(I'm just going to copy and paste my Resident Evil 6 post from the other thread so I can have all my giant RE write-ups in mostly-chronological order in this thread)
What a stupid, ridiculous, wonderful, stupid, amazing video game. Within ten minutes of loading up the game I'd blown up half of China, done a sick 180 nosegrind on a train in a helicopter and killed the President, and IT ONLY GOT REALER FROM THERE. Resident Evil 6 is set in a world where you're never more than thirty seconds from a random gas tanker careening in from off-screen to erupt in an apocalyptic fireball, where character dialogue is 110% one-liners, and where nobody simply shoots a zombie when they could hurl themselves onto their backs first and then jump up to wrassle that jabroni first. And does it still have that weird, sexless Resident Evil vibe where gorgeous characters perpetually smoulder at eachother but nobody ever actually has sex? You bet it does!
This game has FOUR main campaigns, each starring a different fan-favourite RE character or Troy Baker, and I've finished the first three, so let's go step by step:
LEON: Former rookie cop and current superhero Leon S. Kennedy has just failed his one mission as a Secret Service agent, and finds himself on the run alongside Laura Bailey, blowing up an entire city, delving down into an impossibly deep underground RE4-throwback laboratory under a church, then eventually crashing a plane into China and dumping about three tons of ammunition into an ever-evolving final boss that is, at various points, a giant cat, a giant cat with organic gun turret, a huge fly/spider monster, and a STRAIGHT UP T-REX. Leon is pushing 40 but still insists on that floppy mid-90s hairstyle, and he will die alone and pathetic before he ever tells Ada that he likes her, but you cannot fault the man on his cool-jacket-wearing and one-liner-delivering skills.
PUNISHED CHRIS: I love Chris' story in this game. We catch up with our favourite muscular boyscout drinking away his sorrows in a bar in Eastern Europistan after having lost another platoon of men to the BOW menace. The Chris we thought we knew has given way to a broken man who isn't afraid to use naughty words and doesn't even mind his manners, which is such a shock to the system for our giant sweaty cherub that I genuinely got a little anxious waiting for the game to complete his character arc and let him be happy again. My sweet boy. Chris teams up with another handsome soldier named Piers Nivans, and together you Gears of War your way through about seven thousand zamboes, drive a car, fly a plane, and have your own eighteen-phase final bossfight.
TROY BAKER: Jake Muller is the son of Albert Wesker, and as such has inherited his super kung fu powers and some magic blood that the powers that be need to cure the newest Resident Evil virus. Jake pairs up with Sherry Birkin, all grown up from her debut in RE2 and now an honest-to-goodness special agent, and I really enjoyed the way the two of them played off eachother. Jake is the typical cool American-action-hero-as-written-by-Japanese-people, and he seems pretty capable of taking care of himself with his Wesker powers, but Sherry is so outspoken and fastidious about doing her job that she insists on being the one who's going to save his life, and by the end of the game she actually does it and it's great. The two of them end up as the closest thing the RE series can manage to a couple, which is to say two good friends who will never ever even kiss but might cast a wistful glance at eachother every few years, which warmed my heart a little.
RE6 is really big, really long, and a little bit bad, if we're being honest. I remember it being received really poorly back at launch, and I can tell why; there's absolutely no hint of any classic Resident Evil gameplay, and the game does a really poor job of explaining all its gameplay mechanics to you. There are also a lot of genuinely bad moments you have to suffer through (most of them in Jake and Sherry's campaign, unfortunately). Buuut, once you get the hang of all the dodges, dives, slides and ridiculous wrestling moves you can do the game just feels amazing to play, and at 120FPS on PC it's even better. It feels like Capcom accidentally made a Platinum game, all gameplay depth and spectacle, even if it is a little rough around the edges, and comparing anything to my favourite boys at Platinum is the highest praise I can give.
