Resident Evil 2: Remake – PS4, XBox One, PC

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I…I mean, the….Capcom…

Well, fuck. I thought I was just putting this article off because of laziness. But now I have an entire half-hour free, and everyone here thinks I’m working somewhere else. It’s prime time for writing, and I still don’t really know what to say about Resident Evil 2. I think the problem I’m having is that I generally base my humor around the game’s faults, and I didn’t really find any major ones until just after I finished my Leon B scenario—more on that, later.

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But this game is…well…fuck you Resident Evil 4! Turns out all I wanted was the combat mechanics of RE4. The escape room, horror aspects, ammo conservation, and even—for once—the puzzle solving…that was perfect. Seriously, I almost wept. Classic Resident Evil is the eponymous dad who steps out for a pack of cigarettes and doesn’t come back for 14 years, and you’re glad he’s back, but it still kind of makes you sad that you lost all those years with him, instead being forced to bond with a cool, but excessively linear step-dad with a penchant for action movies.

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“I shouldn’t have taken that donut out of the STARS office…”

I have to admit, though, I’m a little worried. Capcom did some pretty smart things this time. They returned to a classic format. They legitimately remade the game, changing maps and puzzles and key items. They even opted not to churn out yet another remake of the original game, which at this point have been spreading faster than a zombie outbreak. But now they’re talking about remaking Resident Evil 3, and I’m concerned they’re attributing their success to the nostalgia factor, as though their only audience is grizzled, aged millennials, mourning the loss of their teeth and fondly remembering the good old days when they had the jaw power to sink their teeth into the infected corpse of a fellow human being.

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Obligatory taxidermy trophy buck.

No. That’s a bad Capcom! Bad! First of all, if you’re going to do another remake like this, you want to do Code Veronica because RE3 is too short. Second…well, honestly I can’t remember second because my half-hour ran out and now that it’s two months later, I kind of lost my train of thought. When it derailed. And crashed into a Walmart. At the bottom of the cliff it fell from.

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But do you know what I do remember? The sound. The fabulous, brilliant, artistic orgasm that engages more than just my sense of sight and my desire to shoot something without getting into trouble. The original RE2 also decided to take advantage of the brilliant new technology that that Al Jolson talkie made so famous; the paranoid feeling when the crunch of Claire’s boot on a patch of broken glass sounds just like a corpse high-tailing it toward the buffet line would rival the intense fear of society only seen in the most hardcore of right-wing conspiracy theorists. But in the remake, I caught myself nudging open the door of the safe room, listening for Mr. X’s footsteps to fade like a teenager waiting for his parents to fall asleep before sneaking out to the living room to pop in the VHS of Terminator and watch the scene where you see a silhouette of Linda Hamilton’s breast on repeat until it’s time to go to school the next morning.

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Herbs heal you. I guess we’re going for subtly in our tutorials.

Wait…uh…where was I?

Sound! Right! Give the fucking Nobel prize to Capcom for actually using sound, and doing it effectively. Sensory information totally enhances an experience, but too often the horror games just darken the image and hope that’ll terrify me. Anyone who’s ever stared at an unplugged TV for five minutes could tell you the flaws in that approach.

There were a few things that gave me pause, but these were mostly personal issues. I felt a little strange when Dr. Birkin morphed into the Mindflayer from Stranger Things (it’s a twenty-year-old game! That doesn’t qualify as a spoiler!), and the overwhelming ratio of Claire to Leon screenshots that I took (…not to mention the fact that I looked up the nude mod someone made…let’s just say that that knob went up to 11), I realize that taking pictures of the pretty girls in games is less “desperate” and more “creepy.” Not to mention my disdain for sitting through a half hour of credits just so I can learn the names of the assistant sales marketing directors for Capcom in twenty-seven different countries.

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Yes, and give her about fifteen years, yes on the short one too.

But, God help me, Claire is a goddess incarnate from a mythology that would make Freya and Athena tremble like teeny-boppers. And, yeah, Leon is cool too. The Resident Evil 2 remake is a damn-near perfect game. Capcom, don’t screw this up!

