Date Posted: 12/11/23
What started out as a review of the Resident Evil 2 Remake has turned into reviews of Resident Evil VII, Resident Evil 3 Remake, Resident Evil Village and as of November 2023 Resident Evil 4 Remake. I have combined the reviews into a single page for your convenience. I have put them in the order that I reviewed them rather than the chronological order that they take place in.
Below you will find:
Resident Evil VII + Not a Hero + Banned Footage Vol.1 & Vol. 2 + End of Zoe
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Resident Evil 3 Remake
Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil 4 Remake
Date Posted: 04/01/18
Not being familiar with Resident Evil games I have to say that I don’t know how this game links into the canon of the previous titles. Is it a sequel?? A reboot?? Set in a parallel universe to the original games?? I had absolutely no idea when I started playing it, basically I picked it up because it looked interesting and good fun to play.
Date Posted: 04/01/18
Released in 2017, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard serves as a reboot to the Resident Evil franchise. I have actually had this game sitting on my shelf for months but I haven’t just found time to play it yet. But I decided that this year (2018) I was going to play it before I played the sequel to The Evil Within. This game centres more on survival horror unlike the more action oriented Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, I haven’t played either of them but apparently the survival horror roots of the franchise have been lost in recent additions of the franchise.
I remember way back when the PS1 was still called the Playstation and I started playing Resident Evil. It was not a game that I would come to remember fondly as I abandoned it after wasting most of my starting ammo on killing the first zombie I encountered. It turned out that I was supposed to run so the zombie could be killed as part of a cut-scene (which I didn’t know at the time). As I was left with no ammo and kept getting killed by zombies I decided I couldn’t be bothered with the game so cast it aside unfinished. When playing a horror game I like to be able to respond to a given monster leaping out of the shadows by blasting its arms and legs off like in Dead Space, or shooting a flaming crossbow bolt into its face like in Evil Within, you know something constructive. It seemed therefore that survival horror wasn’t really my thing as my first instinct is to shoot something chasing me, not run from it…so I suppose you could say that me and survival horror games just don’t get along.
Survival horror became an ignored genre for me, something that was not part of my world
Then Alien Isolation was made, I am a big fan of the original Alien film and the prospect of sneaking around a derelict space station as the ultimate killing machine stalks you was too tantalising a prospect for me to ignore. I played the game and it was everything that I hoped it would be. The Alien learned from my behaviour meaning I had to adapt my tactics for dealing with it as the game progressed, it was un-killable, and best of all there was no real way of fighting it. The flame-thrower was a mixed blessing, yes, it was possible to prevent the Alien from killing you with a well timed blast of fire, but the more you used it the less the Alien retreated from it. Use it too much and the Alien would simply stand there, or back away, only to start stalking towards you again the moment the flames ceased. It was a game I played for the PS3 and one that I repurchased when I upgraded my console to the PS4 so I could play it again.
So Alien Isolation opened my eyes to survival horror in which you cannot fight, and must spend most of the game hiding or sneaking. When Resident Evil VII came out it appeared to have more in common with Alien Isolation than any previous Resident Evil, which seemed to me to be a good thing. Like I said I played the initial bit of the first game and whilst I have downloaded the re-mastered version for my PS4 I haven’t gotten round to playing it just yet so I really have no idea what happened in the other Resident Evils. However, from what I understand this game serves as something of a reboot of the series so prior knowledge of the game series might not be necessary. Therefore as I started playing this one I had no idea about what has happened in the others, and this is my first real Resident Evil gaming experience
What are we doing in this game, you ask, well allow me to tell you…
The game opens with a woman tearfully telling a man named Ethan to stay away, and not come looking for her. Still there must be something of a miscommunication because we then cut to a lonely road with a voice over from Ethan telling someone that his wife, Mia, thought dead for three years is actually alive and well. He has her location and is on his way to find her, to discover where she has been all that time.
Ethan pulls his car up outside a large decrepit mansion in the heart of the Louisiana bayou, and finds he is unable to get through the gates leading to the house itself. He heads around the perimeter where he encounters a bizarre object that seems to have been made using the limbs of cows. Not being put off he continues his search and discovers ruined cars, as well as a bag containing Mia’s driver’s licence. He enters a derelict house nearby and as he searches the place he discovers his wife in a cage in the basement, as the two try to escape she abruptly disappears when Ethan explores an adjoining room. Making his way out of the basement he is suddenly attacked by Mia who appears to have been possessed by something, and during a scuffle she ultimately severs his left hand with a chainsaw. Ethan confronts her with a gun he finds, and seems to kill her. As he struggles with what is happening a man suddenly appears and welcomes him to the family before knocking him unconscious.
Later Ethan wakes up to find his left hand has been stapled back on (and is inexplicably functional) and he is tied to a chair. He is sitting at a dinner table covered with rotten food being eaten by the Baker family with the exception of Grandma who just sits in a chair nearby. Marguerite Baker gets angry when he refuses to eat and storms out. Moments later Jack Baker tries to force-feed Ethan after cutting the hand off his son Lucas, but is interrupted by a knock at the door. Jack and Lucas leave the room and Ethan throws his chair to the floor breaking it and allowing Ethan to escape.
