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Best Graphics, Technical

Doom 3

(PC)
Publisher: Activision
Developer: id Software
You'd think that this would be a tough category to pick a winner in, but surprisingly we came to a consensus quickly. In a year full of amazing-looking games, Doom 3 stands above all the rest. We always expect the best from id Software, and they always deliver. Doom 3 was no exception.

Doom 3 won this award because it literally takes graphics to the next level. One of the things that games have had trouble with in the past is capturing the interaction between light and shadow. While real-time lighting and shadowing have begun to appear in games over the past year or two, none of it has really felt right. The mind is excellent at noting such subtle imperfections, and that helps ruin the suspension of disbelief. Programmer and graphical guru John Carmack set out to address this issue, and his answer is nothing short of amazing. Doom 3 works because it finally captures the experience of being inside a dark room. That doesn't sound like much, but think about it--you almost get a primal sense of fear from the notion that something might be lurking in the shadows. No other game in recent memory has done that.

Meanwhile, the rest of Doom 3 is as visually dazzling as its lighting-and-shadowing engine. The graphics engine is capable of rendering highly detailed interiors, realistic-looking characters, and nightmarish monsters. Doom 3 is a visually amazing experience, and we can't wait to see what others will be able to do with this new engine. The Quake III engine reigned for over five years as one of the standards in the industry, and the Doom 3 engine looks to do the same. And Doom 3 is also further proof that Carmack and his team at id Software remain the cutting edge of graphical innovation in the industry.
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