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The Resident Evil Series: An Ocelot Story

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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.
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

#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:




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.




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.

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