Trying to make sense of what is happening, Ethan struggles to get out of the house, but Jack returns and Ethan releases if he is going to escape then he needs to figure out what is happening. Unfortunately he is not only going to have to contend with bizarre monsters which prowl the Baker estate, but he will also have to deal with the insane Baker family as they try to prevent his escape and make him part of their “family”
There is naturally more to the game than I have described above but that is the basic gist, and as this is really my first Resident Evil game I have no idea if it is meant to fit into the canon of the previous instalments.
I have to say that I did kind-of spoil things for myself because I watched a Markiplier walkthrough of it when it first came out, and whilst the memories of exactly what happens had faded I still knew when certain things were going to happen. As a result I wasn’t exactly lost at any point, and honestly I really wish I hadn’t watched anything because this game was a real treat of survival horror.
The Baker family members are all creepy, insane and remorseless in their own right, Jack is more of a powerhouse that stalks you relentlessly. Marguerite controls vast legions of bugs and can mutate her body into a spider-like form that is disgusting and strong. Lucas has also created various Saw like traps design to torture his victims and prevent them from escaping the Baker estate. The big three, Jack, Marguerite and Lucas are massive highlights in the game, and whilst they lack the one-hit kill of the Alien from Isolation when Jack is hot on your tail you do scramble to escape him. The tight claustrophobic nature of the main house in which you face Jack, and the derelict lake house that Marguerite roams are designed so that you can never really relax as at any moment one of them could discover your hiding place.
None of the family members can be successfully defeated until their boss fights so whilst you can use weapons to disable Jack when he is following you, all you are doing is buying yourself a bit of time to evade him.
Your inventory is restrictive at first but you can make it larger at two points during the game when you find backpacks. As a result you need to be careful with what you're carrying. If you find something that you need to pick up and you disregard something from your inventory, Ethan doesn’t drop it, the item in question is just gone. In the save rooms (the only truly safe places) there are item boxes in which you can store anything that you don’t want to currently carry in your inventory. These boxes are linked so if you put something in one you’ll be able to get it out of another without any problem. Obviously having limited inventory slots goes hand in hand with survival horror and you have to make decisions between having empty slots so you can pick things up and also having enough ammo and weapons to defend yourself. But you need to have health items too as the Bakers aren’t the only enemies that you have to contend with.
If you are running low on supplies you can take psychostimulants which will cause items to show up on your screen so it is always worth clearing an area of enemies, then popping some pills so you can go back through the area collecting anything you may have missed.
The inventory looks like it could have 16 additional slots and there are two backpacks in the game that Ethan can grab so I was assuming that there would be a +game mode which would enable you to start with more slots, grab the two backpacks again, thus getting the maximum amount of slots. You can’t actually do that but I will talk about that in a bit more detail later. The thing that I find odd about the design of the inventory system is that a coin will take up the same amount of space as a handgun. You pick up antique coins which can be used to unlock items during the game but why exactly does a coin take up as much space as a handgun??
Seriously, each one of the items in the picture are items that you get in the game, and each one of them takes a single slot in your inventory. Why?? I have seen a couple of partial walkthroughs of Resident Evil 4 which had an attaché case as an inventory system, and in that a shotgun took up way more space than a grenade. Here a shotgun is 2 slots with everything smaller using one. Why wasn’t Resident Evil 4’s inventory system used here??
In addition to the Bakers you also have to deal with bizarre creatures that look a little like the enhanced necromorphs from Dead Space and are more like traditional zombies as the only way to stop them is by blowing off their heads. When the Bakers aren’t around you venture into parts of the house in which the Moulded wander, they have sharp teeth, claws and can overwhelm you very quickly. The problem is that they are more annoying bullet sponges than anything else. Like I said I had memories of watching Markiplier play the game and when I was playing it myself, I would be on edge when the game went quiet, as I’d be struggling to remember if Jack or Marguerite was going to suddenly appear and attack. But the moment the Moulded appear I would relax because I knew they were going to be the only enemies I’d have to deal with. They are also really stupid so I started just running past them wherever possible and slamming a door in their face as they cannot break down doors to come after you. Plus sometimes they will dissolve if they leave a certain room. Sadly they become more numerous as the game goes on and the more interesting Bakers give way to these shambling monsters that prove to be a pain in the arse as they can take your health down very rapidly.
As a character it seems that nothing really surprises or even phases Ethan, when Mia attacks and cuts his hand off he doesn’t seem any more concerned than if he’d stubbed his toe. When he is first approaching the Baker house and he sees signs of missing persons, he still goes in instead of calling the police and waiting for them to arrive. His back story is left unknown, but he is able to handle a firearm, and build improvised weapons (the flame thrower) so he might have received some military training but if he has it isn’t revealed.
Whilst the enemies are relatively stupid and Ethan has his moments too such as his inability to remove tape from objects. Early in the game Ethan discovers a box that has been tied up with tape which “cannot be removed by hand”?? So Ethan cannot pick off tape using his fingernails?? Apparently not because in addition to shadow locks and three animal keys, the Bakers have also decided the best way to prevent someone from accessing different parts of their home it to tape up the box so no one can open them and push the button inside?? So Ethan can’t pick tape off a box, instead using a knife to cut the tape and yet there are some parts which make sense. For example during a boss fight Ethan gets a chainsaw which is still functional at the end of the fight, however it breaks when he uses it to escape that room. So he casts aside the broken handle, it reminded me of a moment in The Evil Within when Sebastian gets a chainsaw after killing the Sadist, uses it to cut a chain and then throws it aside. But in that game the chainsaw still seemed to be functional so it made no sense as to why Sebastian would discard it. In Resident Evil VII it is broken so there is no point in continuing to carry it around so Ethan seems to have more brains than Sebastian.
