Well folks, it looks like somebody at Capcom finally woke up and decided to leverage the Resident Evil brand in a way that doesn’t suck decomposing donkey dongs. The series that gave birth to (and then started eating) the survival horror genre celebrated its fifteenth anniversary this past week, and to celebrate Capcom have opened the doors to a whole mansion full of undead news. I guess Resident Evil games are like London buses. You wait two years for one then five turn up to feast on your face at once. Or something…
First out of the Umbrella labs are the HD re-releases of Resident Evil 4 and Code Veronica for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Although neither will be receiving the same treatment as the full Gamecube remake of the original classic, it’s probably safe to expect a level of polish not too dissimilar to that given to the first two God of War games released last year. Both will also feature the now obligatory Trophy and Achievement support, and will release as individual downloads on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live later this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.
Resident Evil 4, originally released on the Gamecube but ported to just about everything else since, is something of a gem, reinvigorating a somewhat stale franchise at the time and becoming an instant classic of the previous generation in the process. If you’ve made it this far without playing it, you pretty much owe it to yourself to do so now, stranger. It’s like the best neapolitan ice cream you’ve ever eaten. One where all three flavors taste of awesome.
Code Veronica launched as an exclusive on the Sega Dreamcast but also shambled to a variety of consoles following that particular system’s untimely demise. It features Claire Redfield and unwieldy tank controls, both of Resident Evil 2 fame, but still holds its own charms. Code Veronica is a bit more of an acquired taste than Resident Evil 4. This one’s like vanilla in the neapolitan tub. Everyone tends to eat around it, putting it back in the freezer for an unsuspecting relative to discover later on, but give it a go and it still tastes pretty good.
Of much smaller but more three dimensional proportions is the news that Capcom’s upcoming Resident Evil: Mercenaries will now feature a playable demo of Resident Evil: Revelations when it ships some time in June. For those who are unaware, Mercenaries takes the popular score based mode’s from Resident Evil 4 and 5, fuses them together and melts them down for Nintendo’s latest portable. Revelations however is a totally new single player adventure. It’s exclusive to the 3DS, and Capcom claims they’ll be taking the series back to it’s survival horror roots with Revelations. Here’s hoping they stick to their promise. In fairness, what we’ve seen of the game so far looks pretty impressive.
Finally, Capcom have also lifted the lid on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Sure, the name might be pretty terrible, but the concept is one that I’ve been dreaming of for pretty much the past twelve years. Outsourced to Vancouver based developers Slant Six (SOCOM: Confrontation), Operation Raccoon City takes the series back to everyone’s favorite overrun metropolis for the first time since 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Reportedly set between the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3, Operation Raccoon City takes in familiar locations, characters and enemies from the time, including the likes of Resident Evil 2 main man Leon Kennedy. Players will take control of one of four Umbrella Corps operatives sent in to find and dispose of any evidence of Umbrella’s involvement with the outbreak, with the game taking the form of a squad based shooter. I imagine there will be plenty of heavy weaponry available, along with plenty of undead hordes and hopefully the odd Tyrant or two to use them against.
Sounds pretty hot, although I’ll remain on the fence for now. The return to the Resident Evil 2 era and the ram shackled, zombie infested streets of Raccoon City is well over due, and seeing characters such as Mr. X and Nemesis for the first time this generation certainly tickles my nostalgia glands. I’m a little concerned at the more action-oriented spin they’re seemingly putting on this, although given the games theme I suppose this is necessary. Despite being a terrible survival horror experience, I also enjoyed Resident Evil 5 from a pure action perspective, and it still stands as possibly the most fun I’ve had with a co-op game this generation, so perhaps the signs are positive even if they do currently point to something of an all guns blazing, dudebro love in. The game is due on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 later this year.
Besides, outsourcing Operation Raccoon City surely means that Capcom are chewing away at Resident Evil 6 internally. Right? Please? An E3 2011 reveal would be most splendid now you’re on a roll, guys!
If not, perhaps the other five Resident Evil games due out this year will suppress our appetite for braaaaaiiiinnss. This could be a vintage year for zombie lovers.
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