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Resident Evil: Go Tell Aunt Rhody


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Who's your favourite Resident Evil?

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#1 Ocelot

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 06:46 AM

 

I wanted to start this thread off right, with a compilation of the spooky voices that say the words "RESIDENT EVIL" at the title menus of every game, because I am a firm believer that this is the correct way of beginning a video game. It's something I've always loved about all the wonderful, dumb, amazing Capcom games of the PSX and PS2 era, and I think Resident Evil started the tradition. If a game shouts its own title at you when you hit 'Start Game', you know you're in for a ride.

 

OK, so, long story short, I've always been interested in Resident Evil, but I've also always been a huge wuss when it comes to scary games and I've only played precious few of these bad boys. I played about half of Resident Evil 4 when it came out on PS2 back in the day, then I played a lot of Resident Evil 5 on the PS3, and then I was sort of excited for RE6 but never got around to playing it, and that's basically it. Until this last week or so, when the hype of Capcom's two big E3 reveals hit me will strength, and since I already replayed the entire DMC series earlier this year I thought I'd channel this anxious hype energy into finally spackling up the gaps in my Resident Evil series history.

 

So I just started up Resident Evil HD on Steam, which is to say the 2015 remastered version of the 2002 remade version of the original 1996 game that was just named Resident Evil, and it seems really cool! I decided to play with the original tank controls, because I wanted to experience the game in its original state, but then I decided play on the newly-added super easy baby mode because I'm still a huge chicken about scary games, and I'm really enjoying myself so far. It's very much like a point and click adventure game in terms of exploring every available area and mashing your interact button on everything that looks interact-with-able, except you also have to shoot a zambaberjambo every now and then, and then also some dogs explode through the window, and sometimes the dead zombies come back again even zombie-er and everything is terrible. Should be fun!

 

In conclusion, Chris Redfield is the best Resident Evil character. And also tell me about your favourite Resident Evil stuff!

 

(Also, yes, this is what we're doing on the video game board now :P)



#2 Ocelot

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 04:09 AM

Ey yo SSLF, it's ya boi, the bravest man in the world. A week ago I had never played a game with tank controls. I had never played a survival horror game. To be honest, I'd never played a scary game at all, unless you count that one part in The Last of Us when you fall into the hotel basement and find a surprise horror game down there. But I come to you today a changed man, for you see I have played Resident Evil HD from start to finish like a big brave boy, and I loved it!
 
OK, so I played as Jill and I chose the super duper baby difficulty mode to go easy on myself, so maybe I'm not that cool. I actually ended up regretting my choice of difficulty later in the game once I'd got my head above water and realised I just had way too much health and ammo, but I still found the game incredibly tense in the early hours. I had to play the first half of the game in short spurts because it was leaving me shook, but after a few days I ended up getting so into it that I powered through from Lisa Trevor's cabin to the end of the game in one sitting. I loved the overall design of seemingly dumping you into a mansion to fend for yourself but subtly guiding you the whole time by hiding the keys and tchotchkes needed to progress in just the right places. And I was surprised to find the game pretty damn intuitive, after a lifetime of hearing about obtuse Resident Evil puzzle design. The only time I got irreparably stuck was when I completely missed the entrance to the Residence tucked away behind a camera angle change, which is my fault for not looking at the map anyway (the crows kept pecking at me and I ran away :P).
 
Shinji Mikami is the master of minimalism in gameplay, or design by subtraction, or whatever the Youtube essayists are calling it these days. He'll give you exactly what he knows you need to play his game, and absolutely nothing else. RE4 is a game where you can move or you can shoot, and if you really want to you can look side to side a little bit, and that game is a perennial masterpiece. In God Hand he took away the 'look side to side' option; if you want to see things you'd better play a different game, because God Hahnd ez just a geem about punching people. P.N.03 made the shooting almost automatic and told you to simply be in the right place. Are you getting hit by enemies? You shouldn't have been there. Be somewhere else. Vanquish gives you all the gameplay mechanics, but then you have to deal with the second half of the game not being there (I still love you, Vanquish).
 
