It’s been 3 years since I wrote my creed on the Resident Evil franchise and for good reasons.To explain, at the time I did not finish Resident Evil 6,7 (not counting all of the additional spinoff games such as Revelations and Chronicle stories). I wanted fresh eyes on the later games after Resident Evil 5 and the final films left a bad taste for me. I really wanted to talk about the awful renditions but how could I without actually playing the games in which I avoided for my own pretentious reasons. I think the beginning impact the Biohazard series left on me as a teenager raised the bar pretty high. To see a film director abuse the franchise for financial gain with the movies and the introduction of the Plagas and Uroboros in 5 and 6 made it pretty clear to me that we were losing sight of what made these games great. So let’s begin.
I Bless the Rains Down in Africa
Resident Evil 5 is the next big name to come along bringing back fan favorite, Chris Redfield. When Chris goes to Africa to stop the BOW (Bio-Organic Weapon) trade on a black market, new friends and old enemies emerge making this the first action-heavy entry in the series. With co-op storyline and fully interactive cutscenes ( like Resident Evil 4) the game tries something new and draws in the same crowd that loved the gameplay for part 4. Albert Wesker, a reoccurring enemy of the franchise makes a comeback once and for all. Wesker loses all of the mystery that made Code Veronica eerie. The ending of Resident Evil 5 is nothing to brag about but with a second player, Resident Evil 5 is not that terrible of a game. After the player(s) finish the game they can play the Mercenary mode where you take on hordes of enemies from the game and race against the clock. Oh and Albert Wesker finally dies. How do you ask? Lava. His weakness is fucking lava. I guess I would want to drown in lava after my enemy punches his way through a boulder to come kill me. Same boulder that meant instant death in the first Resident Evil.
Ada and Leon and Chris, Oh My!
Now, I really had a blast playing this. I talked mad shit on this entry before even playing it and almost gave up during Leon Kennedy’s Chapter. Resident Evil 6 is broken up in 4 chapters with the ability to play with a friend on couch co-op or online (and if you want, you can have up to 6 friends play all together at once since everyone’s stories meet up) Resident Evil 6 made the gameplay user friendly and in my opinion the most comfortable gameplay out of the entire series.
Chris Redfield makes a comeback again along with Sherry Birken, Ada Wong (who just won’t stay dead) and new characters such as Jake Wesker (son of Albert) who happens to be a good guy. With user friendly controls and ditching the over-the-shoulder gameplay that made 4 and 5 so famous, Resident Evil 6 is a fun entry. Whether you play 6 as a drinking game or take on as a serious entry, Resident Evil 6 is a blast.
Barry, Where’s Barry? Resident Evil Revelations 1&2
Bringing back the over-the-shoulder game play, Revelations 1 and 2 are the significantly better side stories to the franchise. Umbrella Chronicals, Operation Racoon Shitty and that steaming pile of shit called Umbrella Corp don’t hold a candle compared to Revelations 1 and 2. With couch co-op or online play, Revelations leaves the rocket launchers home and brings back that old school survival horror aspect. Even though the enemies are Uroboros and Plagas again, the most positive note of these games is you get to fucking play as Barry Burton. Barry Burton survives 1998 after the fall of Raccoon City and searches for answers on why Umbrella is still a thing. In the books by SD Perry, Barry survives with his family and leaves behind the past after flying Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliviera out of Raccoon City before nuclear missiles wipe the entire city off the map. I love Barry and playing as him is total fan service.
Go Tell Aunt Rhody!
With the commercial failure of Resident Evil 6 and the praise from Revelations, Capcom’s Koshi Nakanishi (Director of Resident Evil 7) made some serious changes bringing Resident Evil back to its roots of scaring the shit out of you. The player plays as Ethan Winters who travels to Louisiana in search for his wife. What he finds is ghastly murders and grotesque creatures while grasping for survival. What I really liked about this entry was that Capcom embraces the first-person survival gameplay that Condemned, Call of Cthulhu and Outlast 1&2 perfected. There is also a VR option for the PlayStation 4 that is essential for the full experience. I really wanted to love Resident Evil 7 though because I felt like I played this game before with Outlast. Resident Evil 7 doesn’t really become a Resident Evil title until after the main game when you get to play as Chris Redfield (again) in the a DLC called Not A Hero as he works with the new and reformed Umbrella Corporation. The entire game tackles big moments that we loved from the first 3 games such as conserving ammo, sneaking around enemies, and carefully using herbs and health updates. There is so much in Resident Evil 7 to look for that rushing through the main campaign means you will potentially miss out on important information and Easter eggs.
Return of the Living Dead
Here we are. It’s 2019 and the remaster of Resident Evil 2 is coming out after 20 years. It actually doesn’t seem like a remaster but more of a new game with a familiar setting. This game looks flawless and when the trailer dropped in the summer of 2018, fans were shook. I can’t help but wonder that maybe we didn’t get this remaster earlier because Capcom wanted to do it right. Let’s face it, the original Resident Evil 2 was a commercial success back in 1998 and spawned an entire fan base that the first Resident Evil couldn’t do. I played Resident Evil 2 way before I went back and played Resident Evil: Director’s Cut because EB Games and Babbages (RIP) advertised the fuck out of Resident Evil 2. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis came after and continued where Resident Evil 2 left off making sure that the fans were nearly satisfied with one of the first playable Zombie Apocalypse. The idea that Resident Evil 2 Remaster was so hush hush had me believe that there was something truly kept secret and that secret comes out January 25th 2019. Resident Evil 2 Remaster currently has a 30 minute demo that allows players to play the new game for only 30 minutes until a lockout. I’m holding off on playing the demo but I hear from many gamers that it’s absolutely fantastic. I don’t want to jump the gun and play a demo only to replay the main game when it comes out next week to ruin early surprises for me.
When it comes down to the Resident Evil Franchise as a whole, I believe all of the games have an important role when it comes to trial and error, leaving Resident Evil 2 Remaster as the ultimate experience. I’m glad I waited 3 years to do the final part of this 2 part article. I didn’t want to shoot myself in the foot by rating games I chose to ignore. I think 5 is my least favorite out of the anthology. Resident Evil 6 is the underdog of the series that gets shit on way more than it deserves. The series may have saved itself by going back to the survival roots which made the franchise brilliant. I hope that one day the games success will trample the damage that the movies had done to fan service. Maybe, just maybe we will reboot the films and please the hardcore Resident Evil fans by giving us the movies we always wanted. Until then, it’s now 2019. Here’s to another 20 years of running around as Tofu fighting the undead.
Resident Evil 2 comes out January 25th 2019