Doom 3 (Xbox) review
" There comes a time in everyoneís gaming life that they allow curiosity take over their choices. They let the wildly erratic reviews of a game rest, and pick it up to simply look and see. Thatís exactly what I did with Doom 3. Iíve read the reviews touting it as godsend, and Iíve read the ones labeling it a lifeless, banal piece of software. Iíve mashed my opinion of the game somewhere in between those two categories. There are some truly stunning moments that make me happy I spent..."
There comes a time in everyoneís gaming life that they allow curiosity take over their choices. They let the wildly erratic reviews of a game rest, and pick it up to simply look and see. Thatís exactly what I did with Doom 3. Iíve read the reviews touting it as godsend, and Iíve read the ones labeling it a lifeless, banal piece of software. Iíve mashed my opinion of the game somewhere in between those two categories. There are some truly stunning moments that make me happy I spent my money, and there are times when Iíd like to throw the controller against the wall in pure disgust; my rambling has just begun.
To be completely honest, I didnít really understand the story to the fullest. The Union Aerospace Corporation is researching experimental technology on Mars. The main character is a marine exploring the research facility and trying to uncover the terrors that are plaguing it. Ranging from pinkies, which make an appearance in almost every Doom game, to generic demons, the enemies are varied nicely. From first glance Doom 3 looks to be a thriller. Look, the graphics are absolutely brilliant! Theyíre so realistic! Indeed they are, as an incredible shadow engine compliments every model in the game. This lends much-needed atmosphere to the environments. The texturing is especially attractive. Character models, enemy models, and even everyday items are rendered with crisp precision.
At first, every step taken inside the facility is with cautious apprehension. When an unsuspecting zombie pops up seemingly out of nowhere, it definitely causes body organs to not function correctly. And when the decision on whether or not to carry a flashlight over a gun becomes a serious one, itís become readily apparent that the scares are becoming frequent. But after the umpteenth time, it quickly becomes predictable and mundane. Add the fact that most enemies can be mindlessly gunned down before they even react to your presence, and youíve got the makings of a sub par experience. Intelligent AI is integral to a great game, and, sadly, Doom 3 lacks it. Whether itís the shotgun, plasma gun, or the trusty machine gun, little to no skill is required to bring down the hapless minions of hell.
Luckily, the game is not entirely based on killing things. Diligent adventurers will unearth numerous extras including extra health or ammo, and even some surprisingly interesting e-mail of various workers at the facility. Most consist of the unspeakable horrors being done to the workers, but some reveal door and cabinet codes. However, getting the extra ammo and health inside the cabinets will result in even less of a challengeÖjust exactly what is needed.
Doom 3ís saving grace is its audio, which is simply astounding. While the dark, murky environments are freaky in their own rights, hearing distraught voices chanting, ďHelp MeĒ flesh out the atmospheric sensation. And I canít forget the disturbing music that would be scary even if played on a CD player. Whatís even better, though, is experiencing the atmosphere with a friend. The addition of co-op play is a very rewarding time. Yeah, the insipid enemies are still present, but conquering them with a friend covers up some of the blemishes. Give one guy a flashlight and the other a gun, and a riot ensues. And, to the gameís credit, the later levels are done much better, showing the untapped potential that is Doom 3. Ripping on the whole of the game without indulging that it does get better would be unfair.
But, as they say, itís too little, too late. What could have been a must have game is simply one that fans of the series will enjoy. I tip my hat to Id Software for a visually enthralling game, but Iím sure theyíre aware they dropped the ball on this one.
Community review by Linkamoto (July 17, 2005)
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