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Explaining Why Resident Evil Is No Longer Just About Horror
Resident Evil is a very long running franchise. It is mostly known for its revitalization of the survival horror genre back during the PS1 era. Now the whole series is being typecasted into that role and is generally unable to get out of that stance with the fans. Resident Evil fans have been begging for a game that mixes the old school survival horror feeling of the first three games (and arguably Code Veronica) with the excellent gameplay of the fourth. Five didn’t quite make it. In fact, the fifth numbered game in the franchise has made many fans question the future of Resident Evil.
With the sixth game coming next week, there is still much doubt about how good the game will be or why certain campaigns are so action-y. “This is the Resident Evil I grew up with!” I keep hearing that. Well, no, it’s not. It can’t be. Not anymore.
The story in Resident Evil has taken a huge shift from a phenomenon in a well known town to a global and historic issue. From what started as a viral outbreak in a corporation’s mansion in the outskirts of Raccoon City has now been felt in just about every continent and country. The term B.O.W. is now common knowledge and terrorist is rampant. Resident Evil cannot be the small vision survival horror game anymore. It was transcended that and entered into a very large scale war being fought around the war, 24/7, and with different measures. Resident Evil 6 shows us that war in full glory with a few different points of view.
Leon: The once late but lucky recruit of the Raccoon City police department is now a full-fledged government agent working to eradicate the B.O.W. threat. Leon has been quite busy since Resident Evil 2 but he is still lurking in the shadows and looking for the man behind the scenes. This is the closest you’re going to get to classic Resident Evil. It is still about the dark corners of the hallways and the creaks in the floor. Leon’s campaign is meant to give you that classic feeling. It is the homage to the days of old. A local threat in which the hero investigates, explores, and defeats. You can’t ask for a more modern Resident Evil game right here. It is the mix of the first three and the fourth that I talked about before.
Chris: This is the one I see the most flak thrown at. Chris is no longer what Leon is. Chris was always the muscled hero. The guy who would burst through the door and save your life at the last second. He doesn’t do things in small doses. Resident Evil 1 and the S.T.A.R.S. program was not what Chris was meant for. We saw what the future held for Chris back in Code Veronica. Every fan wanted to see Chris again. Well we did and we found out he was up to a lot. He’s been real busy uncovering truths and working to stop the bio threats. Chris knew it wasn’t going to stop in Raccoon City and he devoted himself to stopping this thing worldwide. Chris was ahead of the curve of the entire story in Resident Evil. Now, we find him in a unit fighting with other anti-bioterrorist soldiers in a broken town. A town that is infested with people who are controlled by a smarter bio-parasite. The enemies are tougher and smarter. You need to use strategy and it just so happens to feel like a shooter instead of Resident Evil. Why? Because this is war. Chris is fighting a war. This is not your normal Resident Evil experience. This is the same types of enemies you have fought in the past but on a deadlier scale and now in full control of what they are doing and why.
Jake: This is a hybrid of the two campaigns above. I really feel like Jake’s campaign is the culminate of what Capcom has been trying to do with this story. It has moments where it feels like old school survival horror and then the more action-y side of Chris. It also features two characters who have great chemistry together and are highly interesting to see unfold. We should all know Sherry, Dr. Berkin’s daughter from Resident Evil 2. Well, after witnessing her family destroyed by this virus, she has become a driving force in making sure it ends. Jake is a rebel and is fighting for his country against invaders and the bio-threat. This is a mixture of all of the events we’ve witnessed thus far in the Resident Evil franchise and I feel that it is a great representation if it. Then again, even after my explanation above, if you are still against Chris’ action focused gameplay, you’ll find some parts to hart about Jake’s campaign.
Resident Evil 6 is very ambitious but if anything, it is the culmination of what happened in that mansion years ago. Have you played Resident Evil since the beginning? Then congratulations, you have watched Umbrella’s nightmare come true. A world covered in fear and blood with only a few remaining people left to hold together the hope that is quickly fading. Resident Evil 6 shows us the war that the mansion incident has turned into. This is what happened because of Raccoon City.
In my opinion, it has been a long road and the threats get bigger and bigger and although the gameplay may change, it is for good reason. Mainly because the global viral threat is beyond repair. It’s not about survival horror. It’s about survival now. It’s war. And war is hell.