PC Reviews: Doom 3
Genre: First Person Shooter: Survival Horror
The Final Say!
- reviewed by Edwin Milheim
Review Date: August2004
Review Score: 9/10
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A demonic invasion has all but
decimated the Mars research facilities. Horrific death stalks the deep
shadowed corridors now and lucky you, you are one of only a hand full of
survivors. Doom 3 throws you into the game as a new comer to Mars and as you
get a fast run down on who you are and what youíre doing there, who you are is
more of an innuendo because you find out more about everyone else than who the
main character is.
Everyone just refers to you as MarineÖ.This is not overly annoying at all, but
does leave some questions as to what the main character is all about. Getting
to Mars there is not much time to really think about it at all, as the player
soon gets his first mission orders, as the player character goes around and
gets the lay of the base hints of underlying troubles are given. Something is
not right and what ever actions have started the chain of events, it happened
sometime ago. The player as the main character happens on the scene when
things are coming to a boil and in no time, literally all hell breaks loose.
I am not sure what was scarier,
playing the game or waiting for the game. Doom 3 is just one of those games
with some heavy history to live up to. The original Doom way back whenÖbroke
so many game barriers and just shaped a lot of what first person shooters had
to follow, the bar was raised and the software designers everywhere answered.
So does Doom 3 deliver the goods? Does it really live up to the anticipation
and hypes that come along with such a high profile games release?
The answer to that is a
resounding yes. Itís a really good game, bordering on exceptional, not a
spectacular game. Id wisely did not over promote the game. There was enough
information out there to cause a stir of anticipation but not so much so that
the game did not live up to the hype. This game is all it said it would be and
is not a disappointment at all.
Graphically the game is very
impressive and has hit a new stride in the over all graphic excellence of a
game. The game play on the other hand is a lot like the games of old; itís
simple and straight forward in regards to level design. Now donít get me wrong
the games expansive environments are a real thrill to play through and the
directness of the levels lends itself well to the end product. It may be a
classic use of, if itís not broke donít fix it. The overall high quality of
the total package makes it work well.
The story is a basic plot that
has been used to death in dozens of other games and stories, persons are doing
some type of research and or experiments that perhaps they should not be doing
and as a result release something that can perhaps destroy all life as we know
it. As the character in the middle of this Hell fest convention on Mars, the
player fights off hordes of demons and hell spawns using such weapons as
machine guns, shotguns, rocket launchers and more advanced energy weapons.
The advancement of the story as
it is, and the distribution of information is carried out using a personal
data assistant (PDA). Using this player finds Emails and voice files of
various other personnel from the base. Now there are two schools of thought to
this and from a dramatic story telling point both have merit. Some find the
break in action to stop and read these emails and logs and listen to voice
recordings to be distractions that kills the flow of the game. From a dramatic
stand point, these looks into these peoples normal lives in the midst of all
the Hellish chaos is a jarring eerie feel to it. In the long run youíre stuck
with it any way because the emails and the voice recordings/logs hold clues
and even have pass codes to lockers and other areas that you will need.
Add to these moments some cut
scenes and lo and behold the story thrusts ever forward. So as you find your
way in the darkest of areas take to heart that most of the levels are fairly
linear, so getting lost is not too much of a problem here. There is some back
tracking from time to time but it is far and between.
Doom 3 is not exactly scary in a
pure sense; it does deal with a basic level of fear. Itís more of a shock effect
as monsters come out of no where loping towards you from the inky blackness and
even landing an attack before you even know what hit you. The suspense factor is
low and itís more of an overwhelming dread because you know something is there
around the corner, but itís not an out and out fear. The events are often
predictable, like a car wreck you see coming but you just cannot turn away. When
it happens it is the basest of emotions, shock... Once in a while the player is
surprised by some kinds of illusions that seem to attack the senses and warp
reality, they are far and between so they are not over used which are a good
thing. The designers where smart in use of events, over use of certain things
would have surly would have crippled this exceptional game. During a big event
such as fighting with what could be considered a boss monster, something was
taken from the experience. You kind of know they are going to be tough, but
there is not even shock involved with the encounter. You are not afraid at all
because such encounters are previewed by a cut scene so you expect them, no
The sounds and music are a mix of
top notch cinema style sounds; very good voice acting and creepy sounds that ad
to the atmosphere of the game. Everything is there from the creatureís howls,
roars, moans and groans, to shifting metal sounds and the howl of the martian
winds outside. The auditory experience combined with the visual stimulation
makes for a complete package. The only criticism I would have is that some of
the weapons sound some what weak. When I fire something like a shot gun or
machine gun, my surround sound should be blasting and it should prompt the
police to visit because they think a war is going on in my house. This does not
happen. While the weapon sounds are ok, they donít prompt any true satisfaction
in regards to their sounds.