I feel like classic RE is the ultimate example of this. Can you move? Sorta. Can you shoot? Yeah, but not too often. Can you see? No. Can you... pick things up? Well, a few things. At every possible turn there's something in your way, forcing you to make those hard decisions. But what I never realised before actually playing the game is that it's not just logistical decisions about conserving resources or what to keep in your inventory; this is a game that turns SEEING DUDES into a commodity. I think the experience that's going to stick with me the most is standing in a room, knowing there's at least one horrible monster in there with me, but juuuuust not quite being able to see him due to the camera angle. Where is that guy? Do I wait for him to come to me? Do I fire where I think he might be, potentially wasting ammo? Do I risk moving forward until the camera angle changes, knowing he might be right there waiting to eat my face off? They're moments where I would give anything to just be able to see a guy, but Shinji Mikami won't let me. Mikami sees me there, and he tells me he'll point the camera at the bad guy... but ooooonly if I leave my comfort zone. Ooh, it's good. I hate it, but it's so good.
 
The only complaints I can muster are the minor quirk of it reusing the "find a fake key/emblem/shotgun to swap for the real one" puzzle a few times, and the fact that the Tyrant is only a two-stager (can we even call it an RE game if you don't fight the final boss four times or more?). I think I've read that the game's original assets were lost, and, unfortunately, it does show in a few very soft, waxy-looking areas in this remaster, but, y'know, what can you do. I'm going to do another playthrough as Chris on big boy Normal difficulty, and now that I've got my tank control legs I guess I'll have to play all of these games, won't I?


#3 Ocelot

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 02:03 AM

OK boyeez, it's time for the big one: Resident Evil 2. The directorial debut of a young Hideki Kamiya. He's my favourite game developer of'em all, and RE2 is the only game of his I've never played, so this is laaaawng overdue for me.
 
I almost immediately fell in love with this brilliant game. From the moment I started a new game and had a big scary voice shout "RESIDENT EVIL 2" at me from the title screen, all the way to the wonderful dumbass metal song that plays over the credits of the game's second ending, I adored it all. You can almost feel a young Kamiya-kun coming into his own as the uncontested world's greatest video game director over the course of the game, starting off following his senpai Mikami's same RE1 spookhouse formula in the Police Station, but then finding his own action-flavoured style in the later areas. You can see the genesis of all the Kamiya-isms we know and love today in this game. I said in my last LTTP that I was a little disappointed with RE1's Tyrant only showing up for a measly two bossfights, and I guess Kamiya felt the same way because I'm pretty sure you fight Birkin like SEVEN times across both characters' campaigns, each more ridiculous than the last, until finally you're just DUUUUUMPing ammo into a giant TANK OF MEAT AND TEETH. Oh my God what a game.
 
RE2 makes its mark from moment one when, rather than gradually easing you into the zombie routine in a safe area of the mansion, it explodes Leon and Claire into the middle of two separate swarms of zombies and says, hey, work it out, buddy. I died before I even reached the Police Station on my first try, forcing a shameful trip back to the main menu to start all over again, but on the second go I had the bright idea to mow down all the zombies attacking the Kendo gun store guy so I could take his shotgun and things went a lot better from there. Once I set up base in the Station's first saferoom, unlocked a few shortcuts and kicked down that ladder to the second floor I thought I was on top of things, but then the game threw the sewers at me, and when I thought I had those worked out it was off on a train ride to Shadow Moses. And all the while I was picking up cool new guns, fighting new enemies, blasting bosses, dropping one liners... That moment when you use the key you found by lighting off a flare and find a bunch of Magnum parts to turn Leon's Magnum into AN EVEN MAGNUM-ER MAGNUM? 10/10. GOATest of all time.
 
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So I played Leon A/Claire B, which I understand is maybe a little less canon-y than the reverse, to the extent that either of them can be said to be canon. I actually meant to start as Claire, because I've never played as her in an RE game, but I was playing the PS One Classic version on PS3 which defaults to Leon's disc, and I actually didn't even realise it was a two-disc game until I'd finished Leon's story and had to Google how to start up Claire's. Oh well. I'm kind of tempted to play it all over again the other way, but I don't want to RE myself out before I get to 3 so I'm going to leave it there for now.
 