Ethan carries with him a torch and at certain times in the game he switches it on, unfortunately it is down to him when he decides to turn it on. I lost track of the amount of times that I’d be in a dark room and Ethan wouldn’t switch on his torch. I resorted to using the burner a few times as the flame would illuminate the dark corners so I have no idea why being able to control the torch wasn’t down to the player.
I think possibly the biggest niggle I had with the game were moments when I’d be trying to escape from something or someone, attempt to activate a switch or hit a button, and a message which said “You can’t use that now” would appear on the screen. I developed the habit of simply running from the Moulded instead of wasting ammo on shooting them. It was during one of these moments when I raced past them into a lift and hit the button only to have that message pop up that really annoyed me. I was trying to activate a lift in order to escape so that is the Perfect time to use that button, because I’m trying to ESCAPE!! But I wasn’t able to activate the lift so was forced to turn around and waste ammo taking them down before I could move on.
In all honesty though, my complaints of the main game are relatively small when Ethan is trapped on the Baker estate, unfortunately the latter part moves away from the dilapidated buildings and claustrophobic rooms of the mansions to a derelict ship. This slows the pace of the game down to a crawl and functions to give the player the back story into what was going on with the Bakers.
The beginning of this section is also marked by a choice which will generate one of two endings.
Let me drop this…
What do you think of my new Spoiler warning sign??
I fancied a change from the running joke of the car spoiler…
Anyway, most of the game Ethan is looking for two items that can create a cure for the moulded infection so he can cure his wife Mia and one of the Bakers named Zoe. During the course of the game Zoe will ring you to give you advice on where to go and where to find things. This does carry a rather sinister overtone as she always knows where you are and will ring the nearest phone to you when you have completed objectives. She is also trapped on the Baker estate but has not succumbed to the infection as much as Jack, Lucas and Marguerite so desires the cure so she can escape. Two cures are made but Ethan is forced to use one of them to escape death, so has only one left and must choose between giving the cure to Mia or Zoe…
So ask yourself if you had the cure to a disease but could only give it to your wife or some stranger that you barely even know who would you give it to??
Naturally you’d give the cure to your wife, right??
If the choice was to give the cure to your mother or your father, or brother or sister, then that is a difficult choice but why Resident Evil VII thinks choosing between Mia and Zoe is a difficult choice is beyond me.
So you give the cure to Mia but Zoe behaves like Ethan is a massive asshole for giving his wife the cure. You’d think that the game would end as Ethan and Mia head away from the estate in a boat but as they travel through the bayou they come across a wrecked ship, their boat is destroyed and the game play switches to Mia as she searches the ship for Ethan who is taken by the black mould.
This is when the game slows right down, and it is also at this point the decision to choose Mia or Zoe is ultimately revealed to be meaningless. If you have chosen Zoe, she dies as the boat is overturned, and you play the next sequence as Mia anyway who has inexplicably ended up by the ship. The ending is different because once Ethan is saved you switch back to playing as him, and Mia either survives (if she was given the cure) or dies if you gave the cure to Zoe.
The game does leave many questions unanswered but perhaps the biggest is: Is Ethan infected??
He has his hand sliced off and when it is stapled back on he is able to use it as though it wasn’t ever severed in the first place. He can heal any injuries by splashing first aid med on his hand, and can even repair severed limbs by reattaching them without difficulty. The Bakers have formidable regenerative abilities and it seems Ethan has some of those abilities as well. The question of whether Ethan is infected is never answered but perhaps it will in a sequel to the game or in the DLC.
Once the game ends you do unlock the Albert-01 gun which is pretty powerful, and takes normal handgun ammo. I was expecting there to be a +game mode but sadly there isn’t, so if you restart you are playing from scratch again. The Albert-01 is in your inventory box when you get to the first save room but during my second play through I seemed to die more than the first time when I was being more cautious. The Albert-01 is a powerful weapon but it only holds 3 shots and unlike the shotgun it’s bullets don’t spread out so if you are aiming at the Moulded and they move then your bullets will sail harmlessly past them. I think it has given me a false sense of security as I go charging into fights rather than being more careful.
My only regret with regards to this game was spoiling it by watching Markiplier playing it first, which I really shouldn’t have done. The Not a Hero DLC was free with the game which I am currently working on but I have made a point of not watching anyone play it so it is all new to me, and I have also downloaded the Banned Footage DLCs too so I will review those in the near future.
As far as Resident Evil VII goes it is a truly great game and I am looking forward to seeing where the series will go in the future. The game gets a strong Thumbs Up because as soon as I finished playing I went straight back to playing it a second time so I could see the second ending. Yes the game suffers once you aren’t dealing with the Bakers anymore and loses steam once you leave the estate but it is on the whole great fun and from what I understand a much needed boost to the Resident Evil franchise.
8.5/10 – If the game had ended when you leave the Baker estate then I would have probably rated it higher as the ship section with Mia is a little dull because you are only dealing with the Moulded. I am eager to play the DLCs and any game that I dive straight back into after finishing is one that I always rate highly.
