08 Apr 2021
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Game review: Doom 3: VR Edition (PSVR)

By Darren Price

Bethesda continues its admirable support of virtual reality gaming by bringing another of its back catalogue to PlayStation VR. This time, following Skyrim, Fallout 4, and the Doom reboot, it’s the turn of Id’s seminal Doom 3 to get an added dimension.

Whilst the Doom reboot and its follow-up, Doom Eternal continue to thrill fans of first-person shooters, back in 2004 Doom 3 was less over-the-top action and more chilling corridor horror. 

Having already played a modded version of Doom 3 in VR on the PC, I knew going in that this was going to be very different from the balls-to-the-wall action of Bethesda’s other Doom VR game, the subtly named Doom VFR.

Doom 3 is set on a Martian colony where uber-corporation, the Union Aerospace Corporation, or UAC, have been up to no good. After the UAC opens a portal to Hell the outpost becomes overrun with zombies and demons. And it’s up to the player to mop up the problem.

The corridors of Doom 3 work well in VR, giving players a real sense of immersion. The linear levels also make for a VR experience that isn’t too disorientating, although I did lose my bearings a few times. 

The game has the usual comfort settings for VR newbies and those with a weak stomach. Turns can be set to snap to position or continuously turn. There’s also the option to vignette the view whilst turning. I set it to smooth movement with no vignette as I usually do.

Compared to Doom VFR and pretty much every other VR game, I did find myself feeling just a little queasy after an extended play. Could be that the room was just a bit hot or that the movement is a little too slow compared to Doom VFR.

There are plenty of weapons, as is the Doom trademark. The actual shooting is from a pair of disembodied hands gripping the weapons in front of you.

I played the game with a PSVR plugged into a PlayStation 5, using a PS4 DualShock for the controls (the PS5 controller doesn’t work with PSVR) and a PS4 camera (with the PS5 adapter). I’m not a fan of “immersing” myself in VR pointing and reaching for stuff. The PS4 controller gave me a little bit of movement in order to point my weapon around cover, without having to mess about too much. 

Rather surprisingly, PlayStation Move controllers are not supported, likely due to the lack of a teleport movement option (which I detest in VR games). The PlayStation Aim controller is supported and does work pretty well, although it is recommended that you stand whilst using this controller. 

The visuals are that of a nearly decade-old game. They look poor compared to the likes of Doom VFR and even Skyrim VR (the original game of which is of a similar vintage). The characters all look a bit “potato” with tiny heads and overly wide shoulders. Don’t let the fidelity of the visuals put you off, though. Doom 3 still looks passable in VR, the added depth more than making up for the graphical shortcomings. The lower-spec graphics also mean that the game runs really well on PSVR. 

Doom 3 VR Edition is right up there with Resident Evil VII when it comes to VR jump scares. The game’s VR immersion extends to hearing the shuffling sounds of approaching zombies. I found myself nervously peaking around corners only to be startled by another creature coming at me from behind. The moody lighting, creepy corridors, and demons appearing out of nowhere make Doom 3: VR Edition not a game for the faint-hearted.

As well as the original campaign, the VR package contains the original game’s expansion pack Resurrection of Evil and the bonus expansion, The Lost Mission, from the remastered Doom 3 BFG Edition. Both of these now, of course, playable in VR.

Doom 3 was highly regarded back in the day. Technical advances in character modelling and lighting made the game the first “modern” Doom. The game’s re-release in 2012 is a testament to this. These visuals may no longer be cutting edge, but they still look pretty good, especially when immersed in VR. The budget price tag also means that you get a lot of PlayStation VR fun for money. 

If you are a fan of horror and VR shooters, this is one PSVR game you shouldn’t miss.

Verdict: 8/10

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