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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

id / Vicarious Visions

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

April 3, 2005

 

 

- Amazing graphics are some of the best ever on any current generation console game
- Can literally scare the hell out of you: perfectly captures the heightened sense of danger just waiting around every corner
- Great online maps with plenty of shadows to stalk and sneak up on opponents

 

 

- Story still really isnít very plausible: Hell on Mars?
- Too much vertigo-inducing movement and graphic stuttering issues during online play

 

 

Review: Doom 3 (PC)

Review: TimeSplitters - Future Perfect (GC)

Review: Counter-Strike (XB)

Review: Halo 2 (XB)

Review: Unreal Championship (XB)

 

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Doom 3

Score: 8.8 / 10

 

doom 3 review          doom 3 review

 

As the game that practically invented and definitely revolutionized the first-person shooter game, Doom is one of the most influential games in the history of gaming. After a second Doom title, legendary game developer id concentrated its efforts on the Quake franchise. Fans of the FPS granddaddy Doom franchise have had to wait nearly a decade for the next game to appear, and it came back with a vengeance with the incredible Doom 3 last year for the PC. While it wasnít a big leap in gameplay and innovation, it certainly was an absolutely amazing-looking game worthy of the Doom moniker.

When the game was announced for the Xbox, many thought that the gameplay would be the same as its PC counterpart and few expected the Xbox version to

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come anywhere close in the PC versionís graphical quality. But lo' and behold, console developer Vicarious Visions not only matched the gameplay of the PC version, but incredibly pushed past the limit of what was thought possible on the Xbox or any console visually and have come extremely close to a dead-on duplication of the PC graphics.

Doom 3 isnít without its faults, but those that

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laughed at the notion that any console game could match the raw power of a top-shelf PC video card wonít be laughing after playing Doom 3 on the Xbox.

When discussing Doom 3 for the Xbox, the talk begins with the graphics. Without reservation, I can safely say this is the most impressive graphical performance on a current-generation console, even considering the Splinter Cell series and Chronicles of Riddick Xbox title. Truly unbelievably detailed environments and creatures, awe-inspiring lighting and particle effects, and downright scarily-rendered hellish creatures are an overwhelmingly beautiful sight. Developer Vicarious Visions has done such a great job, itís nearly impossible to discern the PC Doom 3 visuals taking advantage of a high-end PC graphics card and processor from the Xbox version. Doom 3ís graphical abilities are something I didnít expect to experience until the next console cycle comes, starting with the Xbox 360 (or whatever they end up calling it) later this year and the PS3. This easily is one of the best looking games that will appear on the current crop of console hardware.

Accentuating the stunning graphics of Doom 3 is the excellent sound and music that the game uses. Sound effects of the weaponry are very good, and one extremely realistic touch is the way that sound changes depending on your placement to a sound source. For instance, when you go to a TV monitor where someone is communicating with you, if you are facing the monitor, you can hear the sound as if you were really standing there. But if you turn from the monitor, the sound becomes less audible, just like it would if you were actually right there, moving away from the monitor. The growls and shrieks of the hellspawn (most of which are updates of classic Doom monsters) youíll face can definitely send a shiver right down your spine and back up again. Music is used nicely, especially the climatic, tense tunes that play during frightening and tense battles against hellacious adversaries. It all comes together to create a truly creepy and scary gaming atmosphere that will have the hairs on the back of your neck continually raised.

But while drop-dead looks and sweeping sound are high points, the game isnít without its blemishes. The gameís story hasnít changed from the original Doom. And that can be considered a disappointment, because the perception on my part is that the story was treated as an afterthought to the graphics and gameplay. Who really buys into a portal to hell is opened in an archeological dig on Mars? Sounds kind of far-fetched, doesnít it? Unbelievably, the somewhat questionable storyline of Doom will become the basis of a Doom major motion picture, hitting theaters nationwide in August. But if someone could hammer out a movie script based on Mario Brothers (that movie, in large part due to the awful script, was an absolute atrocity, and may be the worst video game-to-movie ever) hell, why not Doom?

 

doom 3 review          doom 3 review


Doom 3 fares better with its gameplay, but even that treads the familiar ground of its predecessors and particularly online can practically induce vertigo and motion sickness with a much-too-fast gameplay speed. The gameplay follows the same modus operandi of the original Doom: run like hell through level after level, fight off the demons, find weapons, ammo and health, and get to the next ďswitchĒ to advance to the next level, where more of the same ensues. The high difficulty of the original shows up here, too. I can honestly say the only way I got through the entire game to write this review was using the god mode cheat. Without it, I still wouldnít have completed this insanely challenging, sweaty-palm inducing game.

This all happens at an accelerated pace that is just too fast to handle at times. Doom 3ís game speed will remind many of another Xbox title, Unreal Championship, which hit the pedal to the metal at an insane rate. Doom 3 would have served itself better to model its game speed after Halo 2, which has perfectly-paced FPS gameplay that every FPS game from here on out would be served best to imitate.

Iím not kidding when I say that anybody that has any issue with vertigo may want to think twice about playing Doom 3, because of the incredible rate of speed youíll be flying around the levels, especially when you are playing online, when the blazing gameplay is really noticeable. The gameplay speed also has a distinct effect on the ability of the game to handle without glitches. Youíll notice that graphics may stutter and animation may suffer slowdown, which can cause the gameplay to suffer.

Still, if you arenít susceptible to vertigo, like extremely fast gameplay , and can deal with a bit of glitching, Doom 3ís online play has enough high points to create a game thatís a viable alternative to Halo 2 for FPS Xbox Live gamers. The whole online package isnít without flaws, especially the problems you may encounter actually trying to find a match to play without having to connect to the match menu over and over, hoping that the game you just attempted to join is still available. What Doom 3 does best online is provide a stealth element to standard run-and-shoot FPS gameplay. There are plenty of shadows throughout each online level, giving gamers a chance to hide in the dark, wait for adversarial prey, and attack from a pitch-black death shroud. But your online competitors can use the dark and shadowy crevices and corners to their advantage too.

The weaponry available online is the full Doom 3 arsenal, including chainsaws and rocket launcher. The best advice fro online supremacy I can offer is always find and use the rocket launcher. Itís by far the best weapon to rack up round-winning kill counts. But donít get too comfortable with your rocket launcher facing off against another player and his gun, because many Doom 3 online players are so adept at using guns, such as the machine gun and chaingun, that they can take down you and your much more powerful rocket launcher.

Doom 3 stumbles a bit in its online play, but it still offers a great alternative to Halo 2 for FPS online gaming, although it wonít exactly make anybody forget about Halo 2ís much better online package. Itís not a groundbreaking game, but it is one stunning beauty to look at, pushing the envelope of console visual and sound presentation to a previously uncharted region. Donít expect an instant classic, but Doom 3 still gives a hell of a performance.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com
(May 10, 2005)

 

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