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Doom 3 vs. Half Life 2

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the city-17-has-more-oxygen-than-mars dept.

PC Games (Games) 103

Thanks to Laurie W, who writes "Sudhain.com has a great comparison of D3 vs. HL2 (funny, too)." From the article: "Since Half Life 2 was released this week, I thought it'd make a good time to take the two games head to head and see which came out on top. I've spent a few hours in the beginning of each, playing through the first few levels. Although I haven't completed either, I've spent enough time in each (I think) to develop a feel for what the later sections of each game will be like. Given that each has been fairly consistent thus far, it'd take a major shift for my opinion of either to change significantly."

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hey... (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899027)

That's actually a really... REALLY good article...

BS (4, Insightful)

Taulin (569009) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899045)

Anyone who has played the later levels in D3, especially the Hell levels, will know that the game gets drastically better near the end. I found the first levels of D3 to be monotonous and boring. This article is like comparing apples and oranges with the added insult of not even removing the skins.

Re:BS (2, Insightful)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899103)

I think he makes a fair comparison on 'feel'. He isnt going for start to end comparison, he's more pointing out how it feels to play both, and he finds half life much more enjoyable, quite understandably, even though D3 is still a really good game.

Re:BS (1)

Taulin (569009) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899292)

Well, that's just it. The action really intensifies in the later stages of D3 versus the slow single serving shootouts of the earlier stages.

Re:BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10901233)

Do the lights come on too ? I'm still lost in the dark.

Re:BS (2, Interesting)

ADRA (37398) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901352)

Really? When I played Doom3 on the medium difficulty setting, playing through the game seemed like a leveling treadmill. Everything got a little harder as things went along like all games do, but this one just seemed that once you've played the first few levels, the gameplay was exactly the same, kill the mobs, find the key, finish level...

I found HL2 to constantly change the gameplay experience (maybe too often!).

A good game for gameplay progression I thought was Farcry. It seemed like there was always something new to master, but you would still utilize the skills you learned earlier in the game.

Re:BS (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10916733)

Everything got a little harder as things went along like all games do,

Nope. Once you acquired the Soul Cube weapon, it got drastically easier. Full health restore + 1 instant kill for every 5 monsters you fight, which even counts the tiny spiders? It made gameplay so much easier it was almost fun. That was the only real gameplay change-up.

kill the mobs

Your vocabulary is heavily MUD-biased. (Although they call them MMORPGs these days).

Re:BS (1)

Tyreth (523822) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904466)

I concur. I was unimpressed and becoming bored with the game for the first part, but nearing the latter parts of the game I started to enjoy it a whole lot more, and finished thinking "that was a great game".

It is a downside that you do get bored with the earlier part and need to wait, but you must persevere to enjoy the whole game.

Re:BS (1)

adagioforstrings (192285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10906130)

Does the end justify the crapiness of the beginning? That's a matter of opinion, but for me it doesn't. That even kept me from playing through all of Quake 2. It kept me from getting through all of the Doom 3 demo. Same old, stupid hidden compartment tricks. It looks damn pretty, but I'm not gonna put up with that other crap just to get to later levels.

Re:BS (1)

Aggrazel (13616) | more than 9 years ago | (#10910024)

I disagree, with the exception of the one "hell" level, the later levels get monotonous. And after you get the soul cube, aren't even challenging anymore. They need to nerf the hell outof the soul cube.

Re:BS (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10916755)

the game gets drastically better near the end

It's quite fair to compare games more based on their beginnings than their middles or ends.

Everybody plays the beginning- not everyone makes it to the end. Especially if the start isn't very good, you can't expect people to stick through to the finish. So if D3 improved at the end, that's not much praise.

The original Half-Life was the opposite: the game got much worse right near the finish. But it's still remembered as a great achievement. All in all, its best for games to stack their finest content near the front.

You shouldn't make players suffer to "earn" the right to a fun ending- the whole process of getting there must be enjoyable on its own.

like saying... (0, Flamebait)

nmec (810091) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899170)

I went to see these two new films that are supposed to be really good, except I didn't stay to the end of either. But there probably exactly the same all the way through anyway. Anyone want to read my review?

Jeez, even school kids can make up the excuse that their printer ran out of ink so they only have half their work done.

Re:like saying... (0, Offtopic)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899994)

I rented "Dude, Where's My Car" and only watched the first 10 minutes of it. Do you think I even care how the ending was???

+1 insightful (0, Flamebait)

Zhe Mappel (607548) | more than 9 years ago | (#10927678)

Parent is not a troll. No reviewer who has failed to do the courtesy to the author(s) of finishing a game, book, movie, etc. should be taken seriously.

Note: one of the reasons game "journalism" is such crap is that it's built on hype that begins even before the game's released, usually based on the slightest sample of the forthcoming game ("XYZ looks like a real winner from what we've seen").

Oh, come on (4, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899234)

If you are going to review games, at least finish them. You never know how much an ending can ruin a game for you. It happens in movies too. Remember AI and the new Planet of the Apes? If AI ended earlier instead of the whole weird alien thing and if Planet of the Apes didn't end in such a ridiculous way, those would have been decent movies. This guy is just rushing off a review before they become irrelevant...which really, they already are.

Re:Oh, come on (0, Offtopic)

ZosX (517789) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899353)

As much as I disliked AI, it should be noted that the "weird alien thing" at the end of the movie was actually fellow robots that have evolved over thousands of years, aparantly outliving humans for whatever reasons. AI was indeed a crappy movie, but not because the robot life forms discovered him like an ancient relic. I personally do not think that AI ending any earlier would have made it any better. In fact that scene at the end is so necessary to give the movie *some* sort of closure, and without that the story would have absolutely none.

The robots win, evolve and take over the world. It really isn't that confusing.

Re:Oh, come on (0, Offtopic)

brkello (642429) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899558)

Wow, I had no idea about those aliens being evolved AI. It really didn't explain that or maybe I missed it...how did you know this was the case? To me, the movie would have been better if *SPOILER FOLLOWS* he just dies under water looking at the statue...not the stupid I'll recreate your mom for a day from hair, but even though we can bring her back to life, it's only for 24 hours craziness...it really ruined the whole movie for me...whether or not those aliens were future AI or just normal aliens:P

Re:Oh, come on (0, Offtopic)

KDan (90353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899666)

Maybe you need to buy some sort of hi-tech equipment from your local pharmacy (hint: it consists of a stick with a bit of cotton on it) to clean your ears then. They say that fairly clearly in the voice-off and the long speeches.

Agreed that the first two thirds of AI would have made it a better movie, but that's far from making it a "bad" movie because they left that third in (which they probably did because it was in Kubrick's script and since he died before filming it I guess Spielberg didn't want to change it - Kubrick would have had a better chance to pull off such an heterogeneous movie, cf. Full Metal Jacket).

The movie was, regardless, an excellent movie.

Daniel

Re:Oh, come on (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899906)

The movie was, regardless, an excellent movie.

This is the most obvious troll that I have seen in a loooong time.

OK. I am kidding. Laugh. It's funny!

Re:Oh, come on (1)

KDan (90353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10907794)

If you compare it to the trash that comes out of the US/India/Hong Kong on a weekly basis, it was certainly an excellent movie. If you compare it to the global output of all movies ever produced, then, fair enough, it was an average movie.

Daniel

Re:Oh, come on (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900031)

Hmm, no need to be a dick. I saw it a long time ago and just didn't remember that part at all. You could have just said that they stated it. Heck, I may have been asleep at that point because it should have ended 15 minutes before that point.

Re:Oh, come on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10899808)

**MORE SPOILERS** didn't the "aliens" refer to the now-extinct humans as their creators? I agree with you--there were a crap load of spots where they could have ended that movie and it would have been great. If they had made a really short movie and ended it when his mother/owner abandoned him, it would have been interesting in a really creepy way. If they ended it when you said it would be cool. If they ended it by showing the "aliens" awakening him but not show anything more specific than that it would be cool. If they just told him his mother was dead for all time it would be cool.

On the other hand, if they continued the movie just a little longer and showed the robot waking up and finally facing up to it's mother's absence, that would be cool too. AI basically ended at the worst possible point it could end. It's precisely that moment of false-closure that ruined the whole movie for me.

Re:Oh, come on (1)

the morgawr (670303) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899664)

The problem with AI was that Spielberg didn't do a good job finishing Kubrick's movie. You can easily pick out which scenes Kubrick planed and which ones Speilberg hacked on.

Re:Oh, come on (1)

HarvardAce (771954) | more than 9 years ago | (#10902956)

I'd like to add Jurassic Park II to the list of movies that had a really ridiulous ending, which ruined the .... oh wait, the entire movie sucked. But the ending (with the T-rex running around California) was really, really bad.

