If you are a fan of Resident Evil series just like I am, you’ll never want to miss a single title in the series. The franchise created by Shinji Mikami and owned by Capcom has successfully captivated many gamers all around the world. The game itself has gone through many versions and refinements over its sequels. Recently, the main story arc of Resident Evil has evolved from survival horror genre to action-adventure genre. This is shown in Resident Evil 6, which emphasizes in the action aspect.
And that’s exactly why it falls short in my personal game ranking.
Resident Evil’s primary strong point has always been the sense of helplessness undergone by its hero/heroines. As they traverse the zombie-infested area, trying to figure out how to get outta there with only limited resources of ammo, herbs, etc. As if those are not enough, they have to solve the mysteries shrouding the entire plot in forms of puzzle, backtracking places and other brain teasers that force gamers play smartly.
The original game followed the above principles flawlessly. Players took control of Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, RE’s original hero/heroine, to solve the manor incident turned-out to be virus outbreak transforming people to man-eating zombies. Further iterations of the series followed these very principles while tweaking the game design such as better graphics and better story. In fact, three of its first volume never wandered off from the very same place of Raccoon City, a fictional city somewhere in United States.
Was a bit surprised when I played Resident Evil 4 due to the introduction of new camera angle. Players now control Leon, the hero, from behind-his-shoulder point of view. Hardware improvements in the next-gen console (after the era of PSX, obviously) enable the change of perspective of RE series from the old third point of view camera with 2D background to all 3D-rendered environment where players can look to every direction. Was a bit taken aback since in RE4, players do not only encounter zombies or other mutated creatures, but also madmen injecting themselves with some kind of virus to make them gain enhanced strength.
RE 4 evidently augmented the action aspect of the game. Now players can specifically choose where to shoot the enemies and look closer as they approach the hero. Although the game is closer to action genre now, it still maintained its signature of survival-horror game with its foggy landscape, narrow corridors, and gloomy environment that makes you wonder what will you find at the next corner.
Capcom took this concept further with RE 5 where once again we played Chris Redfield as he wondered around Africa to investigate certain incident related with virus outbreak. Landscape details are taken to the next level with the new PS3 engine. Now players have to run around with limited ammo to survive from madmen being infected with Las Plagas thing that transform them into fearless mortal with just enough intelligence to wield gun and slashing machete.
And finally, RE 6 came just about the end of 2012. Capcom took a leap of faith by laying not just one, but entangling four different storyline into one complete story from four different groups of heroes. This seems promising, but the decision to swap the survival concept from resource-stricken to shoot-at-everything-or-you-die was not applauded by RE fans. I mean, the heroes can even earn ammos or statues (for points) from the dead zombies in catacombs! Were they carrying them from the beginning? It just didn’t make any sense! RE 6 received lukewarm response from its fans and was touted to cause Capcom to suffer losses from the release. It has great graphics and all, but the fear is not just there anymore.
Which made the Capcom to release its DS-exclusive RE episode of Revelations into multiple platforms. Some say the decision to do so was to enable Capcom to recoup losses from its unsuccessful RE 6. Whatever the reason was, I was glad that they decided so. RE Revelations brought back the horror feel to the franchise by introducing its heroes to gloomy environment of an abandoned cruise ship. Set before the RE 5 incident, Revelations faces players to mutated creatures from a modified virus that originally outbroke in Raccoon City. Its gameplay is similar to other over-the-shoulder-camera RE series, with refinement in horror theme compared to RE 6.
For me, Revelations fared better than RE6 in terms of funfactor and story. My only complaint is only the game is too short comprising of only 12 chapters that you can complete in a bit over 6 hours or so.
Capcom said they have learned from their misstep and hearing from their fans, and they promised the next episodes of RE game franchise will return to its roots. I certainly hope so…
Oh, just to be clear, I don’t play all RE series. I only play all the main arc stories (meaning RE 1-6) and two other side-story that are RE: Code Veronica and RE: Revelations. Still, my most favorite RE episode is the Code Veronica I played on my old Dreamcast console with its breathtaking cutscene where Claire ran on the corridor with a copter shooting mercilessly at her 🙂
Kudos to all of the good people out there who posted their gameplay on youtube. I watch them sometimes just to reminisce old times as they provide full experience without having to replay them myself (^ ^’). How about you? Do you feel the RE series also progressing on the right track lately?