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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Doom 3

I remember back in 2004 when Doom 3 was released. I got the call from the Gamespot or it may of still been a EB Games back then but I still remember when they called me to come pick it up. It was around 6 pm and it was raining like crazy outside one of the worst storms of the summer. I decided to brave the elements and drive out to grab my copy. The usually 20 minute drive took me almost two hours with the rush hour traffic and the inclement weather pouring it's rage down on us. I finally made it home and tore in to the package to get my game installed on my PC. Well all wasn't as happy as I wanted it to be as it didn't really run that great on the PC I had at the time. Having to dial back the settings to play I made it a little bit past the first boss before I decided to wait for a better PC to play the game in all of it's glory. Well a newer PC eventually came along but I was in the middle of me first discovering MMO's so a lot of game had to take a back seat and Doom 3 was one of those.

Fast forward to last week and I decided it was time to finally play Doom 3 and finish it. I was really interested in play the Hexen: Edge of Chaos mod for it but I figured I should beat the base game before I go messing around with any various mods.

Doom 3 as I said was released in 2004 from ID software. It is at it's core a re-imagining of the first Doom game but with a more fleshed out story. You again take the role of the nameless space marine stationed on Mars proper this time, as the first Doom took place on the Moons of Mars. You've just been transferred to the already troubled base just before for lack of a better term, all hell breaks loose.

The main thing Doom 3 had going for it back when it was first released and I think still has now are some pretty nice looking graphics. In 2004 Doom 3 was groundbreaking in the way it looked. ID really outdid themselves and they had the absolute best looking game on the market. Nowadays many people give that honor to Crysis but to me Doom 3 still looks pretty good. With my current machine I was able to crank up all the graphics setting to the highest and play it at a high frame rate. There was some minor tweaking needed in a config file as Doom 3 doesn't play nice with Vista/7 with it's graphics settings but I was up and running in widescreen 1680x1050 with Ultra settings in no time.

Gameplay wise this is a very basic FPS game. As much as this is a remake of the first Doom it gameplay is pretty much the same. Roam through the Mars base and shoot anything that gets in your way. While Doom 1 and 2 were very fast paced shooters Doom 3 takes a slower approach. The speed on this one is kind of like the modern survival horror FPS games we've seen recently. While I know some people didn't really care for the change in gameplay for the Doom series I quite enjoyed it. If you were in this situation you wouldn't go full speed into the unknown, you'd sneak around some and take your time to make sure you could survive.

All the weapons are here from the Doom games of old, Shotgun, Chaingun, the BFG and so on. We do see a few new weapons, the assault rifle (which I really liked) grenades and the Soul Cube. The Soul Cube is a pretty cool addition, it's powered by the number of kills you make. Every five kills you can throw the cube at an enemy and almost always get a one hit kill but you also get your life refilled. This is really important in the Nightmare mode as you are always loosing life and this can get you back to 100 percent in one kill. All the classic weapons have been changed a bit and they don't behave like their Doom 1/2 counterparts. The Plasma rifle fires slower and the Chaingun has a rev up time before the bullets start to fly. I enjoyed the changes to the weapons as I felt it made me have to use all of them and not just depend on one gun through the whole game. Some situations call for the Shotgun some need the Chaingun, it was fun to switch it up as I made my way through it all. I guess this should go here but something I really liked and I like it when any FPS has it is the weapon sway when you turn. When you turn the gun lags behind a bit to make the it seem that you are turning your head a second before your body. I just really like the effect of it and wanted to mention it.

Doom 3 unlike Doom 1 and 2 presents the story to you as you're playing the game. Where as Doom 1/2 had the screens of text at the level breaks Doom 3 has cutscenes, character interaction and PDA files to help the story along. The PDAs contain a mix of email, audio files and video files to fill you in a various happenings in the base. Emails are just like in real life you read them and move on. The video files must be watched in the PDA so you're stuck there watching them which can be kind of boring. The audio files are like the audio files found in Bioshock or Dead Space, they can be played as you continue exploring but there is an issue with that. If you're listening to one and you come to a point in the game where you're suppose to get a story based radio message or you find someone who wanted to talk to you the audio file keeps going and the two voices overlap. It is a major pain so I just found myself sitting in a room listening to the audio logs without making progress. The other thing with the audio logs are they sometimes contain lock combinations. You can find these lockers as you play and they hold ammo, medpacs and such. They need a code to get into and sometimes these codes are in the audio logs. If you forget the code you have to listen to the whole audio log again and they are always at the end of the log and you can't skip ahead. There should of been a part in the PDA to record these passwords so you can just look them up when needed.

While Doom 3 looks really good, as I said I think it holds up really well even today it is a dark game. You're given a flashlight and you'll use it a lot to navigate the possessed Mars base. The problem is the flashlight cannot be used with a gun so sometimes you need to make a choice, see or shoot stuff. Turning up the brightness doesn't help as some places in the game are pitch black no matter how bright you make the game. When I first played this I didn't like having to switch back and forth but this time I did really have a big issue with it. There were a couple times I wished a gun had a flashlight on it but now it's not a big deal to me. You can get mods that give your guns lights so if the idea of going back and forth bothers then you have a choice.

With the darkness come some scares and this game got me a few times. Mainly it's with monsters jumping out as you while your walking down a hall or things teleporting in from behind you. Movies and such don't really make me do the jump scare thing but games do and I jumped plenty playing this one. And not to spoil it but they use one jump scare a little later in the game that they never use again and it was just so well done I have to mention it. While not as scary as the Resident Evil 1 dog it was pretty good. If you're a fan of horror shooters you'll find some here.

I played multiplayer a little bit. As this is 6-7 year old game not many people are playing online but it's just basic deathmatch and team deathmatch. You spawn with a pistol and all the other guns are all around the map. Just like with classic Doom but this one was only four player when it first came out. People has increased that but again not many people playing to begin with and anyone that's still playing this is probably a god at it so the learning curve is going to be brutal.

So, Doom 3 a 6 year old game what can I say about it? Well, it's pretty good. I really enjoyed playing through it. I have to say I liked all the changes ID did with the formula. It took me about 16 hours to finish it and I think that was a pretty good length. At the end I wished there were a little more and I think games should always leave you wanting more so Doom 3 succeeded in that. You can get this for 20 bucks on Steam and you can probably get it in on sale or in a ID bundle if you wait for Steam to do one of it's crazy deal things. If you like horror shooters do yourself a favor and pick this up if you haven't played it before.

Doom 3 - 9 out of 10

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