Looks Amazing and... Looks Amazing
I'm not even going to try to go into detail here, because you simply have to see the game in action to understand it. There's simply nothing else like it (currently on sale). It's not the beautiful lush environments of Far Cry, but where it lacks in beauty it more than makes up for with gritty, gorey, jump-out-of-your-seat goodness. I could ramble all night about the lighting, textures, and all the things that make this game eye-poppingly gorgeous (or hideous depending on your perspective), but I'm just going to say that Doom 3 sets the standard for anything even attempting to achieve a 10 from anyone in the graphics department.
There's no double jumping, cartwheel dodges, grappling hooks, or choppers here. You can run. You can jump. You can shoot. That's pretty much it, but that's all you need. Not having so many options may seem like a let down at first, but honestly it draws you into the atmosphere of the game even more. The controls are good, but the gameplay itself, while terrifying and captivating, is repetitive at its core. Basically you walk into a room, slowly move around looking for items/clues/gear/etc, kill anything that scares the fuck out of you, then walk to the next room and do it over again. Strategy is not a heavy factor in Doom 3, except for a few of the bosses. It's not a major knock on the game, but it has to be said. With that out of the way, it's worth mentioning that the interface is clean, simple, and dynamic. The game automatically lowers your gun whenever you walk up to a friendly NPC or a computer terminal. In the end, Doom 3's gameplay is simple, yet effective.
Creepy as hell. That's the best way to describe it. They did an amazing job on the ambient sounds. You can hear people screaming in terror from several rooms away. Sometimes you hear whispers that you aren't sure you really heard. If there was ever a game that gave you a reason to finally shell out the cash for a 5.1 surround system, this is it. Turn everything else off and turn the system way up, because the environment of Doom 3 will suck you in like no other. Only complaints? Well, the guns themselves seem almost too quiet. A rocket launcher going off 6" from your head should shake the room with sound, yet it sounds no louder than your footsteps. Speaking of which, your footsteps get rather annoying, which they wouldn't be if they weren't so damn loud. Also, there's no soundtrack. Honestly though, the game doesn't need it. Music could probably ramp up the tension in certain areas, but the game is suspenseful enough on its own.
Well, you can terrify yourself multiple times by playing through on progressively harder difficulty settings, but that's about it. The multiplayer game seems to have been thrown in just so they could put "Online Multiplayer" on the box. It's odd that a FPS developed by id has such a lackluster multiplayer component when it was id itself who pioneered the genre. The single player game itself will take a while, compared to games of this genre, so that's a plus, but there isn't much reason to play through it again, despite how immersive the game is.
In the end, Doom 3 is a good game, but the majority of the game can be compared to a gallon of icing on a cupcake. Yes, the game looks fucking amazing, but half of the screen is almost always pitch black. Someone explain to me why a Marine in the 22nd century doesn't have night-vision or at least a gun-mounted flashlight. The game is presented perfectly by creating a world that is intended to make you jump out of your chair at every turn, but after the initial shock wore off, Doom 3 felt to me like a game that simply shows a glimpse of where games (PC games specifically) are going graphically and what they can potentially do. That's not a bad thing by any means, but Doom 3 as a game truly is more bark than bite.
With all that said, the game is very fun. The disorientation effects are probably one of my favorite parts of the game. When a demon punches you in the face, the camera responds in such a way that makes you believe...you just got punched in the fucking face by a hellspawn. The disorientation increases as your health decreases, and it adds alot to the tension of an already suspenseful game. Hardcore id fans will undoubtedly enjoy this game. General FPS fans will enjoy it as well.
*** This review was written for Flamevault.com shortly after the release of the game. ***