Summary: We have icy hot (stunta too!) coverage of the Doom 3 expansion pack, Resurrection of Evil, featuring 6 gigantic screenshots (how's 4000x3000 strike your fancy?) Jakub wrote up his impressions of the singleplayer and multiplayer content, including Capture the Flag! Also, don't miss our quick look at Doom 3 Xbox inside!
Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil isn't looking to rewrite the formula, but only to modify it. Casting the player in the role of an engineer, you are sent to investigate a mysterious signal near the Mars facility, rather than donning the Marine armor again. Key gameplay elements are unchanged - the story is still revealed through bits and pieces of scattered information, and the style of action remains faithful to the original. Though, from our time with the game we noticed slightly more open and brighter environments, and fewer monster-in-the-closet deals.
The story starts as, two years after the events of Doom 3, the aforementioned signal from the Mars facility is detected. UAC, which had covered up the events there and abandoned the site, is convinced to send a team by Dr. Elizabeth McNeil, who played a small part in the original. It turns out that the signal originated from a demonic artifact, one that Dr. Betruger wants in his hands.
The artifact gains power in two ways. First, it needs an ability to use. These are gained by defeating the three special Hunters (read: boss characters) Bertruger sends after you. The first ability is Hell Time, not unlike bullet time from Max Payne. The next Hunter, once defeated, gives berserker rage, and the last gives invulnerability. Obviously these abilities are time-limited, but the artifact also needs to be recharged by grabbing the souls from corpses. In an interesting twist, id doesn't force the player to choose which ability is used - all available powers are activated when the artifact is turned on.
There are of course new monsters and weapons too, like the imp-variant Vulgar, the Bruiser who will remind some of the Mancubus, the Hazmat worker (another kind of zombie) and the Forgotten, which is a new kind of Lost Soul. To fight these new demons and zombies, the player has two new weapons in addition to the artifact. Making its triumphant return is the double-barreled shotgun, complete with slow reload and all. New to the arsenal is the Grabber, a device similar to Half-Life 2's gravity gun, but with some twists. It will, for example, catch projectiles fired by some demons like the Imp, and is great at dealing with Lost Souls.
SIDEBAR: I can honestly say I enjoyed the expansion more than the original, though it's difficult to pinpoint exactly why.
Predictably, the double-barreled shotgun was a favorite tool in the relatively cramped quarters and hallways of the maps, but its terrible dispersion at even medium ranges made it next-to-useless in the large flag rooms, for example. The auto-reload on it, meaning that players have to wait for it to reload before switching weapons, is another way of balancing the item out.
We came away most impressed, yet again, with the Xbox version of the game. Though it's clearly inferior to the PC version in terms of graphics fidelity, it is far and away the most impressive Xbox title we've seen. Key changes between Xbox and PC version include much more limited shader and bump mapping use, as well as reduced texture sizes. However, all things considered, it is remarkable how hardware one third as powerful as the recommended system requirements for the original game is capable of running Doom 3.
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