So, I guess…ten out of ten. The game was not as forgiving when grading me:

Claire

Standard

7:07:39

B

Leon

Standard

6:16:36

C

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Going meta here. Taking a picture of a pretty girl looking at pictures of pretty girls.

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A dodo. A fucking dodo. that the hell, Brian?

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(Trust me…I took way more than this…but it’s way too late to organize and caption them all.)

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard – PS4

 

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Nah. Nothing wrong here.

Resident Evil 6 was released when the series was 16 years old. It makes sense in a way, a teenage series, angsty with hormones, trying to figure out its own identity. It tried to appeal to the popular kids at the Call of Duty Table, while secretly wanting to hang out with its old friends eating cold brains out of a bag. But in its quest to be liked by everyone, it just turned out an awkward, ungainly mess that no one wanted to spend time with. Well…time to reinvent yourself for college!

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Okay this just got really kinky…

College, as it turns out, is Resident Evil 7:Biohazard, allegedly a continuation of the series, but more of a gritty reboot (*sigh* Really? Another gritty reboot?) set in a wilderness homestead of a crazy hillbilly family. Right off the bad, the game gives off a strong Evil Dead vibe—and if you’re not convinced by the protagonist losing a hand in the first five minutes to a chainsaw wielded by a demon-possessed girlfriend, then perhaps a later discovery of a chainsaw as “groovy” would convince you. There’s a strong attempt to mimic found footage films. It also invokes games like Haunting Grounds and Clock Tower with its low enemy count, constant pursuit, and a boss fight against a giant pair of scissors. There are even some nods to Silent Hill, if you dig deep enough…into the toilet. In fact, the only games it didn’t swipe elements from was…well…Resident Evil.

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Nods to Silent Hill 2, Evil Dead, Clock Tower, IT, and even 1408. Maybe, I don’t know…add a zombie or something?

Resident Evil: Biohazard is quite obviously Capcom’s Breath of the Wild. That is to say, it’s a dramatic return-to-roots somehow by completely redefining everything that came before it. It’s a wonderful idea, but personally I’m not sure if the open-world go-anywhere-from-the-start style of gameplay works for a series that’s all about escape, finding keys and solving puzzles to progress little by little. To be fair, the game played beautifully, but I wonder if perhaps they didn’t overcompensate on the difficulty to prevent the inevitable maelstrom of backtracking when players needed one more Cerberus crest and had an entire fucking mansion to look for it and if I have to dash past the mould monsters in the basement one more fucking time and—oh look, this note tells me exactly where to find it—and…the basement it is.

But finding it tied to a hook dangling over a fenced in pit isn’t an obvious trap in the least.

Anyway, I digress.

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Found this outside a frat house with a “free” sign taped to it.

The return-to-roots protagonist follows the series standard of cops, soldiers, and all-round grenade-launching badasses with a…systems engineer? Great. Because if I want to blast my way out of a murder house, I’ll need a good working knowledge of firewalls to prevent employees from downloading porn at work. Although again, to be fair, he actually shows perseverance, fortitude, and an abnormal level of dexterity considering his left hand is literally stapled to his stump arm. On the downside, he does have a tendency to leave a trail of open doors in his wake, not realizing it lets in all manner of pests like racoons, snakes, and murderous hillbillies driven mad by the fungal las plagas. The game, I think would be far easier if Ethan were only give a “close door” option every now and then.

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“I will not tell lies…”

And yes, it’s fungi this time. They lost interest in their gluttonous viruses and ditched them for tapeworms with delusions of grandeur. Now they’ve apparently dumped those, too, for the shiny luster of mushrooms with anger management problems. I expect next they’ll move on to a colony of bacteria struggling with its gender identity or plankton that isn’t particularly good managing finances.

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Sure, it’s creepy. But you know he only got the role because his dad was in Resident Evil 2.

As one final note, I began this series on Resident Evil by comparing the games to escape rooms with zombies. Well…they may have toned down the zombies, but I hope you’re good at escape rooms.

