Doom 3 (PC) Review

By Athanasios 08.05.2016

Review for Doom 3 on PC

Doom II: Hell on Earth came out in 1994, one year after the iconic original. Doom 3, however, almost took a decade. The long wait, along with the few screenshots that id Software would throw to the hungry public once in a while, raised the hype to the stratosphere, and not without a good reason. Not only was this the sequel to one of the best videogames ever, but the sneak peeks for what was about to be released by the American developer seemed to be leaps and bounds above everything that was available up until then. The end result? Like many overhyped products, quite disappointing.

John Carmack is a god amongst videogame programmers, especially when it comes to graphic engines, evident in how good anything powered by his id Tech 4 looks. The perfect sample of what this could do is none other than id Software's third episode of its flagship franchise, Doom 3. Once more, the influence of the movie Alien is extremely obvious - maybe more than ever this time since, instead of the almost abstract level design of previous titles, the UAC space station looks very realistic, with amazingly well-done dynamic lighting, and lots of pitch-black darkness that makes everything spookier.

Besides this shift in location architecture and atmosphere, the very monsters that inhabit this world are less like demons and more - far more, in fact - like aliens, whether that's the agile imp and his multi-eyed face, or the non-horned, gargantuan Barons of Hell. This is the first thing that alienates (no pun intended) the series' hardcore fan-base that just wants a modern facelift on the good ol' satanic enemies of previous releases. Having said that, they all look very good - albeit, a little bland - partly due to their fantastic animation, but mainly because the lighting complements their design.

Screenshot for Doom 3 on PC

It's not just the visuals, though, but also the sound and overall presentation. From the minimalistic, yet effective, introductory chapter (which has the nameless protagonist wander around the space station), to the absence of music, it is crystal clear that this has nothing to do with the classic Doom besides the title and the existence of portals that lead straight to inferno, which, by the way, is ridiculously stereotypical.

In other words, this is less like a fast-paced shooter and more like a horror FPS. Now, this is the main thing that disappoints. No fast-paced gunfights and large groups of enemies to blow up to pieces? How could this work in a Doom game. Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that there was no Doom before it, and that this is the very first in the series, and, therefore, it should be judged on its own merits.

Screenshot for Doom 3 on PC

Initially, it all feels great. The pacing is just right for the sci-fi horror-ish adventure that this is, the controls are flawless, the typical arsenal of the franchise is back (although every single one sounds weak), and the atmosphere is so good that it's not hard to imagine a Xenomorph jumping from a dark corner or something. Unfortunately, the excitement diminishes with every passing minute, with the main problem being that Doom 3 just isn't scary.

For starters, it relies too much on uninspiring jump scares. How many times can an Imp that comes crashing through a metal wall scare people? Once? Twice? Furthermore, these "scary" sequences happen so often that they soon get predictable. The second, and maybe the most crucial factor when it comes to horror, is the feeling of hopelessness, which is absent here. The space marine is armed to the teeth, the ammo is in abundance, and, since the enemies are fewer and rarely ambush the hero, they are a piece of cake to kill.

Screenshot for Doom 3 on PC

To put it another way, Doom 3 tries to give a horror experience and, yet, ends up being simple shooter. Is it any good, though? Well, it's… acceptable. It's not bad, but it's certainly a disappointing addition to the franchise. First off, it's extremely linear, something that makes the whole mission feel like taking a "Haunted House" roller coaster ride: walk a few steps, kill one or two zombies, go to the next room, kill, the Imp, next get "ambushed" by a single demon, and so on, and so forth.

Its second, and final, problem, and a very common complaint amongst most gamers, is the way the mood-enhancing darkness ends up being an annoyance, especially since there is no grey area when it comes to it, with all shadows (even those cast by the enemies) being 100% black - after all, and as mentioned before, Doom 3 is just a shooter, therefore, not being able to see things is irritating, not scary.

Screenshot for Doom 3 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The reason why this succeeds in surviving amongst its competitors is, partly, its graphical quality, but, mostly, the fact that it has the word 'Doom' on the title. While it's not terrible or anything, Doom 3 is not the sequel that people wanted. Instead of fast-paced, its slow and repetitive, instead of a complex maze, it's a linear path, and instead of having a unique style, it looks a bit generic, even though it's wonderful from a purely technical aspect. It's good… but it's not Doom.

Developer

id Software

Publisher

Activision

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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