Review by Evil Dave

Reviewed: 03/05/07 | Updated: 08/07/07

Love it or hate it, Resurrection of Evil is strictly more of the same Doom.

The Doom franchise is one of the most universally recognizable intellectual properties in all of gaming. The first Doom title almost single-handedly birthed the first-person shooter genre, and its subsequent sequel, Doom 2, notably refined the experience into what is close to what we know shooters to be like today.

Unlike its predecessors, Doom 3 was touted as a blockbuster from the very earliest known moments of its existence. It led a spectacularly public development life, and when it was ultimately released to the public, gamers snatched it up in large numbers, despite a mediocre critical reception. Of course, in this modern era of high-cost, high-risk game creation, a sequel to such an established, profitable franchise is seemingly inevitable. So, it should come as little surprise that Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, a related-but-independent expansion pack, saw its release just six months after Doom 3 hit the XBox. This expansion offers more of the same Doom 3, but some gamers might not find it to be exactly what they bargained for.

Visuals:

While Doom 3 was in development, it graphics were hailed as being far-and-away the best ever seen in a videogame; yet, despite the hype it received, the numerous production delays it faced during that time dulled the impact they had when it finally saw release in August of 2004. For console gamers, though, when the game was ported to Microsoft’s XBox console eight months later, those same graphics were largely intact – and they stood out as an impressive feat for the console’s hardware.

Resurrection of Evil utilizes the same graphical engine as Doom 3, and as a result the game looks similarly impressive. You’ll see the same type of amazing lighting and particle effects, highly detailed textures, and expressive character models that were in the first game, animated as fluidly and seamlessly as you could hope for. The frame rate stays very consistent as well, only bogging down on occasion when a tremendous amount of action clogs the screen. Whether this is due to the incredibly dark, cramped, sparsely populated areas you’ll visit or to the strengths of the engine, who knows – either way, the excellent performance is a plus.

You’ll see a handful of CG cutscenes play out during the course of the game to further the plot. These are done entirely using the in-game graphic engine, and as such they look as good as the rest of the visuals. You get a really good opportunity to see how expressive the character models are during these segments, so you’ll probably want to keep your eyes on the screen, despite the boring plot.

The visuals in RoE benefit greatly from extensive use of the original Doom 3’s graphical engine. On the whole, the game’s appearance compares very favorably to most XBox games currently on the market.

Score: 9/10

Sound:

As mentioned before, Resurrection of Evil takes place mostly in the small, dark environments of a research station taken over by hell’s minions. These places tend to be rather quiet by nature, although you’ll hear a decent variety of computers and mechanical parts performing their jobs as you pass them by.

For the most part, the majority of the sounds you’ll hear are made by your demonic enemies, who run the gamut from small, spider-like monsters to giant, lumbering behemoths. Each foe features an exclusive set of sound effects, and you’ll quickly learn to recognize the presence of each by their trademark shrieks or moans. They’re not the most unique noises you’ll ever hear, but they get the job done very nicely.

You’ll also be treated to human voiceovers during the game’s video sequences, as well as during radio briefings from your team leader and through PDA voice messages. On the whole, the actors’ performances are good, and they accomplish their task admirably enough. The PDA messages still sound as though they were recorded in a sound-proof booth, but that’s a relatively minor complaint.

Doom 3 used very little music during gameplay, opting for a mixture of ambient noise that helped to maintain the game’s creepy atmosphere. RoE doesn’t change this, as the only music you’re likely to hear as you play is the generic rock track that plays over the final credits. Given how out of place background music would be in this type of game, you aren’t likely to miss it as you play.

Much like the audio in Doom 3, RoE’s acoustics manage to capture the mood of a research outpost that’s been overrun with hellspawn very nicely, thanks to its decidedly minimalist approach.

Score: 8/10

Gameplay:

Doom 3 managed to capture the interest of gamers thanks to its excellent overall presentation, but not its incredibly deep gameplay; indeed, the tried-and-true gameplay style of ‘enter room, wait for enemies to spawn, shoot enemies, repeat ad nauseum’ typically relied on the game’s impressive presentation and personality to prop itself up. While the developers have implemented a few changes in RoE that add some nice twists to the combat, they ultimately can’t hide the fact that it’s an old dog trying to learn a couple of new tricks.

The biggest addition to the gameplay is the inclusion of a new artifact that grants your character special powers while it’s active. Like Doom 3’s soul cube, this artifact must be charged with souls – although this time they’re the souls of the deceased humans lying about the station. Once charged, you can use it to give yourself a few seconds of bullet-time, where everything around you slows down to a crawl while you move at normal speed. Later on in the game, the artifact also gains the ability to boost your character’s melee attack strength boost and, eventually, offer you invulnerability against attack. While it doesn’t change the gameplay completely, this new artifact offers you some interesting options during what would have been average enemy encounters in Doom 3. There are usually plenty of dead bodies around to charge it with – demonic invaders don’t like to take prisoners? – so you’ll constantly be switching back to it when you meet tougher enemies on your journey through Site 1.