Eh. All in all, it’s pretty good. Didn’t need to be Resident Evil, but it’s a good game in its own right.

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Yeah, they’ve chased me, beaten me, tried to shear me in two, and hit me with a car a few times, but I’m going to stop and judge them based on the books they read.

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Ethan…getting a little weird there now.

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So you know how you’ll find a puzzle and dick around with it before you leave and look for the answer? Well, I nailed it on dick #1.

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This one’s only scary when you’re in your car.

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Chose your caption: 1. My my my…this is a lovely room of death. 2. Obligatory tribute to Norman Bates. 3. “I use antlers in all of my DEEEE-cora-tinng!”

Hollow Knight – Switch, PS4, XBox One, PC, Linux

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The knight collapses due to his hollowness, despite a fully functioning exoskekleton

I swear I’m heading back to Resident Evil soon. I just sort of got distracted by a nice shiny indie game with high reviews and a chance to play it for free. Indie games, for those of you not in the loop, are a refreshing departure from Triple-A, big game industry games who constantly repeat the same tired tropes over and over in a cheap attempt to make more money. Indy games are passion projects, works of art freed from the constraints of capitalism to grow and shape themselves as unique and innovative gems. So, naturally, it’s an open-world Metroidvania platformer that tries to carve a name for itself for being tough-as-balls.

Hollow Knight is the worst game I’ve ever wanted to finish. Or the best game I’ve ever panned. Eh. I’m not sure. I like Metroidvania games, and I often wished there were more 2D Metroids or a little more meat to Castlevania, but It’s one thing to draw out a 4-hour game to 10 hours. But the over 30 hours I sunk into Hollow Knight is like being caught smoking and forced to smoke the whole pack. And much of that is just padding with trolling on the part of the game designers—the platforms are tiny, the checkpoints are an endangered species, and even with the weapon upgrades, the bosses (and some regular enemies) feel like plywood piñatas. There are about 30 bosses in the game, and not a damn one of them knows how to die just before the Groundhog Day battles get boring and tedious.

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As his ACME bomb blows up in his face, the Knight fails to slay the Roadrunner.

Multiple lives have always been a staple of video games. Generally, I like to think that the handful of deaths don’t count, and that all the successes meld together to tell the story of an impressive video game hero who survives against all odds. Unfortunately, at a certain point, the sheer quantity of mortal coils you shuffle off starts to form the narrative of a compulsive gambler losing game after game trying desperately to hit it big once. One day alone I spent roughly two hours trying to fight a single battle. Every time a gate slammed closed behind me, I’d have to clear my schedule for the next two days.

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Hey, if you’re into that sort of thing…

Maybe the metastasized difficulty added replay value when I was a kid and owned about ten games total, but I’ve got a job now. Come on, Hollow Knight! I’ve got shit to do! Other games to play! I can’t afford to be wasting my life on your sorry bug-ridden ass! Hollow Knight is that professor who assigns homework as though you’re not taking any other classes for six months.

While it makes a lot of people’s must-play lists, I can’t help but get the impression I’ve played this before. The plot came from Bioshock. The music came from Journey. The expansive travel-anywhere-from-the-beginning came from Breath of the Wild. The art style came from Shovel Knight. Let me be clear, there’s nothing wrong with an eclectic pastiche of good ideas from elsewhere, especially if you feel like playing a wilderness survival critique of Ayn Rand with mythological overtones and absolutely no checkpoints, but I feel like I could have played all those other games back-to-back instead and saved a little time.

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Ahhhh! That’s the last time I ask for extra beans at Chipotle!

I finished. I clocked in with a 67% completion rate and, no surprise, the worst of five endings. And I mean really bad; not only was everything the same at the end of the game, but nothing ever changed to begin with. I could down two liters of milk while eating a porterhouse steak smothered in cheese and habanero sauce, and I’d probably feel more complete and satisfied with the ensuing bowel movement.

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Usually a gathering of creepy crawlies costs me money. I want the bugs that’ll turn a profit.

