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What We Want From The Next Resident Evil
I can’t say that I was disappointed with Resident Evil 6, beause I genuinely enjoyed the game, but it never really felt like a Resident Evil game to me. Maybe that’s just something I should get used to. Personal gripes aside, I think there are a few areas that the series could improve that would help across the board. Here are a few things that I would like to see addressed in the next installment of the venerable franchise. I know its early, but hey, it never hurts to look ahead, right?
The Return of Gun Progression:
I appreciate how Resident Evil 6 tried to facilitate a very scripted and well-paced campaign by strictly controlling your weapons, but the gun upgrade system was one of my favorite aspects of the previous two entries. Resident Evil 4 featured the shady gun merchant who continuously offered more powerful weapons and upgrades every time you ran across him. Resident Evil 5 replaced the merchant with a menu-driven system that allowed you to completely customize your loadout. ResidentEvil 6 removed all weapon upgrades whatsoever.
Umm, what? Why Capcom, why? I assume that the trade-off was in service to the difficulties of pacing three campaigns, but it’s really not much of a trade-off in my book. I’ll take weapon customization any day of the week, even if it means my weapons may not be perfectly powered for a certain fight. The whole intersecting campaign thing was a good idea, but the static weapon system was a major turn off for me.
Less Quick Time Events:
Ugh, right? You couldn’t so much as fart without having to hammer on some button or catch an absurdly tiny input window. Ridiculous. Resident Evil 4 and 5 both used QTEs as effectively as possible to drive home a cinematic moment. Plenty of other games, like Heavy Rain and the God of War series, feature quick-time events prominently in the gameplay. Something about Resident Evil 6’s QTEs left a bad taste in my mouth.
Clearly, it’s because they were overused. In the right context, a well-timed QTE can provide a cinematic ending to a boss fight, or add an extra level of interaction to defusing a bomb. RE6 turned them into a mockery of game design, making you tap the A button ad naseum for every little thing. I pity any disabled gamers who may have medical problems preventing them from tapping a button rapidly, because this otherwise excellent game is off limits to them. Listen to me Capcom, sometimes less really is more.
Every time I think somebody is about to tell me what the hell is going on in the Resident Evil universe, somebody (usually Ada Wong) comes in and ruins it, typically adding another question instead of an answer. Guys, it is time to answer some of the nagging questions we have about this ridiculously convoluted narrative. Even playing as Ada, who is supposed to have all the answers, didn’t really clear things up for me.
What happened to Sheva and Jill? Where is Claire Redfield? Who is Simmons and why is he suddenly important? Now that the President is dead, what happened to Ashley? Is that even the same president? Why didn’t Leon keep his sweet upgraded handgun he bought from that guy in Europe? Where does everybody keep getting enhanced versions of the virus, which now has so many different letters attached to it I can’t even keep track of them? In short, what is going on!?
Better Extraneous Modes:
Mercenaries mode was a cool addition to the franchise. The arcade-like spinoff was a perfect way to showcase the slick combat while preserving the intensity of the experience. While RE5 featured a wide variety of characters, stages and loadouts, the sixth installment provided only a few maps and a grand total of four characters. You couldn’t even use Helena, Sherry or Piers, and they are already playable! What gives?
They can do better. Even the brief four-player sections felt ill-conceived, and don’t even get me started on the terrible Agent Hunt mode. If you’re not going to flesh Mercenaries out to the extent it deserves, maybe it’s time to start thinking about other ways to add replayability. I’m no game designer, but the post-campaign material in RE6 just felt lazy. Capcom needs to give us a reason to keep the inevitable RE7 spinning in our discs after we beat the story.