Doom BFG Game Review

1Nov

Author: Larry Ragland

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Almost without exception there are depictions of Hell in some form or another found in every religion and every culture on Earth. Some say it doesn’t exist that it’s a metaphor, a figment of the imagination, a fictional place. A tool of the powerful religious elite used to control the faithful. Many more believe that Hell does indeed exist and that those who would do wrong by an all powerful God will one day find themselves there. Regardless of where you come down on the issue we can agree on one thing. People throughout history have had a fascination with Hell.

The DOOM series of games continues in that tradition of depicting a bottomless pit for the suffering, albeit in game form, that while not as prestigious a work of art as Dante Alighieri’s  “The Inferno” it still has it’s place in the hearts of millions of gamers whom like me grew up exploring this digital damnation in search of scares, top notch art and graphics and a gameplay style that you don’t see that much anymore.

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Your character is simply known as the DOOM Marine. That’s what he has always been refereed to and as far as I know, he has no other identity. Our battle hardened space voyaging leatherneck starts the game reporting for duty on a science and military technologies station on Mars. Things start off normal enough. After your ship docks you are given your orders and sent on your way but while going about your business you pick up on muddled conversations. Scientists and marines talking about people going insane and committing horrific acts. Self mutilation, hearing and seeing things and terrified delusions that lead to some serious work place accident issues all point to things not being on the up and up. A crazy scientist, an artifact and a few experiments later and a portal to Hell gets opened--one that you have to close. It isn’t heavy on the narrative but what’s there works well. Throughout the game you will come across an assortment of PDA’s  (Personal Data Assistants) that will have email, audio and video logs for you to check. The video and voice messages are delivered well by quality voice actors that do a good job on selling the games heavy atmosphere. Emails that you receive are sometimes cleverly written and help  add more to the feel of the game.

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The twisted tale of DM3 is best appreciated from observing the game world itself. The majority of your adventure takes place in and around the Mars facility. The stations hallways, especially after things go bad, are dark and uninviting. Pipes hiss with steam while others emit flames and the whole time you’re walking around trying to figure out who or what that is whispering in your ear hoping that your flashlight doesn’t go out. The sounds of tortured souls and frantic last minute fire fights echo throughout the metal maze of exposed wires, malfunctioning doors and broken computers. Everything in the game world adds to the atmosphere. The ambient sound is great and the shadows look spooky. The first time you see one of the spider like enemies cast its eight legged eerie shadow against the wall it’ll send shivers down your spine. The music and sound effects more than do their job but you won’t be clamoring for a copy of the soundtrack. The background music at times reminds me of the first Creep Show movie. Perhaps because of the low tone of an organ that is heard playing at times. Not unlike something you would hear at a funeral home. It’s moody and depressing and when it plays you know you’re heading into something in a direction you normally wouldn‘t go.

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When it comes to content DM3: BFG Edition is the complete package for a console gaming DM fan. It comes with both DM 1 & 2 in their original first person shooter glory along with DM 3 which has received some visual upgrades. However this isn’t a Halo CE level makeover. All the original assets are being reused and it’s essentially a spruced up version of the Xbox game. BFG Edition also comes with the Resurrection of Evil expansion pack and the never before released, The Lost Mission pack which adds eight extra levels of gameplay. There is an online mode but it’s more of an afterthought. I’ve never met anyone who plays DM for the online and there isn’t a reason to start now.  Up to four can play co-op and it also has 5.1 audio but since the same assets are being used there really isn’t anything special about it. I wouldn’t be able to recommend this to non-DM fans if it were a full price game. Thankfully they priced it at $40’s which is worth thinking about and for DM fans who are like me and don’t have a gaming PC it makes it a must. I have been spoiled by 343’s idea of a remake should be. Whenever possible all remakes should be done with such effort. I can understand in this case because id is all engines go on DM 4 which was announced a few years ago but it still would have been nice to see what really could’ve been done given more time and effort ala 343.

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They don’t make games like DM anymore. It harkens back to an era in gaming when fps’s were more experimental and less formulaic then they are today. DOOM 3 BFG Edition is affordable, fun and it reminds me of a time when fps’s were about crazy weapons, crazier scenarios, monster closets and bullet sponges. The wide variety of enemies and classic id gameplay are all here. It’s not for everyone, and with some major releases on the way in the same genre (namely Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2) gamers may ignore it all together. DOOM 3 BFG Edition is mindless fun with a classic game and sometimes that’s all you need. It lacks the basic features of todays more sophisticated shooters but that’s alright by me. It’ll hold you over until DOOM 4, it’s right in time for Halloween and it’s budget priced. I say go for it.

8/10

Pros:

It’s budget priced.

It scratches that DOOM/id itch that pops up from time to time.

The best DOOM package you can get for consoles.

Cons:

There isn’t much re-mastering going on.

The new levels use a lot of recycled assets.

Neither DM 1 or 2 were touched. Lame.