Your arsenal of weapons has expanded a bit aside from the artifact. The double-barreled shotgun from the early Doom games makes an appearance here, and it’s as powerful as it is slow to reload. Also, in what appears to be a nod to Half-Life 2, you have access to a ‘Grabber Gun,’ which is essentially a gun that can manipulate small environmental objects and enemy energy attacks. Your flashlight is gone, too – or rather, someone finally found some duct tape and attached it to your pistol. Naturally, though, it’s stuck to the weakest gun you’ll have on you, and so you’ll end up using it in exactly the same manner as you did your flashlight in Doom 3.

So, what else is new in RoE, besides these few new weapons? Well, to put it frankly, not much. There are a few sequences where you’ll chase portable energy cells for generators, but these are simply the spiritual kin of Doom 3’s PDA-fetch objectives; not surprisingly, you’ll also be running around looking for some PDAs as well, although there are much fewer instances of this in RoE. There are also a few boss fights interspersed through the game, which serve to give your character access to the artifact’s new powers. These encounters are fairly challenging, but once you’ve figured out each enemy’s attack patterns you can dispatch them with help from the artifact’s abilities. The A.I. for all of your fiendish enemies is still quite aggressive, although there isn’t much variation in their attack configurations.

As well as being mostly derivative, RoE is a very short game. By the time you’ve reached hell and finish off the final boss, you’ll probably only have been playing for a total of 6-8 hours. Experienced players can probably get through the Normal difficulty setting in even less time – especially if they don’t bother reading through all of the PDA messages and whatnot. It’s not a particularly easy game, thanks to the waves and waves of demons you’ll be tasked with facing, but it’s very fair with its armor and health pickups, and you can still save at any time. It should also be mentioned that the game’s loading times are somewhat above average – even un-pausing the game takes a good couple seconds.

Those expecting big changes to the Doom 3 formula in Resurrection of Evil are likely to be very disappointed. There are a few interesting new toys to play with, but at the end of the day, this is still very much the same game as its predecessor.

Score: 6/10

Story:

The story in the first two Doom games was secondary to the action. Doom 3 took a step away from this tradition by attaching a sci-fi storyline to the game’s setting, and it ended up actually doing a fairly good job of creating a compelling reason to push onward through the repetitive gameplay. Resurrection of Evil’s plotline dovetails with that of Doom 3, but it’s really not much more than a quick rehash of the events of the first game.

You’re once again cast in the role of a voiceless, nameless Space Marine, stuck on Mars in a research facility that’s literally gone to hell. The plot revolves around your efforts to figure out the mysteries of the artifact you’re using, and eventually to (once again) thwart hell’s plans to take over the earth. You’ve seen this story plenty of times before, and unless you’re a huge fan of the plot from Doom 3, you aren’t likely to care much about the characters or setting. To its credit, though, RoE once again does a nice job of immersing you in the game world, thanks to the daily minutiae you’ll find on the PDAs of the deceased.

While it’s not much more than a quick retread of the plot from Doom 3, the story the RoE has to tell should appeal to anyone who enjoyed that of the game which it’s based on. Don’t expect any Pulitzer Prize-winning material here, though.

Score: 7/10

Features/Modes:

Resurrection of Evil offers and handful of multiplayer modes, which can be played either split-screen, via system link, or over XBox Live, much like Doom 3. These modes are all basically deathmatch variants, and while they’re sure to be appealing to shooter fans, there’s not much here that hasn’t been done better in other games along the way. It’s nice that the developers went to the efforts to include the multiplayer, but it’s curious that they haven’t added any new content to it from what was present in Doom 3.

Perhaps in light of the fact that the single-player campaign is so short, RoE also includes the original Doom and Doom 2 for play, including complete cooperative and competitive functions. These classic games aren’t likely to be a draw-in for players who haven’t played them already, but fans of these classic shooters will find the versions here to be very competent and complete ports.

One interesting thing to note is that, despite the presence of an option to play the storyline campaign cooperatively in Doom 3, RoE does not allow for such a thing to occur. Whether this was dropped due to a time consideration during development or due to opposition from the game’s creators, it is a significant – and disappointing – omission.

While RoE offers a good amount of value, most of that value isn’t likely to appeal to anyone but hardcore Doom 3 fans.

Score: 7/10

Online Play:

XBox Live play for Resurrection of Evil is sparsely populated, at best. The game runs well on most any server, but this is just as likely to lack of users as it is to solid network management. None of the multiplayer modes available for play are different from their offline counterparts, and they play exactly the same. There are two multiplayer maps available for free download to your XBox hard drive, but neither is exceptionally noteworthy.

The XBox Live community for RoE is not likely to attract anyone to the game.

Score: 5/10

Total Score:

Much like the titular Doom 3, Resurrection of Evil is a mostly simple game about running through a space station, blasting monsters with a bunch of guns. The game looks, sounds, and acts like its predecessor, and despite a few interesting tweaks, the gameplay is still largely the same as well. This means two things: that fans of Doom 3 will find more of what they loved here, and that anyone who disliked that game will find nothing to change their mind with RoE.

If you enjoyed Doom 3, then RoE was made just for you. Otherwise, it would probably be for the best to spend your money and time with the former, to see if you might want to make the jump into the latter.

Score: 6/10 (not an average)

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Rating: 6

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