For all the sense this makes, Hollow Knight’s problem is that it is such a good game that I have to keep playing, as frustrating as it is, that it’s good enough to get through in spite of its flaws, but those flaws are still shaving a good three or four years of my life, absorbing it like soul…and then giving it to other people.

Seriously. Two days before I posted this, I watched a 2019 SGDQ speed run of Hollow Knight, and halfway through, Team Cherry—who designed the game—called in with a $10,000 donation.

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Onimusha Series – PS2, XBox, PS4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch

Onimusha
Shit! People are reading now…and they seemed to like the “Every Game In The Series” stunt I pulled with Resident Evil. What other series do I have? Mega Man? Nah, they’re all the same. Final Fantasy? Goodbye, next five years of my life. Fire Emblem? Where were you when I did that the first time! Damn it! I’m just not ready to be done with Resident Evil! I need more! Isn’t there anything like those classic games, where you wander back and forth through a haunted mansion looking for keys and solving puzzles? Screw this! I’m playing Onimusha.

Onimusha 1

Sato Castle…Feudal Japan’s version of the Raccoon City Police Department

Onimusha, if you didn’t immediately catch the joke, is a game set in feudal Japan where a samurai, Samanosuke, wanders back and forth through a demon-infested castle looking for keys and solving puzzles. It’s survivally horrorish, except that a mainstay of survival horror is the conservation of ammunition. As one tends not to reload a sword all that often, the game adopts a more adventure-y feel.

Onimusha Fortinbras

I am Fortinbras! Japanese demon king who has a penchant for naming my underlings after characters from Hamlet for some reason!

One of the more interesting aspects of the game is that it was based on actual historical figures and locations. Oda Nobunaga really did fight the battle at the beginning of the game, and then laid siege to the Saito clan’s Inabayama castle. He was, as we find out in the third game, finally defeated at Honno-ji, by Mitsuhide Akechi (uncle of the fictional protagonist, Samanosuke Akechi), possibly over a contention with another of Nobunaga’s retainers, Mori Ranmaru. Of course, saying that Onimusha is based on historical events is on par with saying that William the Conqueror won the battle of Hastings with a contingent of trolls and a magical amulet provided by Doc Brown and his Delorean. The real Nobunaga is respected as one of the great unifiers of Japan, while the Nobunaga of the Onimusha series is basically the child born after Hannibal Lecter raped Satan at Auschwitz. And also, I’m pretty sure he didn’t make a pact with demons after they resurrected him and drink the blood of a Saito princess from her own skull. But I wasn’t there. Don’t quote me on that one.

So the game plays out pretty much like a Resident Evil game with a little faster pace. The only complaints I have are that the game feels too short, and also that the sequels played with this design like two monkeys flinging shit at each other. For instance, the second game, Samurai’s Destiny, takes the God-of-War-2 style cliffhanger from the first game—Nobunaga, imbued with fresh demon powers, menacingly approaching Samanosuke after he transformed into the Oni Warrior—and runs it through an industrial garbage disposal, washing it down with a steady flow of sulfuric acid. They never come back to that. It feels like that game where you tell a story one sentence at a time, and then pass to the next person for the next sentence, except one of you is trying to write a Game-of-Thrones sex-murder scene while the other one is channeling the more conservative parts of Jane Austin.

Onimusha 2

Highlight of the game was playing with the stacked Asian chick with the European fighting style.

To be fair, both Onimusha 1 and 2 are good games, but in the way where Final Fantasy 7 and Grand Theft Auto are both good games; you’ll play them both, but when someone tries to tell you they’re related, you react the way you do to the people who accost you on the street to tell you that Jesus is returning in his flying saucer as soon as the shadow government decides to release flux capacitor technology to the public. Samurai’s Destiny just straightens out the map like it can’t waste time wandering around some damn haunted house because it’s got somewhere to be. And then it ramps up the difficulty to ensure it won’t get there on time. In my defense, though, I made it all the way to Nobunaga’s final form before I collapsed like a pavlova with bad knees and lowered the difficulty. So…almost good enough, I guess?