Though I can't help but dream about that gorgeous new REmake coming next year. I went back and watched the new trailers with RE2 fresh in my mind and that game just shot up my most anticipated list. I can't wait to see how they're going to handle certain areas, and play with the expectations of the fans of the original. There's a lot of room to flesh out certain parts of the original, like the sections where you play as Ada or Sherry but really only push some boxes, or that one underground tunnel with two giant spiders that only takes like seven seconds to run through, and some parts of this game are just going to look incredible in the RE Engine. Although I see they've given Mr X the fedora that DmC Vergil lost when he moved to the Definitive Edition, which is an interesting choice :P
 
In conclusion, Kamiya is six for six on masterpieces, fite me irl if u disagree
 
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#4 Ocelot

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 05:34 AM

Dear friends, the boy you once knew as Ocelot has now officially become a man: I just finished Resident Evil 3 on Hard Mode. I don't mean to brag, but I'm pretty sure I'm officially the biggest, toughest, handsomest guy around now. I think I can hear Samuel L. Jackson knocking at my door with an offer to join the Avengers.

 

OK, so Resident Evil 3 actually only has an Easy Mode and a Hard Mode, no Normal, and Easy Mode is the easiest, baby-est of Easy Baby Modes that starts you off with every weapon in the game and essentially infinite ammo waiting for you in the first Item Box. I originally started on Easy, but when I realised it basically ruined the game I went back and restarted on Hard, and it was... well, pretty hard. I'm still not very good at these games, and there was a point where I was almost convinced I was going to have to start over because I'd played too sloppily and ended up starved for resources at the game's biggest difficulty spike, but I persevered and managed to make it through like a cool guy. I would have liked a nice Goldilocks' pudding of a Normal difficulty, but I suppose Hard isn't too bad if you don't mind putting a bit of extra work in.

 

I think this game was pretty cool. It's a lot more action-oriented than RE1 and 2 were, with a couple of very simple additions like a quick-turn input and an evasive dodge manoeuvre that make Miniskirt Jill feel a whole lot more capable than RE protagonists of old. There's more ammo lying around, bigger guns available earlier on, but with that comes a jump in the number of horrible beasts you're going to be turning into wet beast chunks. We're out on the streets of Raccoon City this time, a much larger area than anything in the two previous games, and the place is just lousy with big red explosive things that you can press a special button to auto-aim at and take out a big group of enemies like an action hero. The story is nothing more than "Jill tries to escape Raccoon City and meets some soldiers along the way", but that's a compelling enough reason to do some more survival horroring, and your flight from zombiedom is made more tense by the knowledge that this handsome fellow is chasing you all the while:

 

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Buuuuut, I feel like a lot of those things I just mentioned sound better as bullet points than they actually are in the game. Take Jill's evasive dodge, for example: it's activated by pressing the Aim button just before a monster attacks you, or pressing the Shoot button if you were already aiming. Unfortunately, either the timing is really weird, or I'm just a big dumb idiot, or maybe the dodge is only programmed to work a certain percentage of the time, because even by the end of the game I felt I had no control over when Jill was going to dodge. If anything it actually made combat feel worse, because I could only get it to activate when I didn't want it to, and I'd end up in these ridiculous situations where a monster would be right on top of my and I'd be desperately trying to shoot it, but mashing the shoot button would just make me dodge over and over and I'd invariably dodge into the next attack and I still wouldn't be able to just shoot. At multiple points I basically got stunlocked all the way from full health to death, because none of the five accidental dodges I'd mash out would clear enough distance to allow me to actually do anything, and eventually I felt forced to just back into a corner and shoot guys until Jill had nothing left to auto-aim at.

