Doom 3: BFG Edition Review

January 17, 2013

/ by Tin Salamunic

Developer: id Software
Publisher: Bethesda
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Review Platform: PS3
Release Date: October 2012

Doom 3: BFG Edition is a first person shooter set in the hellish hallways of a research facility on Mars. In addition to being a re-release of 2004’s Doom 3, Doom 3: BFG Edition includes a number of updates and more content. The enjoyment of Doom 3: BFG Edition’s derives from the game’s simplicity. You play a lone space marine against the legions of Hell. You're assailed by demons with varied forms, such as large spiders, floating disembodied heads trailing fire, and bull-like beasts, to humanoid beings that tower over the player’s space marine. Alongside demons, you'll have to contend with zombies and possessed marines armed with firearms. Against this horde you have a substantial number of weapons to wield, ranging from more mundane firearms such as shotguns and a submachine gun to more exotic weapons such as the plasma rifle and all-powerful BFG9000.

This is basically all Doom 3 has to offer – many enemies and many weapons to kill them with. It is mindless fun. Though the action certainly wears thin after a while, there is a good deal of fun in constantly switching up tactics with every ambush due to the variety of enemy types, ducking and weaving while blasting away at screeching monsters. There is a narrative, but it is fairly uninteresting, being simply that a portal to hell has been opened within the research facility that the player’s marine is stationed at, and demons have rampaged through the facility, killing or possessing almost everyone, and it falls to the player to defeat them before they can attack Earth.

The game does a fantastic job of creating a creepy atmosphere. Throughout the levels are a number of PDA logs with audio recordings of the thoughts and feelings of the facility’s staff, by which the player learns about the various accidents, rumors, and mental problems stemming from the experimentation with the Hell portal. The game’s enhanced lighting effects shine in sections of the facility where electric power is spotty at best, and advancing along corridors with blood-splattered walls and choked with dead bodies as the lights flicker remains a tense experience no matter how often the player experiences it. The sound in the game is also noteworthy, as the demonic whispers that echo in the marine’s ears during his exploration of the facility are quite sinister, and the main soundtrack of the game is suitably disconcerting.

Doom 3: BFG Edition does falter in a few areas, most notably in the graphics. Character models are fairly blocky in appearance, and virtually every human character looks the same. In contrast, Demons tend to look better by and large, and are decidedly more varied in appearance than humans. The environments are quite detailed, but since the game takes place almost solely in a science facility, levels tend to blend together and are for the most part forgettable. However, the game does boast good lighting and flame effects.

The game also has a couple of smaller design problems that do not ruin the experience, but could have been easily fixed. While the variety in enemies is exceptional, there is some overlap in role among several enemy types. For example, there are two or three small-sized, weak, terrestrial enemy types that attack the player in groups. Also, there are three or four human-sized demons that spawn, move, and attack in similar ways as well. It seems like it would have been possible to review the roster of enemy types and condense the few of similar natures into one or two new enemy types who would then be more distinct. In other words, there is a line between variety and redundancy, and unfortunately this game crosses that line. Of course, it is exciting to encounter new enemies, and the game does a fine job of pacing new encounters, but some of the excitement is lost when the player realizes that a new foe is not too dissimilar to an older foe. A glaring problem with the game is the lack of a quick select menu. Cycling through a half dozen weapons trying to get to the weapon most appropriate for a given situation while being hounded by demons is quite annoying. The omission of a quick select menu is almost inconceivable when one considers that virtually every game to include an inventory that can hold more than two weapons has such a feature. It does not seem like too tall an order to include a quick select menu in this rerelease alongside the touched up graphics and new checkpoint system.            

Despite some minor missteps, Doom 3: BFG Edition is a solid title. While certainly not the most complex shooter available, the game supplies an abundance of simple bloody action that will surely keep anyone looking for a change from narrative or multiplayer focused shooters entertained.

Final Score “Solid, Albeit Simplistic Shooter” 8.0
Detailed, though repetitive, environments and good lighting effects make up for unappealing character models.
PA host of enemy types, and powerful weapons makes Doom 3: BFG Edition great fun.
It’s almost overwhelming how much Doom 3: BFG Edition has to offer. Alongside Doom 3 are two add-on packs with more levels and the classics Doom and Doom 2.
Dark ambient music and demonic whispers from the walls help create a perfectly nightmarish atmosphere.

Review by Jack Jacobs

Jack Jacobs is a college student from Richmond, VA who styles himself a freelance writer partially because the term “free-lance” originally described a medieval mercenary soldier. While Jack has owned a number of different video game platforms, he is most fond of Nintendo’s little box with the carry handle, the GameCube. If on the off chance you’d like to recruit Jack and his free lance (lance meaning word processor, not battle implement) E-mail him at All Articles by Jack. 

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