Onimusha 3: Demon Siege is where things start going hilariously off the rails.

“You know what we need in our epic historical samurai series?”

“Is it it modern day French guy?”

“Close.”

“Is it a modern French guy and 21st Century France?”

“You know me so well!”

“Hey, isn’t there a tough guy in France?”

Onimusha Frat

It’s amazing how thousands of miles away and 400 years apart, the secret frat handshake still works.

And so they hired Jean Reno to play—wanna guess?—a bad-ass French cop…who was chosen by the Oni clan to fight Oda Nobunaga, the great unifier of Japan and accused demon colluder. Meanwhile, Samanosuke gets a well-deserved vacation in 21st century France, chumming around with Reno’s son and girlfriend, helping them resolve some deep-seated resentment between the two. Because the core of any game about surviving an onslaught of demons is a relatable, human conflict about the potential usurpation of an absent mother. And what better vehicle for resolution than a hapless time-traveling samurai who somehow speaks fluent modern French? And while he’s there, Samanosuke gets to take in the sights: Notre Dame, the Arc D’Triumph, Mont-Saint-Michel, and the Eiffel Tower, all of which currently suffer from a Genma demon infestation.

Meanwhile, Jean Reno (what was his character’s name? Give me a moment. I have to look this up…Jaques Blanc. Wait, seriously? Jack White? Did Capcom literally name the only European in Japan “White”? I’m sure there’s also a White-Stripes-Seven-Nation-Army joke in there somewhere, but I’m too lazy to find it right now.) Anyway, Jaques gets dropped into feudal Japan, where a radioactive KISS fan tells him to go slaughter the head of state, and Jaques signs up without so much as checking Wikipedia for potential historical ramifications. But hey, to prevent any zany cultural mishaps (you know, other than murdering their de facto shogun), they send Jacques on his way with…Navi.

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I hate you already.

Well, not quite Navi, but basically the same thing. A tiny little girl (ostensibly a tengu, but actually a discount Barbie with wings) who buzzes your head like a mosquito at a rave. Because those first two games were apparently so terrible that they needed to add the only character more obnoxious than Slippy Toad.

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Demon seige. Or, rather, melee, which is the complete opposite of a siege, but points for trying.

And…honestly, I can’t even begin to describe how weird this is. Your obnoxious guide spontaneously gains the ability to travel through time and carry objects back and forth, but not Samanosuke or Jaques. You land on a 17th century ship in Japan sailing to an underground Shinto temple in Paris. Jaques’ motorcycle appears out of nowhere for no reason other than a kick-ass scene where he guns it off a dock and onto the departing ship. And the Genma somehow build a device on the Eiffel tower to fold time. I’ve had more coherent mushroom trips.

So yeah…the hole in my heart left by squishing zombie heads was sadly not filled by Onimusha. I guess I have no choice but to plod on and hope RE7 goes back to its roots, as they say. And now for something completely different…

Resident Evil 6 – PS3, PS4, XBox One, XBox 360, Switch, Microsoft Windows

 

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They’ve known each other about a week and she’s already giving him the “I’ve got a headache” excuse.

Hello, everyone. I just wanted to pop in to say something unheard of happened in the last two months since my RE5 post. We’re talking alignment-of-the-planets rare, the birth and death of stars rare, something of Big Bang or otherwise astrological frequency; someone started reading me. And not just one person…like, four or five people subscribed to Retrocookie. So you have managed to drag me back here, away from my play script about the secret agent convention. Probably for the best. My writing style was dangerously similar to a torrent stalling out at 93%. I’d make myself promises, come up with deadlines, then sit down and type out two or three lines per week. But hell, with that work ethic, I could be sitting on top of the next Song of Ice and Fire book.

So thank you to those of you who started following me. Sorry that it might take me a while to get myself running at full capacity, but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve; take time off from work, drink a nice cup of high-end tea, and blow in the cartridge a bit (note: don’t actually blow in your cartridges Your connection pins aren’t dusty, and we’ve lost too many classic games to Dorito spittle). Good news is, Anne’s black belt in Demanding Toddler style kung fu has beaten me down enough to buy a PS4. So after writing about a few games I’ve played in the interim, I’ll be right back to finish the series with Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 7.