 

Our big purple friend Nemesis feels like another missed opportunity. He leaps out to clobber you at pre-determined points and, unlike every Resident Evil enemy to date, can chase you through loading doors, rumbling his catchphrase "STAAAAARS" and throwing wild haymakers that could rival even Chris Redfield's. You have the option of fighting him at every one of these moments, and if you beat him he'll drop some really cool items. But like I said before, I couldn't work out combat in this game for the life of me, so whenever Nemesis showed up it basically became a game of "find a safe place until he goes away and I can do what I was trying to do in the first place". Like, buddy, I get that you want to kill me, but I need to put this gem in that weird machine over there and I really need a minute to myself. He runs faster than you do but has to stop to attack, so if you just keep running you can get away every time, and it just sort of spoils what should be a big menacing dude. It seems paradoxical, but if he was a little easier to fight I think he'd be scarier, because I would be more likely to actually engage with him and take the risk, but fighting him is so clumsy and difficult that I just ran away every time.

 

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It's a shame, because I really enjoy all the subsequent action-oriented Resident Evil games, and this is obviously where it all started, but it just doesn't work very well. And I know it's unfair to expect top-tier action game mechanics from a game that predates even the original Devil May Cry by a couple of years, but... well, it would have been nice :P

 

Anyway, it was still a good time and I'm happy I played it. For those keeping score at home, I've now played Resident Evils 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. I'm going to do Code Veronica next, which I already happen to own on Xbox 360 thanks to, weirdly enough, some guy who hacked my account like six years ago and for some reason bought Resident Evil Code Veronica. I was able to get it all sorted out and have my money refunded by customer support, but I got to keep Code Veronica; I never actually thought I'd play it until now, though.



#5 Ocelot

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Posted 26 July 2018 - 05:41 AM

Friends, let me tell you about a game called Resident Evil: Code Veronica X. I played it, I finished it, I kind of hated it. Let's discuss why!

 

So, to set the scene, Code Veronica was the first next-gen Resident Evil game, being a Dreamcast game back in the year 2000 (just one year after RE3). It's a huge technical and graphical leap over the PSX games, but it's that particular kind of graphical leap where you can feel the designers saying "Look at all this stuff we can do now!" in a very MGS2 melting ice cubes kind of way. Weird one-off design ideas used solely to show off rather than making any real game design leaps. For example, you can now hold your lighter above your head to illuminate a dark room with real-time lighting... except there's only one dark room in the game, right at the beginning, and later on in the game you give the lighter away anyway. We've moved on from pre-rendered backgrounds to a full 3D game, but we're still doing fixed camera angles and tank controls (and weirdly we're back to having to press the Interact button to walk up stairs when they'd already got rid of that in RE3). And, perhaps most noteworthy of all, the characters now have actual faces and their character models can emote... but we still have 1999-era Capcom's writing department putting words in their mouths, and this level of quality is best exemplified by a young fellow named Steve Burnside:

 

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Steve feels like Capcom bought the rights to his character from one of Sega's "rejected Sonic friend design" garage sales. Steve's dialogue has all the nuance of a tired writer who's angling for a severance package instead of outright quitting. If Steve debuted in 2018 the alt-right crowd would declare him a Capcom SJW conspiracy to further undermine the patriarchy. It says something that in a game featuring a crazed bourgeois in a castle who thinks he's his own sister and a virus-infected superman in dark glasses who travels exclusively by Six Million Dollar Man shanananana jumps, Steve Burnside is still the weirdest guy here. It makes me retroactively baffled that Raiden caught so much flak on his debut in 2001, because our friend Steve was dropping "Did you say nerd?"-calibre lines every time he opened his mouth a full year earlier. He's really bad, is what I'm saying here, and his look and voice and dialogue have just aged like milk over the years. Boy oh boy.
 
But how is Code Veronica X as an actual RE game? Well, it's OK. We're playing as Claire Redfield again, Hideki Kamiya's first strong and sassy female character, exploring a zambambo-infested island named Rockfort. It's a bigger place than any of the previous games' explorable areas, but since CVX keeps the standard Resident Evil exploration and backtrack-heavy game design, this isn't necessarily a good thing. Rockfort has several sub-locations (a Palace, a Prison, a Training Facility and an Airport), and you'll spend hours pingponging between them, laboriously schlepping down the same long connecting paths and bridges over and over again. There aren't any shortcuts to unlock, and if you get a little confused about where you should be going it can take an awful lot of trial and error to find your way to the critical path. Once you stumble upon a nice meaty vein of Resident-Evil-ing it's still as enjoyable as ever, but there's a lot of padding in between. Later in the game you'll switch environs to a zambambo-ridden base in Antarctica with some nice little throwbacks to the very first game. It's not amazing, but there's some fun to be had.
 