It's amazing that Hollywood could ruin such a good book. Then again, they do it all the time, so maybe it's not so amazing anymore.

Are you guys kidding? (2, Interesting)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903330)

It was plainly fucking obvious that those "aliens" were not aliens, but evolved robots.

HELLOOO?!? Barren wasteland? No humans left? This is obviously the future.

HELLOOO?!? The movie was about a new trend in creating intelligent robots. Maybe these robots continued on after the humans died?! Maybe that's slightly more plausible than fucking aliens! Idiots.

I never saw it in the theatre, but my mom was completely appauled at how everyone thought they were aliens at the end. We are both extremely unimpressed with the ambient stupidity. But I thought slashdot readers were smarter than that.

Finally, A.I. was an excellent fucking movie, and is totally underrated. It was not a sci-fi movie so much as a sci-fi fairy tale. It started out a bit more "normal" but became much more "fairy-tale like" by the end.

I think the only mistake was not making it more obvious, sooner and up front, that this was a (almost prototypical) fairy tale and not a hollywood "blockbuster" like Independence Day.

The extra ending made the movie much more sad, more poignant (though I can't spell the word), and more rememberable.

Sure they could have ended it with him sunk in the ocean.
But even sadder than that is to let the viewer know that yes, he sat in the ocean for no less than 1000 yrs.
Even sadder than that is the fact that he is discovered and eventually "re-integrated" back into a "society", but that his fellow beings have evolved so much that he doesn't really belong.
Even sadder than that is that they can recreate his mother, but only for a day.
Even sadder than that is knowing that after 1000 years, he finally found his happiness, only to have it taken away within 24 hours. That is fucking tragic, and it appears it was lost on everyone but me.

Re:Are you guys kidding? (1)

IncohereD (513627) | more than 9 years ago | (#10922247)

Finally, A.I. was an excellent fucking movie, and is totally underrated. It was not a sci-fi movie so much as a sci-fi fairy tale. It started out a bit more "normal" but became much more "fairy-tale like" by the end.

For me the problem with the switch was the first half felt way more creepy-Kubrick, and the second half was more glitzy-neon-schmaltzy-Spielberg. Not that Kubrick didn't take u-turns in his movies... but it just felt too obvious. By the end I was just disappointed.

System Requirements (2, Interesting)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899280)

All I have to say is my out-of-box experience with HL2 has been smooth overall. After 4 months, my Doom III is still virtually unplayable with a ton of white spots. My ATI Radeon 9800 pro 128MB has been a total disappointment for Doom III after a million different catalyst drivers.

Re:System Requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10899663)

Dear Superpulp, I had the same problem, I wrote an article about it for GamingGroove. Anyway, you have a videocard with substandard RAM that was overclocked by a shady manufacturer. Go get an overclocking utility like ATITOOL and UNDERCLOCK your card by 20 clicks before playing Doom 3, it will make a huge difference, trust me. Like you, I have had no problems with HL2 and this card.

PS, I could only read the first part of this article, after I finished the Doom 3 section I got continual errors when trying to read the HL2 section.

Re:System Requirements (1)

dstyle5 (702493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900119)

I've had no problems playing Doom III on my Radeon 9800 Pro 128 MB, Half-Life 2 as well. It's probably more of a software issue than hardware I would guess. Are all of your mobo, direct x, etc drivers up to date as well? Not flaming, just trying to help. :)

Re:System Requirements (1)

HawkingMattress (588824) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900137)

AC is probably right, I had the same problem with a geforce 2. White spots everywhere, and other artifacts too. It was clearly a faulty card since the number of artifacts was dependent of the hotness of the thing. It took only few minuts for it to be really hot though... It wasn't appearent in every games, only those that used T&L IIRC. Underclocking the thing did help alot, but i couldn't get rid of them completly. Get a refund if you can...

Re:System Requirements (2, Interesting)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903537)

Really? Because 1/2 of my time in HL2 has been a lot like this:

LOADING.

It's so awesome. Beats the hell out of that Doom 3 "OK.. there's health over there.. but if I get it.. something will attack me.. ... ... .. ok RUN... EEEEEEEE. Got it. *GRRRRRRRRaAAAAAAAA* CRAP *RUN* *RUN* *FIRE* *FIRE* *RUN* AAAAH *FIRE* ... .. *look around* phew.. I'm ok.. OH HOLY HELL WHAT WAS THAT *FIRE* *FIRE* *FIRE* *FIRE*"

In all honesty I have completely enjoyed the playing time in HL2, but due to my lack of an enlarged prostate I can't take advantage of the constant LOADING breaks.

"I’ve spent enough time in each (I think)..." (5, Informative)

bobdamonkey (831339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899321)

Considering that Half Life 2 changes incredibly when you get the physics gun (and takes a complete flip turn in the last two levels), I wouldn't say that was an accurate statement. Oh, and after the first couple of hours of Doom 3, it plummets in quality. Scripted scares are at a minimum, replaced by identical looking rooms and repetetive enemy spawns. One of those unfortunate cases where the sample doesn't represent the overall quality.

In short... (3, Funny)

grm_wnr (781219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899324)

Doom 3:
- dark
- repetetive
- nice shadows LOL

Half-Life 2:
- Physics = fun
- facial expressions 'R' Da Bomb
- nice water

So, what else is new?

Re:In short... (1)

timothv (730957) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899543)

The physics are fun, but they're certainly not realistic by any means. If you get on a cart, pushing it can make it go forward, while this is plainly impossible because it's an internal force. Oh, and you can't rotate objects while you hold them.

Re:In short... (1)

myurr (468709) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899858)

There was a game a couple of years back called Trespasser, which while abysmal in terms of overall game experience had some really cool elements. For a start it had a brilliant physics engine, which while clunky to use from a users point of view, could do everything that Half Life 2 could do, and a little bit more (like rotate objects in your hand). So the physics in Half Life 2 aren't as revolutionary as people are making out. They're just better used.

My overall impression of Half Life 2 has been great, but not as great as some of the reviewers are making out. It's a fun game, with plenty of different experiences. The facial expressions and scripted scenes are another level above anything done before. But to offset that the levels are all very linear. Some of the environments look incredible (particularly where water is involved), but other than the shader effects the graphics don't feel as next generation as Doom 3's (in terms of visual complexity and polygon count). I think it's mainly the normal mapping and shadows that set Doom 3 apart graphically.

So in my view both bring large advances to the table. Couple Half Life 2's physics, facial animation, shaders and level designers, with the Doom 3 normal mapping, shadow rendering, and the guys responsible for the look of the architecture in Doom 3 and you're going to approach perfection with todays technology.

And that's the best thing about ID. While their games may be lacking, other companies license that technology, add to it, and make fantastic games (see original Half Life).

Re:In short... (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 9 years ago | (#10902530)

I'm about 95% sure that Valve didn't licence anything from iD to make Half-life. However, if I'm wrong, I would really like to read the articles that you link to that say so. ;)

Re:In short... (2, Informative)

WhiteBandit (185659) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903724)

Half Life uses the Quake engine (albeit heavily modified):

1 [valve-erc.com] ,2 [bluesnews.com] .

Re:In short... (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903812)

Didn't know that (obviously).

Thanks.

Re:In short... (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10907136)

Doom3 graphical wow comes at the price of not being able to do a lot of the incredible, but intensive and open environment things that HL2 does. And high polygon counts? Try again: Doom3 has very LOW polygon counts: it makes up for this with incredible normal mapping.

Re:In short... (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900081)

Oh, and you can't rotate objects while you hold them.

Yes you can. Rotating your view rotates the object :-)

Re:In short... (1)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 9 years ago | (#10906185)

I hear Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 both have similar physics engines. The thing is, Doom 3 doesn't have a gravity gun... ...yet. Apparently there's going to be one in the expansion pack (developed by a third party). Yes, its a blatent ripoff, but so what? I hear you'll be able to catch enemy rockets and other projectiles, so it might even be an incremental improvement.

TFA :D (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10899374)

Since the server *might* get slashdotted and since the article is spread over 6 pages and since some of youz cannot access 1337 gamerz pagez at workzzor here is the article.

*Note* All the pictures (which are really pretty) are not here, sorry :(

OK TFA!!

