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Friday, March 30, 2012

Resident Evil: A Look Back

It's indisputable that Resident Evil has become a very well-known series. Games, books and even Hollywood movies, the series seems to be growing and growing like no one thought possible. But has the series strayed from its roots too much? I'm going to take you back through the years, and at the end, you be the judge.

Top: Resident Evil 1 remake
Bottom: Resident Evil 4

Now, I love the series, been playing it since it originally released on the PSone back in 1997, while the graphics are terrible compared to today's standards, I enjoyed it (although I didn't get far, as I was only 7 at the time ;p). When Resident Evil 2 came out, I was 8 and able to focus on it a bit more than I could with Resident Evil 1 (plus the game looked much nicer). This game set the standards for the series, characters were thought out (as thought out as they could be back then), the story was excellent and the game was just all around enjoyable. I spent hours playing RE2, first Leon, then Claire, then Claire and Leon, I played the hell out of this game.

When Resident Evil 3: Nemesis came out in 1999, the series got even better. The already well thought out characters received an overhaul and looked and acted much better than their previous counterparts. I got attached to Jill, Carlos and even lesser character such as Mikhail and Nicholai. The threat of the Nemesis, a giant BOW (Bio-Organic Weapon) that pursued you throughout the game, always making you check your corners and look over your shoulder (as if we needed more of it in this game). Even better was the fact that after beating the game, you unlocked Operation: Mad Jackal, where you were able to play as Mikhail, Carlos or Nicholai and earn awesome items for the main game.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica was much more challenging for me, I had a helluva time beating it, whether that was due to actual difficulty or a poorly made game is up for debate, none the less, this was a good game.

"Wait, you just said it was poorly made.... da fuck?"

Don't get me wrong, it was, but it also did things that made up for that, the story was something from M.Shyamalan, full of twists, there were quite a few enemies that made you go, "Holy shit!" Some being Hulk Steve and the giant Dragonfly Alexia and other bizarre shit.

Now, this is where the series started taking a dive for me, a hardcore fan. Resident Evil 4. Don't get me wrong, the game itself was good, but I believe it was no where near deserving the title of "Resident Evil". Resident Evil is about zombies and surviving a zombie outbreak, not playing as a Government Agent and saving the world. The game itself is good, as I said before, the mechanics work well and the overall gameplay is fun. But throwing on the Resident Evil name was a crappy move.

Resident Evil 5 suffered the same issues as its predecessor, using the Resident Evil name, but having no zombies at all. Again, the game works well, but not as a Resident Evil entry.

Now, trailers of Resident Evil 6 show zombies, which I applaud, give the fans what they like, after all, we made the series what it is. What I don't like is that in the same trailer, Chris is shown as doing these superhero moves, taking out what look like parasite infested people from Resident Evil 4 and 5, killing people with guns leaping over shit and so much more.... I don't like "One man can save the world" type games, if this happened, we'd all be dead. Keep the series as it was, the struggle for survival.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Operation Raccoon City

Ever wonder what might happen if you played as a member of Umbrella's Security team during the outbreak? Well, now you can finally find out.




Story

Many likely know the story of how the various characters in the RE universe came to be, about the mysterious outbreak in a small mountain town in middle America, how the outbreak caused its victims to come back from the dead and wander aimlessly, and how a pharmaceutical company, Umbrella was behind it all. But what if the story was told through the eyes of Umbrella's private Security Service? What would have been different? Well, with this game, you get to glimpse (notice I said glimpse) as to what may have happened. You are tasked with erasing all evidence of Umbrella's involvement, any and everything, must be destroyed.


Graphics

The graphics on ORC are.... well, they aren't the greatest, but I've certainly seen worse. Some textures have a  overly shiny coating of blood/slime/water/whatever, making them look poorly added (sorta like in old school cartoons when something that was going to be interacted with always stood out opposed to everything else in the show). Characters, however, look very nice, I never knew that Nicholai had a scar until now. But there are a few exceptions, if you played Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the Nemesis in the game looks.... crappy, he looks more like the movie version. The difference?