EDIT - Ada's campaign was a lot of fun, too! She's such a cartoonishly cool cucumber that she almost sounds sleepy throughout her whole story, not even raising an eyebrow when she learns that there's an evil clone of her running around trying to destroy the world. She has a couple of cool weapons, and a few pseudo stealth sections that aren't too terrible, and it was really fun seeing how she snakes her way through the background of all the three other groups' campaigns.
I've now come full circle in my quest to play all the mainline Resident Evil games: back to the first RE game I ever finished, Resident Evil 5.
Handsome beeflord Chris Redfield's journey through the heart of Africa alongside his spunky sidekick Sheva Alomar, taking his vengeance against the evil Albert Wesker, who is now just a straight up superpowered villain bent on world domination. RE5 takes the third-person action RE formula established by RE4, loosens up the controls a little to allow strafing (though not while shooting, mind), and adds a co-op partner character who'll blast zambamboes alongside you (AI-controlled, if you're playing on your own). The inventory system has been overhauled as a 3x3 grid sorted in realtime, RE4's Merchant has unfortunately lost his job to a bland menu screen, and the overall tone has taken a turn for the... serious? I hesitate to say that about a game where you fight the final boss inside a volcano, but at least we're not running away from giant statues in the image of zany Spanish dwarves
So I bought this game on day one and played it to death back on the PS3. I loved shooting the dudes, I loved the ridiculously over-the-top action cutscenes, I loved reading all the files about the history of the Resident Evil series. I probably haven't played it since like 2010, though, and I actually didn't enjoy going back to it as much as I thought I would. Back in the day I remember people being down on the game thanks to the forced co-op, the cover-based shooting encounters and a general feel of trying to go back to the RE4 well, and while I didn't agree with those complaints at the time... right now I feel like they were pretty spot on. I still had a lot of fun playing through it, but RE5 has some pretty big problems and I really don't think it compares to the stone cold masterpiece that is RE4.
OK, let's start with this co-op stuff. I like Sheva, and playing on Normal difficulty this time around I never died because of any AI-related antics. I saddled her with whichever weapons I didn't want to use, mostly left the healing duties to her, and she was totally fine. But with Sheva's inclusion came a host of PS3/360-gen co-op mechanics that really frustrated me. There's a down-but-not-out state stolen straight from Gears of War, for instance, where if your health drops below a certain threshold you'll enter a staggering state and need your partner to come and rescue you. This is fine in a regenerating health game like Gears, but RE5 uses consumable healing items that you can carry with you at all times, and there is nothing more irritating than being separated from your partner and knowing you're going to die DESPITE HAVING A HEALING ITEM IN YOUR INVENTORY. I have literally died on top of a Green Herb that the game wouldn't let me pick up. It's also just needlessly difficult to swap and exchange items with your AI partner, which speaks to some of the same issues I had in RE0. Menu functions that you should be able to do but can't, QOL features that would be such a huge help but aren't there. How many grenades did I unintentionally give to Sheva when I was trying to throw them because I unthinkingly mashed the 'Give' button thinking it was a QTE?
The game unabashedly tries to top RE4, with very obvious callbacks to memorable setpieces from that game like El Gigante, the Cabin, the QTE moments, the giant bosses with special weapons; even the overall three-act game structure of rural village-> spooky castle/ruins -> combat heavy military area. But where RE4 has you saying "Oh yeah, that bit!" with glee as you stumble into a huge fight, RE5 has a lot more "Oh no, that bit" moments. I mean, RE4 has a few areas that aren't great, but RE5 has some genuinely awful parts, particularly when the enemies start shooting back at you. The retrofitted cover system doesn't work especially well, with finicky positioning required to get the prompt to show up in the first place and then iffy protection afforded from damage once you're in place, and most of all it just isn't much fun to kill guys by shooting them in these games. You want to be mixing it up right there in the fray, hitting weakpoints and going for melee hits, but instead you're stuck pewpewing around a wall. Also I still hate the Reaper enemies and their awful one-hit kill attack. I also read some things about the PC and PS4/XB1 versions being a little glitchy in terms of boss health and AI; I'm not sure if that's legit, but I definitely had a harder time playing the PC version than I remember from the PS3 version back in the day. Chainsaw Men took a frankly absurd level of punishment (I literally dumped 12 MAGNUM ROUNDS into one's face before it died), and that one Uroboros boss where you can use the Flamethrower took forever.
