again, Perfected Doom 3 is a mod for the original game and not the BFG Edition. Perfected Doom 3 includes a ton of changes for both Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil and it even includes the In Hell campaign. In Hell is a separate mod that deserves it’s own review. It’s a campaign of about twenty levels inspired by The Ultimate Doom.
Perfected Doom 3 changes up the gameplay for what feels like a brand new experience. For one thing, the combat is much more satisfying thanks to excellent new weapon sound effects which sound extremely powerful, new blood splatter, and multiple weapon fire modes. Most weapons have one or two alternate fire modes. For example, the machine gun can fire a burst of rounds at once, essentially making it feel like a shotgun. The double barrel shotgun can fire from one barrel at a time now and it’s alternate fire enables it to fire from both barrels at once. Even better, the double barrel shotgun was added into the Doom 3 campaign. The standard shotgun can rapid fire, grenades can be detonated manually, and the rocket launcher can double as a grenade launcher. It’s all very cool stuff and I love the new additions. You can actually aim down sights now with several weapons and the flashlight was removed completely in favor of the shoulder lamp. For some reason, the shoulder lamp isn’t as bright in Resurrection of Evil which actually becomes annoying because it’s hard to see anything.
If you download the texture pack add-ons, found at the Perfected Doom 3 Moddb page, they include new HD skins for weapons, objects, and monsters. Now I wouldn’t say Perfected Doom 3 is really an HD overhaul, but more of a gameplay overhaul. If you want an HD overhaul, check out the Absolute HD Mod. But the visual changes that are here include monsters and zombies that look more demonic, bloody, and grotesque. There’s all kinds of new effects like glowing decals from gunfire and even dead bodies will stay on the ground for a limited time. Although, I noticed the ragdoll animations can freak out here and there. Perfected Doom 3 does include a new set of visual options. You can toggle on and off HDR, depth of field, lens flare, and a bunch of other stuff. There’s multiple settings to play around with in each category. You can tweak each of the new options to your liking which may take some time if you don’t know what you’re doing. The mod ran pretty smooth overall but I noticed the frame rate would dip frequently when a Revenant would appear and it would dip more often in general during my time in Resurrection of Evil.
Perfected Doom 3 revamped the demons and even added some new ones. Familiar faces like Spectre and I believe Pain Elemental make a return. Pain Elemental looks like a slightly altered Cacodemon but it spits out Lost Souls or Forgotten Ones, whichever. Cacodemons explode in a glorious fashion upon getting killed and Lost Souls have now become the most annoying enemies in the game. They do more damage and if you get swarmed by them you’ll die pretty quickly. Many of the new enemies replace existing enemies, and only in certain spots, and many of the new enemies are only found in Hell. There are several new Hell Knight variants which just seem to be bullet sponges but they glow new colors and can inflict significantly more damage. Now one of the cooler aspects of Perfected Doom 3 is that it extends your time in Hell in the Doom 3 campaign. After defeating the Guardian you’ll be teleported to all new Hell levels. These are exceptionally well crafted, however, you’re just not given enough ammo. Maybe I missed ammo stashes, and hidden areas or something, but with all of the new enemy types, specifically the bullet sponge Hell Knight variants, there’s just not enough ammo. I got frustrated over time and decided to use cheats to give myself more ammo. If you like survival horror games you may like having limited ammo but I don’t. Also, while Doom 3 is a fairly linear experience, these new Hell levels don’t really feel that way. I found it very easy to get lost because it’s not always clear where you need to go or what you need to do. Because the game is very dark in general, I found it difficult to find my way. Maybe the creator was inspired by the level design in the classic Doom games but this type of level design just doesn’t fit here. Still, it’s awesome to see more Hell levels and before teleporting back to the facility, you’ll have to battle the Icon of Sin which basically makes up for any flaws these new levels have. When I first saw the level name appear on the loading screen, a smile appeared on my face. It’s an excellent nod to Doom II and the Icon, itself, is actually animated quite well. Furthermore, the creator has rectified the entire Cyberdemon battle, making it actually enjoyable. You shoot it until it dies.
Now I did run into a few issues with Perfected Doom 3. As I stated before, the frame rate will dip here and there, I noticed some weird texture glitches, I couldn’t put the PDA away at one point, and I even encountered issues with shadows that I was able to fix by restarting the game. In Resurrection of Evil I noticed smoke coming from several of my guns, obstructing my view. I think this is a glitch and it’s an annoying one at that. Because of it, I rarely used the double barrel shotgun towards the end of the expansion. But even with these issues, the amount of good outweighs the bad, and if you’re not interested in the BFG Edition or are disappointed with it, I would say check out Perfected Doom 3. It overhauls the gameplay, it’s much more challenging than the vanilla game, and just improves so many aspects.
Ultimately, I honestly prefer the BFG Edition to the original game. I enjoy the brighter environments, I prefer the shoulder mounted flashlight, and I enjoy having more ammo. The Lost Mission could have been better but if you like Doom 3, then the Lost Mission just provides more of the same. The weapons still sound weak, the visuals look dated, and there are some bugs. But I can put up with it because I was never really a fan of Doom 3 to begin with and I just prefer the major changes here. It sucks the BFG Edition wasn’t given a real visual upgrade but there are mods for the original Doom 3 that can do that. Now I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again. Doom 3 is a great game, just not a great Doom game. It’s a fantastic horror game with a truly immersive atmosphere, but, to me, that’s not Doom. In Doom, demons should fear you, you shouldn’t fear them. This is my least favorite game in the series but I would recommend it because it’s still great shooter. It’s even quite a long game so you’ll get your money’s worth. I didn’t try the multiplayer so I have no idea if anyone plays anymore but from what I hear, it wasn’t that amazing. If you like horror games or shooters, definitely check out Doom 3, whether it’s the original or the BFG Edition.