Date Posted: 21/01/18
The first of the Resident Evil VII’s downloadable content was originally due for release in the Spring of 2017 but was actually delayed to December 2017. It features Resident Evil character Chris Redfield, but as the canon of Resident Evil VII is not exactly clear I was not sure if this version of Chris is the same one that has been in previous games
Set immediately after the end of Resident Evil VII, the Not a Hero DLC allows us to discover the fate of Lucas Baker, who fled after Ethan escaped the Happy Birthday death trap, and was not encountered again before the end of the game. After dropping the gun that Ethan used in the final battle of Resident Evil VII Chris has remained behind after Ethan was safely evacuated. It is up to him to venture into the mines under the Baker property to find Lucas and bring him in.
Now right off the bat I might as well say that there are going to be a few spoilers from the main game as this concerns the fate of one of the Baker family plus key plot points important from Resident Evil VII. I’m not going to drop my usual spoiler warning as this whole review is basically one long spoiler.
The game begins with Chris heading into the abandoned mines under the Baker estate that Lucas has apparently been using as his own private sanctuary. He enters the location where Ethan created the E-Series toxin after learning that three of his men are missing. He arrives to find one has a bomb attached to his neck and before he can disarm it, Lucas appears and attaches another device to Chris’ own arm. He detonates the explosive around the other guy’s neck, killing him, and warning Chris not to follow him before releasing an airborne toxin into the room and fleeing.
Chris pursues him and enters a door that was locked in the main game, so his path almost immediately takes him into a part of the mines that Ethan wasn’t able to visit, and here he struggles to rescue the other soldiers Lucas has captured before the explosives round their necks can be set off.
He must also contend with the Moulded, a new strain of Moulded that is immune to conventional weapons, and of course Lucas Baker himself…
Okay so the big difference between this and Resident Evil VII is that this is more of a shooter than a survival horror experience. Chris enters the mines with a handgun, shotgun, combat knife and grenades at his disposal. Ammo is plentiful so it is unlikely that you’ll ever get close to running out, and Chris also has got a hell of a right hook. Seriously, if you are confronted by a Moulded, something that could easily kill Ethan with a couple of attacks, all Chris has to do is shoot it once with the handgun to stagger it, at which point he will be prompted to punch. If he does he will literally punch the creature’s head off which is a massive ammo saving option. Plus his shotgun also packs a wallop and can tear through enemies with relative ease. The only enemies you really have to worry about are these weird white-mould variations that are immune to conventional weapons, those you have to run from and evade when you first encounter them, but relatively quickly you get some handgun ammunition that can kill them in one shot. That shot doesn’t need to be in the head, as long as you hit them, they will die.
I might as well be honest and admit that I did like playing this DLC, however the more I have thought about it the more I realise the story has gone off on one and the character of Lucas hasn’t really remained true to Resident Evil VII.
I’ll talk about the story first, now in (I’m sick of writing “the main game” so from now on I’ll just write RE7) RE7 the story, as I understood it, was that Mia Winters was the caretaker for a genetically modified human turned bio-weapon weapon named Eveline. The ship they were transporting her on was wreaked in the Louisiana bayou, Jack Baker and his son Lucas investigated the wreckage where they discovered Mia and Eveline, both of them were infected by Eveline’s mould which drove them insane, and lead to them kidnapping people in order to give Eveline the “family” she craved. The Bakers were as much victims as anyone else as they were being controlled by Eveline and were mutated against their will. As their estate was in a Louisiana backwater the family went unnoticed by the surrounding world for two years until Mia managed to get a message to Ethan, which brought him to the estate, and led to the deaths of the Bakers and Eveline.
In a dream-like sequence that Ethan has whilst he is imprisoned in the mould growth Jack Baker appears and tells Ethan everything that Eveline did. How she infected them and used them to hurt people. He begs Ethan to stop her and free his family from her control. However, Ethan also discovers evidence to suggest that Lucas is not as innocent as his father believes as he once imprisoned a childhood bully in the attic above his room and left him there to starve to death (which the child did). The E-Series mould that had infected Lucas had given him incredible powers of regeneration but his mind seems to be unaffected. He was able to act on his psychotic tendencies and his desire to invent things by building elaborate traps designed to kill someone even if they did manage to figure them out.
In Not a Hero we learn that another company called The Connection was employing Lucas as their Head Researcher…
Yep, we’re back on that old chestnut.
Apparently everything that was happening to the Baker family could have been stopped at anytime by a company that had the time, and money to build a complete research lab in the mines beneath their home. So the idea that Eveline was just a biological weapon that was behaving unchecked is blown out of the water and Lucas Baker was actually working for them after they cured him of Eveline’s mind control.
That is a pretty big middle finger to RE7 as it is basically saying that everything that game established about what was happening was meaningless. Remember when I said that Zoe always seeming to know where Ethan was in the house so she could call him on the nearest phone seemed a tad sinister?? Well presumably there were cameras set up all around the Baker home so The Connection could monitor what was going on. Hell, if Zoe was able to always know where Ethan was, was she also working with them??
