Posts tagged #resident evil

Why Do I Do It To Myself? - Josh's Thoughts on Current Resident Evil Games

Ok, so you guys know that we here at The Inner Dorkdom don’t like to “bash” anything, but I’ve really got to get something off my chest. It’s something that has been eating away at my very soul for the past seven or eight years… Well, that’s just a big ol’ fat exaggeration, but Resident Evil kind of does that for most people nowadays.

For most fans, the series has been on a sharp decline since RE4. Personally, RE4 is one of my favorites, just behind 2 and 3. I liked the change in gameplay (the over-the-shoulder style), even if it did seem more like a side-game or “gaiden,” but I had a gut-wrenching feeling that the franchise would be forever changed after that game.

And changed, it was.

I’ll straight-up say that I HATED RE5. Like the RE movie franchise, 5 was waaaaaay too overblown, overcomplicated and action-heavy, leaving the sub-genre which Resident Evil had been known for, survival-horror, lying dead in the dust like a freshly head-shotted zombie.

Last weekend on Steam, I downloaded Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, of which I played RE: ORC to completion and the Ada campaign in RE6. My thoughts? Capcom just really doesn’t know how to make a 3D action game. Forget about the series not being “survival-horror enough”; the games just aren’t good anymore. Frustrating controls, poorly implemented quick time events and a story so convoluted that it makes the Highlander film franchise blush, have effectively killed Resident Evil.

Controls
A game should be fun to control, right? You should be able to “feel” as though you’re playing through the game, not “making the game work properly.” While Resident Evil has never been critically acclaimed because of its control scheme, the series post-Code Veronica has been an utter mess. Originally, the series had what has been referred to as “tank controls.” Basically, the directional pad on the controller always corresponded to the direction your character was facing on the screen. In other words, “up” was ALWAYS forward, no matter where your character was. Combined with the games’ pre-rendered backgrounds (polygonal character models on a drawn background), this took players some time to get used to, though once they did, it started to feel like second nature.

Starting with RE4, Capcom felt that they could improve on the series’ most loathed feature, and switched to an over-the-shoulder perspective. Some fans who liked the original scheme complained, but the general consensus was that the new style was a welcomed change. I liked it. The franchise was trying something different and they succeeded. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the control scheme that Capcom thought everybody liked – it was the “action.”

After RE4, the fifth entry amped up the action elements considerably and put more enemies on the screen, making the new control scheme virtually useless. Suddenly, controlling your character felt like a chore and making them try to get away from a large horde of enemies (which had shifted back in RE4 from shambling zombies and manageable monsters to running, half-humans) just didn’t work very well.

For RE6, the action has been pumped even more, making the game even more frustrating to play. Several, respawning enemies get cramped up into tiny rooms with you and knock you down, only to have you get up and knocked down immediately thereafter with no chance of escape. In my opinion, the game is just an absolute nightmare to control... and not in a good, survival horror-y way.

QTEs
Ah, the quick time event. I hate QTEs. I don’t mind them in a game that’s designed around them (as you’ll see from my upcoming Beyond: Two Souls review), but during an action game, they make me mad… real quick-like.
QTEs are essentially button presses during a cutscene which are intended to make you feel a part of the game at all times. When they were introduced in RE4, I’ll readily admit that I liked them. They didn’t seem forced, they were easy to perform and they gave you a bit of an adrenaline rush at times. In RE5 and 6, however, they’re cumbersome, forced and add absolutely nothing to the gameplay experience except frustration.

My main gripe with RE5 and especially 6’s QTEs, is their poor implementation. I cannot stand how the game designers give you literally 3 seconds to figure out what you’re supposed to do during a QTE. This usually results in cheap death, after death, after death, until you finally figure out that you’re supposed to press a certain combination of buttons or move the analog sticks in such a way as to not be immediately killed.

Story
The Resident Evil story started so simple: A demented pharmaceutical company, Umbrella, who secretly creates biological weapons has had an accident in their facility under a mansion out in the woods. A military specialist team, S.T.A.R.S., comes in to check the place out, only to find that it’s overrun with zombies, monsters, and at one point, undead sharks. That was it. It was just a simple, easy to understand concept that has been expounded upon for nearly twenty titles to date.

With every game, Capcom leads its players to believe that the one they’re playing will be the last one. They don’t do it in the same way the Eagles do when they go on a farewell tour every two years, but every game wraps itself up nicely… or at least, it used to. After RE3: Nemesis, though, it was apparent that Capcom had another franchise, the likes of which had not been seen since Megaman, which could carry on for years. I commend Capcom for at least trying to keep the series moving forward canonically, but it’s just getting stale, needlessly complicated and soap opera-ish. I mean seriously, how many more times can Umbrella cause some country-wide disaster and get away with it?  How many more times can Albert Wesker come back? What’s this crap about Wesker’s son? Oh, so there are about 9 million viruses that Umbrella created?

It’s just getting ridiculous.

Fortunately, Capcom has seen the error of their ways, due mainly to the poor sales of RE6. After playing 5, I was pretty much done with the series, but I eventually did it to myself once again and bought RE6 on sale for $10. In my opinion, the game is worth about that much… maybe less. Don’t get me wrong, I hate to hate on something, but this series really has declined, is in need of going back to its roots in survival horror, and nothing shows it more than RE6. If you like Resident Evil or videogames in general, don't play it.

It’s cases like these that I become a proponent for rebooting a franchise. When it starts getting way out of hand or stale, you need to hit the reset button and it seems that’s at least one of the options Capcom is considering when going forward with Resident Evil. 

-Josh
Posted on October 20, 2013 .