The remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3 are titles partially built on nostalgia; they’re reimaginings of some of the most influential survival-horror titles in gaming history, rebuilt from the ground up on new hardware. Newcomers can jump into them, no problem, but long-time fans of the series will likely have a very personal experience; one likely to evoke nostalgia of when the original titles released.
Resident Evil: Resistance made me reminisce about the past as well. It made me think of games like Bioshock 2, Dead Space 2, and several others from last decade that included a tacked on multiplayer mode. Resident Evil: Resistance shows some promise at first, but it often feels like it doesn’t know what it wants to be; it’s at odds with itself, and at the end of the day feels more like an effort to justify Resident Evil 3’s sixty-dollar price point, rather than an attempt to create a unique multiplayer experience.
What Is It?
Resident Evil: Resistance is an asymmetrical multiplayer game where four players control a team of survivors trying to escape from an Umbrella facility, while a fifth player — the mastermind — tries to stop them. The survivors can equip themselves with a variety of weapons, equipment, and abilities unique to each playable character, while the mastermind can view the map through surveillance cameras, spawn traps and enemies, and even take control of enemies from the series’ history, such as the infamous Mr. X.
Matches play out in three phases: Phase one calls for the survivors to gather three keys scattered around the map to advance to the next phase. Phase two involves finding a specific zombie on the map who has a keycard, and then using said keycard to access three terminals located around the map; unlocking the door to the final phase. Phase three tasks the survivors with destroying three bio-cores in Umbrella’s lab, unlocking the exit, and making their escape.
Why Should I Care?
The mastermind is undoubtedly the highlight of what Resistance has to offer due to how customizable this gameplay type is, as well as how unique of a gameplay style it is. Enemies, traps, and weapons are spawned when you play a respective card from a deck, which you can customize as you see fit. Each playable mastermind also has a set of unique skills, as well as equipment customization options. You can even choose where key items will spawn on the map from a list of preset locations. There’s a lot of variables to work with when playing as the mastermind, allowing you to tweak your playstyle as you see fit.
Playing as the mastermind is a blast; it’s all about trying to find creative ways to overwhelm your opponents. Sometimes survivors will play right into your hand; stepping into every trap you set, for example, and you’ll feel like an evil genius. Other times, things won’t go as planned, and before you know it, you might find yourself having to improvise and adapt. The mastermind’s unique style of gameplay makes for an experience that’s intense, satisfying, and fresh.
However, how much fun you’re going to have as the mastermind will probably depend on how patient you are. Matchmaking times are simply absurd. I once waited longer than ten minutes to find a game, and came away without seeing a return on my investment of time. The mastermind is the best part of this game, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth to find a game. Inversely, you’ll have little trouble finding a game as one of the survivors, but this is where the game’s cracks start to really show.
Playing as the survivors feels like trying to race a mid-2000s Honda Civic at the Daytona 500; the type of gameplay that exists here doesn’t match the type of game that this title is. Resident Evil: Resistance is pretty far removed from being a survival-horror game; playing as the survivors effectively turns the game into an action game. Not only are you showered with weapons, ammo, and healing items, but it’s not all that hard to find Umbrella Credits scattered throughout the map, allowing you to simply buy more weapons, ammo, and healing items. Survivors feature unique skills and abilities, some of which are meant specifically for use in combat. On their own, these aren’t such bad things, but what makes them fall flat is how the actual survivors themselves play.
The gameplay is nearly identical to the remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3. You move slowly, your aim is kind of sloppy, and you have to go out of your way to collect key items in zombie-infested areas. These are all elements that generally work well with each other in mainline Resident Evil games; they build tension, and that’s because they’re all centered around not making the player feel helpless. But here, they’re at odds with how empowered the player is by the amount of resources bestowed upon them. The end result is an action game with controls designed for survival-horror, and the choice to not commit to either end the spectrum makes playing as the survivors the least engaging part of the game.
The maps you’ll explore while playing as the survivors don’t do a whole lot to add to the experience, either. Most of them are reasonably well-lit settings that aren’t all that open or large. This becomes most apparent when trying to find key items; even though where they spawn can change from match to match, chances are you’ll accidentally stumble upon them while running from one section of the map to another. These maps are all fairly linear, they all end up running their course after a few matches.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
It’s worth noting that visually, Resident Evil: Resistance looks great. Just like I mentioned in my Resident Evil 3 review, the RE Engine continues to impress with some rather impressive looking human characters and environments. But what it features in style and visual flair, it ultimately fails to live up to in substance.
Resident Evil: Resistance isn’t available to purchase as a standalone title; it’s only bundled in with the newly released Resident Evil 3, so if you already have the latter, there’s no harm in checking this title out. However, if you’re on the edge of purchasing Resident Evil 3, and wondering if Resistance does enough to justify the sixty-dollar price point, I would have to answer that question with a pretty definitive no.
Resident Evil: Resistance has a lot of good ideas, but flubs the execution quite a bit. The mastermind is great, and I believe that’s because that style of gameplay was made specifically for this title. The same can’t be said for the survivors, who’s issues in gameplay evoke nostalgia of ye ol’ tacked on multiplayer modes of the past. Resident Evil: Resistance is a confused title at war with itself; one on side, it tries to do new and unique things, but on the flip-side, it also feels like it’s existing without a purpose, aside from being bundled with a sixty-dollar, seven-hour game.