DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil
Doom 3 garnered a lot of critical praise and wowed many fans with its impressive graphics. Visuals don't make the game though and in my opinion at least, the third incarnation of the franchise was a little too simplistic for its own good. Doom is Doom and the gameplay really boils down to point and shoot. You can't really change that, but the team at Nerve Software thought that they'd give a shot at making an extension to the original game. The result is Resurrection of Evil. A title that is undoubtedly better than the game it's an expansion for, but it still comes up lacking and feeling a little too familiar.
The story takes place two years after the events of Doom 3 with the UAC having more problems with Mars and demons. You get cast in the role of a nameless bloke who has been sent in by scientists to obtain something called the Artifact. Our poor marine gets sucked into a personal hell, but also has to deal with the real one at hand. This means that it's time for a one man army to take the battle to hell and back, but would a little more character development really be such a bad thing?
So, if you are returning from Doom 3 you can expect a few changes afoot. The first and most obvious is the Artifact itself. This object that is shaped like a heart has the power to absorb energy from dead bodies. With these charges you can initiate a power that slows things down to a crawl. Needless to say in a franchise that is as frantic as this one is, an item like this can come in handy when used properly. Enemies that were once charging you and difficult to hit will virtually stand still when you use this gadget.
The second thing that you'll notice is the addition of a grabber weapon that takes a cue from Half Life's gravity gun. This is one of the most handy things to have ever been introduced to the Doom universe. The ability to pick up objects and hurl them, stop projectiles in their tracks and return them to their sender, and even shoving smaller enemies is something the series needed. If you have played the original, you'll probably stop and ask yourself how you ever got by without this little trinket.
Apart from those little additions, the gameplay in Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil is essentially the same as the first game. The array of weapons has been tinkered with slightly and there is now a highly destructive double-barrel shotgun added to the mix. There really aren't many new enemies either, so if you are making a return trip to Mars you can pretty much expect the same type of experience.
If you were hoping that the new expansion was going to offer a more robust multiplayer game, you're going to be left out in the dark. All they really did was drop the co-op portion and add in a few more maps with the prospect for downloadable content. Let's be honest though, if you are Xbox Live and want to play an FPS you're going to go to Halo 2 or now Perfect Dark on the 360. Doom has always been a game that is best experienced by a single player in a darkly lit room thanks to the scare factor. Going at it with a Deathmatch just kind of cheapens the overall concept a bit. It's also worth mention that the PC version's Capture the Flag Mode has been omitted from the Xbox version, though there is the prospect of download content in the future.
Newcomers may actually want to give this one a whirl before the original because of the shorter campaign and nifty weaponry features. Returning gamers however may be disappointed with the lack of any real new features, apart from a couple of weapons. This extension proves to be very linear and overall it will take you about thirteen hours or so to beat in full. It's not the best FPS that the Xbox has to offer, but it's certainly not the worst. Even so, this is probably one of the scariest games that you'll ever play and even though it is still Doom, Resurrection of Evil nearly feels like its own monster.
The graphics in the original Doom 3 were some of the best that the Xbox console had every seen (next to Chronicles of Riddick anyway). Resurrection of Evil is no different, since it pretty much uses the same visual engine that the first game was built on. The environments lend themselves for some fantastic lighting situations and when the game forces you to rely on your pistol's flashlight, that's when Doom soars. The atmosphere is creepy beyond belief though the price we pay for all of these flashy graphics is some slowdown that pops up now and then.
Sound-wise this game is on par with the original, though the voice acting leaves something to be desired. Sound effects are generally well used and really add to the overall aesthetic presentation of the game. The musical score is creepy as well and hearing the Artifact whisper sweet nothings in your ear is enough to send shivers down your spine. The Dolby Digital really kicks in at times and elevates the experience to pure horror.
Whether you have tackled the demons of hell in the original Doom 3 or not, this extension is a worthwhile endeavor all its own. The single player experience may prove to be a little too linear at times, but the inclusion of some nifty weapons helps things along. The multiplayer is still laughably barebones, but it's not like you're coming to this franchise to have a fragfest with your buddies. The inclusion of Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and the Master Levels for Doom II are a great addition for anyone who happens to get their kicks killing monsters. The graphics and audio for the game is top notch as well, though since the original game there hasn't been a whole lot of innovation. For the $30 price tag you really can't go wrong with picking this one up. Recommended