Doom 3 has an extended historical past with VR, so it’s somewhat stunning that this week’s PlayStation VR launch is the primary model ever to go on sale. Virtually 9 years in the past, we visited Id Software program luminary John Carmack to see his duct-taped prototype “Oculus Rift” headset for the primary time, and Doom 3 was the sport he used to point out it off.
Carmack later moved to Oculus, after all, and Id by no means put out an official Doom 3 VR launch till now. That mentioned, it’s not such as you haven’t been in a position to play Doom 3 in VR earlier than — the sport is open supply, and there are numerous third-party mods out there, together with a current port to the Oculus Quest. So why is Doom 3: VR Version solely touchdown now as a PS4 unique?
After enjoying it for some time, I feel I’ve the reply: the PSVR Purpose Controller makes for a fairly good shotgun.
For higher or worse, Doom 3: VR Version is a simple port of Doom 3, together with its expansions. Meaning there’s much more content material right here than most VR shooters, however it additionally means you spend a good bit of time watching 2D cutscenes rendered within the sort of high quality you’d anticipate from a sport that got here out in 2004. PSVR video games aren’t recognized for his or her visible pyrotechnics, although, and Doom 3’s restricted expertise at the very least means it could possibly run at an affordable body fee and backbone on a PS4 Professional.
Doom 3 itself is a considerably divisive sport that Id struggled to comply with up for a very long time earlier than reviving the sequence with a superb reboot and final yr’s sequel Doom Everlasting. Id determined to concentrate on ambiance and horror with Doom 3, leaning into the sequence’s moodier moments moderately than rampant monster blasting. You spend a lot of your time traipsing by corridors, anticipating the subsequent jump-scare the place a demon bursts out from nowhere.
In concept, this makes Doom 3 a significantly better match for VR than the newer Doom video games, that are primarily based round frenetic fight that’s tough sufficient to maintain monitor of on an everyday monitor. (Id did adapt the reboot right into a separate sport referred to as Doom VFR in 2017, however it suffered from awkward controls and didn’t play something like the unique.) VR is usually all about ambiance, and Doom 3 has a lot, even 17 years on.
That mentioned, that is nonetheless an old-school PC first-person shooter at its coronary heart. The sprawling ranges are designed to be navigated rapidly, and so they wouldn’t actually work with typical options for VR locomotion like teleportation. Doom 3: VR Version forces you to be snug with analog stick motion and its affordances designed to beat back nausea, like a vignette that limits subject of view and using snap turning as an alternative of free movement on the fitting stick.
I didn’t have points with nausea myself, although Doom 3: VR Version is unquestionably on the extraordinary aspect of VR video games. It does assist that the PSVR is usually geared round seated experiences, on condition that it’s seemingly for use in dwelling rooms. You’ll be able to play with an everyday DualShock controller, which works moderately effectively, however there’s no choice for the Transfer movement controllers — in all probability for the higher.
Actually, although, the one approach to play Doom 3: VR Version is the PlayStation VR Purpose Controller. Sony’s summary gun-styled peripheral doesn’t have numerous help, however it may as effectively have been made for this model of Doom 3. It offers you all the controls you want, together with impartial motion and aiming potential, and — crucially — it makes you’re feeling such as you’re holding a Tremendous Shotgun. The sport instantly turns into extra immersive and simpler to play.
Not all the weapons work completely with the controller. The beginning pistol feels somewhat off with the Purpose Controller’s two-handed setup, for instance, and the machine gun’s sights don’t fairly monitor with the controller itself. General, although, the Purpose Controller is nice to make use of, and it’s the one time PSVR ever beats competing VR programs on the management entrance. In case you have one, that’s motive alone to take a look at this model of Doom 3.
Nonetheless, the unique Doom 3’s fight wasn’t designed for VR, and it does present. You’ll end up needing to make use of the 180-degree-turn button consistently as enemies transfer behind you, which actually detracts from the in any other case clean controls. There’s simply no escaping the truth that the sport was all the time supposed to be performed with a mouse and keyboard, for all that this model makes probably the most of its greatest management choice.
Doom 3: VR Version is an efficient port, however it’s additionally a 2004 PC shooter that’s been tailored to VR, and there’s actually solely a lot you are able to do with that. Should you’re okay with an expertise that ignores most of what we’ve realized about trendy VR sport design, and you’ve got an Purpose Controller, it’s an affordable approach to spend just a few demon-destroying hours. However there are higher VR shooters — and there are higher methods to play Doom 3.
Doom 3: VR Version is out now on the PlayStation 4. A PlayStation VR headset is required.