#585 Doom 3

Posted: 26th May 2020 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

870th played so far

Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: id Software
Publisher: Activision

Doom and Doom II were the two games that started the FPS genre – not the first to exist, but they defined a lot of how it worked. Being open sourced let to its life being lengthened, but even now the networked versions are revered as a pur, early example. Making a sequel a decade later, in a post-Unreal, post-Half-Life world creates a challenge as it no longer works as well in that world. Even fifteen years ago, coloured key cards weren’t enough and you needed storytelling in your world, not just random corridors with some occasional hints at function.

Doom 3 is meant to provide some of that, but the test will be whether id Software managed to learn enough from those games to bring the series into the new world.

Our Thoughts

By using a far away moon base – something the Doom franchise really demands – it feels like the game’s world lost some of the realism of Half-Life and the like – I’m sure you don’t need to show much living space to get through things, but it feels like the base is still a fairly linear corridor with only the occasional side track for goodies, rather than a real space that makes some more sense. The game hides it by occasionally offering multiple paths around an area – sometimes making it clear in advance that something else is coming up – I remember energy streams that could be shut down to open a bridge being shown off explicitly on your way in, while you had to use that on the way back. The detailing is, obviously, more there than in the previous games, but they still feel like a twisting corridor that, yes, requires you to collect key cards as you go through. They’re specific ones tied to people’s identities, but still…

At the same time, there is a small hub of sorts where these cards expand what you can do, so it works well enough. You also get hints to open lockers and such around the world – scouring audio and text logs for numbers or find them given to you in other places in the world. They’re not that common, and mostly just give you some extra ammo, but it feels like the game tries. These logs also give you more of a story, which is nice. That story is mostly about a demon invasion and the things leading to it, but it works well enough as a story – not as flavoured as others, but it feels like they’re making some effort.

Aside from exploring this world, which doesn’t have much to offer that feels like a reward that goes beyond the immediate gameplay, you obviously do the shooting. As is now common with these games, it takes a while before you can fire a gun, but once you do the enemies come hard and fast and you keep fighting off monsters, without much time to breathe. It actually gets quite boring as they’re fairly samey and happen too often, and it struggled to hold my attention at that point – the bosses being bullet sponges make this worse, as it drags and the resource management bits don’t become more interesting.

Final Thoughts

That last bit makes it sound like I hated playing Doom 3, but to be honest, when it was on, it was on. I struggled through parts, and having to replay parts after I died both showed the tricks the game had, but also clearly made it easier. It relies a lot on surprise enemies, which I don’t think are the most fun and removes a bit of the strategy the earlier games may have had. It still looks quite good though, and the world holds up to a point, hinting at a lot more to be discovered than I had so far.