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Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil
game: Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil
three star
posted by: Tristan Mayshark
publisher: Activision
developer: id Software
ESRB rating: M (Mature)
date posted: 12:00 AM Sat May 7th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Sat May 7th, 2005

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Doom 3's release last year was one of the most anticipated moments in gaming history.  If you read my review of Doom 3, you know that I wasn't overly impressed once it finally hit shelves. I had been anticipating the game before I even knew it was going to exist, since the first time I beat Doom II: Hell on Earth, and the claustrophobic ambiance and visceral feel of Doom 3 were lost on me. I found myself more annoyed by simple issues like lighting and generally repetitive gameplay than I was in fear of giant hell-borne demons.

Expansion packs can be tricky to review, since the target demographic for an expansion is often people who bought the first game and liked it, more or less. I'm not saying an expansion pack has never propped up the sale of an original title, but usually this isn't the case (or happens later when the two games often get sold together as a bundle). That being said, I found myself enjoying parts of Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, despite having had a fairly negative reaction to the original game.

The first and foremost thing that sets this expansion apart from its host, for me, is better monster placement. Gameplay still basically consists of move into area, wait for lights to go out, shoot things, move into next area,? but the placement of the things that you shoot at is a little less cookie cutter this time around.

My second big complaint with Doom 3 was that so much of the game was played in the dark, and I was constantly getting killed after spotting a demon of some kind with the flashlight and trying to switch back to a weapon. Doom 3 solves this by giving you an environmental suit? which increases your maximum hit points as well as mounting a flashlight on your forehead. Unfortunately, the designers of the game elected to let you slog through four entire levels in the dark, again, before giving you said environmental suit, but it's a nice touch that greatly enhances the game's playability. (It's worth noting that some of the first mods to be released for Doom 3 used various methods of weapon modification to create weapons that also functioned as a flashlight, and these mods make both Doom 3 and its sequel more fun without sacrificing much in the way of scariness. Your mileage may vary.)

Resurrection of Evil adds some new weapons into the mix, and with some minor complaints, these additions work out very well. The first new weapon you will receive is the 'artifact', a gruesome gray heart. It is by removing this artifact from an alter on Mars that a new door to Hell is opened, and this is where the story begins. At the beginning of the game, the artifact does nothing, but as you progress it will provide you with more and more abilities including quad-damage, invincibility, and time dilation (a la Max Payne). The artifact is a lot of fun to play with, and becomes an absolute necessity in a few places where Resurrection of Evil forces you to fight very large numbers of tough monsters at once.

Doom II: Hell on Earth added a double barrel shotgun to Doom's arsenal, and, likewise, Resurrection of Evil adds a double barrel shotgun to Doom 3's arsenal. The reload is a little bit slower, but as with the original double barrel in Doom II, once you have the double barrel shotgun, there's very little cause to ever use the single barrel variety again.

Finally, Resurrection of Evil gives you the grabber?, which seems like almost an exact copy of the gravity gun from Half-Life 2. On the one hand, this feels a little derivative, but on the other, id has done a fine job of implementing a physics-based weapon, and it makes the game a lot more fun to play. They give you the grabber very early in the game, and you're really not expected to use it to solve puzzles. Half-Life 2's gravity gun was a physics weapon that was also instrumental for environmental navigation, whereas Doom's grabber is used almost exclusively for killing things. The possibilities are not limitless, but they're fairly extensive; in addition to being able to grab barrels (and exploding barrels) and throw them at demons, you can pluck some projectile weapons out of the air and throw them back at their users (the Imp's fireballs, for example) as well as being able to pick up some of the smaller demons completely and bash them into walls until they die.

Resurrection of Evil does not dwell on the importance of a storyline nearly as much as the original Doom 3, which plays heavily to its advantage. The usage of in-engine cut scenes, this time around, is more a matter of a few three or four second clips that introduce the odd new weapon or new demon, instead of protracted conversations that yank a player out of the game. It's also worth mentioning that while Resurrection of Evil, across the board, has some of the best graphics of any game ever released, the cut scenes especially shine and almost look pre-rendered in places. Consequently, there was a drop of framerate during some of these sequences on my machine, but nothing that becomes intrusive because of carefully selected camera angles, pans, and zooms.

An experienced gamer who has beaten Doom 3 will be able to get through this expansion in fifteen hours or less, but the gameplay stays fairly fresh throughout. Resurrection of Evil picks up two years after the end of Doom 3 with the discovery of the aforementioned artifact, and while there is a long sequence in a Martian base that's very similar to some of the original Doom 3 architecture, it doesn't feel stale or overused. The game opens with a fairly extensive sequence set in ancient Martian ruins, an environment that I felt was underused in Doom 3, as well as offering a lengthy run through Hell.

There are new demons to go along with the new weapons and new levels, of course, and some new bosses to kill as well. One of the first protracted battles has the player using the grabber to catch a level-boss's projectiles and hurl them back at it, and so right away you are offered a new experience that doesn't feel like Doom 3: The Rehash.?

Doom 3 was marketed primarily as a single player experience, and was lacking basic multiplayer options like support for more than 4 people on a server? and capture the flag?. Resurrection of Evil remedies these problems as well, but this part of the game left me fairly unimpressed. For one thing, there have been numerous user-made mods released since Doom 3 launched that offer some of the same functionality, and for another, I really saw these as lacking features instead of extra features. That makes purchasing Resurrection of Evil only for its multiplayer virtues seem like paying for a patch.

So, when all is said and done, Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil is a must-buy for anyone who loved the first game and couldn't get enough of it, and something that would be nice to own for anyone who enjoyed Doom 3 but was bothered by monster placement, lighting, or brevity. For those gamers who disliked Doom 3 enough to drop out after a couple hours of play, there may not be enough meat here to justify a purchase (let alone a double purchase if you do not already own Doom 3), but if nothing else, this expansion should still serve as a reminder that the Doom 3 engine is quite possibly the best looking commercial game engine in existence, even eight months after becoming available.

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed hoping that Raven uses this next-generation technology to produce a truly next-generation FPS experience with Quake IV, which is expected to debut in less than 12 months. In the meantime, here's a slightly different take on more of the same.?

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