Doom 3 Review for PC
Posted on Thursday, September 09, 2004 @ 03:05:08 am E.S.T
Fear Ė no matter how great it is, that feeling of being on the edge always compels us. The human mind has proven that, while it may make you want to run away, screaming in terror at first, youíll always be curious about whatís up ahead. This is the exact logic that drove millions of gamers to the Doom series over a decade ago, and now, the same logic is back in full force in the long-awaited Doom 3. While itís has been a very drawn-out wait, needless to say, the final result proves that itís definitely been more than worth it.
The first thing youíll notice the second you begin to play Doom 3 is that, as long as your computer has had some upgrades since the days of Counter-Strike, this game is pretty stunning. Rarely is there a moment where you arenít blown away by the technical exquisiteness of this title; everything, from the dark, shadowy lighting effects to the bloodcurdling, evil adversaries you come across are absolutely breathtaking. There is not a game on the market that can top the visual euphoria that Doom 3 provides. Whatís even more spectacular is that, although you may experience a framerate dip on occasion with older cards, this game looks stunning even on an early generation GeForce 4. That simple attribute says a lot about the time and care that programmers put in to trying to make the visuals of the game play an integral part of the story.
Oh, and how they do. If you thought that graphics made the game complete in titles such as Tom Clancyís Splinter Cell, youíve yet to see anything. After playing Doom 3 for a few hours, youíll learn to appreciate any glimpse of light that comes your way. The way that the developers crafted the environment plays an integral part in the gameplay, which is something that is rarely experienced in any game. Every moment of the entire game just reeks of terror; it legitimately feels like every twist and turn in a corridor is going to lead to your demise. Most games, thatís a bad thing which signifies that the AI is juiced way too high. Here, however, itís the exact opposite. After the first few e-mails sent to your PDA, you immediately begin to fear for your life.
How exactly is this fear instilled into the player? Quite simply; you have the option of using your flashlight at any time, but this is at the expense of having your weapon in hand. Thatís right; you can either guide your way with the assistance of a light bulb, but doing so leaves you without a gun to blast baddies away with. This item-switching in the pitch black dark of outer space creates a unique formula that will leave you afraid of a gruesome death and your pants afraid of being washed one more time.
Another aspect thatís become clearly more important in gaming over the last few years is sound. Aurally, youíve never experienced anything until youíve had a round of Doom 3 in 5.1 Dolby Digital. It seriously completes the experience. Case in point: imagine, youíre walking around in a pitch black room, the only thing guiding your way is your flashlight. Up ahead in the distance, you hear faint, but blood-curdling screams that you couldnít even begin to guess the source of. As you get closer and closer, the sounds get louder and louder. You approach the door, the only thing separating you and what may be your demise. The sounds get louder and louder, until suddenly --- BOOM! As you jump back from the shock and terror sent through your body by the crashing of the door, a zombie kicks down the door right before you can reach it and starts feeding away at your flesh. Depriving yourself of such an experience by not being surrounded at all angles by the ambiance is truly diminishes the game; the sounds that every creature makes gives you a clue as to whatís ahead, but you never truly know what to expect. This is what makes the game stand out; the first time you make shrapnel-to-face contact with a foe, in the words of rap group Outkast, ďthere goes an ear-gasmĒ.
Of course, all of these parts wouldnít be complete without a story to bring it all together, and Doom 3ís surely puts the final piece in the perfection puzzle. In a way thatís similar to Grand Theft Auto 3, you remain nameless, and the plot reveals itself in small FMVís featuring other characters in the game along with small messages that are sent to your PDA every once in a while. This retelling of the original Doom story is pretty amazing; you feel like youíre really fighting for survival, alone in a dreadful situation with only one way out. While you could sit there and analyze the story, asking ďWhy exactly did I have to survive? How did I end up being the only marine alive on the entire planet of Mars?Ē you have to realize that this isnít meant to be the deepest story on the face of the planet. Itís one thatís quick, sweet and to the point; little more could be asked for from fans of the FPS genre.
Itís impossible to deny that they didnít recreate the gameplay of the original Doom games that were released over a decade ago; the same aspects of play that got you hooked then are back and better than ever. Whether or not this is a good thing is up to how your tastes have evolved; if youíre still game for a good run-amok-shoot-Ďem-up like the originals, then this is a game for you. But if youíve gotten more accustomed to the types of first-person shooters that require a bit more thought and using tactical approach, such as the Rainbow Six series, then you may not adjust the gameplay style as easily. Whether or not youíll enjoy Doom 3ís gameplay is all a matter of how well you take to the lack of advancement from the original Doom titles.
Once the single-player gameís old and busted, the multiplayer fragfests that have infiltrated games such as Counter-Strike, Quake and the Battlefield series have been recreated here in Doom 3. It would be nearly impossible to say that the multiplayer here really stands out above everyone else; itís the same old affair, just with a different scenario. The original limit was set to be four players, due to the highly intensive graphics, but there have been games that have played with up to 16 at one time, turning it from a semi-stealthy experience to an all-out gore bonanza. The fun will truly begin, however, when the mod community gets their hands dirty in the options, just as they have with seemingly every other first-person shooter.
While you wouldnít be hard pressed to find a minor flaw within the entire game, Doom 3 is a title that has few major problems that affect the game. The graphics are stunning, the sound will make you nearly piss yourself on occasions, and the gameplay is the same as ever. The story, admittedly, couldíve been a bit more expansive, but itís highly doubtful thatís what fans of the Doom series are going to be buying this title for. While it is certain that fans of the old Doom games that were released over a decade ago will froth at this new-age redux of the classic original, those that started lost their FPS virginity to titles like Counter-Strike and are looking for a new FPS fix are going to be sadly let down.
Review By: Matt Hack - 2834 Reads
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