It has been 17 years since S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team investigated a secret laboratory underneath a mansion in Raccoon City . . . and we no longer know where Resident Evil is.
Nearly two decades since Capcom began one of the most successful game franchises in the world its hope of surviving a zombie apocalypse is growing less and less likely.
Capcom producer Masachika Kawata spoke out about possible directions for the series including mentioning the idea of a reboot and regarding the situation it’s found itself in, that may not be such a bad idea albeit an arguably unoriginal one. However we’ve just had a very successful reboot of Tomb Raider and recently announced is the next generation rebirth of the Thief series which looks just as promising. Perhaps a re-branding of Capcom’s biggest franchise wouldn’t be such of a biohazard?
The story of a viral outbreak in a major city was not unique in itself but the way we played was. Confined to a creepy mansion filled to the brim with puzzles and mysteries to solve. Characters we quickly cared about and rich conspiracy story line which shouldn’t have tangled up as much as it has.
I’ll admit I was one who had to arm myself with a walkthrough (for emergencies) when exploring the depths of Umbrella’s lab, a true tense atmosphere defined survival horror.
Sequels followed and this time we guided Leon S. Kennedy on his first day as a cop through the actual city streets as we witnessed the outbreak from a brand new perspective but keeping the engrossing gameplay. Same city, different day in Nemesis when the fate of Raccoon City was told. Could the doomed city be the perfect setting with multiple possible perspectives for a reboot?
Like any franchise facing yet another new generation Resident Evil 4 arrived, at first exclusively, for Nintendo Gamecube and was and arguably still is one of the best games on the system. It was the first step in changing the core gameplay of the franchise. Camera was now over the shoulder, saving didn’t require ink ribbons (remember panicking for an ink ribbon?!) and of course there were no zombies.
It has been re-released and re-released on multiple platforms including a Wii and HD downloadable version with good reason. It traverses gaming generations and it is arguably a necessity that everyone experiences it.
5 was mediocre at best but mostly forgettable despite major plot points. It was forgivable in its attempt to appropriately move on from the triumph of 4 but if this was a stumble from Capcom, they didn’t even try to find their feet again.
Resident Evil 6 attempted to change up the series in the most bizarre manner possible while ditching behind seemingly basic fundamentals established by Resi 4 which it seemed to achieve so flawlessly.
Ridiculous action set pieces that could have been the result of Michael Bay having a sugar rush, multiple campaigns that just didn’t add up into anything satisfying and graphical presentation that stepped backwards from its predecessors.
The latest installment quickly became one difficult to play for different reasons – it’s upsetting and frustrating how flawed it is.
Skilled points were in fact pointless, the camera and the melodramatic plot was finally too much to be entertaining. Where were the puzzles? Co-op play is like an unwanted blind date.
What seems like the result of a (for some reason) successful movie franchise alongside other video game series being much more action orientated, Capcom seem to be losing faith in their own product.
Resident Evil is not alone suggesting this is a flaw in continuing original development. Dead Space was a modern survival horror classic. A silent protagonist and carefully thought out enemy encounters in purposefully darkened rooms created a entertainingly fearful game.
However, the flaws of the third installment are very similar to Capcom’s problems, a weak story, alterations to the upgrade system that didn’t need to be made and over saturation of action that actually underwhelms.
There’s still time for Dead Space to steer the ship to carry on towards a long standing, successful franchise but something more drastic is needed for Resident Evil.
A stop gap before Capcom finally make a decision which could make or break the series is a console version of formerly Nintendo 3DS exclusive – Resident Evil: Revelations.
On its portable release, Revelations was a breath of fresh air from the likes of Operation Raccoon City. The setting of a seemingly abandoned ship mirrored the eeriness of the mansion in the first ever Resident Evil and while gameplay broke for some action orientated sequences, it was acceptable as an enjoyable distraction.
After this release it may be revealed that a reboot is the most sensible option. Crystal Dynamics have done wonders with the rebirth of Lara Croft of Tomb Raider and long-time fans deserve something similar with Resident Evil.
What do you think? Is a Resident Evil Reboot a good idea? Are you looking forward to Revelations on console? Did you actually enjoy Resident Evil 6? Let us know in the comments.