From the fixed and preset camera by the developers, passing through the third person up to the subjective, the news and changes that have accompanied the Resident Evil saga have been many. A series, that of Capcom, without a shadow of a doubt among the best known and appreciated in the videogame panorama, born from the brilliant mind of Shinji Mikami.
After the double of the appreciated remakes (despite the qualitative decline felt in RE 3), which have brought back two great classics, it is the turn of a new Resident Evil. On the horizon, in fact, there is the highly anticipated Village, which has already become a phenomenon thanks to the vampire Dimitrescu who will hunt down the protagonist of the game, Ethan Winters, the same one we got to check out in the seventh episode.
Today, however, we do not want to tell you about the upcoming Village and its scary but at the same time sexy vampire, but of the rise of a company like Capcom – which practically created survival modern horror – that, in case you didn’t know, after the release of Resident Evil 4 it was no longer being able to do it (in the hearts of the fans, more than anything else). The holes in the water were several and before returning in great dust it took a couple of years.
Lovers of Resident Evil and more, follow us on this journey through the thousand faces of a franchise that has fascinated – and continues to do so – millions of players.
La deriva action
It was the year 2005 when, that joker Shinji Mikami, decided not only to revolutionize the world of Resident Evil, but also that of video games. Before the arrival of the fourth chapter, the shoulder camera during the pointing phase practically did not exist in the videogame landscape. And we know it may seem like an absurdity: a choice of room that is very abused today, created for the first time for a horror product. It is undoubtedly very bizarre as a thing, but at the same time incredible, and if to this revolution we also add the fact that the Capcom series made school for its survival horror skills, well, at this point it is not at all difficult to understand the importance of a series that has made success and has influenced several video games. A phenomenon, that of copying each other, substantially widespread: just think of the impressive amount of video games inspired by the Souls created by Hidetaka Miyazaki. The truth, and it is inevitable, is that when you manage to create something new, which creates a jolt in the market, others will necessarily follow suit. Also, as the good Quentin Tarantino says: the best authors steal, they don’t copy. Nothing wrong with that, then.
But let’s get back on track, precisely in Spain, the protagonist setting of the fourth, official iteration of the franchise which, despite having convinced many players, there is no lack of those who define it too action. As far as we are concerned, although Mikami was undoubtedly going down a dangerous road, he succeeded in an excellent way in the intent, creating an impressive milestone that has even influenced, inevitably, the development of the recent two remakes (that’s why a complete restoration of the fourth wouldn’t make so much sense, you know?).
It is in fact what happened after that really created a problem, because the formula so different from the classical canons that Mikami created, had to be carried out with greater awareness. As you well know, Resident Evil’s dad moved away from Capcom and ended up working together with Bethesda, continuing his legacy in the world of video games with the now series The Evil Within. On the other hand, Capcom was trying to carry on that legacy with a handful of Resident Evil certainly average and fun in co-op, but a far cry from the gloomy atmosphere we’d been used to.
Resident Evil 5 and 6, confirming what we are telling you, despite not having been well received by the hard core of fans, are among the best-selling chapters of the franchise and among the funniest games in the TPS / Adventure field to play in company.. Simply, they have little to do with the saga, especially in the specific case of the sixth chapter, which is plagued even by problems related to the gameplay and the balance of the same.
Things improved slightly with the arrival of the spin-off, Revelations, originally released on Nintendo 3DS, now available on all platforms. In this chapter, at least, the muscles of Chris Redfield and the very tight scenes of Resident Evil 6 gave way to Jill Valentine, always struggling with bioterrorism, this time dedicated to finding her teammate. The sobriety, however, was not enough at all: the atmospheres, the meager ammunition and other peculiarities of the series such as backtracking, for example, no longer found much space, and the will, albeit partially reduced, was still that of throwing oneself on the action .
Years of remaster and re-release, but for the greater good
The beginning of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One generation, remembered by many as a period full of remasters and old returns, convinced Capcom to go for it. Thus came the umpteenth edition of Resident Evil 4 followed by the first, by the Zero, by the fifth and by the sixth chapter, and by a port of the first Revelations already previously arrived on PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360.
