" On its own, it's a short lived experience that is beautiful, but relatively substance free. "
Title: Doom 3 by Activision
Format: FPS Horror Shooter
Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo
The Hype: Though technically the second first person shooter ever to hit screens, Doom was unquestionably the most popular of its day and a nostalgic favorite for gamers as a whole. With an initial sequel many, many years ago that was essentially an enhanced clone of the original, Doom 3 has been whispered in dark corners and party bathrooms as the new, redefining fps for modern gaming. Can it possibly live up to the hype? Read on and find out.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: Let me save a lot of time and simply and honestly say that this is the prettiest game you've ever seen. Period. End of sentence. It is gorgeous in ways that we didn't know games could be gorgeous, with vibrant colors, amazing models, and some of the smoothest animations I've ever seen. Better yet, it actually runs, and runs well, on the minimum system requirements. So, even if you haven't gone out and bought a new machine in the last few years you can still enjoy the goodness that is blood dripping from the walls, eyes rotting in skulls, and monsters of incredible detail teleporting in from hell. 5 out of 5…and setting a new standard for what a PC game can give us graphically.
Playability: Almost amusingly, where the
graphics are revolutionary the gameplay is, to be blunt, remedial. Lacking any
of the enhancements or elaborate polish we've seen from the industry over the
last decade, Doom 3 seems desperate to capture the simplicity of its forefather.
You can move, you can jump, and you can shoot…and that's about it. There is
no leaning around corners, no secondary fire from the totally lackluster selection
of weapons, no cool features or originality…really, it's just like playing Doom
if you could have used the mouse to aim back then. And while, conceptually,
I get that they were going for a nostalgic feel, the effect is really just frustrating.
I really do expect a game to stay with the times, at least in terms of what
the gameplay offers me, and not being able to do things like lean around corners
irks me immensely.
Also remedial is the single player gaming itself. While incredibly creepy and marvelously startling (I have literally not talked to a single person that has played the game in the "right way", in the dark, sitting close to your monitor, with the sound turned up, that hasn't jumped out of their skin at least once), the gameplay itself is more than a little dull. It is the most basic of run and gun fair, also resembling its predecessor, but again I find that simply mowing down hordes of undead isn't quite enough to sate me anymore…not when games like FarCry and Call of Duty are challenging me to actually think as well as twitch.
Finally, there is the darkness. Not the dimness, not the inadequate lighting, but the sheer and total darkness that the game is littered with. I don't know whose lame ass idea this was, but having to spend a third of your time groping in the dark isn't creepy, or mood setting, it's just plain dumb. And while there is a flashlight in the game, you have a choice between using it or holding your gun…and with the randomness and frequency of enemy encounters you'll likely choose to grope in the dark rather than go unarmed. Why you can't find a roll of duct tape to lash that sucker onto your rifle, or to your helmet, or any of the other million solutions I can think of rather than either carrying a gun or a light is beyond me…and is very, very frustrating.. 3 out of 5
Story and Drama: Doom 3 is built on a cool, though admittedly uncompelling story. Basically, a station on Mars has been dabbling in the occult and they've opened the gates to hell. Pretty cool, if not a bit trite, except that, for better or worse, the story is presented exclusively through text and audio samples from little recorders (PDAs) that you pick up including character's personal logs. And while the presentation and acting is really nice, and there's something incredibly cool about wandering through a dead hulk of a space station listening to a log about co-workers going crazy, it can be a little unengaging and could have used a bit of enhancement. 3.75 out of 5
Multiplayer and Replayability: It took us all of about 3 minutes to figure out why there was multiplayer in Doom 3. Not for the players to enjoy it, to be sure, but rather so the framework is in place for mods and licenses. How we know that is simple: because there is no way this multiplayer is expected to stand on its own. Only allowing up to 4 players, and limited exclusively to deathmatching, it is so basic as to not even be worth exploring. 1 out of 5
|All in all, Doom 3 ends up being a fun, though remedial, first person shooter in a gorgeous package. Not fun for more than a few hours, the biggest compulsion to play this game is our natural love of jumping scared and where, hopefully, the mod community will take it. On its own, it's a short lived experience that is beautiful, but relatively substance free.|
The Good: Prettiest game ever.
The Bad: It is banking almost exclusively on the pretty angle.
The Overall Ugly: You need to play it, just so you can see what it's like, but I would be prepared to put it on my shelf after a few hours.
What it's Worth: See if you can find it used.