The Resident Evil series will be celebrating its twentieth birthday in a few months.
Twenty years. They grow up so quickly don’t they? It’s just a shame that they all can’t grow up to what we always want them to be and in Resident Evil’s case, that turned out to be a rather misbehaving child.
1996. It seems an absolute eternity ago when Resident Evil was first released by Capcom on the original PlayStation platform and every single one of us has distinct memories from that game. The eerie mansion, the first sight of that zombie with the intense cut-scene and the very clever plot which was forever unfolding. It defined the survival horror genre. Not only did it give gamers across the globe genuine frights, things only got better and more frightening, when nearly two years later Capcom brought us Resident Evil 2. Some argue (and I too agree) this was by far the best game of the entire series. There was some genuine thought as far as the story was concerned with this release and without spoiling the story for those who haven’t played it (yes, there are still some people out there!) the plot twists and gripping narrative certainly made this game one to remember. But again, it left us with memorable scenes and characters, such as the Police station, the laboratory and people like Ada.
Then, year after year, Capcom kept bringing us gems by way of Resident Evil 3, Code: Veronica X and Zero, all telling their own individual stories which worked so well, especially still defining themselves as true survival horrors.
My reasons for writing this, however, are not those celebrating the anniversary of Resident Evil, but more with recently announced news, which whether or not it’s due to coincide with the 20th anniversary, we’re still not sure, but Capcom have announced that a new Resident Evil game will be announced this year; Umbrella Corps. This, to me, is nothing more than a complete and utter insult to its once glorious name and has yet again made me shudder with embarrassment as to how to further this once epic title, continues to fall to deeper into disarray.
For those unaware, Umbrella Corps is a pathetic attempt at entering the Third Person Shooter market. Why does Capcom, especially using Resident Evil as it’s “Guinea Pig”, need to enter this market? Well, very true to form, Capcom have decided that with the Resident Evil series it needs to be brought up to scratch with whatever the current market trends are, instead of leaving it well alone to live out what it should be, which is first and foremost a survival horror.
Many will disagree, but this all started when Capcom brought us Resident Evil 4. This changed how we perceived the once loved survival horror game. Gone were the fixed camera angles and eerie “what the hell is around that corner” moments. Instead, we were presented with over-the-shoulder camera angles and something more akin to an RPG. The bit that really took the biscuit for me was the in-game shop. Yep, nothing portrays survival horror than having a plethora of items ready to purchase. Please…
Again, this is my own perspective on the series, but every release from the aforementioned became progressively worse. The zombies turned into no more than ugly militants, almost mimicking the abilities of a fully functioning human, even to the extent of handling weaponry. The moment that really killed off the series, however, was the release of Resident Evil 6. This was no more than a joke. Previews and trailers led us to believe Capcom had gone back to its original drawing board with this one. Terror and fear were about to strike living rooms across the world with this release and were once again going to relive the frights that accompanied the original game. No. Instead, we were left with a mess. A desperate attempt at reliving its youth, along with button bashing cut scenes and a complete and utter farce of a storyline. This marked a sad day for myself personally, as I knew things had gone far past the chance for recovery with this title.
And I was right.
Revelations smacked of nothing more than desperation, Capcom, once again had decided “You know what’s really trending at the moment? Breaking down games by way of ‘episodes’, longing out the entire process and charging over inflated prices per ‘episode'” Yes, it worked for The Walking Dead, you know why? The Walking Dead was actually enjoyable. Revelations was terrible. Oh-so terrible.
How much further does Capcom have to drag Resident Evil’s name through the mud before they decide to call it an end? It’s new found ventures are only merely made possible by the accolades it once held by its original glories, now tainted with desperate attempts at nothing more than robbing gamers blind by poorly attempting to follow market trends.