It is annoying because it seemed that Resident Evil had finally moved away from the corporate bullshit, that even a non-fan like myself knows, was in the background of the previous games. Some faceless corporation that would feed countless numbers of their own employees to various monstrosities in the hopes of creating the ultimate bio-weapon. So the blood of everyone who was kidnapped, mutilated, and mutated by the Bakers is on the hands of a corporation who would happily throw new born babies onto a fire if it served their purposes
That is such a lame plot line and strikes me as a hand-wave explanation for what happened to the Baker family.
Plus are we just going to assume that Lucas didn’t give the cure to his family because he didn’t care about them?? Otherwise why would he allow his own flesh and blood to commit terrible acts at the whim of Eveline?? Why did he stick around the Baker estate in the first place if he was immune to Eveline’s control and could easily escape whenever he chose??
The person Chris communicates with on his radio also makes reference to the Pharmaceutical Company called Umbrella (the company behind all the virus outbreaks in the previous games), which was reformed as a PMC in 2007 with the mandate to clear up virus outbreaks. Chris works for them now and they kept the name as a way of acknowledging what happened in the past and trying to put it right in the future. So this isn’t a reboot as it first seemed, as takes place in the same universe as the original games??
Honestly I don’t know, apparently the continuity of the games went a bit loopy, thing is RE7 had a tighter focussed story which this DLC has in one fell swoop completely dumped on.
The DLC is more shooter focussed but why couldn’t Lucas have set up a series of traps in the mines designed to kill anyone trying to come after him, wouldn’t that suit the character we saw in RE7?? Having to solve different puzzles that became increasingly more dangerous may not have been the most faced paced DLC in the world but it might have been more fun if done right.
The two surviving soldiers are basically just there to die, one is trapped in a locked cell and waits until Chris has found the key and entered said cell to warn him that it is a trap. Yeah, you could have said that before we enter the cage as the two do exchange words before Chris goes off to find the key. That guy gets his head buzz sawed off for his trouble with no way to save him. The second guy is in a room full of bombs with a maze of infra-red beams Chris must navigate his way around, thing is if you go to your companion as soon as you reach him, Lucas detonates all the bombs killing you both. Therefore you must disarm the traps first, at which point Lucas just kills your comrade. The thing is how were we supposed to know we needed to disarm the traps first. In RE7 the found footage tapes gave you clues about upcoming puzzles and solutions, there is no such thing here so you have no way to know if a trap will suddenly explode in your face or not.
The game play itself is good fun and being able to punch a Moulded in the face is quite therapeutic after all the problems Ethan had with them, plus it must be noted that this DLC was free. Lucas Baker not being killed by Ethan in RE7 could have paved the way for paid DLC but as soon as the game was released, this DLC was advertised as free to play. Yes it was delayed from Spring 2017 to Dec 2017 but that worked for me as I only got round to playing the game in Jan 2018 so finished Ethan’s adventure then headed straight into this. I have also got the Banned Footage DLCs so will work my way through those in due time.
I started this review intending to give Not a Hero a Thumbs Up, unfortunately as I have been writing down my opinions I have realised that it has basically stripped away everything that made RE7 so much fun. The inability to easily defend yourself, the scarce supplies, the creepy environments and the unique and terrifying Bakers…None of those things are in this DLC, the mine is well lit, the tunnels spacious, and with the exception of having to dodge around a couple of white-mould variants you are never really in much danger. Here you fight the Moulded, a variant that can’t die (until it can) and then the mutated form of Lucas himself.
I did have fun, but it wasn’t the same kind of fun that comes from being stalked around a decrepit mansion by deranged killers that you cannot escape. I think I’ll have to give Not a Hero a Thumbs Down, yes I enjoyed it, but it could have been much better and carried on the story RE7 instead of shitting all over it. It seems that Capcom haven’t completely gotten away from the action style of the previous instalments, hopefully the Banned Footage will be more like the main game than this DLC.
6/10 – This isn’t a bad piece of DLC unfortunately it just doesn’t have the same feel as Resident Evil VII. I enjoyed being hunted by the Bakers and feeling my hearts pound when they came after me, shooting the annoying Moulded is fun but Not a Hero seems more like a previous Resident Evil title rather than the excellent Resident Evil VII
Date Posted: 29/01/18
When Resident Evil VII came out in early 2017 the Not a Hero DLC was advertised as coming in Spring, but as I have mentioned it actually didn’t come out until December. In between the game and that DLC there were other downloadable contents that came out. Notably the Banned Footage Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. In addition to those was also Ethan Must Die mode and Jack’s 55th Birthday which took things in a rather bizarre direction to say the least.
I am getting rather Resident Evil’d out at the moment. I played the main game, dived straight back in with the Albert 01 by my side in order to see the second ending. I have defeated Marguerite I just need to do the Lucas section, the ship and then I’ll be done but as the ship section is a bit tedious I’m not overly keen to do it. Anyway, I did Not a Hero and now I want to take a look at the Banned Footage DLCs too.
There is one more DLC called End of Zoe which as of yet I haven’t played and deals with what happened to Zoe as Ethan giving Mia the cure and the pair of them surviving is the canon ending to the game.
There are four DLCs in the Banned Footage and three of which feature Clancy Jarvis (the cameraman for the Sewer Gators show that we saw in the first tape found in the guest house) and the final one we play as Zoe.