As noted earlier the graphics are
top notch with the shadows providing a creepy feel, so much so you just dread
what may come out of the darkness or some little cubby hole in the bulk heads.
In fact it is rare indeed when you find yourself in an area that is even
remotely well lit. This brings me to one other gripe. What genius decided that
while holding a pistol the player could not hold a flash light as well? You
canít strap it to any of your weapons; in fact you end up switching back and
forth from weapon to flash light. This is really bothersome, I mean come on, the
military has some nice hardware and most times has equipment to handle most
situationsÖso why oh why there is no night vision goggles or some other type of
helmet to aid in looking into the darkness? Ok sure I can give them that, but
the whole flash light thing there is no good reason that you should not be able
to hold a weapon and a flashlight at the same time. Ok Iím off my rant.
By the end of it all the single
player experience is a ripping good time, it best it may very well symbolize as
an apology for the multiplayer aspects of the game. The game supports only up to
four players, using a few of the maps in a second thought gesture of what passes
for death match modes. This pretty much means that when searching for a game,
the limit of four players is going to almost assure that most servers are going
to be full. The over all experience in multiplayer is little more than run
around and blast other players while you try to keep up your health and armor.
Most of the games that I even managed to get into had so much lag it was more of
an exercise of frustration and little else.
In the end the looks of the game
are nothing new when it comes to other games of the genre, but the over all
package and the way it's presented is just top notch and when folks out there
manage some new mods for the game it may well breath some new life into this
Hell Spawn of a thriller Doom 3.
With all the heavy graphics and
sounds, what kind of system you're running and what you're running the game at
may well mean a lot in the over all experience. Have things set too high, and
your looking at a variation of a slide show. Playing with the settings most
people that have even the minimum requirements for running the game will find a
happy medium and a truly enjoyable game. Here are the basics of what the
settings do at the very simple level. Please note that additional graphics
settings can be managed in the Advanced Options of the setup screen.
Ultra High Quality
If you can run the game here then
more power to you. You must have some kind of mutated video card because I donít
think they even make these beast of a cards yet. Ultra High is made for cards of
the future that sport 512 Megs of memory. These are not long in coming, but you
canít get them yet. At this level the game uses uncompressed high rez textures.
Diffuse and specular maps use the maximum rez and no compression. The end result
is a massive 500MB of texture data. This level defaults to a resolution of
This mode is perhaps the more
easily attainable by a good percent of us out there in gaming land. It does use
uncompressed normal maps and textures, the diffuse and specular maps are
compressed and the over all load on the graphic memory is reduced. The default
resolution is 800X600.
For those of us with 128 Meg video
cards this is perhaps the best option. The resolution default here is also
640X480. I found my best experience here. The game compresses normal, diffuse
and specular maps and the textures. With a tweak here and there this turns into
a very enjoyable game experience.
If you have a card with as low as
64MB of memory then this is the best option for you over all. Everything is
compressed at this setting. The default resolution is 640X480. The image quality
does take a bit of a hit, but not so much so that you wonít enjoy the game.
When all is said and done some of
the higher settings have a lot more in common and the difference is just minimal
at best. Doom 3 is blast of a sci-fi horror game that is well worth the price of
admission where so many other games out there just make you feel taken advantage
of and wondering why you shelled out so much money for the frustrations. Doom 3,
even with some of its gripes outshines everything out there so far. The bar has
been raisedÖ.whatís coming next?
Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim Copyright ©2004 www.impulsegamer.com