I've been playing one of my Thanksgiving presents, Doom 3: BFG Edition. I'm enjoying it a lot, both as a gamer and as a shooter historian. Various thoughts follow, and I guess you could call this a mini review...
It's amazing how games have come along graphically. When Doom 3 was released in 2004, it was without question the most technologically advanced game in existence. Nothing looked better than Doom 3 on a good PC. Fast forward to today. The Doom 3: BFG Edition looks dated. Environments look good, but that's as much from artistry as technology. Monsters look unmemorable. Human characters in cutscenes look kinda bad. It's amazing how things have advanced.
Gameplay-wise...well, it's Doom 3. I have a great affection for all things Doom, so I'm enjoying it. Doom 3 is one of only two games ever to actually make me jump. It's also retro compared to shooters today. There is no recharging health. You have to hunt around for health packs. Ammo is limited. If you're patient enough to explore, then you'll be fine, but ammo is not unlimited like in Halo or Call of Duty. The gameplay just feels old, like Halo: Combat Evolved was never released. I like it. If that's not your thing, then you probably won't be able to say the same.
I'm also playing the game as I would an old-timey game: I'm not worrying about achievements on my first playthrough, at all. I didn't even look at them. It's kinda nice. I've been playing too many games accompanied by a laptop lately, looking at it every 15 seconds. (I blame this 50/50 on my own OCD and on developers' decisions to put obnoxious Easter egg hunts in their games).
I should mention that the disc also comes with Ultimate Doom and Doom 2. Good stuff. Not everything is good with this compilation however. There are some bizarre decisions. The controls cannot be customized, at all. That's not terribly unusual with console games, however both Rage and Quake IV (id Software's last couple games) had some customizability. You'd think this one would too. The options menus in general are sparse. There's a single volume control. That's a little cheap, seeing as games 20 years ago had separate sliders for music and sound effects.
These are minor issues, though, in my opinion. What separates BFG Edition from other recent remakes in my mind is the bargain price. This game was not released at $60, and I got my copy for $15 over the holiday. For the amount of Doom content on the disc, I think that's a good deal. If you're looking for a modern shooter, leave this one alone. However, if you are a fan of Doom and want a huge dose of nostalgia, pick this one up.