I played them in the wrong order but I don’t think that matters too much
The first I played was Daughters in which we see how the horror for the Baker family started, Zoe is watching the news regarding the flooding in the surrounding area when her father Jack brings an unconscious child into the house that he found by the ship wreck in the bayou. Marguerite tells Jack to put her to bed in Lucas’ old room until they can find her some help when the storm eases up and asks Zoe to fetch the girl some clean and dry clothes. Zoe complies and as she takes the clothing to the child, she tells Zoe that [they] “are mine now”. The lights go out as lightening strikes the house killing the power and Zoe must try to determine what is suddenly happening to her mother and father.
Now whilst Not a Hero wasn’t survival horror this DLC most definitely is.
Zoe has no weapons and as she struggles to understand what is happening her breathing is shallow and erratic, so she is clearly terrified of what is going on. This makes you, as the player more nervous, because you feel more afraid due to Zoe’s reaction to what is happening. She witnesses her family turning on her and each other, she whispers to herself as she watches her mother and father fighting the control Eveline is forcing on them. In the main game Ethan was always steady and the situation did not seem to bother him. Just the sound of terrified breathing and screams really help to heighten the horror that is gripping Zoe and her family.
Lucas is dragged screaming to see his new “sister” Eveline but strangely Zoe doesn’t make any effort to try and save him, she seems only concerned with saving herself. But then Lucas is established to be an asshole even here plus a thorn in his father’s side with his attitude and demeanour.
The Bakers start off normal, with Jack joking about opening a Bed and Breakfast, then they are taken over by Eveline’s control but they do fight it. In the main game it is implied that the infection happened a little slower but the parents are not instantly taken over and try to protect Zoe from themselves and Eveline’s sudden control.
Daughters is relatively short and has two endings so it does encourage you to play it more than once through.
Zoe is seeking the cure in the main game so she obviously gets infected but like Lucas doesn’t seem to be completely under Eveline’s control
The other three concern the unluckiest bastard in the known world…Clancy Jarvis.
According to the Resident Evil Wiki chronologically Nightmare happens first, then 21 and finally Bedroom. However it makes more sense to me to have Nightmare as a non-canon add on like Jack’s Birthday with Bedroom happening first then 21 taking place just before the events of the Happy Birthday tape.
In Bedroom Clancy wakes up tied to a bed in the Baker’s master bedroom, Marguerite comes in and gives him a meal (of rotten food like they tried to serve to Ethan) and after she leaves you are given one instruction: Escape.
To do this you need to explore the room and solve a number of puzzles. Some of which are relatively straight forward whilst others are a lot trickier. I actually restarted because I thought I must have done something wrong but it turns out that I wasn’t seeing something quite obvious.
Just to give you a hint that hopefully won’t spoil anything (and was a tip the game itself gave me when I restarted) – the key to one puzzle is in the poem
What makes the game more nerve wracking is that if you make too much noise Marguerite will come back to check on you and if she spots anything out of place then there is hell to pay…
Like I said as far as I am concerned when he was knocked out by Jack Baker, Clancy was taken to the bedroom to be force-fed the food that would lead to his own infection by Eveline’s mould. However he escaped the room and ended up in the basement where he was then recaptured by Lucas which lead to the events of 21.
In this DLC Clancy wakes up to discover himself sitting opposite a man with a bag on his head. Lucas informs him (and the other prisoner named Hoffman) that they are going to play a game of Blackjack. Essentially (if you don’t know) cards are dealt and the object of the game is to get 21. If you go over that then you lose and the closest to 21 wins. The loser of the three round game dies and to give Clancy and Hoffman some incentive if they lose a round they also lose some fingers too.
Survive that round and Lucas naturally doesn’t let you go, instead he changes the game so that in Round Two, Clancy and Hoffman get electric shocks if they lose a round, with the charge building each time until it becomes fatal.
Naturally you’d think that would be the end of the game but sadly it isn’t. After surviving Round One and Two, Lucas reanimates Hoffman using pulleys so the game can continue into the final round. This time if Clancy loses he gets a buzz saw to the face.
This DLC is pretty harrowing as you naturally hear both Clancy and Hoffman screaming in agony as their fingers are sliced off or they are given increasingly high shocks of electricity. I think the best point in its favour though is it completely fits in with Lucas’ character (unlike his story in Not a Hero). He built the game to be as sadistic as possible and there were times that I was trying to decide if the game was rigged or not, but then surely it is supposed to be rigged so Clancy also dies. Lucas is hardly likely to be playing fair. Once you survive all three rounds Lucas talks about playing another game with just the two of you which in my mind leads to the Happy Birthday tape Ethan finds in the main game.
Nightmare is a mode which also stars Clancy Jarvis but the reason I tend to think of it as a non-canon story is because the object it to survive until dawn. Apparently Jack dumped Clancy in the basement and now he must fight the Moulded roaming down there. The game is split into five hours in which Clancy awakens in the basement and must use scrap metal to craft weapons, health packs, and various other things to help him get through the night. The Moulded essentially keep respawning and Clancy must fight them off. He can use scrap to activate bombs and gun turrets around the whole basement area. All of the doors have been removed so there is no hope of simply running into a room and slamming the door in the face of the Moulded who are too stupid to knock it down. A couple of doors need corrosive liquid to open them but once they are open the doors cannot be closed again. The reason I think of this as non-canon is because I don’t see how handfuls of scrap metal can be instantly turned into a shotgun, or bullets or health potion. Plus if it is canon did the Bakers refit all the doors at some point before Ethan arrived, and if they did then why?? If they know the Moulded can’t get through them then why have any at all?? Presumably the Moulded don’t attack the Bakers so it wouldn’t matter if they roam the house anyway. At time of writing I had survived till 3am before I was killed, my score unlocked new weapons but if you start again you start again…as in at the beginning of the night and have to begin again. I may try to play through it at some point but it is basically a horde mode and running around shooting enemies is a tad boring and not what I want to play Resident Evil VII for.