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But let me tell you about the worst part of this game: they designed it wrong. Like, straight up, they didn't playtest this game, or the designers just wished genuine malice upon the player, because I have never in my life played a game where it is easier to IRREPARABLY SCREW YOURSELF OVER, and at so many different points! This game is bristling with design traps and pitfalls where you can permanently miss certain weapons, lock yourself out of certain subquests, waste a lot of ammo unnecessarily on certain fights, or straight up lock yourself out of half your arsenal for a huge chunk of the game. And you can never see it coming! The game signposts these things so poorly, and most of them play out in such a way that you can't even know you've walked into the trap until literal hours after it's too late to do anything about it. I feel like you'd need a flowchart to describe just how many innocuous decisions you can make with no forewarning that will have huge negative consequences down the line, but here's a little taste:
 
- You get a Fire Extinguisher at the very beginning of the game, use it once and empty it completely, and then the game forces you to drop it in a storage locker before walking through a metal detector. If you don't have the foresight to take this useless Fire Extinguisher back out of that storage locker and carry it all the way across the island to drop it in a proper Item Box, YOU CANNOT GET THE MAGNUM! Like ten hours of gameplay later, you're going to have a chance to refill that Fire Extinguisher and use it to access a Weapon Storage room in Antarctica with a Magnum in it, and if you left the Extinguisher back on Rockfort island you just can't do it. Better luck next time.
 
- Two-thirds of the way through the game you start playing as Chris, who'll show up too late to rescue Claire from Rockfort Island and have to fight his own way through a half-self-destructed facility. The important thing here, though, is that Chris will only start with a pistol, then later find a shotgun, then never find any other weapons of his own. The game simply assumes you will have left one or two guns in the Item Box while you were playing as Claire so you can fill out Chris' arsenal. If you didn't? Have fun playing the entire last, most difficult third of the game having to agonize over your extremely limited ammo count with only two underpowered weapons, buddy!
 
What makes this worse is that the end of Claire's gameplay section is a bossfight, so naturally you'd want to load up on heavy weapons before tackling it, thus almost making sure you won't leave anything behind for Chris to use. And then later on you switch back to Claire, and you can totally screw yourself over again if you don't put her weapons back in the Item Box, because she doesn't fight any of the final bosses and Chris needs all the help he can get!
 
- There's a bossfight against a Tyrant in the cargohold of an airborne plane where you're supposed to simply weaken the Tyrant a little and then unbuckle a cargo crate to knock him out of the plane. The problem is that there's a fight against this same Tyrant not five minutes beforehand where you can make him stagger and fall to his knees by dumping ammo into him. Naturally you'd assume that you want to drop him to his knees before you knock him out of the plane in the next fight, right? Nope, you're just supposed to damage him a little, then knock him out. You can quite easily dump every single round you have into this dude without knowing this and then be completely screwed for the rest of the game. And there are like three more subsequent bosses that you don't even have to fight at all; you can just pick up an item and then run straight back out of the room.
 
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So maybe you can guess from my salty demeanour that I fell into every trap this game had to offer and ended up having a really bad time. And I wouldn't even mind if I felt like I'd screwed up due to my own incompetence, but here I don't feel like I could reasonably have been expected to have predicted most of this stuff. It's like they designed this game for psychics who'd just implicitly know what was coming up ahead of time.
 
Ugh. I didn't like it, you guys. I've played Resident Evils 1, 2, 3, CVX, 4, 5 and 6 now, and CVX was by far the worst one. By far.
 
By far.


