It is almost inevitable that there would be an expansion to the flawed-gem that is Doom 3. Today we take a look at Resurrection of Evil and descend once again into Hell.
2 years after the destruction of the UAC’s Mars base and throwing good sense and caution to the wind, the Marines have re-opened the research base to investigate a strange beacon. Since the story did not end in the depths of Hell in Doom 3, the evil within the base quickly pulls out the pentagrams on the Marine force sent to re-open the base and once again you are plunged into familiar Satanic surroundings, only this time you are fighting to stop the stream of evil demonic creatures from invading our world – you are fighting for all mankind.
Resurrection of Evil kicks off at the Erebus Labs archeological dig site where some of your comrades have discovered a new demonic artifact. This lab looks very similar but Nerve has done a bit of reworking on the lighting engine and added a few details such as brightening the overall look of the game and adding multi-color swirls to some of the attack effects. I can’t be absolutely sure but it also seems that some framerate optimizations have gone into this expansion as it seemed to run more smoothly than Doom 3 did on my machine.
There is no denying that Doom 3 has some of the best graphics around – this expansion uses the same engine so it will naturally have some of the same feel. There isn’t anything to fault the graphics for other than the semi-plastic look of some of the monsters, unless your rig won’t run it – then it is just your jealousy talking.
With any title that plunges the main character in darkness, the audio is pretty important as it may be all that you have to rely on. It seems that Nerve didn’t want to mess with a good thing and left the audio fairly untouched. There are some new voiceovers for your new Marine friends and Dr. McNeil, the head of your team to help fuel the story. You won’t be spending a lot of time chatting in this game, so you might not even notice other than Dr. McNeil who gives you infrequent updates throughout the game.
The sound effects for the weapons were good the first time around, and the new weapons are equally well done. The double-barrel shotgun gives a resounding blast when you unload both barrels into your target. You’ll find the monsters haven’t changed and when they sneak up behind you they’ll scare the crap out of you with their low growls and breath on the back of your neck. Not a lot has changed in the audio department.
Since you have to have Doom 3 to play this expansion, the controls should be no mystery to you. The major change to the controls comes in the form of two new weapons. You can pick up a new “Grabber” weapon, similar in use to the one in Half-Life 2. It allows you to grab items and small creatures and fling them around. You can also grab fireballs as they are thrown at you and send them back at your enemies. This will become important as your enemies gain power and ammo becomes scarce.
The second weapon that changes the gameplay dynamic is the use of Hell Time. Hell Time is similar to bullet-time in titles such as Enter the Matrix. It allows you to slow down the run-and-gun action for a short bit to pry yourself out of hairy situations or to complete some basic puzzles.
The thing about expansion packs is that they play, for the most part, like the games they are attached to. Granted, you are a new nameless Marine and its two years later but nothing really has changed in the basic gameplay dynamic. The game starts out at a feverish pitch and soon enough you’ll find yourself again playing the lone savior. You’ll pick up weapons in a progressive fashion, and with the exception of the aforementioned weapons it is really the same affair as it was before. There is a bit less of the ‘monster-in-the-closet’ stuff going on in this title but it is still essentially the same gameplay. You’ll blast through waves of demonic foes, find some switch or a key, unlock a door, rinse and repeat. The nice thing is that you don’t have to spend as much time in the PDA as you did in Doom 3.
Nerve did some re-tooling of the monsters and added three new demons for you to play with. They also added a few more bosses to the title, something lacking from its parent-title. These bosses are called Hunters and their souls can be used to fuel power-ups that range all the way up to Invulnerability.
In many ways, Resurrection of Evil improves on the plain-vanilla gameplay of Doom 3. The Grabber adds a tactical element where you can use your enemy’s own weapons against them; the new shotgun has enough kick to make it a worthy addition to the arsenal. The artifact, however, is a bit of mixed bag. The Hell Time option is a bit uninspired – it is simply slow motion without frills. The Berserker power is a classic throwback to the original Doom – it is hard punching and high speed time when this power is used, your foes don’t stand a chance. The third power is Invulnerability and it is exactly what it sounds like. It is a useful pry bar for the sticky situations when you are being overwhelmed by the more powerful demons that you will face until you can pick up a bit more armor and health to pick yourself back up.
The gameplay has a few more distractions from the action this time around. You can play three new arcade games including a Super-Breakout clone. Yes, even when all Hell is literally breaking loose you can take a quick break and drop some quarters into an arcade machine to indulge in some classic arcade action! Nothing scares the demons more than the sounds of bricks being destroyed by a bouncing ball.
Resurrection of Evil fixes some of what was broken with Doom 3 but still stays true to the run-and-gun gameplay. This is both a blessing and a curse for the title and I suspect that this expansion will run as polar as Doom 3 did – some will love it and some will loathe it.
The biggest slice against Doom 3 and again with its expansion is the length. Resurrection of Evil’s single-player missions can be completed in roughly 10 hours. To help add some icing to the cake, Nerve turned to Threewave, the authors of the Capture the Flag mods for Quake 1 and 2 to bring that particular mode of multiplayer to Doom 3. They immediately expanded the number of players to 8 for online play and added a handful of new Deathmatch maps. It certainly helps expand the gameplay but online multiplayer has moved past this stage at this point. It just feels like there should be more here, but it never materialized for me.