Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
I am going to keep this review as short as possible while keeping it informative; it is very easy for me to create a long-winded word circus describing why this game belongs in the record books.
Let me start off by saying that I wanted to like this game.
However, the game’s epic level of failure makes such a thing impossible. Resident Evil has always had a knack for spewing forth titles that failed in ways that seemed to be below them.
For example, the control issues with this game are nothing short of amazing. Yes, there are upgrades that your character can gain access to that make the entity known as Control a little less elusive. However, introducing upgrades, as an afterthought, that make aiming a little less torturous do little to turn attention away from the miasma of inadequacy that haunts and violates my character.
In case there is any confusion in regards to how I worded that paragraph, I am saying the controls in this game are atrocious.
Another issue that just blows my mind is the no pause feature. I get how the company and fans rationalize it by saying it keeps the introduction of online players seamless but it just doesn’t work.
It’s as simple as that.
In retrospect, most of the people I play online cooperatively with are people I know. I rarely play with randoms and when I do it lasts for about 3 minutes. Since I can’t pause the game and the enemies seem to respawn/ hide very well I find myself playing areas multiple times after foolishly leaving my study momentarily and coming back to a game over screen.
The only way to have access to the elementary option known as pause, something that has been around since the inception of gaming, one has to go into the main menu and switch off any and all online functionality.
Another thing that is beginning to bother me, although I wrote it off when the idea was first introduced to me (sorry, Alice), is the game’s increasing need for the player to suspend their disbelief. One might as well just expel it totally, in regards to both how the characters interact with each other and how the plot has mutated from what we thought we knew about Resident Evil to what is happening to the franchise in 2012.
I get how a zombie could be the result of the T virus and I get how the Ganados and Majini are the result of parasites, I can digest all that with a reasonable level of suspension. However, the freaks that exist in this game are just too much, I feel like a lot of them were just added for shock value and they just feel unnecessary. It may seem like I am nit-picking but once you play the game you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
There is a point in the game where you fight against a creature that is so revolting and gross; you are just left asking yourself: why?
Like the mutations shown proudly in the blight on entertainment known as the film Akira; some of the mutations serve no purpose, there is no logical or scientific reasoning for its appearance and it’s not inherently entertaining. You just want to ensure that the person who thought of such a creature gets the psychological help that they so desperately need.
On the issue of characters, Capcom has always had problems with intrinsic development of personalities within their characters. You may catch a glimpse of another side to a character during a cinematic when they are interacting with others (still rare), but the character that the player deals with once everyone is removed automatically reverts back as though there was no effect that those people or events had on their behavior.
They are just empty.
Cliché characters are something this game has in spades. For example, I don’t like the cool, confident, strong but aloof anime type that Capcom and other developers can’t seem to let go. He always has style and does everything with ease despite his current predicament being completely and horrifyingly unprecedented. I don’t like my player shouting wisecracks as he is fighting for his life; it’s unbelievable and childish and doesn’t really have a place in a game that promotes fear and horror.
I also don’t like the relentless and overbearing boy scout who dismisses any ideas of pragmatism or common sense just because it will result in the loss of lives. When you’re a young idealist, then yes I could buy the “no man left behind” act. But if you’re a seasoned vet when it comes to mutant and zombie bio-terrorism, the whole “we have to save everyone” shtick comes off as borderline retarded.
That’s enough of that.
Your characters (and, by proxy, your weapons) are upgraded through the spending of skill points that are just found in dead bodies and barrels and shit. You can upgrade their efficacy with handguns, assault rifles, etc. and this change affects all characters. There is also no purchasing of weapons, you find everything in the aforementioned barrels and shit (and shining attaché cases as well).
I personally have always missed the “WOT ER YA BOYIN’” guy from Resident Evil 4. It was nice to see a friendly (?) face and whenever I saw his signature blue flame I knew I could breathe a sigh of relief as his presence was almost always a sign that there were no enemies. I loved that guy.
In a game that sorely needs playable breaks in action I feel that a merchant guy would be awesome. I also liked the whole collection of artifacts and combining them with other seemingly meaningless shit to create a smorgasbord of wealth that can be used to upgrade and purchase better weaponry. The degeneration of such a fun system, almost mini-game quality, into the mindless skill point system and weaponry pickup is just another very bad sign of the times and is something I think is so negligent and apathetic on the part of Capcom I can no longer buy their titles without trying it out first.
It seems I maybe making a mountain out of a molehill since it is a seemingly small issue but it is a symptom of a larger and more systematic one that I will probably deal with in my column (if I haven’t already).
Another funny thing about this game is that it treats the player as though they have played the game already (not games of this series, but this particular game). There are no subtle hints for things and you are often put in boss battles in which there are about 500 ways one would assume they could harm the enemy but only one of the methods work.
What makes this even more confusing is that there is no inner dialogue or prompt from AI to let you know what you’re doing is pointless, so you’re left wondering if your current tactic is completely pointless or if you’re simply not doing it enough. This makes you feel like a complete dumb-ass when you finally stumble upon the correct method to obtain victory.
The bosses and enemies do look “gorgeous” though. The graphics in the game are nice, but that doesn’t really mean anything nowadays, now does it?
AI is just there. It’s nothing to really write home about on the part of the allies or the enemies. And what happened to Sheva?
Once again, I don’t understand Capcom and their character decisions. There is no reason given why she is not around nor can I think of one that stands the test of common sense. I blame the community for Sheva’s absence but I won’t go into that now.
I really can’t stress enough the subtle missteps that this game has taken that collectively make an almost mediocre game and as much as many people think it should be a non-issue, the fact that this was made by Capcom makes it all the more offensive.