But enough complaining, because I still really like this game. Giant muscleboy Chris is the best character redesign in history, and I absolutely love this game's stupid story. Chris is out there mowing down zomboes by the dozen in search of our girl Jill, and when I played this game back in the day I always assumed they must have had a real relationship in the earlier games. Now that I know all the backstory, though, which is to say that they spent the entirety of RE1 separated and then were never in another game together until RE5, it all just seems so delightfully silly. And of course nobody ever has sex in the RE universe, so we know it wasn't a romantic thing, either. Chris and Jill's whole bond is basically invented in this game; "Because we're partners" is Chris' earnest answer to everything in this game, which is so anime it hurts. And now Wesker has gone from the goober in CVX doing slow-mo jumps to the coolest guy in the universe, effortlessly dodging bullets with a flash-step superpower faster than your eyes can follow, clad in a carbon fibre battle suit and purring out every line in D.C. Douglas' positively scandalous villain voice.
RE5's action cutscenes are an absolute treat for a fan of CG fight scenes. They were handled by Just Cause Productions, a stunt/motion-capture/animation company run by none other than our old friend Reuben Langdon (aka Dante, boiz!), and they are just magical. Reuben Langdon and Dan Southworth (Vergilllll) do motion capture, and Reuben voices one of the ill-fated BSAA agents (the guy who drives the Humvee early on and gets squashed by the El Gigante). The choreography, the camerawork, the creativity of some of the ridiculous stuff they do is so good. Too good for plain old gifs, just watch this hot fire and thank me later:
So, that was RE5, then. Not quite as great as I'd remembered, but still really cool. I'd love to see Sheva come back some day, and I hope there's still room for action RE in this new more grounded world of RE games post-7. Speaking of 7, that's the one I'm playing next, and the last remaining mainline RE for me. Wish me luck!
I'm up to the Chapter Twos of Octopath Traveler, which is an interesting sentence to write about a video game. Octopath has an interesting structure where each of the eight octeragonists has an individual story of (I think?) four chapters, but due to the recommended level requirements you're probably going to end up doing everyone's Chapter 1, then all the Chapter 2s, and so on. The jump from 1 to 2 takes quite a bit of grinding, in my experience, but... well, I don't really have much else to play on my Switch at the moment so I'm grinding away anyway.
I'm enjoying the game a lot more in Chapter 2, though. I was a bit disappointed after the first lap of the world, picking up all eight characters, when I realised that they were, in fact, all individual stories. This isn't a "team of heroes bands together to defeat ultimate evil" JRPG, but rather eight smaller JRPGs that you flit between. When you're locked into one character's story sections, the other seven will disappear into the shadow realm and only pop up again for overworld navigation and encounters. I started as H'aanit the Huntress, and after the first couple of hours of the game she basically didn't speak again until hour 15 or so, and that's only because the Chapter 2 sequences introduce a new banter dimension where two characters can have pre-canned chats at certain moments. At this point I'm only really interested in maybe half the characters' stories, but maybe they'll spice up as I go along. I'm doing Primrose's Chapter 2 now, and man it gets dark.