I have a confession to make. While I've benchmarked it and tested it, until the past few days, I haven't ever sat down and really played Doom 3. Oh I'd run through the first few minutes of it, but life and a hectic schedule had gotten in the way of me spending much time in the game, and since I didn't want to spoil my impression, I haven't even read any of the reviews. Since Half Life 2 was released this week, I thought it'd make a good time to take the two games head to head and see which came out on top. I've spent a few hours in the beginning of each, playing through the first few levels. Although I haven't completed either, I've spent enough time in each (I think) to develop a feel for what the later sections of each game will be like. Given that each has been fairly consistent thus far, it'd take a major shift for my opinion of either to change significantly. There are games that've done this (the first half of Jedi Knight II feels like a Star Wars-themed FPS, the post-light-saber-acquisition portion of the game is amazing), but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

Comparing the Hype® Drive:

According to Vivendi, Half Life 2: ...has surpassed our expectations in every sense - its high-quality graphics, ground-breaking physics and immersive first-person shooter gameplay set a new standard for PC action games"..."Half-Life 2 will go down as one of the best-selling PC titles, and we are thrilled to deliver this ground-breaking title to the worldwide gaming community this fall."

The PR machine continues:

"In 2004, Half-Life 2 will take the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original to new heights of realism and responsiveness. Half-Life 2 opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environments to the behaviors - even the emotions - of both friends and enemies."

That's not actually too bad, though the cynical part of me is tempted to distil this into: "Its pretty and the enemies actually fire back." And couldn't "ground-breaking physics" be seen as some sort of pun and / or construction simulator?

So how's Doom 3 sound, in comparison?

"A sci-fi horror masterpiece, DOOM 3's dramatic storyline, pulse-pounding action, incredible graphics, and ground-breaking technology combine to draw you into the most frightening and gripping first-person gaming experience ever created..."DOOM 3 is a videogame experience unlike any before it. From the cinema quality visuals and the incredible 5.1 sound, to the terrifying atmosphere and hyper-realistic environments, the whole game screams 'interactive horror film!' Add in the most ferocious line up of demons Hell has ever brought to bear, and you have an experience so intense that you'll need to keep your heart medicine handy."

I could be wrong, but I'm thinking John Carmack did *not* write this PR. Doom 3 easily wins the 'Hype® Drive" portion of the comparison, with incredible use of such words as "masterpiece", hyper-realistic", and even the daring exclamation point. I'm not sure I want to play a hyper-realistic game (it sounds like a game written from the viewpoint of an overactive eight-year-old).

Bring on the beta blockers--I'm ready for Doom.

Prior to either game's release, there were readers and enthusiasts commenting that Doom 3 would be the pretty game, while Half Life 2 would have the good story. Just from the screenshots I'd seen and from what John Carmack had said about the game, I was convinced this wasn't going to be the case. Doom 3, I was sure, would break id's record of offering excellent visuals with mediocre-to-no storylines. Based on the PR copy, Doom 3 certainly seems to deliver, so how's the verbage compare to real life?

The original Doom's claim of taking place on a Martian base was fanciful in the extreme, and only a few levels actually looked anything like even a fictional base on an alien planet. This was explained away by extra-dimensional 'warping' that occurred as Hell invaded (and by the limits of 1994 design). Id definitely corrected this in Doom 3--Mars base now looks a LOT like a Mars base. Its cramped, rooms are small, and it has a very "industrial" feel, even in the more human-friendly sections. Creature comforts are clearly at a minimum--the only game you can play in the rec lounge is Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3, an obviously ancient port. (id missed a golden opportunity to include the shareware version of Doom as a fully-playable game) ;)

I picked up my first assignment (needing to find a missing scientist) and jogged down into the bowels of Mars City, heading for the old communications station. Once there, I located the missing scientist...and everything went to hell.

Doom 3: Available in Black, Pitch-Black, and "Annoyingly Dark."

The first few minutes after Hell shatters the dimensional barrier are genuinely frightening. Distorted screams and shouts echo over your radio, the scientist you were escorting morphs into a zombie, and the lights alternately dim, fail altogether, or even explode. The entire base is transformed in a manner of seconds from an industrial research complex into a shadowy deathtrap--emphasis on the word "shadowy." From this point to where I am now in the game (Alpha Labs Sector 3) its been one long trek from dark, under-lit area to dark under-lit area. The lack of illumination is obviously meant to enhance the atmosphere, but it ends up mostly being an annoyance.

The Flashlight:

Doom 3's flashlight is absolutely the best hand-held light I've ever seen in any video game. The traditional flashlight in an FPS creates a circle of bright light on whatever surface the light hits, with only a minimal effort to make the light look real. In contrast, the flashlight in Doom 3 is a diffuse beam that glides realistically over objects, throws shadows, and is so detailed that you actually see suspended particles in the air drifting through the beam. Evidently the Doom 3 design team considered it so amazing that they wanted you to be using it throughout the entire game (or at least the first few hours), because not only did they make the game pitch-black, they limited the flashlight function to JUST the handheld light itself. In other words, in Doom 3, you can see...or you can shoot. There are times, literally, when doing one means you can't do the other at all. There's no doubt that a dark and shadowy environment helps create a tense, frightening atmosphere, but there's a very fine line between "mood enhancing" and "damned frustrating."

I can understand the logic in having, say, a large hand-held light and a small, focused weapon-mounted flashlight or nightvision scope, but the lack of any illuminator on any weapon defies all logic. Already today (141 years before Doom 3) we have a variety of gun-mounted lights and scopes. Did we forget how to make them all? More to the point, are you telling me no one on Mars ever had an evac suit or hardhat with a light on it? Leaving out a combat light in Doom 3 was a big mistake. Its not quite on par with Romero's decision to include evil robot frogs as an enemy in Daikatana, but its still a significant flaw.

The "Fear Factor."

The question of whether or not Doom 3 is scary depends entirely on how you define "scare." If by scary, you mean "Does it make you jump a lot?" the answer is definitely yes. If, on the other hand, you mean: "Does it create an atmosphere of tension and terror based on what you think you saw?" the answer is definitely no. When designing Doom 3, the developers went with a lowest-common-denominator type of fear, namely the "Monster jumps out from behind the secret panel and tears into you" kind. The first few times it makes you jump--the tenth time it just plain gets annoying.

From what I've seen thus far, Doom 3's tactics are tired at best. I'm tired of the "Lets ambush him with monster's from the locked room / hallway he JUST cleared" trick. I'm sick of invisible doors or passages suddenly "popping" open behind me to release a demon or two without a sound. Turning the entire world pitch-black doesn't make monsters "blend seamlessly with their environment", it just makes them really hard to shoot. The "fast-attacking monster RIGHT behind the door" trick is old too.

There's an added problem in that the game (thus far) is divided up into a series of small rooms. You clear a room, pause for a Diet Demon Soda, and then move on to the next small room. Sometimes, for variety, you enter a small hallway or a medium-size closet. When enemies pop out from Super Sekrit Passage #7 (the one directly behind you, of course), you have virtually no room to maneuver and often only limited access to any sort of cover. Later the game introduces more monsters at a time for tougher firefights, but with no room to maneuver, you're still limited to playing sentry gun. Again, used sparingly, close-quarters firefights can add depth to a game. When they're all you've got, they get old fast.

Environmental Interaction / and Immersion

As you explore the confines of Mars base, you'll find PDA's left by the less fortunate that explain what's been going on and fill in the game's backstory. The voice acting is excellent so far and the "plots" of each individual PDA are well-done. If there's a problem, its that most of them say basically the same thing: "Something odd...something very odd....is going on."

I'm hoping that as I push deeper into the game I'll find PDA's with a bit more substance to them--messages recorded after the assault perhaps, or a frantic last minute recording to loved ones back home. These are the kinds of recordings that gave System Shock 2 real bite, but so far I've not found any in Doom 3.

Other than PDA's and some click-able computer screens, environmental interaction is missing from Doom 3. All the crates and walls are made of Invincibilium, that magical FPS substance that transforms a crate into an impervious shield. You'll occasionally find storage lockers to open or security cameras to manipulate, but your total interaction with Doom 3's environment is minimal. Most windows don't break or even scar if you fire into them.

Even at its best, thus far, Doom 3 feels more like System Shock 1.5. That's not necessarily a bad thing considering how great System Shock 2 was, but its not exactly cutting new ground either. One thing I wish had been implemented (at least in a few places) is Martian-standard gravity. The UAD isn't shy about boasting of its accomplishments (you'll find LOTS of self-promo videos), yet I haven't found anything about establishing an Earth-standard gravity on Mars. It would've been quite interesting to see how Doom 3 played in one-third standard gravity.

Models, Graphics, and Shadows:

Doom 3's environments are impressive-looking in their own right, but its individual characters that truly make the engine shine. Models in Doom 3 have a level of skeletal and muscular definition that's a quantum leap beyond anything I've ever seen in a game before. This adds tremendously to the game's realism--when you first see an imp unfold fold itself out of an impossibly-small crawlway, the smoothness of the action is striking. Models in Doom 3 leap, slash, and contort in ways no human can, all while making the actions themselves look frighteningly real.

