- Publisher: Bethesda
- Developer: id Software
- ESRB Rating: “M" for Mature
- Genre: FPS
- Pros: Loads of content; still pretty intense when things hit the fan; great sound
- Cons: Gameplay doesn't hold up; graphics won't impress; odd handling of Doom 1 and 2
The Doom 3: BFG Edition is an HD update (with optional 3D for those with a 3D TV) to Doom 3 that includes the original Doom 3: Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil expansion (that adds a gravity gun and some other nifty things), a short new set of levels called The Lost Mission, as well as the original Doom 1 and Doom 2 (which both still hold up incredibly well, by the way). Doom 3 includes multiplayer (which is sort of basic and throwaway these days), but the co-op from the Xbox version didn't make the cut. You get all of this for just $40. Not too bad for what easily amounts to 30 or so hours of gameplay.
There are some quirks to this package, however. The versions of Doom 1 and Doom 2 are just the Xbox Live Arcade versions, so if you already own them these aren't anything new. Because of this fact, however, you can't install Doom 3: BFG Edition to your hard drive and then play Doom 1 and 2 from the disc due to a conflict between having the same data on your HDD and disc at the same time. Instead, you have to go to your "My Games" tab on the Xbox 360 dashboard and load them from there, like any other XBLA game. Bethesda says that installing the disc doesn't have any performance benefits, and if you don't install it you can play Doom 1 and 2 from the in-game menu off the disc. It isn't a huge issue, but just something to be aware of. Another quirk is that since Doom 1 and 2 are the XBLA versions, they take up 400 of Doom 3: BFG Edition's 1000 gamerscore points, leaving Doom 3, Resurrection of Evil, and The Lost Mission at just 600 GS, which is pretty disappointing for achievement junkies.
One distinct change in Doom 3: BFG Edition is that someone in the last 8 years figured out how to use a flashlight and gun at the same time. Part of the thrill of Doom 3 was that you had to constantly swap between a flashlight and a weapon since you couldn't use them both at the same time. Resurrection of Evil let you use a pistol and flashlight together, but that was it. BFG Edition lets you use a flashlight and any gun you want together. It certainly does diminish some of the thrills that the rapid weapon swapping brought in the original, but it makes for an absolutely better playing game because of it, so we won't complain.
The rest of the gameplay hasn't been updated, however, and it really doesn't hold up very well here in 2012. Even back when Doom 3 was released in 2004 the gameplay was overly simplistic and clunky feeling, and in 2012 it plays really, really poorly compared to pretty much every other first-person-shooter on Xbox 360. It is the very definition of point and shoot - no subtlety or nuance here - you just put your cursor on an enemy and pull the trigger (and if your cursor isn't on them you miss entirely, even with a shotgun from close range ...). The level design that typically presents two paths - one locked and one where you find the PDA to unlock the locked door - is simple and bland. The "monster closet" enemy encounter design where enemies jump out of vents or out of closets (literally just tiny closed rooms behind a hidden door ... how long was the monster waiting for you?) is predictable and ridiculous. The guns are also surprisingly disappointing with easily the worst pistol and wimpiest machine gun in FPS history. The shotgun and more powerful weapons you get later are a bit better, though, we have to admit.
So the gameplay is kinda bland. With that said, however, there is something that is also still kind of appealing about its simplicity. When the crap hits the proverbial fan and demons start pouring in from the depths of hell, Doom 3 can still hook you. Doom 3 is incredibly intense and honestly kind of exhausting since enemies are jumping out at you from all over, you hear screams and radio calls from other human survivors, and every darn thing in the game (even good things like health pick ups) makes some loud noise designed to make you jump, but that makes it enjoyable in a weird way. The first 10 minutes of Doom 3 are boring as heck, but once it picks up after that point it can still be a lot of fun. The level designs and enemy encounter design is still dumb as all get out, but blasting the brains out of enemies with a shotgun (yes, the brains actually fly out at you) never gets old.
Graphics & Sound
The sound, on the other hand, is still as strong as ever. Great music. Great sound effects. Excellent enemy sound designs. And everything is nice and loud and impactful. Even opening a door or picking up health is loud and kind of scary here.