I'm still liking the combat. Chapter 2 areas come complete with a hot new battle theme (one thing I can't fault this game for is the OST), and I've just found my first Job upgrade (in the form of a Shrine I found out in the world). I outfitted Cyrus, my go-to all-purpose wizard, into a half-wizard half-cleric, which basically gave him access to Light Magic, an extra Healing spell, and a huuuuge boost to his mana gauge so now I can cast the more expensive spells all day long (that delicious +50 SP passive ability). It also made Ophelia completely obsolete, though Cyrus does chew through mana really quickly in a bossfight. Hopefully I'll find some more Job stuff before long, because I could definitely stand to bulk out some of these less useful Octopathers with some better abilities.
Hey guys, do you like forced AI co-op? Do you like trying to drop things on the floor but being told you aren't allowed to because the floor is apparently full? Do you like weird Final Fantasy villains singing opera to their pet leeches? Well, perhaps you'd like Resident Evil 0, released in 2002 as a prequel to the very first Resident Evil!
This is the last hurrah for tank-controlled, fixed-camera-angle Resident Evil of old, and to mark the occasion Capcom came up with no fewer than two gameplay gimmicks, so I'll talk about the Billy Coen/Rebecca Chambers tagteam zapping system first. RE0 gives you two sexless American action heroes to drive around at once, instead of the pathetic single player character from your grampappy's Resident Evils, with one under your direct control and the other following as an AI. Billy is a big tough idiot who can throw his weight around and push things, whereas RE1 veteran Rebecca is a petite pixie waifu whose skill with a chemical mixing set will enable you to solve exactly two puzzles in the game. You can swap between them or split them up at will, and the game has some pretty interesting sections where the two are separated and have to work independently. Each character has only six inventory slots this time, forcing you to use the two of them together as packmules to cart around everything you need to; unfortunately, though, nobody had invented Quality of Life yet back in 2002, so doing what you need to do in the menus is needlessly difficult and adds up to a lot of fussing around over the course of the game.
Which leads us to gimmick #2: the magic, fourth-dimensional Item Boxes of Resident Evils past are gone, replaced by the option to simply throw all your stuff on the floor like an animal. While this initially seems like a blessing (you no longer have to trek back to a Save Room to dump an item, for example), the aforementioned lack of any QOL features make this a real chore before long. What used to be a matter of d-pad blazing through the Item Box menu to deposit and withdraw whatever you wanted is now an awkward dance of steering your tank-controlled character around a foyer, mashing the Interact button and hoping you've lined them up with the right shiny icon on the floor, or trying to dump an item on the ground and being told you aren't allowed to leave anything else in that room. I guess it's probably Gamecube RAM limitations or something, but man it's a pain. I got flashbacks to the "open chest -> inventory is full -> throw away weakest sword -> open chest again" routine from Breath of the Wild every time.
It gets particularly bad when the game starts sending you through a linear procession of one-and-done areas, RE2-style (complete with RE2 throwbacks, no less!), forcing you to decide whether you want to empty out both characters' inventories and schlep back to the previous area to bring all your best guns and healing items with you or whether you can go on without them (and big weapons like the Grenade Launcher take up two inventory slots in this game, just to twist the knife). It isn't on the level of Code Veronica, where there are constant points of no return and missable items everywhere (RE0 opens up a nice little elevator system that lets you revisit almost every area you've been through late in the game), but it can still be a real pain. There are a lot of small, easy tweaks I think they could have made to the HD Remastered version I played that would have lessened the headache quite a bit. Nobody knew about UX back in 2002, but these days we can make menus that aren't a chore to use, and this is a game where an improvement in efficiency would be a huge benefit because there's just so much fussing about in menus to be done.
But I did still enjoy this game. It's very Resident-Evil-by-numbers, with a perfectly unremarkable mansion and evil lab and self-destruct escape sequence, but I had my fun with it all the same. I don't really hear anyone talk about this game, and I can't really blame them, but, y'know, if you like a good Resident Evil, it's a good Resident Evil. I liked it more than Code Veronica, at least.
I've moved on to RE5 now (which still requires you to install Games for Windows Live on PC, if you can believe it), but that's a story for the next post in the ongoing saga of Ocelot Plays Resident Evil.