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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I saw that the original Resident Evil recently became available on PSN… I might have to get it as well, at least when the price drops a little.
I was delivering pizzas back in the day when the original came out, and bought it home to try after a long night’s work. It was dark and scary at the time, and it wasn’t long before I switched it off, trembling, to wait and play it in the safe daylight hours.
I remember when the Resident Evil franchise used to really excite me but these days I just can’t shake off the overwhelming sense of meh I get every time I see one. Having said this, I could really do with someone to have a ‘guns blazing, dudebro love in’ on Resident Evil 5. I’d never play it on my own but co-op sounds a riot.
Never did get round to playing Code Veronica on the DC. Lew always raves about it.
I played Code Veronica with friends on the Dreamcast – that is, I watched and they played. It really hooked me. If hi-def versions are indeed on the way I may have to grab them.
Mat: you’re now responsible for two excellent Tap-Repeatedly Lexicon entries…
“WILL YOU ACCEPT THIS COW?”
“Decomposing donkey dongs”
Gregg also gets an add with “guns blazing, dudebro love-in”
Why did I miss decomposing donkey dongs?
As penance, will you accept this cow?
(and “guns blazing, dudebro love-in” is Mat’s too ;-))
I have many fond memories of the Resident Evil games. Resident Evil 4 being one of my favorite games of the last gaming generation. However, I felt even back then that the game shined despite it being handicapped by the series’ staple “bad” controls.
I don’t know if Capcom is planning on leaving the games exactly as they are and just adding an HD coat of paint, but I really don’t think I can play through RE4 right now with the old control scheme. I NEED straffing at the very least! I’m willing to overlook not being able to walk while aiming (I don’t want to run Capcom, just slowly walk forward or backward), but if I cannot strafe, then I don’t think I can do it. Dead Space controls would be too much to ask huh?
I heartily endorse this post. And quietly register that I missed you all during my uneventful two weeks catatonic with depression on the floor. Ah, the vagaries of individual psychology :>
Between these and Dead Island, I think I’ll get my corpsey fix. Well, assuming I can afford to play any of them, which I certainly can’t. Nonetheless, in a generalised way; Woohoo!
Resident Evil 1 is regarded a classic, but few I think realise just how far ahead of its time the design was. The later Resident Evils abandoned their roots – producing excellent story driven horror adventures but forgetting that the charm of the original was that of exploring a sandbox horror environment which constantly changed and repopulated with new and more horrible horrors.
Resident Evil 1 was a simple but true Survival Horror experience, while the others were merely a more violent take on Grim Fandango, in gameplay terms..
Five made me want to break the console with my face, but four was pleasantly.. stylised. Hrmm.
Squad based co-op exploration of raccoon. Meh. I won’t be happy until I have the entirity of Raccoon as a limited-time survival sandbox from day 1 of the Mansion outbreak to the final hours…
Tanis: They’ve not mentioned much about advanced controls yet, although it’s been speculated that they could upscale the Wii version and implement Move controls for the PS3. That would make sense I guess. The Wii version gets plenty of praise, and Resident Evil 5 is still the only game I can play with Move. Infact it works so well that the last time I tried to play it with a DualShock I might as well have been holding a block of cheese in my hands.
I’m not sure that Code Veronicas controls are salvageable, though.
Interestingly enough, Capcom have already confirmed that RE: Revelations will feature the ability to move and shoot at the same time.. which pretty much makes the 3DS games the most technically advanced in the series. Go 3DS!
Jakkar: Up until I started reading forums I wasn’t sure just how much love there was for Resident Evil beyond my own admiration for it, but it consistently appears in “most loved” and “greatest games EVAR” lists; be it RE, RE2 or RE4. There’s a lot of love for it out there.
Your suggestion at the end there is fantastic. I’d play that, no problems.
It’s something I’ve wanted for years. It could work as a topdown survival management title, a first person FPS sandbox, anything… Ridiculously ambitious by current standards, but I’d love to see Resident Evil expand in future – it’s a truly rich setting, and while the games have turned the plot into something exceedingly silly, the novels by S.D. Perry have shown there really is some depth and quality to the setting. Capcom’s RE team are perhaps the only people to have potentially surpassed Romero’s ‘Dead’ setting – their distinctly scientific, tragic undead scenarios are chilling, with a wonderful pseudorealism to them.. Believable, if not ‘realistic’ (barring giant spiders and everything after the third game..).
Resident Evil 2 left a terrible ache in a great many people to see more, and more and more of Raccoon City mid-crisis. Personally, I want to watch the crisis evolve, from those first strange days when missing hikers were reported in the woods.
Yep. I’m one of those, absolutely. Resident Evil 2 is still the franchise benchmark for me and I’d love to see that era explored again in a traditional RE way.
I’m hoping 6 will do this. I can’t see ANY logical follow on from Resi 5, so I’m desperately hoping RE6 takes us back to Raccoon City as well..
