Stewart 'Grave' Gibson is the fighting game loving, Doomguy worshipping, Motorhead listening maniac of DarkSpawn Gaming. When not ripping and tearing Stewart can be found riding the open roads or at the nearest Lucha Libre event.
After finishing with Resident Evil Zero we begin part 2 of the retrospective with one of the most critically acclaimed Resident Evil games of all time.
2005 – Resident Evil 4
Sometimes a game comes along that doesn’t just revitalise a series but can reinvent an entire gaming genre. Just as the original Resident Evil did for survival horror Resident Evil 4 grabbed the series by the scruff of the neck and shook all kinds of new life into them, it also did this for 3rd person shooters in general. You see, at this stage in its life Resident Evil was getting all kinds of spin off games that were muddying its once great name and so they needed the great man himself to step in and breathe new life into it once again, Shinji Mikami. To say that Resident Evil 4 is an important game does not do it justice as it is not just important but easily one of the most influential games since the original Doom. The 3rd person mechanics used in RE4 have been used in so many games since that you’d actually find it hard to find a game that hasn’t used them or been influenced by them. Going down a more action route did leave a sour taste in some hardcore horror fans mouths but there is no doubt that the series needed the change after all the mediocre and straight up bad spin off games that had been released. Donning both the awesome hair and coat of Leon S. Kennedy once again, we were thrown into a rural part of Spain where zombies were no longer the threat but instead were introduced to the Las Plagas, while not as iconic as zombies they offered a freakish alternative, especially when heads popped open and all kinds of horrific things came squirming out. Fun fact about this game, its original concept went to become Devil May Cry, so that’s why some people find that Dante and Leon look at little a like.
(Might need a bigger gun here)
2009 – Resident Evil 5
This is where some people would say the main series had its first major fall from grace. Between some awful A.I, a severe lack in horror and some very bland creature design there are those who would say that Resident Evil 5, while not a bad game, was Resident Evil in name alone. The same 3rd person based mechanics from the fourth instalment returned but now there was added cover mechanics, checkpoints instead of save points and of course, co-op gameplay. Chris Redfield returned to this game and he seriously looked like he had not been out of the gym since the 2002 REmake. Along with him was Sheva Alomar, a native to Africa where the game was set and tasked with helping Chris with stopping the bad guys. The idea of co-op had been messed around with since RE: Zero but the developers worried that adding it would cause the game to lose a lot of the horror feel if you could rely on a partner when you were in a tight spot. Sadly that is exactly what happened when playing with another person but that being said the game was worse when played by yourself. You had to rely on some truly awful A.I that constantly hassled you for ammo and health and more often than not got itself killed. Put that beside Chris punching everything from enemies, bosses and boulders and the only thing to be afraid of in Resident Evil 5 was whether you were going to eat your own controller in frustration as your partner once again ran straight into the chainsaw guy. All that being said however, this game finally gave an awesome look at Wesker and showed what a bad-ass he was.
2012 – Resident Evil Revelations
First released as a portable only game this spin off soon found its way onto console and PC alike due to fact that it actually was a great game that fitted nicely into the Resident Evil universe. The game almost feels like a nice fit between the old school horror of the originals with just the right amount of action from the newer games. Set between Resident Evils 4 and 5, Resident Evil Revelations had us jumping into the wet suit of Jill Valentine (stop it) and running around a very large and very spooky tanker ship. With tight corridors and lots of running back to previous areas with keys and puzzle pieces the game really did feel like a great mix of the two styles of Resident Evil games. Sadly the enemy design of Resident Evil Revelations is not on the same level of brilliance as the rest of the game, nearly all enemies have the same grey colour about them and most look identical to each other. Thankfully though the game itself played brilliantly and even had a genuinely scary atmosphere at times as well as some very tense boss battles.
2012 – Resident Evil 6
To say that there was hype around Resident Evil 6 would be the understatement of the century. It had the largest team in Capcoms history working on out, it was one of their most expensive games ever made and the game itself was huge. Containing four different campaigns each with their own locations, stories, enemies and weapons, the game was no slouch in single player content. Classic names like Chris, Leon and Ada were joined by Piers, Helena and Wesker’s son Jake who will never be as cool as his dad. With an ever heavier lean on action, the game had very little horror elements, in fact out of the four campaigns the only real bit of horror was Leon’s campaigns first two chapters. Outside the campaigns the game had many different multiplayer modes as well, with deathmatch type games and co-op based games for people to test their skills. The game itself seemed to be aimed at the newer generation of first person shooter fans as action was fast and constant, checkpoints were plentiful and puzzles where non-existent. This drew a lot of criticism from long term fans and many believed that Resident Evils time had passed as newer and genuinely scary horror games were getting a lot of media attention at this stage.
2015 – Resident Evil Revelation 2
Seeing that the first Revelation game had sold quite well, Capcom decided to release a second one but this time in an episodic format. There were 4 chapters released with each providing a level for both Claire Redfield and for the first time, Barry ‘The Legend’ Burton was a playable character. The game toned down the action found in Resident Evil 6 and again, it seemed to find that nice fit between the two types of Resident Evil games. Returning from Resident Evil Zero was character swapping but this time your characters partner was unable to attack, adding once again to the fear factor as you were unable to rely on your partner to save you should you be in trouble. While the graphics may not have had the same level of polish that Resident Evil 6 had, it was also released at a budget price so this was forgivable. Still though, the critics and fans alike believed that it was perhaps time for Resident Evil to step aside and let the newer horror games have their time in limelight as Resident Evil was old, tired and didn’t have any new ideas. What people didn’t realise however is that they were all about to be proved very very wrong.
2017 – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
When E3 showcased a trailer going through a spooky run down old house with strange people walking around many assumed that this was for a new horror IP. When it was revealed that this was Resident Evil 7 many people were sceptical but those thoughts were laid to rest very quickly when the trailer revealed that the demo was live straight away. Resident Evil 7 once again took the series in a new direction and had us playing in first person. Different as this may have been there was so much about Resident Evil 7 that felt like an old style Resident Evil game that fans were very quickly on board with the changes. Placed into the loafers of new protagonist Ethan Winters, we were thrust into the madhouse of the Baker mansion and fear was born all over again. With slow movement, enemies that couldn’t be killed, item management and a severe lack of ammo the game knew exactly how to terrify the daylights out of people all over again. The new first person camera made walking down corridors more terrifying than ever as you could hear enemies but were unsure of where the danger was coming from, it also made for some horrific and disgusting moments as well. The Bakers themselves were positively received as some of the best antagonists not only in Resident Evils history but in gaming. All in all, Resident Evil 7 was the game that proved that Resident Evil was still the daddy of horror games as reviews and critics praised the game on every turn.
(Insert Mother-in-Law joke here)
And so, this leads us up to getting ready to once again step into Leon and Claire’s shoes once again and get ready to wander around the Racoon City police department trying not to have our heads tore off by lickers. So far the game is looking fantastic and early impressions have been very positive as well. I guess all that remains is to make sure we all have a good supply of clean underwear at the ready.
The Resident Evil 2 Remake is due for release on PS4, Xbox One and PC on January 25th 2019