The Doom 3 engine is at its best when its displaying the complex visual interplay between light and shadow. Its worth letting an imp fire a few blasts just to see how the fireball reflects as it travels and detonates against the far wall (or yourself). Its obvious that the graphical effect isn't cheap though--my frame rates dip noticeably when the imp goes into his wind-up.

When the Quake 3 engine shipped it was often remarked that the game 'didn't handle large spaces" well. In this case, I think the problem was less with the Quake 3 engine, and more with the video card systems of the day. Looking at Doom 3, the same problem seems to have reoccurred, only even more drastically. I'm sure an ultra-high-end system can handle multiple characters / models onscreen at one time (even with these high polygon counts), but I'm not sure how even a midrange system from today would do. I have to wonder how much of Doom 3's cramped feel and one-to-two monsters at a time approach is due to design, and how much is due to the reality that most systems can't handle more than that.

One huge disappointment was the Doom 3 death effects. Blowing an imp away with the shotgun doesn't hurl back a body oozing blood from seventy new holes. Creatures fall over dead and quickly dissolve into red dust. Again, I think this was done to minimize strain on the system, but its very disappointing not to see the great Doom death scenes repeated. Who can forget hitting an imp with a rocket for the first time and watching three other imps beside it fly in three separate directions (already dead) while the main imp dissolved into a cloud of blood, accompanied by a fabulous liquefying sound?

Initial Verdict:

Its production values are high, the voice-overs are great, and the engine is phenomenal. It has the best modeling I've ever seen and the most realistic movement. Mars Base itself is carefully modeled and looks "plausible" for the kind of facility we might build in the future, which gets id major points for trying to keep science fiction grounded in science fact. There've even been a few genuinely scary moments...

But when all is said and done, Doom 3 isn't all that fun. All too often, it feels like a slow, solitary crawl through maddeningly-dark corridors and rooms, waiting all the while for something to jump out of a dead-end hallway you *just* checked. The lack of environmental interactivity and the completely solitary nature of the game can't help but recall shades of early FPS games. Doom might have emergized the FPS genre, but the genre itself has moved beyond some of the gameplay models and contrived circumstances that Doom pioneered. Judged solely against its predecessors, Doom 3 is a massive leap forward--but as I've said already, it ends up feeling more like System Shock 1.5. Ironically, the scariest moment in Doom 3 I've experienced yet was nearly identical to a scene from...Half Life. And speaking of Half Life, lets see what Gordon Freeman's been up to, shall we?

Half Life 2:

When last we saw Gordon Freeman, he was accepting an "offer" from the government to come aboard and help end the alien threat once and for all. Evidently Gordy didn't do such a hot job, because we start Half Life 2 trekking to City 17. City 17 is a combination of prison and ghetto where some of humanity's last remnants are kept. The entire institution is overseen by Dr. Breen (the administrator from Black Mesa). Breen attempts to come across as warm, even father-like, but behind his soft voice and reassuring words there's a clear menace.

There's been a war between humanity and a mysterious alien force known as the Combine, and humanity lost. Thus the burden falls upon you, Gordon Freeman, to save the world. Actually the game doesn't really say what your goal is, but when in doubt, saving the world is a good guess.

If there's one thing that's frustrating about Half Life 2 after several hours of play, its that I still don't really have a clue what's going on or what was going on during the years between Black Mesa and City 17. Is the Combine the new name for the old alien species of Xen? Why are some Xen aliens around and seemingly subservient? Are the Xen another race that the Combine conquered? I'm honestly not sure at this point, and I can't even tell yet if I (meaning Gordon Freeman) literally vanished from Black Mesa to the present day, or if I've surfaced intermittently before. Barney and Dr. Kleiner are both happy to see me, but I'd be happy to see someone too after a war and subsequent relocation program. On the one hand, this lends itself to any number of "prequel" expansions, on the other, it makes the game quite confusing.

After arriving in City 17 I was detained for questioning by a guard who turned out to be none other than Black Mesa's Barney. He explained a bit about what was going on, and sent me to see Dr. Kleiner, who wasn't far away. After leaving Barney I had a few minutes for site-seeing in scenic City 17 before the running-and-gunning started. Save for a brief respite at Dr. Kleiner's, it hasn't let up yet. I can't speak for the later game, but the first few hours of Half Life 2 are non-stop action. Like its predecessor, HL2 uses scripted sequences heavily, though the combat itself feels faster and more frantic. Bouncing down the river on an airboat I feel like a ball in a pinball machine--no doubt exactlywhat the Half Life 2 development team intended.

Did I mention this game is a hell of a lot of fun?

The 15-second Flashlight:

If Doom 3 and Half Life 2 occurred in the same dimension, we'd have the weirdest scientific transition known to man. Sometime between Half Life and Half Life 2, the average life of a D cell battery or Hazard Suit flashlight has gone from several minutes to roughly 15 seconds. Meanwhile, circa 2145, it'll be possible to build a flashlight that runs forever but can't be attached to a weapon in any circumstance. Coming from Doom 3, where the flashlight is a game necessity, to Half Life 2 where it stays on mere seconds-at-a-time was odd. The HL2 flashlight isn't anything special graphically (which is not to say its bad), but I do wish it lasted longer.

Gordon Freeman: Man of Steel?

The only other gameplay complaint I have has to do with how Valve designed their swimming model. In most games, the player is considered to be at least somewhat buoyant. You'll sink in water, yes, but by making a minimal effort you can rise to the surface. Not so in Half Life 2. As soon as Gordon hits the water, he heads for the bottom like the Titanic.

To judge by Half Life 2's swimming model, Gordon Freeman is made of solid steel and has the lung capacity of a ninety year old chain smoker with a three pack a day habit. Gordon's suit runs out of air ten seconds after he hits the water, and Gordon himself starts taking damage about 5-10 seconds after that. For comparison, when I was a competitive swimmer, I could swim 50 yards in about 27 seconds in only one breath. If I did nothing, I could hold my breath upwards of a minute. Not to beat on our poor physicist, but I'm sure he can do a little better than twenty seconds if I could go over 60. Keep in mind, he's supposed to be breathing 'suit oxygen' for that first ten seconds so the second ten is really the only time he's "holding his breath."

I'm hoping Valve addresses this in a patch. So far its been a minor annoyance since you don't spend much of the game underwater (at least not yet) but its still something that needs to go away.

Environmental Interaction and Immersion:

Save for the very first hour or so of play, I've scarcely had much time to look around, but from what I've seen, Half Life 2 is gorgeous. City 17 is appropriately run-down and fraying on the edges, while the sewers and canal system are both well-detailed. The physics engine of Half Life 2 has a few quirks (some objects seem a bit too light, and some objects that should bounce or slide when you throw them don't), but overall it's a fabulous idea, and far better implemented than in the last big-budget physics-based FPS (Trespasser).

Many of the objects you'll find in HL2 can be picked up, manipulated, or thrown as weapons, and you'll find a lot of objects to use. More specifically, you'll find one type of object--barrels. Apparently in the Half Life 2 universe, City 17 is either a massive producer or importer of barrels, because you find barrels in virtually every room, tunnel, or secret hiding place. A fair number of them are explosive, which leads to the question: "Why are all these humans being trusted with huge amounts of explosive material?"

Barrels are so plentiful in Half Life 2 its as if they've replaced crates as the new FPS filler material of choice. The reason why is obvious--barrels roll, rotate, can be stood on, balanced on other objects, and they blow up real nice (at least the explosive ones do). If you get into a fight with headcrab zombies, they'll even hurl the barrels at you. That part is damned cool, but the rest of the barrels could go without me minding much.

I don't have the Gravity Gun yet, but I'm looking forward to using it. One thing that's occurred to me, though, is that Source is hopefully only the beginning of physics in gaming. For all its interactivity, the Half Life 2 universe is still divided into a very small subset of things you can damage, and the vast majority of the world, which you can't. it might be a nightmare to program, but I'd like to see a world where one reason not to use your rocket launcher inside the building is because you'll bring the whole building down on everyone's head, including yours. I'd like to see a game where hiding behind a railroad car while that car is being hosed by gunfire from a helicopter results in bullets punching through steel and daylight showing through the train. I don't think that's possible yet, but Source takes some steps in that direction and its enough to fire the imagination.

Even in its current implementation, the Source engine's physics modeling increases game immersion. Some of the "physics" puzzles feel like smirky little excuses to show off the engine, but others have been quite ingenious.

