When Doom 3 was released, many players and reviewers weren’t happy with its flashlight mechanic. The game went for a horror mood and featured kilometers of overly dark corridors. There was a flashlight, but you couldn’t use it alongside a gun. The BFG edition (and mods before it) changed that, mounting the lightsource on Doomguy’s shoulder. The result was… a wholly different game!
2004’s Doom 3 was a very slow-paced shooter, to the point it felt more like a traditional survival horror (at least in the first half of the campaign).
Since you weren’t able to hold the flashlight and a gun at the same time, and the environment was often pitch black, you had to move carefully, exploring every nook and cranny for supplies. Tension was (and still is!) palpable. Having returned to the game just a few days ago, I kept switching between the gun and the light constantly, fearing a sudden attack. There were a lot of jump scares in form of enemies that revealed themselves only as I came close enough to smell their bad breath.
BFG edition not only added the option of having the light on all the time, but it also slightly increased the strength of the beam (or at least I felt like it did). It made the game play more like… Doom! There was no need to be careful anymore, so I rushed through levels, being able to distinguish both ammo packs and enemies from a distance. Jump scares were no more. It became a frenetic, action packed experience, similar to the original two games and not that different from Doom 2016, albeit less fluid and set in tighter corridors.
The question is: was this change really needed?
At release, the original version of Doom 3 was met with some negative feedback because of the flashlight mechanic, which, as many had felt, put the player at a disadvantage. The BFG edition has been criticized for not doing that. It seems like some fans have started to appreciate this limitation only after it was gone. I, however, always liked the little inconvenience — but at the same time, I also quite enjoyed the change of pace the new flashlight brough to the table.
Now I own both editions of the game, but it’s more like having two entirely different Doom 3s. I like them for what they are, and recommend you to give them a try as well. It’s amazing how a small change can transform the entire experience.
Get Doom 3 here – both versions available below 2 euro (at the time of writing)