#6 Ocelot

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 08:14 AM

Resident Evil 4, ladies and gentlemen. The myth. The legend. Shinji Mikami's masterpiece. One of the greatest games of all time. Technically, I should have played RE Zero this time, since I'm kinda sorta playing the series in release order, but whatever I wanted to do RE4 so sue me. I tell you what, it's hard being a Chris fan when Leon keeps getting all the best games.

 

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RE4 was my first Resident Evil game, way back on the PS2, and I still remember being incredibly intimidated by this game. Everyone remembers having their head cut off by the Chainsaw Man in the first big village fight, but I was such a coward I never even went into the house that makes him spawn. I actually didn't really click with this game at first, and it took a long time before I really came to grips with the intricacies of killin' dudes in RE4. There is such a particular balance to the way each gun handles, the contexts where they shine, the way the enemies move and what range you want to engage them from. Once you get the hang of it and learn where to be, when to shoot and when to run, how to best use your context-sensitive melee attacks... umph it just feels so good.

 

Because this is not just a video game about shooting guys until they die, oh no no. Your pistol isn't for killing things, it's for hitting weakpoints on regular enemies so you can tee them up for a melee attack and knock them back into the horde of guys behind them. Your shotgun is used less for damage output and more like a giant blast of power that'll clear the path in front of you. You think you're going to snipe with that Sniper Rifle? Well, you can, but mostly you're going to shoot guys on the other side of the room with it. Flash Grenades aren't for stunning enemies, they're for instantly killing the giant bugs that pop out of people's heads. And while previous RE's basically gave you a knife to teach you how to dump things in the Item Box forever, here the Knife is almost the start of the show, used for everything from breaking open boxes and finishing off downed enemies to obliterating one of the game's final bosses.

 

And it all feels amazing, too, because this is a Capcom game from the early 2000s and oh boy did they know how to make games back then. RE4's weapons handle handle perfectly and sound even better, all loud cracks, meaty blasts and satisfying CLUNKs. The Red 9 is the best video game pistol ever, fite me irl if u disagree. Leon initially feels stiff to control, but there's all kinds of hot tech you can pull off with him if you watch one too many speedruns and start getting ideas above your station. And, while needing to open your Inventory Menu to switch weapons feels outdated in 2018, RE4 does at least have the best Inventory Menu of all video games. Nobody could make an Inventory Menu like Capcom, you guys. There's a certain tension in managing to hit Pause moments before a bad guy was about to hit you and knowing you need to get a shotgun shot off the instant you unpause. Oh, and who doesn't love Inventory Tetris?

 

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RE4 rides this perfect line of pacing, knowing just when to give you a few quiet moments before hurling you into a massive fight against dozens of guys. This game absolutely bristles with memorable setpieces. The Village, the Cabin, the Water Room in the Castle, the all-out war on the island at the end; there's no end to them, and that's not even mentioning how many great bossfights there are in between. The Wonderful 101 is the only action game that I think might surpass RE4 for sheer completeness; it's just a big, long game with so much unique content, and it's all so good. UNNNNGGGGH. It even nails the perfect dumb tone of American action heroes as written by Japanese writers that I love so much!

 

What a game, you guys. What. A. Game. 10/10.

 

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OK now I guess I'd better play RE Zero.



#7 Ocelot

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 03:41 AM

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!

 

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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.
 
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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.


#8 Ocelot

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Posted 14 August 2018 - 08:23 AM

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.

 

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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 :P

 

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.

 

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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!



#9 Ocelot

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 12:22 AM

(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. 


#10 Ocelot

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 12:44 AM

Friends. Romans. SSLFers. I come before you today a changed man. A better man. Some might say a handsomer man, if that were even possible. For, you see, I have completed my grand odyssey to catch up with the Resident Evil series by playing no fewer than nine Resident Evil games in a row. Resident Evils 1, 2, 3, Code Veronica X, 0, 4, 5, 6 and now... Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.

 

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It's really good! I was just as shocked and skeptical as everyone else when that E3 trailer for some weird first-person horror P.T. ripoff turned out to be RE7, but having played it I think it's an absolutely fantastic translation of all the wonderful quirks and tropes of Resident Evil games translated into a more modern package. This game bristles with not just fun callbacks to memorable moments from the series, but also really clever innovations of its own, a genuinely great story and cast of characters, and more emphasis on the horror part of survival horror than every before. This game... this game was scary, you guys. Have I mentioned that I'm not good with scary games? Because this game had me legitimately A'SCAIRT, I don't mind telling you. It was intense.

