Do Doom 3’s Graphics Hold Up?

Do Doom 3’s Graphics Hold Up?

I’ve always felt strangely about Doom 3. On the one hand, it was a fairly revolutionary game, graphically. The lighting was striking. On the other hand, it looked kind of gross: humans in the game were starkly lit with strange, bump-mapped faces and odd, robotic movements.

But is that a bad thing or does it add to the ambiance? Does the game’s look stand the test of time, or is it a strange artifact from a simpler time? Here are some animated GIFs from the recently-released Doom 3 BFG Edition running on an Xbox 360. We’ll let you, the Kotaku readers, decide.


  • Unfortunately the new release is pretty poor in near every respect. Game can be made to look a lot better with mods released years ago.

  • I think alot of this has to do with whether or not you are playing this for the first time. I am not, so a lot of the scares and in turn, the graphics behind them are lost on me. But I’m sure the graphics are good enough to hold up for a first time player. Besides, they aren’t bad for a 7 year old game. Then again, I am absolutely, unashamedly bias… Doom 1 still looks amazing 😀

  • Nope.

    Their problem was focusing on “graphics”, instead of art or both. They did pioneer many of the techniques games are using today, but without an appealing art style, even the bleeding edge is going to look dated eventually. Especially when you’re trying to do a “realistic” style.

    Look at games like Dishonored, Team Fortress 2 and Wind Waker. TF2 and WW still look as good now as they day they were released. Dishonored isn’t using the latest tech or anything, considering it still has to run on consoles, but the game is gorgeous. It really does look like its concept art paintings come to life, and the lighting is some of the best I’ve seen in any game. Not because it has super high tech lighting tech or anything, but because it has been applied in a really aesthetically pleasing way in the game that matches the painterly style they were going for.

    • Yeah – HL2 came out around the same time, had cutting edge tech AND looks great today because there was some real art direction behind it.

  • Doom 3 had AMAZING lighting when it first came out. There was nothing remotely on the same level as it at the time. The real time shadows and the complete integration of static and dynamic level geometry was ahead of it’s time. Before Doom 3, you could always tell when something would move in a level, you could always tell where a destructible wall was because the lighting systems at the time couldn’t shade it the same way as the static environment. The enemies interacting properly with the environment (grabbing on to railings and smashing down doors) was also ahead of it’s time. Doom 3’s use of normal mapping, while not a first, was still an industry changer when other devs saw what you could do with so few polygons. Also the way you interact with the UI on in-game screens and panels is also very cool and still done poorly in many games today.

    Does it hold up today? Not entirely. It could really use some softer edged shadows and some indirect lighting putting a bit of detail into those pitch blacks. The humans also look pretty poor compared to what we can achieve today. But the monsters still look fantastic, and overall it’s still great engine for the type of game they were trying to make.

    • Quality comment +rep. I felt FEAR kinda tried to build the same ambience but I never liked it. To think they made RAGE though…. (shakes head). I loved the higher difficulties as well on the second play through, constantly losing health, challenge accepted.

    • Actually, Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay was released before Doom 3, and used similar lighting technology (Someone correct me if I’m wrong please :), had a better storyline and fantastic stealth action (As well as blow-shit-up action). just my opinion of course, I never completed Doom 3, But I’ve played Chronicles of Riddick a few times now.

  • I think it’s fine because I think everybody is graphics whores these days. That and I have pretty much only been playing ps2 games for the last few years (or simply anything that is about 2005 2006 for ps3/360 and PC) and pretty much anything with normal-maps still impresses me.

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