Models, Graphics, and Water:

If shadows and light are the triumph of Doom 3, water is undoubtedly the magnum opus of the Source engine. For the first time, water in a video game looks better than any technical demo or shipping product I've ever seen. Its fully-reflective, translucent, and it realistically distorts your view whether your on the bank looking at the river bottom or in the river looking at the above-water scenery. Watch the following progression: [no pics here -- move along, move along]

In all fairness, I cant' say that the Source engine is "better" than the D3 engine at water rendering (I haven't seen any water in Doom 3 to compare to, and I've got a feeling that any running liquid I find may not be a fair comparison), but the Half Life 2 developers obviously spent some serious time working on how their engine handles flowing liquid. Damn does it ever show. The rest of the Source engine's environments are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but they still combine for a very good-looking game.

Character modeling is one place where Doom 3 may have a decisive advantage over Source. While the Source-based models are excellently-textured and offer more varied outfits, better facial expressions, and better lip-synching than the models in D3, the D3 skeletal and musculature system gives the model a solidity and smoothness that Source lacks. I think ultimately your preference on this feature is going to come down to which "look" you prefer. Personally I think the Doom 3 system is a more radical advance, but ideally we'll see the texturing detail and facial expressions of Half Life 2 combined with the D3 technology in a future engine.

Initial Verdict:

So far there are holes in Half Life 2's story that you could drive a tractor-trailer through, and while that annoys part of me, most of me is having too much fun to care. The engine is gorgeous, the scenery is distinctive, and the combat is great. So far, Half Life 2 isn't a great story (its barely a story at all), but it's a great action game.

Its not perfect, and there are some gameplay mechanics I'd change (the "10 second drown" feature is one), but Half Life 2 seems to deliver precisely what its promised--an engaging, immersive game. Granted, the immersion at this point is still pretty damn shallow (its got nowhere near the depth of, save, Deus Ex), but that doesn't seem quite so important when you're rocketing down a sludge-filled river with a helicopter hot on your tail, armed guards up ahead, and a futuristic mini-gun mounted on the bow.

Conclusion:

Compared to Doom and Doom 2, Doom 3 is far more detailed, immersive, and subtle. Id's PDA voiceovers add quite a bit of depth to the storyline, and even though the structure of the backstory isn't quite as strong as System Shock 2's (at least not yet), the concept still works well. Character and environment modeling is fabulous, though the latter is a lot more fun to admire than it is to fight in.

Doom 3 is pulled down by questionable design decisions and illogical lighting patterns. Forcing the player to always use the flashlight (and being unable to fire with it) was a very bad idea, and the game itself relies on far too many tired conventions and obvious spawns. Doom 3 definitely doesn't feel like DOOM--but it fails to cohesively establish itself in any other genre either.

Half Life 2 might lack some of Doom 3's absolutely cutting-edge visuals, but the gameplay more than makes up for it. There are a few flaws in the approach, and the storyline could really use more fleshing out, but so far I'm really enjoying the game. I plan to finish both, but if I had to pick just one of the two....sorry id, but while I am liking parts of D3, Half Life 2 has been the better overall experience.

If you're on the fence or on a limited budget (or can only have one for Christmas), I'd recommend checking out the Doom 3 demo first. I know people who think the game is the best thing ever built, so if you end up being one of them great--you'll get a good game. But so far, I'd say Half Life 2 is the game I'd want under the tree. Of course with World of Warcraft launching Monday that might change, but it's a little harder to compare those two. ;)

See you in City 17.

News flash! (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899403)

A team of furry rabid scientists have now learned that Valve makes a better single player game than id. Who would have thought?!?!

Hl2 D3 or H2?!?!?!?! (1, Funny)

slot32 (815657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899413)

Which ever game you pick out of Half Life 2 and Doom 3, it could always be worse!!!

Halo 2... the worst of the three single player games, this holiday season :)

Re:Hl2 D3 or H2?!?!?!?! (2, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900366)

Yes, but H2 wins for multiplayer.

Doom 3 multiplayer: oldschool DM, nuttin' else
HL2 multiplayer: CS. Bleah.
Halo 2 multiplayer: The best Co-Op mode I've ever seen, plus the tried and true mix&match CTF/whatever with vehicles.

No contest - and I don't even have an X-Box.

Re:Hl2 D3 or H2?!?!?!?! (2, Interesting)

evilmousse (798341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900652)


pc game developers are externalizing the cost of producing multiplayer elements to the modding community. the multiplayer versions will come, and they will be bad-ass, and nobody will get paid. maybe someone will get a job.

a small, dedicated crew of xbox hackers will have moderate success mucking with halo2, but will receive the opposite of the encouragement the pc scene sees, due to ms's business model for the xbox and evident goal of using the xbox as a springboard for trusted computing.

(ps, my kingdom for a hl2 reincarnation of creeper rune CTF. mmm new physics on a grappling hook.)

Re:Hl2 D3 or H2?!?!?!?! (2, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900684)

Well, if we're gonna talk mods, then UT2k4 already won. Too bad it doesn't have any players. I thought we were discussing out-of-the-box gameplay.

Re:Hl2 D3 or H2?!?!?!?! (1)

evilmousse (798341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900739)


touche.

i suppose i meant to talk modABILITY--if you're going to compare mods, give hl2 a chance to get some first.

anyone know how the modability of hl2 and doom3 compare? they both have devkits, am i wrong? how do they compare?

Re:Hl2 D3 or H2?!?!?!?! (2, Interesting)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903845)

UT2k4 is by far the most moddable, but HL has developed the "mod stereotype" - people think of it as the ultimate moddable engine because of the success of CS and TF and the way that Valve supports its modders (DE has cought up on that issue).

So for most moddable, I insist that UT2k4 will remain - but HL2 will have more mods because of its popular perception as "the platform to mod".

Re:Hl2 D3 or H2?!?!?!?! (1)

evilmousse (798341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904457)


Those are conclusions I can understand, but I'm curious more to see the rationale behind them. Just what makes for moddable? How do the toolsets, ease-of-use, and productivity compare?

Re:Hl2 D3 or H2?!?!?!?! (2, Interesting)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10905806)

UT uses a Java-like embedded language with a full OOP class tree to work with. Also, UT's tri-paradigm mapping system (BSP+mapmodel+landscape) is very easy to use and allow mappers to work in whatever way feels most comfortable to them.

Plus, UT is most conducive to small mods - UT mods don't have to be TCs, as they're non exclusive - you can make a mod that replaces one vehicle in Onslaught, and another guy can make a mod that replaces a different vehicle in ONS, and a third guy replaces some weapons, and the server can use all three of those mods at once.

DE has gotten hardcore about supporting their mod teams, including a million-dollar-grand-prize contest called "Make Something Unreal" to encourage them.

I expect similar reactions from Half-Life, but Valve has always been far more C++ -oriented, which, while I find is better for experienced programmers, is worse for newer coders. As I understand it though, HL2 mods work like HL1 in that they are completely exculsive to each other.

Id, of course, has fallen far behind in cultivating their mod community. Carmack's apis are often inscrutable, and I don't know that Id has any interest in the kind of epic mod conferences and contests the other two have.

Good article and I agree (2, Informative)

ardent (147548) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899465)

Having completed both games, I'd have to aggree with the article's author. D3 just gets plain old monotonous towards the end. Both are pretty much rails but the vehicles, gravity gun and physics are fantastic.

Re:Good article and I agree (1)

Tyreth (523822) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904509)

Wrong. Doom3 gets plain old monotonous towards the midway point, then improves drastically with new levels.

A quick review: (3, Funny)

dasunt (249686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899520)

Doom 3: Runs under linux.

Halflife 2: Does not.

Re:A quick review: (1)

tomcio.s (455520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899668)

Halflife 2: Does not. - See transgaming.org. They have it working.

Aside: hasn't this fact been posted on Slashdot recently?

Re:A quick review: (1)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900780)

Last time i checked, transgaming CHARGED for access to cvs. so now my choices are 1) wait a month or so, 2) pony up cash.

why should i have to pay extra just to play the game i bought?

Re:A quick review: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10901043)

When was the last time you checked, never?
CVS has been free since day one, its only binaries they charge for.

-irc.goatse.cxtroll

Re:A quick review: (1)

tomcio.s (455520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10902445)

You shouldn't. That has nothing to do with my reply to parent poster.

But on the same note, if you don't have a copy of Windows, presumably you have to pay for it too.

I suppose there are many ways of looking at a problem/solution.

Re:A quick review: (1)

Lev_Arris (60782) | more than 9 years ago | (#10909377)

Why do you cite "1) wait a month or so"? First of all, Doom 3 wasn't playable under Linux either until several weeks after its release so that point applies to it as well. And second, I'm not sure that Valve will ever release a Linux client of HL2 (they never did for HL/CS) so I doubt waiting will help.

I'd be less forgiving about Doom 3's gameplay (1)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899556)

If Carmack hadn't basically said, repeatedly, precisely what it was going to be. He said it was going to be Doom Redux, we got Doom Redux.