 

So we're doing the ol' soft reboot thing, in the shoes of a fellow named Ethan Winters who's searching a dilapidated Louisiana farmhouse for his wife, except said wife quickly proves to be a horrible monster who chainsaws your hand off and then turns you over to the deranged family who own the place. Who are also monsters. While escaping from the dinner table after a nice meal of actual garbage isn't too difficult, finding your way out of a farmhouse where every door needs a special key that's hidden in another room entirely and usually guarded by a host of terrible goo monsters proves a little more difficult. We've got safe rooms with save points and interlinked Item Boxes, a series of locked doors with animal motif keys, a shotgun that can't be taken until you replace it with a broken shotgun, and even a cheeky little callback to our pal Nemesis in Jack Baker, the head of the household who'll chase you through the place with a shovel taunting you for not being able to take on an old man.

 

While there's undeniably a lot of influence from modern first-person horror games like Amnesia or Outlast, RE7 comes with a fully-fledged combat system that lets you fight back against the horrible monsters. Ethan Winters is about as far from Doomguy as you can get, though, with a plodding default walk speed and a 'sprint' that would barely crack into jog territory, so combat in RE7 is a nice midpoint between old-school tank controls and RE4-style action. Enemies can take some punishment and ammo is scarce, so you're always having to make that decision of whether to kill a guy or try to get around him. Often times it's best to pop a quickturn and retreat to a more defensible position. Enemies in this game hit hard but have no intelligence, so luring them one way around a dining table, then quickly hurrying around the other side and closing the door on your way out of the room can be an excellent (and fun) way of dealing with them without wasting any resources. You're going to want that ammo and health for the game's bossfights, which are wonderfully tense and just harrowing enough to keep you panicking the whole time. "That hurt him! Yeah, I got hi- OOOOH NOOOO he's getting back up!". This game not only had me on the edge of my seat, but I was actually leaning this way and that trying to dodge blows or move out of the way faster like I was an extra in a Wii commercial :P

 

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It's not perfect, but as an RE4-style clean break for the series it's a damn good time. The enemy variety is pretty abysmal, for example, basically just the same big goo monster in vanilla, small-but-fast and big-and-fat variations. The game splashes strawberry jam on your screen to show you when you've taken damage, which is probably necessary for a first-person game with a minimal HUD and no way to do the "holding your side in pain" animation from the older RE games to show when the character is damaged, but you can end up running around for twenty minutes with a strawberry jam screen because you don't want to waste a precious healing item until you're really badly damaged. I was also pretty disappointed with the final boss being more or less a QTE fight that I don't think you can really lose, but, ah well, I can deal with that.

 

I went on and played the free Chris Redfield DLC right after I finished the main game, and that was a really nice cap to the whole experience. Chris comes in with a full arsenal and the ability to do RE5-style Falcon Punches on staggered enemies, so his section clearing up everything Ethan missed in the main game is a lot of fun. I'm still gutted that they didn't get Roger Craig Smith back to voice Chris, though. RCS made Chris the man he is today; didn't nobody care about that boy until he grew the muscles and started talking with Roger's voice, and Roger did such a fantastic job as Punished Chris in RE6 that it's straight up disrespectful to give his character to someone else. The new guy is fine, and I wouldn't even mind that they changed his face because that's just kind of what happens with video game characters as technology advances, but... give me something, y'know? When Troy Baker Ocelot showed up in MGSV, he was at least still dressing like a cowboy. RE7 Chris has a new face, a new hair colour, a new voice actor and a featureless black combat outfit; if he didn't introduce himself as "Redfield" you'd never know it was him (and even then people were thinking "Wait, does Chris have a brother we don't know about?" when they saw him). At least throw some green into his outfit somewhere.

 

So... what do I do now, you guys? I've played nine RE games in a row and I don't know if I remember how to play anything else.






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