At the time, I didn’t get a chance to play the original Doom 3 because its requirements were too high for my poor old computer. Announcing the return of this classic in the form of a VR game couldn’t have brightened my days darkened by COVID. Thanks to Doom 3: VR Edition, I was able to experience this technical marvel before its time, this legend of the action horror shooter, more intense and impressive than ever before.
In the future, the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) has become the largest company known to man. With the help of almost unlimited resources, the UAC has set up a base on Mars on which, together with its weapons technology, they want to further develop their tasks in space research and in biological research.
As a result of this investigation, they open a door to Hell that fills the base with monsters. These hellish creatures want to invade Earth after taking control of the Martian base. A Space Marine who had just embarked on a tour of this doomed base must get to work kicking these possessed creatures into the part where the sun never shines.
Unlike previous Doom games, in Doom 3 the player doesn’t start with a gun in hand and dive headfirst into action. The game simmers events as the character wanders the facilities on Mars. That way the atmosphere is more authentic and the struggle for survival takes little time to get more personal. The details of the story are unraveled, for example, through pieces of text on computer screens and diary entries from the crew. Rather than being a pointless Sagittarius, the story gives meaning to the plot.
As a game, Doom 3 has been well integrated into the VR format. Moving through the corridors of the base on Mars goes smoothly with the help of free movement and gradual rotations, especially if the player can freely determine the degree of rotation. Even so, it’s best to use motion controls at all times, which makes the other option, the DualShock, completely obsolete.
The buttons on the PS4 Aim Controller give the character fluid control and, above all, precise and authentic shooting, which is the most important thing in a Doom. Surprisingly, the pistol also feels natural with this two-hand control. However, this does not mean that the action improves when using two-handed weapons such as the shotgun or the assault rifle, as it is now possible to shoot monsters from cover or peek around corners if desired.
Doom 3: VR Edition serves as a good foundation to become an exciting action game. Its varied levels bring lots of threats from all directions and cleverly distributed fears. This sense of terror is heightened by surprising situations that even change the levels. For example, support beams collapse, protruding limbs protrude from the ceiling and try to reach the player, or wildly swaying loading cranes. All of this is quite threatening when experimenting with the VR headset.
Given that the source material is almost 20 years old, the VR version of Doom 3 is impressive. His age is mostly shown in somewhat polygonal characters with strangely small heads compared to his body. Aside from some blurry lighting effects on certain surfaces, the new improved textures are sharp and look great in-game. With the help of new lighting effects, surfaces with reflections, and dynamic shadows, Doom 3 looks so good that many modern PSVR games could learn a thing or two from it.
Although the loading times are a little longer than expected, it runs smoothly on at least a PlayStation 4 Pro and makes for a fast and dynamic action experience. When that speed hits the dark plains and twinkling lights, I couldn’t help but feel a typical VR dizziness. I thought my stomach could handle the virtual reality action well, but it only took 15 minutes before I felt cold sweat on my body and my hands searched for a bucket instead of a gun. It didn’t matter how much I tweaked the game’s VR settings.
The game’s sounds follow a similar path as the graphics area, with good mastering work to meet modern standards. The gloomy atmosphere of the Martian base can be enjoyed with beautifully designed surround sound. You can hear all kinds of noises and hissing around you, everything you would expect from a collapsing structure. The growling of monsters echoes through the corridors and the sinister footsteps make your skin crawl as you prepare for the next attack. Dubbing is fun and straightforward, although articulated as in the past. You need to give extra points for being able to have conversations with other characters no matter how brief your answer is. On the other hand, the music doesn’t exaggerate its themes like the previous Dooms, but rather focuses more on emphasizing the horror atmosphere with high-quality orchestral sounds.
Given the high expectations I had, it was a big surprise to see how well Doom 3 switched to VR. There are roughly 16 hours of quality fire fights as this version has both DLCs in addition to the base game, but the entire package still doesn’t have 8GB on the console. This technically fine and atmospherically impressive shooter is above all exciting and entertaining entertainment. It’s a shame the nausea demon didn’t let me enjoy the action to the fullest and sometimes forced me to.