Personally I thought Doom Redux was pretty good, although it's the last monster closet I ever want to see. I agree largely with the System Shock 1.5 critique. I had a lot of nostalgic fun playing Doom gameplay, but now I want to see something more credible.

Re:I'd be less forgiving about Doom 3's gameplay (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900296)

Doom = Fast and frantic shooter

Doom3 = slow and dark 'survival horror' game

so no, I don't think Carmack really delivered on Doom Redux.

Of course, he did deliver on a fantastic new graphics engine.

Re:I'd be less forgiving about Doom 3's gameplay (1)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901356)

1) Doom was only fast in parts. Several parts were slow and creepy as well. Sure, it was more frantic overall, but not like night and day. If you take some of the dark/oddly lit sections of Doom and expanded it, slap on an awesome graphics engine, you pretty much have Doom 3.

2) Doom 3 wasn't survival horror.

3) Doom 3 was also only slow in parts.

4) Much of Doom 3's level design was lifted from the original Doom concepts. Many reviews even complained about it.

Re:I'd be less forgiving about Doom 3's gameplay (2)

@madeus (24818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10908180)

I agree with the previous poster, I don't think Doom 3 was 'Doom Redux' at all.

The origional Doom games were much faster over all, even the 'slower' bits were much faster than the fastest parts of Doom 3, there were very dark sections in Doom but they were used sparingly to great effect (I didn't like them all that much, but they worked well because they were infrequent), not constantly, to the degree of invoking boredom and frustration as in Doom 3.

Doom 3 relied on tight indoor areas for the most part, I was greatly releaved when I game to nice open indoor areas in the game - the origional games were NEVER as horribly restrictive and small. In contrast, Doom 1 & 2 had many large open areas (indoor and outdoor) too.

I also think Doom 3 was survival horror - the whole concept of torch OR weapon, the rediclously dark environment, the many staged events, the limited 8 clip shotgun just scream survial horror to m (rather than mindless blasting fun).

While there were many traps in the origional game it almost never just open a wall behind you and had really nasty things fall out on top of you, you could almost always see them in front of you, or they would open up elsewhere on the level. Doom 3 was cheap in that reguard (also in the manner in which things would just 'popup' in front of you due to lack of proper spawn points, that's just really lazy design).

I wish that Doom 3 had been a continuation of the Doom series, but it's just no so IMO. I don't mind variation and thought the addition of PDA's and terminals was a good idea, but the game didn't feel like a spiritual sucessor even remotely to me. I think the likes of Serious Sam has gameplay that's closer to the origional Doom series as I remember it.

Re:I'd be less forgiving about Doom 3's gameplay (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10916856)

but not like night and day.

How much more different would you want? Doom2 had rooms containing 60 individual monsters- where you could see ALL of them at once. What's the limit on "awake" monsters in Doom 3? 8? 10? And half of those are probably hidden in the blackness.

Or what about the Doom cyberdemon? Dodging back and forth around each of the blasts from his triple-rocket bursts while pumping him full of shells. Single well-timed keystrokes were all that stood between you and explosive death.

Doom3 had a (bigger) cyberdemon too, but there was no need for reflexes except to run around the circle away from him, and remember to throw a cube whenever it charges. And even if he looked cool, you couldn't really admire him, because you had to be hunting small demons to collect soul points. (Whereas in Doom1, you constantly looked at the cool monster to tell when he was attacking)

3) Doom 3 was also only slow in parts.

The only way Doom3 had fast parts was if you cheated by using quickload to detect traps by dashing into them. If not for that, then it'd be just inching forward until a demon's elbow peeks around the corner to get blasted.

4) Much of Doom 3's level design was lifted from the original Doom concepts.

Seeing realistic 3-d versions of all that old stuff was one of the best parts. Too bad they left out a dominant feature of the original maps: Lightbulbs. Flourescent lamps everywhere, so many that you can actually see both walls of a hallway at the same time! And windows, which let in the Sun (Mars is closer to the sun, and has no atmosphere to support clouds, so it should've been BRIGHT)

The idea that you needed a flashlight to get around the base even BEFORE the demon explosion mucked up the power is just wrong.

Re:I'd be less forgiving about Doom 3's gameplay (1)

evilmuffins (631482) | more than 9 years ago | (#10922432)

Wow, Mars is closer to the sun then Earth? When did this happen, crazy shit man, crazy shit. Time for me to set down my pipe.

Finishing might be a good idea (1)

hammurderer (819640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899572)

First I must say that i agree with what this article has to say so far. But the guy who wrote this article hasn't even gotten the gravity gun. that doesn't say much for his commitment to gaming. I acuired the grav gun in the first session. And having played both games to there completion I must say that both games look very good and perform excelent but i like HL2 better Steam is an awsome concept and the water is better that it is in D3 and lets just say that i prefer a story to no story anyday and dropping freight cars on enemies from a crane is more fun than it should be. also Halo2=dumb and repeditive

Re:Finishing might be a good idea (1)

hammurderer (819640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899628)

Also ravenhold is a sweet chapter the fast headcrabs are difficult as hell especially when you get injected with toxin.

sweedish chef re: tfa (1)

evilmousse (798341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899654)


borked borked borked!

(anyone got a cache of the page?)

Re:sweedish chef re: tfa (1)

cignet (812144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899798)

yeah, it's broke for me too ... either bandwidth exceeded or the site has too many people currently on it.

TOGoS's review (1)

togofspookware (464119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899726)

Doom 3 is monotonous and boring, and Valve is evil. 'nuff said.

Nicely hidden but... (2)

AzraelKans (697974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10899776)

Has anyone noticed the hl2 banner running in the background? why Im not surprised HL2 came on top?
anyway, besides the points already mentioned the article basically boils down to: "doom 3 has this BUT hl2 has THIS instead!"

Besides isnt a bit futile to see another article mentioning Doom 3 is dark? news flash: it was made like that on purpose AND not all areas are dark or repetitive. (specially the last ones) I remember the first time I played I was so psyched a half hour later I shot a pipe which barely resembled a human figure, dark areas were MEANT to be dark DOOM3 is an HORROR game.
I used the "duct tape" mod for a while and then I realized it really detracted a bit from the fear and turned into a regular action shooter, PLAY IT like it is, you wont regret it, trust me.

If you want an ACTION game go get HL2 instead they are different generes, arent we mature enough to recognize that not all fps are the same just because they have the same perspective?

Re:Nicely hidden but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900089)

"arent we mature enough.."

son you're on slashdot..

Re:Nicely hidden but... (1)

dcam (615646) | more than 9 years ago | (#10902675)

I played the first half hour of Doom 3 and got bored and annoyed. This was the same as a number of firends in my experience. One guy who bought it couldn't be bothered playing it for more than a few hours, it just wasn't enjoyable. The other, a pretty serious gamer, finished it, but only after switching on cheats because he was sick of hunting through levels looking for ammo, only to be ambushed by monsters the whole time.

Re:Nicely hidden but... (2)

UranusReallyHertz (567776) | more than 9 years ago | (#10905276)

Yeh, I liked the review that said that basically all the ammo and powerups were just swithces to bring in monsters. Doom 3 was like a repetitive horror film that uses the same lame gimmicks over and over and over and over until they are just beaten to death. (Although it DID have its moments, like the awsome intro sequnce for the pinkydemon and the guy with the lamp and when that demon appears behind the stairs wtih a light behind it. That literally made me jump.)

Re:Nicely hidden but... (1)

dcam (615646) | more than 9 years ago | (#10907211)

The friend who finished on cheats used to make jokes about the dread lord of hell guarding his armor shards of power.

Latest Agatha Christie Novel Review (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10899868)

So I haven't gotten past the first few pages, but I have a good idea whodunnit, don't worry, I won't offer any spoilers. Also read the first few pages of Grapes of Wrath, and though I haven't quite finished, I feel fully capapble of comparing the two...

gaming reviews... (1)

dorsten (806687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900356)

What's the deal? These people almost NEVER have played all the way through these games. That's like reading the first two chapters of a book, then writing a review about the book based only on what you've read. Sure, some insights about the game can be gleaned from a moderate amount of play. But to compare two entirely different games against each other, shouldn't you at least have experienced both completely first? Pffft, I say!

whatever (2, Informative)

JDizzy (85499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900427)

I am one of those suckers that basicly built a new P4 system to support Doom3 prior to its release. Actually I got doom3 for free when I purchased my nVidia 6800 GT board which is the one recommended by ID for Doom3. So Doom3 works pretty good for me, with minimal technical glitches, and smooth level transition. The graphics are exceptional in illuminated or dark environments. I haved beat Doom3 a few times as I go up the lader of difficulty. I'm half way through nightmare level, but I've put that on hold as I have purchased HalfLife-2, and Halo-2. I beat Halo-2 in a day, don't even bother.

