As we rapidly approach the final days of the Xbox – we’re finally seeing its true power as graphical heavyweight games such as Doom 3, Half-Life 2, and Far Cry are being brought over with the almost the same graphical fidelity as was seen on much more expensive PC systems
Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (RoE) is the add-on to last years hit PC game and a succesful Xbox conversion earlier this year.
Does it continue in the same great tradition of its predecessors, and more importantly is it worthy of your hard earned dollar?
Let’s break the game apart and see
Last year Doom 3 was one of the few titles that set a new standard graphically for gaming on the PC and Doom 3: RoE continues that tradition on the Xbox. It’s almost mind-blowing to see the same level of graphical detail that made the video cards in many PC gamers rigs cry out for mercy, ported over so beautifully onto a $149 console system. That’s not to imply that the developers didn’t have to scale some things down, most noticeably some of the object textures, but these trade offs are minimal. I have friends who weren’t able to let the game look this good when the played it on their $1,200 PC rigs.
Unfortunately the game had to be downgraded a few points due to some pretty horrible framerates in a couple of levels.
Another one of the key features that made the original Doom 3 an enjoyable game was the wonderful use of sound throughout the game to propel the story and create atmosphere. Doom 3: RoE attempts to continue that tradition but unfortunately fell a little flat.
For starters, the voice actors used in RoE really left a bit to be desired. What little we did get to hear them speak was marred by sounding far too rehearsed and ingenuine.
The original Doom 3 featured intelligent use of audio logs and 3d surround environmental effects that created a truly intense atmosphere as you went into each new area and around every corner. Doom 3: RoE’s attempts to recreate this atmosphere never quite pan out. The atmospheric noise just didn’t have that same touch as the original game and therefore the game feels a bit like a ‘me too’ game.
What few audio logs there are in the game suffer from the same poor acting and a strangely low volume level.
While the game didn’t feature quite as elegant of a control scheme as that found in the Halo series, it did handle very well. The only time I became aware of flaws in the control scheme were when dealing with detail aiming required to shoot small and fast targets such as the flying skulls.
One other complaint was that there just really needed to be a shortcut key to access the artifact weapon quickly in the middle of a fight.
Let’s face it, the Doom games have never been very strong on story but this one does take a step back from what we received in the original Doom 3. This is definitely a game that requires very little thinking, and often makes you feel like you’re merely being led by the nose from one room to the next.
RoE does try to mix things up a little by introducing a few new enemies and several new weapons. Unfortunately none of the enemies are really very difficult to fight, and while I enjoyed the new weapons, none of them were really that innovative and ended up feeling like just more of the same.
The new weapons added in RoE are the pistol (which now features a flashlight mounted directly on it), a double barrel shotgun (mmmmmm mmmmm good), a new supernatural weapon called the artifact which allows you to temporarily slow down time during some intense firefights, and in a nod to half-life 2 – a levitation gun. The levitation gun in particular was disappointing as it felt out of place in this world especially after having played the perfectly conceived and implemented version that was in Half Life 2.
Unfortunately the game can be beat in a mere six to eight hours, which just feels too short even when taking into consideration its mission pack status. Add in the fact that the difficulty level of the game is actually fairly low and this is a game that you can easily finish in well under a weekend. Multiplayer adds a little replay value but without the added bonus of co-op play like the original Doom3 on Xbox added – it’s just not enough to keep this game on your shelf for longer than a few weeks.