Perhaps if Nightmare had been a sneaky horror in which Clancy must stealth around enemies hunting him then it would have been much better and fitted into the nerve jangling feel of Daughters, 21 and Bedroom.
Finally in Jack’s 55th Birthday you have to run around the house collecting food to feed the hungry Jack…and that is it. The Moulded are wandering around (all wearing party hats for some reason) and killing them will unlock doors and give you more time. Oh yes, it is timed so you need to fill Jack’s hunger bar within a set time limit. Honestly it is as ridiculous as it sounds and so I played one round. I might do others but haven’t got plans to rush back to it.
The final one is Ethan Must Die which I have not even attempted because I believe it is a mode in which Ethan gathers various tools to help him survive. But from what I understand it is one of those one-hit and your dead kind-of deals which I would never be able to do so I don’t even attempt it.
All in all the Banned Footage DLCs are generally pretty good with Daughters being a particular terrifying highlight. Both Bedroom and 21 are also good fun with both Marguerite and Lucas behaving in the gloriously horrifying way they did in the main game. Jack’s Birthday is just weird, but fun weird, and Nightmare is doable if you have the time and the patience to work through it. I am happy to give all of the DLC I have talked about a Thumbs Up, and will keep my eye on End of Zoe as I am curious to see what happens to her, but I’ll wait until the price of it drops before I check it out.
8/10 – Overall the DLC is very well done and a treat to return to the terrifying Baker Estate in the shoes of Zoe and Clancy Jarvis. I got both sets of DLC at less than half price so whilst they are too short to justify their full price they are definitely worth checking out if you can get them at a discount.
Date Posted: 08/02/19
The final piece of DLC for Resident Evil VII follows what happened to the Baker's daughter Zoe after Ethan used the cure on Mia, and left the Baker Estate behind after promising to send help back for her. The game introduces a new protagonist, namely Joe Baker, Jack's estranged brother and a story set several weeks after the events of the Not a Hero DLC
The canon ending of RE7 sees Ethan giving the cure to his wife and the two of them heading off into the bayou to escape the Baker Estate leaving Zoe behind. As punishment for her escape attempts and helping Ethan kill her "family" Eveline calcifies her. Her body is later found by two Blue Umbrella soldiers and since Eveline died, the calcification process has not killed Zoe, but she does need the cure to survive.
She is discovered by her uncle Joe Baker, who knocks out the two soldiers standing over her, and takes both Zoe and a soldier back to his cabin deep in the swamps. The soldier tells him that they are there to help and they were trying to cure her when Joe jumped them. He tells Joe where to find the cure and leaving Zoe and the tied-up soldier in his cabin, Joe heads off to find the cure.
Along the way he encounters several moulded but over the last few years he has become accustomed to dealing with these creatures, and simply beats them to death with his bare hands. He finds a sample of the cure and returns to his cabin only to find it ablaze. He gives Zoe the cure but it doesn't work and the soldier tells him they need a full dose which is at an Umbrella base nearby. The soldier tells Joe that if he unties him then they can go and get the cure together. But seconds later the soldier is dragged screaming from the cabin and killed by a humanoid "Swamp Man". Joe flees with Zoe to find the cure, but along the way he must battle more Moulded, mutated alligators and the Swamp Man who seems determined to take Zoe from him...
Okay, so Joe Baker has been living as a hermit in the Louisiana bayou and over the last three years (when Eveline was in control of the Baker family) he has gotten used to dealing with the shambling Moulded that roam the swamps. During the course of the DLC he keeps talking about how important family is and he is determined to save Zoe. But when the Moulded started showing up, why did he not go to the Baker Estate to check his family were okay?? During the course of the game you do wind up back at the Baker Estate so it isn't that far from where Joe lives. Therefore it seems strange that he hasn't gone back to see if they are alright especially considering how family focused he is. If he'd only just returned home from being away, fine, if he'd been encased in Mould like Ethan, fair enough, hell if he'd been infected himself and been cured by Blue Umbrella, then set out to save what remained of his family, then more power to him. I just find it bizarre that he would sit around doing nothing for years before deciding to actually deal with the situation, especially considering how inhumanly strong he is.
Since the release of RE7 I have played all of the DLC and whilst Not a Hero was fun it did not continue the survival horror feel of the original game. Daughters, 21 and Bedroom returned to the horrifying feel of the main game, but End of Zoe sadly follows in the footsteps of the former DLC rather than the latter ones.