Technically speaking HL2 is a nightmare. Installing the game requires 5 disc's which scares me. Doom3 uses 3 discs though, and new games tend to have more, so it isn't a major bitch. The major bitches include a few things like the product registration. Firstly the product registration is insane, and I have never experienced a more overtly anoying process than this. Force feeding me steam is not good taste, although I used to endorse it back when I could play the original HalfLife for free. Anyways, Valve installed Steam, and steam took forever to download, and decipher some files. I don't mind a game contacting the mother ship before I play, but this was horendous. Moving on in the list of major bitches, the level transition takes forever, and does't indicate any progress. The only what I know my computer isn't locked up is by pressing the num-lock or tab key, and seeing the lights. Other not so major of a bitch issues include a few visual glitches durring fast movement or rapid change of Freeman's view/perspective, especially durring combat.

I don't seem to recal any moment where I drove a vehicle in doom3, althought I keep thinking that I'm forgeting something? Anyways, HalfLife-2 has some great outdoor areas. The problem is having a design that works for outdoor areas means either having really huge outdoor maps, or have anoying outdoor level transitions. Sorta like hitting an invisible wall that causes an annoying 2 minute level transition. HalfLife-2 actually has both huge outdoor maps, but also long map changes once you venture off the edge of a map. I don't seem to recal Doom-3 having any outdoor areas aside from the ocassional skybox map on the surface of mars where you quickly leave for a finite Ox2 supply. In a Weird way I kinda percieve Domm-3 story line to be very similare to the original HalfLife storyline, athough the ID people seem to claim that they are just retelling the original Doom story, just different. I seem to recal some physics in Doom3, but it was realistinc, and minimal. In HL2 I can pick things up, thrown them, put them down. Valve takes it to the next level with a gravity gun that you only get once you get beyond the first few levels (further than the guy doing thsi review has got to). THE gravity gun lets you move heavy objects, and repel smaller objects at high-velocity.

My conclusion is Doom3 has a technically better game play, less fuss, more fun. HL2 has equally impressive graphics, better use of physics, and better interactivity with the world environment.

Re:whatever (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10907529)

Doom3? Better gameplay? Eh? No. Hl2 is worlds more creative with a far greater variety of neat new experiences. It also has something id doesn't quite have: powerfully good game design. Valve is a master at steadily building in new elements and then combining them for teh gameplay win. Doom3 is the exact same game, exact same experiences, that id has made for years, now 20% prettier.

Re:whatever (1)

JDizzy (85499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10909688)

I can narrow that down. HL2 allows grabing objects, throwing of objects, puting down objects, outdoor maps, and driving vehicles. Doom3 has the physics capability to have the same type of puzzles in HL2, the grabbing of items, etc.

I don't choose to forget that the Doom-3 engine itself is the product ID is selling, not the game. However Valve is primarily a game development studio, ID is a technology driver. Valve makes games to be playable (to sell units), where ID makes them to be pretty (to sell engine license). Granted the two are not mutually exclusive goals, but it is the current reality.

As far as gameplay goes, technically speaking Doom-3 has better level transitions, lighting. I think what I need to illistrate the points here is taking both engines, and creating identical maps with an emphasis on comparing the same level design, texutes, camera angles, and lighting. People have actualyl been doing this, by using HL2 textures in the Doom3 engine, and Vice Versa.

Re:whatever (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10916817)

Doom3 is the exact same game, exact same experiences, that id has made for years

I wish that were true! The combat action of Doom (and Doom2) was tremendously better than the latest game. Frantic run&gun battles, side-stepping fireballs and bringing down one more brown imp with each pump of your shotgun... it was great.

So instead in Doom3, you creep through the darkness looking for monsters. There will rarely be more than 3 at a time, because the engine can't handle it. And when you see/hear these monsters, you hunker down and hose them immediately, hopefully before they can advance on you. Running around during a fight isn't much of an option, because the hallways are tight, and DARK, and you can't go places if you can't see.

The inability to see enemies is the great flaw of D3 (and it's worse because it was so intentional). Vision means knowledge, knowledge means thinking and meaningful action. It's not enjoyable for a player to have no way to know what's coming, so he can't plan actions except by restoring to predict each new ambush.

Re:whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10908323)

You had two minute level transition? If you went out and built a new P4 system for Doom 3 then you must have been duped and got a Celeron instead... I rigged up a P4 system with an ATI 9800 Pro 128 in preparation for HL2 .... in summer of 2003 when it was supposed to come out. My level transitions take 30 seconds at most. Five discs is the stupid way to buy the game. It's actually cheaper online from Valve directly. I will admit was skeptical about Steam when it was first introduced many months ago, but have had no major gripes with it personally. I unlocked my preloaded copy of HL2 within 10 minutes of the game's release with no problem at all. Unless you waited to that evening like someone going home from work out of a major city during rush hour, then you were just asking for it. Of course you'd like steam if you got to play HL for free. You're probably one of the 20,000 that has been locked out of HL2 for pirating the game. I'm glad Valve is protecting the work they did. As one of the paying customers who doesn't think everything should be free.

Translation! (3, Funny)

sudog (101964) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900514)

I'm too lazy to play through the whole of the games (even in god mode) to find out what they're really like, so I'll play through a couple levels and think I'm smart enough to extrapolate the rest.

Re:Translation! (1)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904290)

And yet, having played both games through till the end, he's right on. (IMHO of course)

Very poor article... (5, Insightful)

Shufly (808040) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900706)

I have to agree with anyone who read the article and felt like it was very poor journalism. First of all, right from the start the author mentions that he only played a little bit of each game. I think he said Alpha Labs 3 is as far as he played in Doom 3, that's what, 15% into the game? This is no more useful to me than the forum and comments flames from jaded gamers who spam their opinion all over the place after playing through just the intro to a game. If it was a good article, I think first of all he would have played through both games so that he could actually tell us which one he actually likes better than the other, not which one he thinks he may like better than the other, and instead of just saying one is better than the other, he could recommend one or the other to the reader based on their preferences. These are just some basics of writing review/opinion pieces. This guy makes himself sound like an ass.

What would I have said? Well, I think most people will enjoy both games. As for casual gamers or people who are new to FPS games, I would say Doom 3. HL2 has some puzzles and concepts that any FPS nut will breeze by, but someone who hasn't been playing these games all that long will find themselves frustrated. For instance, I was watching my girlfriend play HL2 and she couldn't get past the train yard, because she is not coordinated enough to time the jump from the train top over the fence to get to the next part, she would have been stuck there for ages if I wasn't there to take over and do the jump for her. Some of the puzzles will confuse people who didn't already have a good idea about how the game was going to work as far as physics puzzles go. Doom 3 is mostly just a pretty frag-fest, my girlfriend has gotten much farther in Doom 3 than she can get in HL2 without my help.

Hardcore gamers are going to choose one or the other based on what kind of game they like to play. HL2 has more variety in it's gameplay, with more puzzles and more ways to dispatch enemies (knocking out platforms they are standing on, using objects in the world, etc.) where as Doom 3 is point, click and kill and focuses on little else other than keeping the situation tense at all times. I really like both, and luckily I do not have to choose one or the other. If you like killing everything in sight and being a bad-ass, maybe Doom 3 is your cup of tea. If you like to explore and are looking for more than just brainless action, then maybe you will get your kicks out of HL2. I say get 'em both, and maybe toss in an Xbox and Halo 2 for good measure.

Re:Very poor article... (2, Informative)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10901657)

I'm the author of the article in question. First: I state clearly that this is not a comprehensive review. Second: I now have the Gravity Gun in HL2. Its tons of fun to play with, but it doesn't change anything I said about physics or the physics in Half Life--namely that they are excellent and that the puzzles are mostly good. Third: I'd agree that Doom 3 is easier to play than Half Life 2--but Doom 3 is mainly a graphic-driven game, and casual gamers are less-likely to have the high-end hardware necessary to make it look good. If I had to recommend one over the other for the "casual" gamer I'd have to think about it--but you've got a good point. Fourth: I find it odd that people criticize me for having not played through the entire game (despite clearly representing this as an initial impression of both games) yet no one stands up and says: "You got it all wrong!" I have yet to get an email or see a comment from anyone who thinks Doom 3 has innovative gameplay, but I've seen lots of posts from people who think Doom 3 has repetitive rooms and a tired design structure. Some people may find Doom 3 creepier than others, but not too many seem to think it breaks any new (non-graphical) ground. I stand by my piece as written. It is not a comprehensive review of either game. It is a comparison of them and their early stages. Many of the factors I compare (lighting, models, atmosphere) are consistent throughout both games. I'm now halfway through HL2, and it continues to have excellent models and good lighting. As I approach Hell, Doom 3 continues to be dark and shadowy. I'm still relying on my flashlight all the time. Doesn't seem like much has changed.

