Posts Tagged ‘Resident Evil’

E3 2011 Performance Review: Operation Raccoon City shoots, then shoots some more

June 15, 2011

Honor your favorite series by hunting down and killing its main character!

Looks like Resident Evil‘s gone the way of Kingdom Hearts. With the future of its main numbered series of games in question, Capcom took the franchise on the “spin-off” and “spin-off on handhelds” route while the brass flounders about with what they need to do to make Resident Evil 6 a success. I offer one tip: Don’t make it like Operation Raccoon City.

At least don’t make it like its single-player mode. Or cooperative campaign. Or whatever it was I played at the Sony booth. It was called “cooperative campaign”, but I could’ve sworn I was just playing by myself. There was nothing cooperative about it, despite a few human beings playing the same game (maybe?) next to me. No team-up attacks, no recovering each other, no helping each other out in any sort of way at all. But then if we did all that we’d be playing a lousier version of Left 4 Dead then, wouldn’t we?

So, what makes it lousy? It feels just like we feared it would: SOCOM with zombies. The exact same controls, the exact same layout, even the exact samey-same way levels are laid out. Hide behind chest-high barricades, shoot braindead zombies, occasionally toss a grenade out or change weapons once in a while. The same cookie cutter template that was prevalent all over E3 this year. Is this the only way to revitalize a flagging franchise? Farm it out to the West and turn it into a shooter?

Resident Evil fans may be happy to play a SOCOM mod of their favorite series, that is, if they’re fooled easily by nostalgic throwbacks like a word-for-word recreation of the intro from Resident Evil 2 and a guest appearance from Kendo’s gun shop. Hunters and Lickers return, too. That’s cool and all if you like nostalgia-mining, but then the camera pulls back and there you are controlling some new faceless jerk no one cares about, who spouts macho curse words out in true cliched modern shooter fashion. Nothing feels very Resident Evil about that, and unless it comes from Marcus Fenix or Cole Train, I’m damn tired of it.

Maybe I’m burned so badly because this was the number one game I was looking forward to most at this year’s show. Maybe I just played the wrong demo. There was no “co-op” to be found in this co-op mode. Capcom’s booth had a different demo, a competitive multiplayer mode complete with an announcer shouting out the play-by-play. I didn’t play that one, but I doubt I would have really garnered that different an experience from it. Or maybe that really is the mode to play! It’s not like I ever touched Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s single-player, and I love that game. So, I’ll try and keep a more open mind about this, but the fact that I knew exactly what Operation Raccoon City was going to be before even touching it left me disappointed, and maybe even a little disturbed. Am I that jaded or have games become that predictable?

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(Performance Review) First Batch of Nintendo 3DS Games – Baby, They Ain’t Done Yet!

January 23, 2011

During Nintendo’s Nintendo 3DS showcase last week, I had opportunity to get playtime with many of the handheld’s upcoming titles. Here are a few early impressions.

HAY LSN
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
I rushed to play this one first. It’s the same game you played in 1998, with far better graphics and an improved control set-up. Using the 3DS’ thumb pad to move Link around the playfield feels really good, way better than the N64’s dust-making plastic stick (and no one’s going to miss the blurry, ugly graphics of the N64 original, either). Ocarina 3D‘s visuals impress with smoother, sharper and more detailed textures. In 3D, Kokiri Village and the Deku Tree look fantastic, with particle effects flitting about in the air, but I did switch off the 3D effects so I could concentrate on winning the Gohma boss battle. Aiming the slingshot and looking around using the gyro scope is cool, and it works, though I preferred just using the thumb pad in the end. Thank god for options. Too bad there’s no release date for it yet.

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Resident Evil 2 – 11 Years Later, Still a Bloody Good Time

October 26, 2009

Survival horror is pretty much dead. Ironic, I guess that it didn’t … survive. It was very much a product of its time, when pre-rendered graphics and static camera angles were the height of sophistication. And c’mon, how long could monsters jumping out of windows stay scary? Things are different now. Silent Hill has been franchised to death, though a dubious remake of the original creeps on its way. The Resident Evil series mutated into an action game in a weird cyclical cannibalistic situation — Resident Evil 4 spawned Gears of War which spawned Resident Evil 5 and, ah, the rest of this generation.

Although, really, Resident Evil’s been an action series since Resident Evil 2. Beyond a few jump scares it’s a straight-up shooter with a few puzzles sprinkled on top. The game’s packed with ammo and weaponry despite the rudimentary aiming system. You just hold R1 to aim, swivel in one spot to select a target and mash away on the X button. But hey,  11 years after release, Resident Evil 2 remains a tense, effective game. I still jump, my heart still races and I still remember where every monster and item is, and that doesn’t take away from the experience to this day. It’s snappy, simple and constantly rewarding.

So I think I’ll just spout out what I love about it.

resevil2

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Resident Evil: Degeneration – It’s Small Time

January 23, 2009

The Resident Evil series of horror video games is a fascinating look at how not to do serial storytelling. It’s so over-convoluted a remake of the first game was made to include references to developments made in the sequels, tying all the characters, histories, various viruses, and conspiracies together. Then series creator Shinji Mikami, while revamping Resident Evil 4 for the second time during development, said “screw all this clumsy history” and restarted with a clean slate. The dozens of loose threads from previous games were abandoned for dozens more loose threads. Resident Evil 5, coming out in March, appears to answer a few questions RE4 didn’t bother with, like what Sherry Birkin and Jill Valentine are up to, but with this series it’s best not to expect anything substantial from the plot department anymore. If you want to look at exactly how ridiculous and bloated Resident Evil‘s plot got over the years take a look-see at Thomas Wilde’s outrageously detailed FAQ, which tackles tough questions like “Does Ada actually care about Leon?” (No.) and “Is Saddler retarded?” (Yes.)

Clearly, the fans care way more about the games’ plot than its writers. Absolute proof arrived late last year in the guise of Resident Evil: Degeneration, a direct-to-DVD CG-animated movie that takes place between Resident Evils 4 and 5. It stars Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, the protagonists of Resident Evil 2, perhaps the most beloved entry in the series, long before it became the labyrinthine mess it is today. Early previews suggested Degeneration would be full of nods to RE2. Turns out it has exactly two, and one of them is a shot-for-shot reenactment of our heroes’ meeting. It was the only few seconds of the movie I guess I could say I enjoyed and that was only because I remember the intro sequence from a Playstation game released 11 years ago. If Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children proved to folks that Square should stick to video games, then Degeneration proves the guys at Capcom shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near pencils, pens, chalk or anything that could potentially aid them in writing a script. If they can’t keep their story straight in a long-running video game series, what makes them think they can pull it off in a hundred-minute movie?

Come with me if you want to be bored (more…)