Given the upcoming release of a certain Capcom game, I’ve been forced to reflect upon a certain issue and have come to this question: does our idea of what exemplifies a franchise outweigh our desire for a “good” game?
“Good” meaning a title offering an exceptional experience in every category that, together, makes a game.
Witnessing all the hate that this new Resident Evil game is receiving makes me think the answer is yes, which I feel is strange.
I play games for enjoyment and have no allegiance to a specific company or IP and would easily fork over my cash as long as the game is good. This does not go to say that I hold no value in staying true to the spirit of a franchise; I would not support a God of War kart racing game.
Well, I would but it would have to be really good.
So by now we all know Resident Evil 6 plays differently than any other iteration in the series. I don’t think this is surprising nor is it necessarily a bad thing. Resident Evil had been swerving away from their tried and true style for some time now. I think the direction that the game has taken was predictable and followed a logical progression.
Resident Evil 4 kept the stiffness of your character but placed the camera over your shoulder. Aiming was rigid and melee actions were either prompted or ill advised.
The sequel kept the camera angle but added slightly militarized enemies and enemies that felt more “human” than ever before.
Resident Evil 6 has 4’s camera angle but none of the stifling controls that were present in all Resident Evil games to date; your character has the mobility and running freedom equal to the guys from Lost Planet. Enemies are now highly militarized; they are basically soldiers that turn into freaks after you “kill” them.
All of these characteristics, though seemingly minor, ensure that the game feels nothing like a game belonging to the series emblazoned on its cover. Regardless, the game offers an undeniably satisfying gameplay experience and this seems to not matter for many people.
When looking at these things, one always has to consider the “troll effect”; people that make noise about the issue but truly could not care any less. They successfully skew the appearance of certain opinions throughout the populace. This could be seen with the whole insanity surrounding Miles Morales becoming the new Ultimate Spiderman and people going crazy on every major news outlet.
I know for a fact that not enough people read comic books, let alone the Ultimate Spiderman series, for such a change to ignite that level of horror and rage.
So anyway, I have friends that would consider themselves fans of the Resident Evil series from the beginning. Do they have a problem with the new direction the game is going? Not at all.
To them, the best way to honor a legendary series is to ensure that all the newly added games to that series are enjoyable when played.
I thought this was common sense but judging from the posts I read online (and my informant belonging to the underground world of GameStop), many people are adamant about avoiding the game due to a sense of betrayal.
Gamers take themselves way too fucking seriously, for real.
I would get into a discussion on why companies have no obligation, morally or financially, to the gamers that buy their product (since being a consumer is about personal choice) but I refuse. I feel this is a matter of common sense.
Is a game guaranteed not to be enjoyed if it diverges from certain characteristics that have evolved into mainstay features?
Are there games that have strayed from these mainstay features that have wound up being successes?
Given the obvious answers to these questions (no then yes), I find it hard to believe a rational person can confidently hate this game because it doesn’t play how they feel a Resident Evil game should.
This is what happens when objective people play good games.
People were bitching about the new gameplay adopted by Final Fantasy XI when it was first shown but then, true to form, everyone realized that even though it was new and different it was still good and then shut the fuck up.
The “effect” is only now being successfully shaken off from the new Devil May Cry game. At first people were upset that Dante looked different, and then they were crying that this character might not even be Dante. Gameplay videos were then released and rational people realized, “Hey, this combat looks like it belongs in a Devil May Cry game and I play Devil May Cry for the intense combat so…”
Then people started complaining that they revamped the whole story, implying the laughable notion that anyone plays those games for story.
Basically, what I’m saying is that I’ve come to the conclusion that people will complain at any time for any reason; we just like complaining.
Remaining loyal to a franchise, through your being a consumer or a developer, is an idea that is so subjective and yet paradoxically rigid that it can never be used as a means to determine whether or not a game is worth your money.
What I may feel epitomizes the spirit of a game may differ from the next guy so why make an issue out of it?