04 March 2017

"WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, SON"...OR "WELCOME BACK, CAPCOM"?

 

While not quite a "remake" of the original Resident Evil - released on the original Playstation way, way back in 1996 - this is certainly the closest Capcom have come to such a thing since the slightly more official Gamecube remake in 2002. To which those of us with good taste and a genuine interest in all things horror-ble can only say: well, thank fuck for that.

 

   Say goodbye to all those silly kick-boxing and window-leaping antics they introduced in the otherwise excellent Resident Evil 4, and enough explosions to make Michael Bay spatter his pants with delight by the time we reach Resident Evil 6. I mean, okay, things still get pretty action-y pretty quickly, and even more so as the game progresses, but there's also an earnest attempt at things like...suspense, and...atmosphere, and...scares, and...you know, various other words one might be inclined to associate with the "horror" as opposed to "action" gaming genres. You'd even be forgiven for mistaking the game for a "stealth-horror" entry a la Outlast for the first thirty minutes or so, until you're handed your first weapon and strongly encouraged to use it.

 

   Almost everything that was in that very first Resident Evil game has returned: the minimal ammo and healing, the item boxes to ensure the careful management of such limited resources...hell, there's even old-school audio cassettes working exactly like those pesky old typewriter ribbons in RE1, at least on the hardest difficulty mode (forcing the player to be every bit as wary with their saves as they are with their physical possessions). We could also mention some similarities with setting and maps - mysterious "mansion"-like house in the middle of the woods, thematically kooky keys which open identically-themed doors, venturing to outlying areas of the grounds (including a greenhouse!) while inevitably returning to the main house for a spot of backtracking - it's all here, in its gloomy and gory glory.

 

AH, THE MEMORIES!

 

For someone whose first "proper" horror game was that very first Resident Evil, I can safely proclaim this quite the trip down Memory Lane. Bring up the map, see which area I want to explore next, guess what items might best serve me in said area, then venture forth only to discover that I haven't brought nearly enough shotgun shells and have wasted too much healing already and would probably be best served returning to my last save. Many of us have probably forgotten the joys of such frequent re-loading and pedantic resource management, but for yours truly, it was just like coming home. Ignore the naysayers/wannabe conspiracy theorists who insist that this "isn't a real Resident Evil game". This game is ten times more RE than P.T., with the only notable changes being a shift to a first-person perspective and a significant improvement in the graphics.

 

   Now, I'm as sentimental as the next guy, but for those purists out there who can't deal with their favourite video game series making some small cosmetic changes in the space of twenty fucking years: eat a dick. Eat several. And while you're at it: kindly grow the fuck up. The fixed camera angles and "robot"/"tank" controls were what was arguably best for the franchise back in the 90s...but every dog has its day. The spirit  of those early Resident Evil games is still alive and very, very well, and for that I think we can all safely rejoice.

 

BUT...BUT...WHERE'S LEON? I MISS HIS HAIRCUT!

 

Yeah, well, tough titties for you people too.

 

   While a certain well-loved RE character does make an appearance in the final cut-scene, this isn't a game about floppy fringes and silly blue berets. Perhaps I'm the only long-term Resident Evil fan who always counted the manga- and/or anime-inspired "look" of the protagonists as a con rather than a pro, and if so, then so be it. One undeniable fact, kids: Jill's bazookoids just ain't scary. There's plenty of action games with idiotically-clad heroes for all you people who need to see bouncing boobies to feel aesthetically fulfilled. Finally, at long-last, Capcom have made a full-blooded, honest-to-fucking-God horror  game (with a healthy dose of black humour and gun fetishism on the side). I, for one, am as happy as a pig in shit.

 

HERE'S TO THE FUTURE

 

So: Resident Evil 6 is now little more than a sordid, shameful memory, and the new Milla Jovovich fuck-off fest is optimistically entitled "The Final Chapter". Does this all bode well for the future of the RE franchise? I, for one, would like to think so.

 

   Here's to the future, Capcom. And while you're on a roll, how about fixing those crappy HD remasters of the old console games you released to Steam recently? At the very least, you're still beating Konami in my present estimation...not that that's saying much. Poor old Guillermo del Toro is still shaking his head over that  one...

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Michael B.

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