Doom 3: BFG Edition amounts to the definitive Doom collection for any fan of the series.
- The Flashlight is useful now
- Doom 3 is back and it looks better than it ever has before
- Old school run-and-gun play feels fresh
- Easily the definitive collection for any Doom fan
- Doesn't appear to have a big audience for multiplayer
- Lighting effects in Doom 3 + its expansions feel very dated
Playing Doom 3 in 2012 requires a little bit of unlearning. They just don't make first-person shooters like this anymore. You can't take cover. Your health doesn't regenerate without a Medkit. You can even aim down your weapon's sights. The fact that the newly released HD remake in BFG Edition touts the ability to use a flashlight and shoot at the same time as a major new feature should speak volumes.
Doom 3: BFG Edition doesn't even attempt to shy away from the old school FPS mentality that defines id Software's series, and the HD remake is all the stronger for it.
Hell Comes To Mars
Whether you're playing Doom 3, the Resurrection of Evil pack-in expansion, or id's newly released The Lost Missions -- all included in the BFG Edition package, along with straight ports of Doom and Doom 2 -- the focus is the same: shoot up hordes of zombies and hellspawn on the planet Mars. There's actually more of a focus on story than you might remember, but it's the sort of plotline that you'd expect from any old sci-fi B-movie. Doom has never really tried to impart any important lessons or themes, and the HD remake is thankfully not subjected to any revisionist interpretations.
Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil are exactly as you remember them, save for the visual makeover. HD textures enhance both the game and its expansion pack, especially since the old id Tech 4 engine holds up so well (in this generation, it's powered both Brink and Prey). Doom 3 is considerably less complicated than the id Tech-powered games that followed it, but BFG Edition still manages to feel fresh with little more than a new wrapping.
Just don't expect any serious advances in The Lost Missions. While the 2-3 hours worth of content is entirely new and previously unreleased, it doesn't necessarily add any surprises. The Lost Missions is reportedly restored from content that was cut out of Doom 3, and the play is largely pulled from that game (except for the Grabber weapon, which comes from RoE). It certainly adds value to the overall package, but don't expect to see a hint of what's next for Doom with this new content.
Bringing It All Together
Overall, the single player content in this package is great. Doom 3 and Resurrection of Evil hold up remarkably well, and The Lost Missions offers a whole new set of shadowy corridors to explore and monster closets to scare you. The Doom and Doom 2 ports are welcome as well, especially with the former including the fourth Thy Flesh Consumed campaign from The Ultimate Doom and the latter adding the No Rest for the Living expansion.
While the visuals do hold up well thanks to the newly HD textures, you can still feel the age of the content seeping through as you play. Gamers nowadays are used to realistic lighting effects, and Doom 3's static world of light/darkness just doesn't look right by today's standards. Shadows don't exist here and flashlights reveal all in even the darkest corners. You get past it because it's such a uniquely recognizable element of Doom 3, but it's jarring in this otherwise fresh remake.
The chief advancement, as I mentioned in the intro, is the addition of the so-called "duct tape" mod, that allows players to wield a weapon while the flashlight is on. The original Doom 3 kept the flashlight as a separate item, meaning you had to plunge the world into total darkness if monsters suddenly attacked while you were exploring a lightless area. The "duct tape" mod became so popular among PC users for improving the overall experience that it was -- thankfully -- included in this HD remake.
Unfortunately, inclusion of Doom 3's online multiplayer amounts to a mis-step. There just don't seem to be too many players flocking to play the game online, with half-empty rooms being the norm whenever I tried to jump into a match (over a period of multiple days following the game's release). I also ran into what must have been lag switch-equipped players on more than one occasion, effectively killing any fun that could have been had.
The Definitive Doom
Doom 3: BFG Edition is, without a doubt, the definitive collection for fans of this series. The package brings together virtually every Doom offering that has ever existed, with additions like the "duct tape" mod and The Lost Missions amounting to delicious gravy. We've seen many iterations of the various games in re-releases over the years, but BFG Edition is the best. Hopefully it's also the last that we see before the long-rumored reveal (and release) of Doom 4.