For now, let me amuse you by interpreting the notes I made over two months ago:

1. Sherry’s jiggles – Yes, this is the little girl from RE2. But she’s all grown up now into a mature, highly-trained BSAA agent, just waiting to be objectified by thousands of lonely teenage boys. Although Capcom gave her a reasonable athletic figure, her small breasts happen to jiggle as though she’s replaced the standard bullet-proof kevlar vest by stuffing her bra with ballistic gel. It’s actually a nice touch that they thought to bring her back, and to make her a playable character, and create a missing son for Wesker so they riff on classic archetypal themes of redeeming themselves for their father’s sins of mutating their genetics until they become aggressive mutants hell-bent on mass murder. Unfortunately, they just didn’t. I guess breast physics were considered a bit more meaningful. And to top it all off, while both Sherry and Wesker’s son, Jake (Grammar nazis, note how I skillfully avoided any Oxford Comma confusion there!) are playable characters, the game just assumes you’ll want to play as the beefy, muscle head that no one has ever heard of instead of the established character with a feminine deficit of testosterone.

RE6 Sherry

This is a designer hospital gown. You know…if your ass hanging out isn’t good enough, this way your tits can come loose in any of a dozen directions. Although looking closely, I think that’s a push-up hospital gown.

2. Off screen deaths – Yeah, sorry, but the T-Virus (or G-Virus or Plagas or Oroburous or whatever Sesame Street villain is sponsoring this game) must have been developed from cat DNA, because if a character dies off-screen, you’re not fooling anyone. He’s coming back. Hell, if a character dies on-screen there’s about a 75% chance they’ll just shake off that drill through the torso or rocket blast to the face with a good nap.

3. China falling apart? – Was I making a note here or commenting on the state of global affairs? Not sure what I wanted to say here.

4. Lava rooms – for definite deaths – Okay, whatever I said earlier, we all know as soon as you step into a room full of lava, that you’re ready for an epic showdown. Sudden, inexplicable rooms full of magma are the Chekhov’s Gun of video games.

5. Not dead–just very badly burned – Okay, sorry…forget what I just said. In addition to liquid hot mag-ma, we also have a character who isn’t dead…just very badly burned. Capcom is now taking inspiration not so much from classic Resident Evil games, but from classic Austin Powers movies. Groovy, baby.

RE6 Leon

Ever fire two guns whilst jumping through the air?

6. Leon, he’s obviously a zombie – Arguably, no character is as bad-ass as Leon Kennedy, now on his third Zom-pocalypse (fourth, if you count Resident Evil Gaiden. I don’t.). So then why does his scenario opened with this seasoned horror veteran trying to reason with a man who obviously has nothing on his brain except other brains?

RE6 Pres

They turned the president into a mindless beast ready to devour those closest to him to satisfy his own monstrous hunger. And Sci-Fi continues to be prophetic.

7. Villain dressed like a plantation owner – Umm…well, he is. I remember that. But why? Is it to make some statement on how zombifying two major world powers is akin to enslavement? Or, more likely, plantation owners are both well-dressed and historically confirmed douchebags.

8. Hours of credits – Seriously, you’re going to give us four different scenarios, and then make us read through your entire marketing and design department staff roster each time?

9. Resident = Whole world – We have now reached the loosest definition of the term “resident” here, as we are no longer confined to a haunted house, castle or city. Our heroes are now cleansing evil from the U.S., China, and parts of Europe as well (convenient, at least, that all three apocalypses have the decency to unfold concurrently). Before I make any assertions that, even if Capcom isn’t playing by the rules anymore, we can still believe that we are all residents of the earth, let me wait to see if they put RE8 on fucking Mars.

RE6 Sherry 2

Who is more mentally ill? Sherry for squeezing into the exact outfit she wore in RE2, or the guys who actually want to see her do that?