Re:Very poor article... (1)

Shufly (808040) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903150)

First of all, let me apologize, it is fair that you stand by your article as not being a comprehensive review, the article is flagged on the site as "First Impressions" and you do clearly state that you haven't played through both games. Fair enough.
On the other hand, I don't think it is fair to outright recommend one over the other when you haven't finished either of them. To me, that is almost like watching the first 15 minutes of a movie and telling someone which they should see based on your initial impression, when the one you liked could actually end up being horrible because of a crappy ending. Now, I wouldn't care if you were giving your impression and recommendation to a friend or on your personal blog, but it appears to me that Sudhian is a commercial site, and I hold professional writers to a higher standard than random internet fanboys, so if you tell me that you think one game is better than the other, without having taken in the entire game, I am going to lose faith in the website or magazine altogether.
I honestly love both games, and one person's opinion isn't going to make me feel any better or worse about that, but I have worked as a professional writer for a gaming publication, and I have been bitched out for reviewing games I didn't finish, and I've felt the backlash it can cause. I guess maybe I wanted to express that I think it is a bad idea to express opinions about a product you are not completely familiar with, both because finishing the games may change your opinion, or because you leaving yourself open to internet dorks such as myself to rip into your work.

Re:Very poor article... (1)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904677)

You make fair points, and perhaps I should've been more nuanced at the end of the article. I'd have been less quick to do so if every sign I'd seen hadn't pointed me to my conclusions. Even now that I'm yet deeper into both games, I haven't seen anything that really changed my opinion on either. BUT-- I can see your point when you say that in principle, this is a bad thing to do. I will look over the last few paragraphs and see if they can be shifted a bit to keep my meaning while not giving such a strong recommendation.

What is WRONG with everybody? (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900796)

Why the FRICK can't people just play BOTH games? For crying out loud, they are both good! Or, if you don't want to spend $3000 on a gaming computer, play Halo. Whatever! You should be working anyway... -d

Re:What is WRONG with everybody? (2, Interesting)

Tyreth (523822) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904543)

Because one of these games will get the better mods. I'm hoping it's D3 so that Linux users can run the popular mods natively.

Re:What is WRONG with everybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10904651)

Ummm.... you can build a doom 3 worthy computer for $600... but i know what you mean...people that dont want to spend ANY money to upgrade...

An unbiased review. (3, Insightful)

Metsys (718186) | more than 9 years ago | (#10902947)

I think it's obvious to everyone that you should release a review until you've played the entire thing. However, it is a good idea to catalog your impressions during the game.

As someone who has played both games twice in about the same length of time, let me offer my "four" cents.

Instead of comparing "apples to oranges", I'll just compare individual feelings about each game.

It's okay, no spoilers.

oom 3 gave me a stronger and more consistent emotional response. I felt like I was going to die around every corner (except about an hour before you go to hell because the jump scenes started getting a little old). Half-Life gave me a wider range of emotions from excitement, fear, compation torwards NPCs, and that warm fuzzy feeling that you get when you open up a big 'ol can of ownage.

Doom 3 was very specific about gameplay; shoot, run, poop yourself. Half-Life 2 had a wider range of gameplay elements from squad/bug tactics, vehicular battles, puzzles, etc.

To me Doom 3 felt like it went deeper in the story than Half-Life 2 did. You pretty much got some dialog out of every important person on the Mars base while in Half-Life 2, even though the quality and entertainment value of each cutscene was better, it still left with gapping holes in the story. I had to go through every speach sample while talking to those 3 armed aliens to at least get an idea about what happened between Half-Life 1 to present. And at the end--again, more gapping holes left in the storry. Not to say that the story is flawed, because it is great, there's just some things that have not been explained that I really felt entitled to know. I can forgive cliffhanger endings, but not ever knowing what happened between the two games and not really knowing the connection kind of bugs me. I picked up a few more bits playing through the second time, but still the answers don't seem to be there.

HL2 had faster pacing but there was a portion of the game (late C17 stage) where there was about 2 hours of the same type of gameplay. That almost ruined the beautiful pacing up until that point but the last stage made it up to me. Doom 3 had pretty consistant pacing, or consistantly monotonous, but being able to get closer and closer to the horrible truth and understand more about what happened made it worth it. I never once got let down by a lack of scary scenes or wimpier monsters. It was consistent.

Overall, Doom 3 is more refined in what it tried to do. And for that it's worth even a third play. Half-Life 2 was more fun in that you got a wider range of gameplay. The physics engine was mainly eye candy and was used for puzzles, which was very successful.

And as far as graphics, who says that the Doom 3 engine can't do as good water as Half-Life 2? Are there any rivers or lakes on Mars? That's why there isn't any. Both engines are capable of it. It's just a fragment shader. The main difference I see is character AI in HL2 and shadowing in Doom 3.

Just play both games. Both are very good and are worth your time and money. HL2 might get more replay value out of me thanks to Counter-Strike:Source. Either way I'm not going to let baises or hatred for anti piracy measures to keep me from enjoying both of these titles.

Re:An unbiased review. (1)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904488)

Just a note on what you've said here: (I am the author of the article in question). I stated the following: In all fairness, I cant' say that the Source engine is "better" than the D3 engine at water rendering (I haven't seen any water in Doom 3 to compare to, and I've got a feeling that any running liquid I find may not be a fair comparison). So I agree. I never said D3 couldn't do water as well as HL2.

Re:An unbiased review. (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 9 years ago | (#10905256)

Doom 3's story wasn't enough to compel me to finish the game HL2 on the other hand has drawn me in with a combination of gameplay and story. So, I'm going to have to disagree on that issue.

Re:An unbiased review. (1)

DaveCBio (659840) | more than 9 years ago | (#10905316)

I forgot to mention that I also disagree on the point of polish. HL2 feels like a far more polished and well thought out game.

Re:An unbiased review. (1)

junkgrep (266550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10907544)

The problem with Doom3's story via the PDAs is that they are all pre-incident. This gave the story nowhere to go but the obvious. It would have been far more interesting if some of the PDAs had been recorded post incident, tracking some ongoing events within the facility: attempts to resist, leading to more interactions with NPCs. As such, what there was of Doom3's story (Swan, the OMG YOU STUPID IDIOTS HES A ZOMBIE MASTER, etc.) was very simplistic, though ok. NPC interaction was generally dull (I can't help you right now (erie shades of HL1's intro) or I have to stay here. By and large, HL2 had a better sense that stuff was going on all around you: events rather than just a series of rooms.

I'm a hardcore id fanboy... (2, Insightful)

DeltaSigma (583342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10903407)

...I immensely enjoyed Doom3. I think it's the best engine on earth. And even though this guy picks Half-Life 2 as his preferred game, I consider this article to be quite fair.

I still won't be purchasing Half-Life 2 because I dislike Valve's method of dealing with their community, and dislike Sierra's C&D letters. But I'm not going to try to stop anyone else from buying Half-Life 2 because in the end, video-games are all about entertainment. If HL2 entertains you more than D3 then you owe it to yourself to buy it.

You'd be a fool, however, if you didn't check back on Doom3 in a few months to a year when we've got our mods out.

Re:I'm a hardcore id fanboy... (3)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10904617)

Actually I'm really hoping for some great Doom 3 mods (I'm the author of the article in question). I'd love to see what people are doing and I've got high hopes for the classic doom project.

Forget Doom3 how does it compare to Farcry? (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 9 years ago | (#10907513)

Comparing Doom3 to Farcry was a joke.
farcry was had multiple paths, better weapons, a better atmosphere(after the first couple of scares in doom 3 that was over) and was just more fund.
So how does HL2 compare to Farcry?

Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10907660)

Inevitable though the comparisons are, they're not really fair. Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 are very different products.

Doom 3 is a niche product. It occupies a very specialist end of the FPS spectrum, edging a little onto the realm of Survival Horror. As such, it scared me half to death and made a pretty stunning impression. It's cinematic, surprisingly well-plotted for an id game and technically almost perfect. However, it also suffered from a big lack of variety and won't be to every fpser's taste.

Half-Life 2 is a generalist product. It's basically similar to dozens of fpses that have gone before it. It's more varied than Doom 3, but lacks a lot of the atmosphere and don't make as much of a strong impression. It's not as cinematic or well plotted, it's not quite as technically perfect, but the "shooting at things" aspect of it is better.

If you're trying to decide which to buy, just think about which of those models is more your "thing".
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