Doom 3 Xbox
Published by Activision
Developed by Vicarious Visions
Release Date: Out Now
Doom 3, an introduction.
Last year saw two major releases for the FPS genre on the PC in the shape of Doom 3 and Half-Life 2. Whilst Half-Life 2 was simply exceptional in terms of how the game played and also how deaf gamer friendly it was, the same could not be said of Doom 3. Focusing primarily on the single-player experience the game’s story was intense but short lived. Most insulting of all though was the decision not to include subtitles which provided a firm fingers up gesture to all deaf gamers out there. Would the same insult be shown again in the Xbox version of Doom 3?
What's the game about?
If there's one genre that doesn't rely on a good story it's the FPS genre. The story in Doom 3 isn't anything spectacular but nevertheless it gets the job done. The Union Aerospace Corporation's Mars Research Facility has been ravaged by a demonic invasion. The whole facility, as a result, is now in a state of terror and disarray. You play as a marine who is just one of a few survivors at the facility. Can you defeat the forces of hell?
What's good about the game?
Given the comments below it’s a moot point as to whether we can say there are any good points about the game. Still looking at the positive side of things there’s the 2 player co-op mode over Xbox Live and a couple of other multiplayer modes on offer. The graphics are very impressive and the game definitely has a horrifying ambience to it. Of course for deaf gamers it won't be quite as horrifying as the ambient sounds are instrumental in increasing the game's fear factor. A true quicksave method has been included instead of a typical console checkpoint save system which helps to reduce the frustration somewhat.
What's not so good about the game?
In short it’s pretty much a frustrating game for deaf gamers. No subtitles and valuable information (such as pass codes etc. given in audio logs that you'll find from other employees' PDA's) that deaf gamers will be completely unaware of, make sure that deaf gamers will complain just as much about this version as they did with the PC version of the game.
How does it look?
Visually the game is very impressive. Taking into consideration how good the game looks it’s even more impressive just how smooth the frame rate is. Yes the frame rate does dip from time to time but even so the developers have done an exceptional job in optimising the game to run on the Xbox console. Some of the enemies are just plain horrific and the game fully deserves its 18 age rating.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Support for deaf gamers is just as poor as it was in the PC version of the game. You'll be unaware of the game's story and all conversations that take place. You do have a PDA that mercifully displays your objectives and e-mail notifications (you are visually notified when a new objective or e-mail is issued too) amongst other things so it is possible to find out what needs to be done. Tutorial tips also appear in text. There are times when valuable information is given out verbally though that can't be retrieved via the PDA and it's these that make the game nigh on impossible for deaf gamers. Audio logs and video disk messages are both unsubtitled, which is a major disappointment. Of course you could always play with a walkthrough next to you but why should you have to when a developer can't be bothered to include subtitles? Whilst an unofficial patch (that made the game more bearable for deaf gamers) was made available for the PC version, there is no hope of such salvation for the Xbox version and as such you are strongly advised to rent the game first or at the very least purchase the game from a store that will refund your money.
To put it bluntly Doom 3 is not a game for deaf gamers as it makes no attempt to cater for deaf gamers and it's a slap in the face for fans of the series that have waited patiently for the game to arrive on the Xbox. Whilst some pieces of information have been given in text the omissions are truly damaging to the game experience and it's these omissions that kill the game as far as deaf gamers are concerned. In short then it's a game best avoided.
Overall Game Rating: 5.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification
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Whilst from a technical standpoint Doom 3 is superb it's nigh on impossible for deaf gamers unless you fancy waltzing through the game with a walkthrough at your side.