Monday, November 26, 2012

Doom 3 BFG review PS3

Doom 3 was released some time ago for the XBox and PC, but this is the first time for the PS3 and is part of a wider re-mastered anniversary collection that adds in the the new game along with the two expansions and, nicely enough, the original Doom and Doom II campaigns. Is it any good though?
Considering that I had more fun with the 8-bit Doom and Doom II than the new version - no. For those too young to remember Doom was the game that truly brought first person shooting to the world. Really a 2D affair with no requirement to aim up or down it was a blast just to run through an area with your unnamed Marine blasting anything before you and circle-strafing around the larger enemies whittling down their health.  Doom 3 was an attempt to bring that ethos to a modern audience and although laudable in its efforts it failed in its implementation. So how did it fail - oh let me count the ways.

It tries to kick it old-school with no mini-map or health regeneration, but then locks doors behind the player channelling them into the way to go and propping up health dispensers in every level. In the older games letting the monsters turn on each other while picking off others was the only way to survive some pitched battles, but while monsters can still do that given a maximum of three monsters at a time there's little point. That goes for circle-strafing too; no point and given the cramped conditions far too easy to get snagged on some architecture or walk off the edge of a platform thanks to the newly zoomed in viewpoint cutting off the periphery. At least the weaponry is good; well all right not so much good as bad. Doom shotgun - bam; Doom 3 shotgun - bampf. Sounds at times like throwing firecrackers at the enemy.

That's just the problem with the game; mechanically it's even worse. Weapons are cycled through with the shoulder keys which takes far too long, but at least there's the quick select options on the d-pad [sigh] which are preset and unchangeable and don't feature either the shotgun or machine gun that are probably going to be the most used weapons in the game. There's no cover mechanic which would be a good thing if some of the enemy didn't possess it either, though it's possible to duck behind crates too provided the player doesn't want to try and aim at the same time (try moving the right-stick while pressing it down at the same time). Then there's the lack of feedback - the PS3 has a vibration mode which isn't used; and it's impossible to tell where you're getting hit from. Add in that the weapons reticule won't state if the weapon is aimed correctly (it turns red if an enemy is hit) and combine with the new 3D mechanic and I found myself shooting over the heads of monsters on stairs (with a shotgun!) or to the side with them having no problem in targeting me.

But hey who cares if it plays badly if it looks good; shame it doesn't. For all the vaunted remastering textures are still blurry and this stands out with the crystal-clear computer screens placed next to blurry locker decals. Monsters... okay they do look good, but by default no-one's going to be spending much time looking at them as a) they need to be killed and b) most dissolve after death.

At least it plays smoothly. Well smoothly until three monsters try to teleport in one after another and the game gives a massive shudder and comes to a halt. Though that's still better than the saving and loading. Remember when I said doors lock behind you preventing return? In theory this should cut down on load and save times as the game can discard any data regarding those previous areas. So can someone please tell me why, for the most part, saving and loading takes the same amount of time as a game such as Skyrim? Worse yet manual saving uses the same mechanic as autosaving - bam everything stops so it can save and then throws you back into the game without warning. Okay some games still do this, but I've not encountered one that autosaves as badly as Doom 3. Consider the following examples:

I approach a door and perform a manual save, tapping my fingers as it stores god-knows what data; it finishes and I step through the door and bam autosave.
I go through a door and an automated recording starts and gets two words in before bam autosave.
I go down an open elevator and as I reach the bottom a chaingun toting marine starts to tear me up; I swing my weapon around to get a bearing and bam autosave.

Seriously? Did no-one play this game on a PS3?

Oh and one minor point telling me how wonderful the Grabber is during a loading screen tip is completely pointless given that I cannot obtain the Grabber in this particular campaign.

Systematic fail; but hey the 8-bit originals are a blast.