RE:ORC
RE3

You can clearly see that ORC's Nemesis has a much fatter head, and while that not matter to some, being an Old School RE fan makes me very biased, I love the RE3 version, I hate, HATE, the RE:ORC/Movie version and wish he would jump off a cliff into the rectum of Hell and die.... repeatedly.


Controls

The controls work pretty much the same as any shooter these days, various items are assigned to the D-Pads (grenades, first-aid sprays, special skills, etc), B is used for melee and, if timed correctly (when playing online this is almost impossible), pressing A allows for a special instant kill (which is completely BS in my opinion). The long awaited ability to shoot and move can be done simply by holding the left trigger (aim) and right trigger (shooting), although this does little, as you move slow as shit.


Voice/Music/Sound

The voice work is rare, but when it's present, it's well done. The characters don't talk much, and when they do, it's usually a few lines in regards to something about the objective. There's infrequent music, usually present during high risk situations, and other times there's a low dark tone, nothing special music wise stands out in this installment, although this has always been true and probably a good thing, considered you're dealing with hordes of the undead (I mean, do you want some K-Pop crap playing while you're trying to fend off a Tyrant? I know I don't).


Other

There are 6 playable characters, each having a unique area of expertise.

Bertha, the Medic (can hold up to 4 first-aid sprays in stead of just one, can nulfy 90% of damage for 10sec)
Lupo, the Leader (has incendiary rounds, effective against the undead, faster reloading)
Vector, the Reconnaissance Man (turns invisible and runs fast as shit, nuff said)
Four Eyes, the Field Scientist (can induce zombifacation, start with a anti-virus vaccine)
Spectre, the Marksman (can detect items and enlarge mini-map, good for those trying to find as many items as possible for S+)
Beltway, the Explosives Expert (can use various explosives such as trip mines and takes less damage from explosions)

*These skills must be unlocked using exp earned in story or versus, not all abilities listed.

This game puts tremendous focus on Multiplayer, this is god and bad.... but mostly bad. The online VS is HORRIBLE. I have a great connection, never have any issues, but when I play this.... my god, I see players lag so hard, teleporting from one place to another, dodging melee attacks and killing you then teleporting again. You may get into a game that has no issues, and if you do, stay with that group, the last thing you want to do is leave and connected with some fuck who has shit-tastic connectivity and makes you wanna rage quit.


There are several Modes to play in VS.

Heroes - You play as a icon from the RE series (Leon, Claire, Carlos, Jill, Ada, HUNK, Nicholai and Lone Wolf (whoever the fuck he is....)) and try to kill the opposing teams Heroes.

Team Attack - Straight up Death Match.... sorta. Earn points for killing zombies, but more for killing Lickers, Hunters and other players. You get to pick from the USS team and the Spec Op team consisting of Willow, Dee-Ay, Tweed, Harley, Shona and Party Girl. They have the same powers as the USS, just different looks/name.

Survivor - A chopper is coming to carry you to safety! But there's only 4 seats on said chopper, so if you can't get to it before it's full, you die. Simple. Survive zombies, hunters and enemy players (and even your own team) if you want to live.

Biohazard - Collect samples of the G-Virus and bring them back to your safe zone, only problem is zombies are drawn to these samples and will chase you when you carry them.


The campaign MP is a different story, it's enjoyable and well executed. In fact, if you want to finish some of the levels on Pro, you NEED to have a partner, otherwise you'll have a helluva hard time. It's welcome as well, seeing as how the CPU is dumb as shit and will walk right in front of you, causing friendly fire, not heal, run right up to the enemy and die, or in rare cases, stop functioning altogether.


Overall

This can be a fun Resident Evil game to tide players over till 6 comes out, but if you aren't a big RE fan, you may want to hold off for a price drop (or at least some patches).

7.0/10.0

Pros

- The playable characters are great
- Fun "what-if" game for RE fans
- Actually is quite challenging at high difficulties

Cons

- Shitty AI
- VS is unbalanced as hell and laggy
- Very short (a few hours if you aren't exploring, but there isn't much to explore even if you do)