A brand new Resident Evil sequel / spin-off of the sober Revelations also found space. This time too, we can only underline how Capcom’s game distanced itself from the most exaggerated action releases hosted by the series, almost as a testimony to the fact that it had understood the mistakes made in the past. Nonetheless, the adventure of Claire Redfield, Burry Barton and companions, due to a strange division in episodes, an engine that screamed old gen at every glimpse and a very revisable narrative sector, received fierce criticism more than legitimate. After all, we are talking about a product that distances itself from the old REs, but which is also full of strange ideas and attempts to mimic the games of the period, above all The Last of Us.
As reiterated in the title, however, all this movement of remasters and small missteps was necessary to develop what we could define a total rebirth of the company and the franchise.. Secretly, behind the scenes, Capcom developed the now widespread and phenomenal RE Engine, a very special completely homemade graphics engine, designed for 60 fps even in the case of deficient hardware such as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and designed specifically for Resident Evil.
The return of the great Resident Evil
With substantial investments behind it, in 2017, Capcom launches what, at least initially, was misunderstood and mistaken for a bad copy of Outlast or PT (the demo of Silent Hills, a project canceled by Konami). Obviously we are talking about Resident Evil 7, a chapter that succeeds in the very difficult intent of collecting the legacy of the franchise, changing its perspective and re-proposing it in a modern key. From the description it might seem a very difficult and delicate operation, and indeed it is. This is why despite several years having passed since its release, it is worth reiterating: Resident Evil 7, even more than phenomenal Resident Evil 2 Remake, is an incredible masterpiece, a decisive restart and capable of paving the way for the future of the series. Among other things, we are talking about a project that, in its small way, even managed to skyrocket the PS VR, thanks to a fully adapted version of the game.
How not to mention the return of the dark atmospheres, of a large villa to be explored complete with locked doors marked with strange symbols such as a snake or a crow. Bread for our teeth, veterans would say, and it was badly needed, since horror was only advancing thanks to the indie scene, and Resident Evil was completely gone. It is strange to say, but if yesterday Resident Evil disappeared, today it is even too present: since 2017, in fact, three chapters have been released, and the eight, the Village, is now on its way. It is clear that the production model has changed significantly, perhaps thanks to a substantial enlargement that allows Capcom to operate in parallel, but it would be advisable not to pull too hard.
As for the remakes, at the moment only three if we also include the exceptional Resident Evil Rebirth, very few missteps have been made. In the specific case of Resident Evil 2 remake, for example, if there wasn’t a too perceptible similarity between Leon and Claire’s campaigns, and there was a greater dialogue between routes A and B, we would be talking about a substantially perfect product . Either way, it remains an excellence of modern horror as well as one of the most beautiful and replayable Resident Evil ever.
It is with Resident Evil 3 that things get more complex. Let’s clarify it immediately: Whatever they say, it is a beautiful product, damn fun, but it embodies 100% the type of operation that it would be legitimate not to review in these cases, that is to distort to the point of making the original version disappear.. This is perhaps, in fact, its biggest flaw, because for the rest, although it proves much lazier than the 2 remake, and you can feel it very much in the level design, it manages to have an enviable balance of gameplay. Not surprisingly, we have lost count of the runs we faced; basically, it is a chapter that never satisfies.
Apart from defects related to the campaign, however, Capcom’s real stoned note is the multiplayer called Resistance, quite similar in shape to what we will see with RE: Verse in the course of 2021. Here, these small appearances are real traces of a past that should no longer take over: they seem projects conceived by the Capcom of the past, and since we have been used too well in the last 4 years, by Monster Hunter World, DMC 5, Resident Evil 7 and the two remakes, it would be the case not to dirty your image in this way, with products born only with the aim of capitalizing experiences exclusively dedicated to the single player.
We said, in the course of the article, that Capcom’s latest effort is now imminent. In our pages, in this regard, you will find an article that examines all the material leaked in recent months, so we will avoid dwelling here. We will just tell you that, most likely, the chapter that awaits us could be quite atypical, almost unprecedented for the franchise, but at the same time very recognizable. In fact, if on the one hand we have a more gothic setting and the presence of vampires; on the other, a recognizable Villa that recalls the first chapter, and a village, complete with a merchant, which recalls the fourth Resident Evil very strongly.
We will certainly see some good ones. In the meantime, we ask you: what do you think of this historic franchise and its latest iterations? Let us know in the comments.
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