Doom 3 BFG: PAX Prime Impressions

DOOM 3 is still a little hazy for me (our own Phil Hornshaw has a slightly better account of the classic). While I was, and still am, a huge fan of DOOM and DOOM 2, DOOM 3 remains a distant, repressed memory. That’s probably because I was young and was scared to death of it. When those pixelated monsters I once blasted into 2D blood puddles suddenly became fully-rendered, jump-scaring 3D horrow shows, the traumitization began. Let’s just say I wasn’t exactly clambering to get back on my dad’s PC for a second or third replay.

But now, eight years later, I’m older, more mature, and only ever frightened by things found in public toilet stalls. As such, playing DOOM 3 again was an absolute pleasure.

Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release date: October 19th, 2012

The first demo I played at PAX Prime dumped me into one of the eight new levels the BFG edition is offering: smack-dab in the middle of hell among beasts of the highest order. Thankfully, I was locked and fully loaded with all the classics like the plasma gun, the rocket launcher, the double-barreled shotgun, and the BFG. Having 8+ weapons at my disposal instead of the modern trend of a rifle and pistol was so immediately refreshing that I found myself smiling as I played. In case you’re wondering, that doesn’t happen too often.

As I proceeded through the horrific hellscape, I was blasting at everything in sight with whichever weapon tickled my fancy. There was no ADS, no cover system, no cowering as I regenerated health. It was constant, all-out action of my own doing: something unfortunately rare in shooters these days.

I eventually made it to an area of twisting paths suspended in space. Flying skulls began spawning all around me, and before I knew it, I was done for. To my great disappointment, I respawned at the very beginning of the level – about 5-10 minutes back. Fortunately, checkpoints are going to be added to the retail version; id knows better than to waste the precious time of modern gamers.

The second demo took place at an earlier stage in the game that I recognized: the dimly lit Mars base. With the flashlight-or-gun decision no longer being an issue, DOOM 3 turns into something else for me. It’s no longer even remotely scary, and I doubt that’s what id is hoping for with this HD remake. Whether a young child would think differently, I don’t know, but the success of this game – at least in my mind – will be due to a combination of nostalgia and a desire for variance from the very tired modern first-person shooter.

DOOM 3 BFG is a purely fun throwback. From the half-hour I spent playing, I realized it succeeds better at recapturing what made classic shooters so great without completely and horribly missing the point (I’m looking at you, Duke Nukem Forever). And all id had to do was tweak the original game a bit. BFG may no longer contain that sense of true horror the original did, but what it lacks in scares it makes up for in graphical upgrades and modern conveniences.

In an interview with VG24/7, developer Tim Willits said, “We have the Rage input control, checkpoints, we’ve updated the lighting so it’s brighter, we changed the flashlight, tweaked ammo, we’ve put the Rage network layer in to make it run faster at low latency, and we added 3D support, multi-display support for PC.”

DOOM 3 BFG will retail for $40. I’m certainly picking it up when it releases on October 16, 2012.

Game Front is on-site at PAX Prime all weekend (Aug 31-Sep 2), bringing you daily news, hands-on previews, interviews and pictures. Stay tuned for more PC gaming-focused coverage!

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1 Comment on Doom 3 BFG: PAX Prime Impressions


On September 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Ill probably pick it up if only for the HD remake. The multiplayer could be good though :)