In sum, Resident Evil 6 is a game that can appeal to everyone. For those of you who want a traditional apocalypse filled with zombies and confined spaces, you can play through Leon’s scenario (although you will have to put up with a segment where Leon quite literally jumps a shark). For those of you who enjoyed the thrill of running from Nemesis through Racoon City, Sherry’s scenario will keep your heart beating. Meanwhile, for those of you who don’t like Resident Evil at all and would much rather be playing Call of Duty, Chris has a scenario that might be more up your alley. And finally, if stealth, subterfuge, and espionage is more your thing, you can play as Ada wong. This multi-scenario system ensures that the only people who will walk away frustrated and disappointed, are fans of classic Resident Evil games.

RE6 Chris

For those of you who loved Chris’s wits and strength to get out of horrific situations, enjoy him with a team full of army dudes and lots of guns!

Pick a target audience, game developers. If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up with a game that disappoints everyone.

Final Score:

Chris B
Sherry B
Leon A
Ada ?

RE6 Monsters

Resident Evil 5 – PS3, PS4, XBox One XBox360

 

RE5 Chris and Sheva

Sheva displaying her assets in profile.

Hi guys! It’s been a few weeks. I’d like to feed you the old line, “I’ve been focusing on bigger projects lately,” but yesterday the only thing I did was think up funny announcements you might hear at a conference for spies. So here’s the fruit of my labor:  Will the owner of a blue 2020 Aston Martin with the rotating license plates LQE601, 689GMW and XPZ755, please report to the valet? Your headlight machine guns are on.

I’m reaching home base on this project. Well, let me rephrase that. I’ll reach home, providing no one minds that second base is literally nowhere to be found and the distance between 3rd base and home plate is only half its regulation length. I don’t have anything that can play Resident Evil 7 or the RE2 Remake, and the only used game store around here, EB Games, won’t sell anything older than one generation back, making New Zealand the Logan’s Run of the video game world. Technically, I could call it quits after this post, as already wrote about RE6 as one of my first entries, and I don’t really think the Mercenaries needs its own post. But for now, at least, let’s deal with Resident Evil 5.

RE5 is notorious for not only forcing yet another unwanted partner on the player, but for giving that partner an intelligence only slightly higher than a blackface minstrel show held face-down in a toilet for a good seven minutes. My first run of this game, the only one I had done until now, I took all the critics’ warnings and forced Anne to play alongside me. Playing through it solo this time, I’ve come to the conclusion that either A) they’ve patched the partner mechanics in the intervening years or B) Anne has the motor control and reaction time of a sunflower on a frosty morning.

RE5 - Monty Mole

Monty Mole must have been hard up for work after Super Mario Bros 3

Was Sheva perfect? No. But judging by multiple introductions where the camera opens, fixated on her chest as though it might treat us to a good motorboating, the developers weren’t actually aiming to build a skilled warrior. But be it patches that introduce Cover and Attack modes, or just plain old ingenuity, I found that what she lacked in her contributions to combat, she more than made up for as a sturdy pack mule: load her down with empty weapons and ammo for guns she doesn’t have and make sure you get to the herbs before she does or she’ll smoke them faster than those college students who dug up the parsley in Anne’s herb garden.

It’s not exactly doing much to improve on accusations of racism, Capcom, to have your black character a drug-crazed idiot whose best use is physical labor.

Is Resident Evil 5 racist? Well yes, but honestly it’s no less racist than sending a pretty white boy to shoot up an underprivileged hispanic neighborhood. It wasn’t even the white-on-black violence that really pushed it over the edge for me. It was the fact that Chris pillages his way through Africa, appropriating cultural artifacts to sell for his weaponry addiction. If there were any more capitalistic exploitation, he’d have to wear a monocle and carry around two giant sacks with dollar signs printed on them.

RE5 - Chainsaw

This guy can take a gun store to the face and still have the wherewithal to slice your neck cleanly.

