Doom 3 BFG Edition review: It’s not Doom 4, but it is the next best thing

Doom 3 BFG Edition reviewAccording to many, the end of western civilization began in 1993. Id Software’s Doom had just been released, and the gore mixed with the satanic imagery prompted cries of moral corruption. It could be used as a “mass murder simulator” they said. Don’t let your children play it, or they may go berserk and eat your face. The years have not been kind to those alarmists, and the object of their scorn has far outlived the cries that children would be forever warped by the original game.

It has been nearly 20 years since that first Doom dropped onto PCs, and soon found its name being echoed throughout the halls of Congress. As history so often does, looking back at the concerns raised by the game, we have to shake our heads at some of the reactions. It seems foolish to be concerned with a game like Doom, especially considering how far games have come and how much more graphic the violence in games has become. Shooting a pixilated brown figure with teeth and seeing red is nothing compared to the creative ways you can slaughter countless digital people these days. If you could bring one of the early Doom critics to our day and play a game like Dishonored, which is considered relatively tame by modern standards, their brain may shut down completely when they witness you casually stab someone in the neck.

Doom 3 BFG ChainsawTo commemorate 20 years of glorious violence, id Software and their new (to the franchise) publishing partner Bethesda have released a compilation featuring all the Doom you could ever hope for on one disc, including a remastered version of Doom 3 and an entirely new expansion as well.

Included on the Doom 3 BFG disc are the original Doom, Doom 2, and Doom 3, including the original expansion pack Resurrection of Evil and a new offering called The Lost Mission. Along with HD graphics, Doom 3 also features competitive multiplayer, co-op support, and has been optimized for 3D.

Whether or not this bundle will appeal to you is entirely a matter of whether or not you are already a fan of Doom. If you are not, there really isn’t anything here that will convince you otherwise, but id isn’t trying to win you over. This is a collection for longtime fans that have been with the franchise for decades, and who are hungrily awaiting the debut of Doom 4 — which could be as soon as next year, or could be released in a few years as a next-gen title. 

doom-bfgThe original Doom and Doom 2 are recreated in all their glory. The new bundle doesn’t mess with the formula, and those that have tried the XBL and PSN ports will have already played these offerings. The real attraction of this bundle – beyond just having all the Doom games in one place – is the HD version of Doom 3, as well as The Lost Mission.

The original campaign remains essentially the same, for better and worse. Those that didn’t play Doom 3, or played it on the PC, are going to need some time to adjust to the controls, which feel dated by today’s standards and were always a bit odd on consoles. They respond well enough, but little things like the lack of a dedicated melee and the need to put the icon exactly on the “download” button in order to retrieve the numerous pieces of scattered intel (which don’t autoplay, by the way) takes some getting used to. Those that played the game on the Xbox will no doubt remember many of these complaints from the first go round. The game was designed on and for PC, and that legacy affects the console versions to this day. 

One minor change is the inclusion of a flashlight that is mounted on your armor. Previously it was an either-or thing, where you could not illuminate and area and fire at the same time. This could be frustrating, but it also added to the tension. The good of this change far outweighs the bad though.

Doom 3 BFG review

The multiplayer maps and the co-op add a fair amount of novelty to the game, but heart of Doom has always been built around the single player joy of running at a demon and using a chainsaw on them. The multiplayer is fun, but it isn’t – and never was – what Doom was about.

As for the graphics, the improvements are notable, but you won’t confuse them with current gen games. It is the faces and their weird eyes and mouths that hurts it. The monsters actually look fairly good, but the people are off-putting   The general lack of overall detail is present as well, a typical trait for games remastered. That said, when Doom 3 originally debuted on PC in 2004, it was considered one of the best looking games of its time, and rightly so. Id was working with tools that by our standards are dated, of course, but they managed to squeeze the absolute most out of them and used clever tricks of lighting and shadow to push the hardware of the day to its absolute max. Unsurprisingly, the Xbox version wasn’t on par with the PC version, but it managed a respectable presentation as well. That emphasis on atmospheric design serves this HD remake well.

The extra missions are what should tip the scales in favor of people that are considering the bundle but haven’t decided yet. The Resurrection of Evil expansion has been floating around for a while now, and it remains much as it was when it was released in 2005, just with slightly better graphics. For those that missed it, the story continues that of Doom 3 a few years down the line. It is not nearly as compelling a story as the source material, but the combat remains the highlight and the inclusion is a great addition for those that missed it the first time around — and an excellent boon for those playing Doom 3 for the first time.

Doom 3The Lost Mission is what should get the attention of most Doom fans, as it is new for this game. Consisting of seven levels from Doom 3, this mission pack is more of a  set of deleted scenes than a true expansion, at least where the story is concerned, but it is a strong addition for fans that love the combat. Like the other Doom 3 content, it has been optimized for 3D. If you enjoy 3D gaming, the depth is good and the game moves well, but it was not designed as a 3D game, so it doesn’t really add much to the overall experience.


Although there are some issues with the game including the same flawed controls and PC-first design decisions, and while the HD graphics aren’t going to fool anyone into thinking Doom 3 was suddenly rebuilt with a modern GPU in mind, the package is strong. Very strong.

I spent a good portion of this review going over the things I didn’t like, but I have saved the most important fact for last: Doom 3 was, and remains a great game. The HD graphics may not blow you away, but the original design was so good, they don’t need much to be immersive. The additional content, including Doom and Doom II is great, but the reason to buy this bundle is Doom 3 and the two expansions.

The Doom 3 BFG Edition isn’t the long awaited sequel we have been hoping for, but it offers enough to tide you over until id finally announced Doom 4.


Apex Legends adds its first new gun, the Havoc energy rifle

Respawn added the first piece of new content to Apex Legends, the Havoc energy rifle. It's available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC players. The fully automatic rifle can be modded to shoot single-shot energy beams.

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Samsung Galaxy S10 optimizations make it great for Fortnite

Samsung's new line of Galaxy S10 devices have been optimized for gaming. All three offer improved support for the Unity engine and the S10 Plus also offers vapor chamber cooling, similar to the Xbox One X.

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.

Did Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown fall victim to the Madden Curse?

Join us as we take a tour through the long-running history of the Madden Curse -- and Tom Brady's recent accolades. We all know John Madden is a longtime NFL talent, but is he also an agent of dark forces?

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in Destiny 2? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.

Want to trick out your PlayStation 4? These themes will get you started

Personalize your gaming experience with some of our favorite themes for the PlayStation 4, including free, paid, static, and dynamic options. Fan-favorite third-party and exclusive games are also included.

Fortnite squads up with Ninja, Chan, and Samsung for exclusive K-pop skin

The Galaxy S10 Plus has features that make it great for mobile gaming and just like last year, Fortnite and Samsung have joined forces to bring an exclusive K-pop skin to the phone. Here's how you can get it.

Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs at every price

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.
Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Focus Plus makes it easier for developers to port PC content

HTC Vive has announced the Vive Focus Plus headset. The upgraded stand-alone headset makes use of "six degrees of freedom" support in controllers for a PC-like virtual reality experience.