I’m content with new locales. Four games in the Raccoon Forest/City zone was enough to justify moving on and out, for a spectacle-focused producer like Capcom.
Content is the problem, and theme – 4 and 5 abandoned Resident Evil’s most poignant theme; tragedy in highly relatable circumstances. “Itchy. Tasty.”, two words summarising the best and most horrible of RE. We need more of that. More transformation horror. More loss and fear. Less RAWWR MONSTERS.
I hated Resident Evil 4. It never felt so good to sell a game back to a store as that did. Then again, I played it on the Wii, which is a shit console with shit non-controls.
I’ve only ever played 1 and 4 and that’s probably the way it will stay. I’ve never been able to reconcile the whole finding-a-typewriter-to-save-your-game BS.
Code Veronica is actually my favourite Resident Evil. The controls were odd, but you did get used to them quickly. The story was also incredibly dark: I won’t spoil it here, as it’s really great. Much more original than any other Resi, that’s for sure.
Code Veronica is where Resident Evil began to stretch off into fantasy rather than scifi, in a sense – stylised madness in the vein of Metal Gear Solid, colourful over-the-top characters and more of an anime feeling. Still, very dark, as Lewis said.
xtal: I found the typewriters one of the more elegant of many ‘limited save’ systems, maintaining a journal of events, and being forced to carry ink to perform the task. It added a new layer of strategy and caution, or careless daring. An old friend of mine would marathon Resident Evil sessions without a single save, just for the thrill of it and to show off. He loved them.
Limited saves are fine, but I’d like to save where I want. Not at intervals the developer deems suitably punishing.
At the time the games were initially released, I disliked the whole ink ribbon/type writer save system. Thinking back, little did I know that I believe that system actually enhanced my overall enjoyment of those early games in the series.
Those original titles really were “Survival Horror” games, and inventory management was a big part of that. Having to decide between carrying some ink ribbons you just found or some extra ammo or herbs was a tough choice.
Overall, the reason I think it worked was that since you couldn’t save every 5 minutes, it made death matter a lot more. And that is something a lot of games struggle with, because it is a fine line to walk between making something that should be a pretty big deal (dying) and general playability. But I like it when games penalize you for dying. And not just penalize you, but make the very thought of dying be enough of a deterrent to affect the way you play and approach certain situations.
That is actually the main reason why I enjoyed Demon’s Souls so much. The game forced you to think about your actions prior to making them, because dying would not just result in loading a previous checkpoint, but actually result in it affecting your game in a pretty substantial way. Having the ink ribbons system sort of added an element of this. If you knew you were trying to get to a certain area, but the hallway to get there was populated by a Hunter, it really made that a tense decision to make, and the resulting battle really got your pulse racing.
I’m a +1 for type writer saves. From a technical point of view it’s obviously ridiculous, but along with the incredibly clunky controls, opening door animations and the ilk I thought it was something that added to the original games atmosphere and tension, creating some interesting “speculate to accumulate” scenarios. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss those things now, but taken in the context of the original games I don’t hate those mechanics.. although I’d be pissed if they brought them back now, obviously.
The designated save point system has never sat well with me because I’m classically trained on the PC: you learn to befriend the quick save key and use it after each and every corner rounded. Sure that might seem like a crutch, but quick saving is like crack.
You have it once and you need more. More! MORE!
I really hated ink’s, just absolutely ridiculous. I’d have preferred a method of saving in the safe rooms (still) but implementing anxiety that affects your mood, much like Eternal Darkness.
Really the whole system became a burden. Oh and I hate Resident Evil 4, what a steaming pile of camp shit (except the opening 30 minutes)
I’ve never played Eternal Darkness, but I don’t really get how an anxiety system would improve on a save mechanic. Care to explain?
Also, Resident Evil 4 quite clearly isn’t a steaming pile of shit. You might not have enjoyed it, fine, but it’s not shit.
Well, I’d dump the ink system. Entirely seperate issues. What I was trying to explain (badly) was that the save rooms were a sanctity; a relief to the player knowing nothing could touch you in there. Utilising these rooms in a different way (not just saving) say by calming the player and thus reducing visual and physical changes to madness would be great.
That would be good, yes, but I think you also have to take into account that you’re talking about a game that released in 1996, and arguably was ahead of it’s time when it did. Warts and all. Obviously the ink ribbon system was flawed and could be frustrating, but that’s why it was scrapped. We’re talking about a game mechanic more than a decade old here and which Capcom haven’t used since Code Veronica back in 2000.
For what it’s worth I remember taking a strong disliking to Resident Evil 3 when it first came out because I was sick of zombies, sick of things like the ink ribbons and wanted more Silent Hill. Infact it was only the Nemesis monster that kept me interested for large parts of that game. I’ve learned to love it since but at the time I resented how stale it felt. Part of the reason why Resident Evil 4 was so well received initially was because of the dramatic changes it made to these sort of aging and clunky mechanics.
They’ve long since been consigned to history and only pose a problem for people like me who like to dip back into these games for nostalgia purposes.