Okay, but really…ignoring the kum-ba-yas and social justice warriors…is it a good game? Can it compare with the masterpiece that was Resident Evil 4? Be assured that Capcom noted everything that gave RE4 it’s uncanny-valley sort of charm–the lonely, unnerving atmosphere, the chill of night, the weirdly cockney merchant–and chewed it up and shat it out, in favor of doubling down on quick-time events and babysitting an obnoxious partner. Okay, okay, I’m being a bit unfair to Sheva, who seems to have studied medicine under Dr. Arthur Fonzarelli, and has the power to (usually) come over when you’re dying and give you a good, swift pound in the chest to fix you right up.

They also repeated one of the more annoying story moments in Resident Evil 4. Remember that cut scene of Saddler on the island, telling a new subordinate to prepare to fight Leon, and then they show Krauser in a dramatic reveal, as though we’re supposed to know who he is? They do that again. All of a sudden, the mysterious ninja plague doctor who’s popped in and out of the story pulls down her cowling to reveal a blond woman in a skin-tight blue bodysuit. While I’m reeling from the wonderment of how Samus Aran wound up in 21st century Africa, the game tells me it’s supposed to be Jill.   

I don’t know. It’s okay, I guess. And the Mercenaries mini-game is always worth playing. But I just can’t get around the fact that the story is the least atmospheric of any RE game, being set in broad daylight, or the fact that both Chris and Sheva have a sort of shared tourette’s syndrome and can’t help but shout out the word “partner” at odd intervals. At least Africa was built with plenty of doors that require two people to turn a key simultaneously, otherwise we might not know how useful a partner could be.

RE5 - Gutter

Chris and Sheva…minds in the gutter.

Final Grade…shit, did I miss this?

Resident Evil Revelations – 3DS, PS3, Switch, PS4, XBox 360, XBox One, Wii U

RE - RevelationsThere are some tell-tale signs that a TV series has jumped the shark: they introduce new characters that no one cares about, they send the cast off to a tropical resort or cruise, they start writing convoluted multi-episode arcs that require a synopsis at the beginning of each episode, or they have a character physically jump over a great white shark to heighten an absurd sense of tension.  Coincidentally, this week we’re discussing Resident Evil: Revelations, an RE spinoff game with a slew of boring, nameless playable characters set on a Mediterranean cruise ship and released episodically with a “Previously on…” recap at the beginning of each chapter. (What? You expected me to work in all four scenarios? Don’t you remember Resident Evil 1? By that standard, this series literally jumped the shark in the first installment. Yes, that is the series I have decided to play in its entirety.)

RE - Characters

They team you up with Parker “Jowles” Luciano, apparently a middle aged man given a new lease on life after suffering a heart attack and an unexpected divorce. Or so I assume from his fat face.

Despite taking place between Resident Evil 4 and 5, the game was released in 2012, shortly before Resident Evil 6.  At this point, Capcom had stopped designing realistic monsters and just started putting blobfish in the microwave for a good, stout turn. Among these is a particularly obnoxious monster just called “Rachel,” who appears as a common enemy who, we are supposed to understand, is the same monster in every single encounter, one who will not die in spite of carrying around enough lead in her lungs to build a bomb shelter. Also, they brought back hunters. Of course they did. And to make them piss me off even more, they made them invisible. So in a game in which ammo is scarce, I have two monsters who suck in metal like they’re going to build an SUV out of it, but one of them also has the power of the One Ring.

RE - Monsters

This monster clearly represents how I feel after eating at Burger King.

But actually, in spite of that, there’s not too much to complain about.  There is the constant reminder that each mission was released episodically, and every single one still retains the “Previously on Resident Evil Revelations” like a daytime soap opera where instead of the characters getting cancer, the cancer comes to life, grows to hideous proportions, and tries to saw them in half with a circular saw.  Unfortunately, with the usual convolution of Resident Evil writing, such a recap helped me understand the plot about as well as Chinese subtitles.

Mostly As and Ss

Accuracy 80%    A

Deaths 23        A

Clear Time 6:56’26”

RE - Parker

This picture looks like Parker overcoming some deap-seated childhood trauma that has forever made him fearful of defending those he loved through violent means. Or maybe I’m just reading way too much into his fat face.