Unlike Chris Redfield in Not a Hero, Joe doesn't have any weapons apart from two guns; one attached to his right shoulder and one to his left, yes his arms, and fists. Now if you thought that Chris had a hell of a punch in Not a Hero, Joe makes Chris' strikes look like a gentle caress. Left and right triggers control Joe's right and left arms, he is able to do boxing combos taking jabs with one hand and doing hooks with the other. He can take down a single Moulded without really even breaking step. I'm not honestly sure how he can be so strong considering he must be in his late 50s or early 60s at least. Still, it makes the Moulded into pathetic opponents and makes Ethan seems all the more useless for being unable to beat them in RE7. Like Ethan and Chris, Joe can also defend to reduce damage taken from enemies but you really only need to do this when you are being attacked by more than one creature at a time. More often than not the Moulded shamble after you in single file, allowing you to take them down one at a time, so they are more annoying than anything else. However, sometimes more than one will spawn. If they are in front of you then it is not too difficult to strike at them causing them to stagger but if one has spawned behind you then it will attack when your back is turned, as a result you can get overwhelmed whilst trying to figure out how you are getting hurt when all your attackers are apparently in front of you. Joe has a hell of a punch and can easily hold his own against several standard Moulded, unfortunately, the little scuttly buggers that run around on all fours are too fast for you to hit, and a single one can easily kill Joe before he can beat it to a pulp.
From what I understood in RE7 the Moulded were people that the Bakers kidnapped and were mutated by Eveline's mould into the twisted creatures they have now become. The police officer Jack killed in RE7 was in the process of being turned into a Moulded during the events of the game. What I don't understand is how there can be so many Moulded if each one of them was a person once. In Dead Space and it's sequels the Necromorphs were also mutated humans but variations could be made using different parts of bodies, and the Ishimura had a crew of "over a thousand people on board" according to Kendra so there were plenty of crew members to be turned into monsters. Dead Space 2 took place on a populated space station, and Dead Space 3 on a planet so there were hundreds of people that could be turned. In RE7 there was information found which suggested that maybe a couple of dozen people had been kidnapped, and despite the game establishing that not all of them were successfully turned, if you assume that a few more people were kidnapped than we know about then you shouldn't have encountered more than say forty Moulded in the whole game. However, we've now met them in RE7, in the Nightmare DLC (which I don't consider canon but the game does), Not a Hero, and now End of Zoe. Hundreds of people must have been turned and how could all of those disappearances gone unnoticed?? If there had been some explanation that perhaps a single host provided enough genetic material to make three creatures then okay, or that the Moulded are somehow capable of duplicating themselves then again, fine. Unfortunately there is no explanation. So, somehow, hundreds of people were kidnapped by the Bakers, turned into Moulded and were then left to wander the swamps of the Louisiana bayou without anyone in authority or the surrounding area noticing or more importantly doing anything about it
Late in the game Joe gets hold of a powered hand-Gauntlet which increases his strength yet further allowing him to punch through metal bars...
This was obviously the point that End of Zoe shed itself of any vague pretence of realism, then completely wandered off the path and ended up in loony town. Yes, Joe gets a piece of Umbrella technology that allows him to charge up an attack which will one hit every enemy in the game, with the exception of the final boss.
The game also has some weird physics when it comes to platforms, as you make your way through the swamps in your search for the cure, numerous derelict buildings are discovered in various stages of ruin. Mutated alligators (or simply gators as Joe calls them) roam the water ways and I'll talk about them in a minute. There are several points in the game when you must traverse platforms that are narrow and if you aren't being careful you'll fall off into the water below. But, for some bizarre reason whilst it is possibly for Joe to fall, the Moulded can't. If you land a right punch that has enough force to knock one clean off its feet, it will bounce off an invisible wall and remain on the platform. So you can't simply punch one into the water and let the gators finish the job for you, and yet if you fall in then the gators will happily chow down on your flesh.
The previous sentence leads me nicely to the gators which are one hit kill enemies; they too have been mutated by Eveline's Mould and are bloodthirsty killing machines. Joe is forced to enter the water with them on numerous occasions and if they get too close then they basically bite him in half. Fortunately the game does give you means to kill them. Joe is able to craft items to help him defend himself, most of which have the usual video game logic:
Random Scrap Metal + Tree Branch = Metal-tipped spear
Chem fluid + Branch = explosive-tipped spear.
Crafting regular spears becomes essential for dealing with the numerous gators that wind up blocking your path. It is generally not possible to sneak around them, nor can you out pace them in the water, if you try (which I did) you die. A single spear can kill a gator in one hit regardless of where it strikes its body, but the spears have the same game logic as some of the different bolts from The Evil Within. If you throw a spear and miss, it is retrievable. If you land a hit, the spear simply fades into nothingness when the enemy dies. I know I bang on about context in situations like this but that is because it is a constant source of irritation to me.
Why do my spears disappear End of Zoe??
If the game established that they were broken in the impact with a gator or moulded then fair enough, it is a throw away explanation because Joe can tear through the flesh of a Moulded with just his fists but a metal tipped spear is broken by that same flesh, still at least it is some explanation. I got a bit stuck at one point because I'd used my spears in a boss fight and was then confronted by an area which was crawling with gators that I needed to cross but died over and over because I had four gators to deal with and only one spear. I finally did it, yet it was pretty frustrating, and I just kept thinking why can't I have my spears back after using them?? It was after several attempts and getting killed each time that the game asked me if I wanted to lower the difficulty level. That just annoyed me even more because I could feel the game looking over my shoulder saying, "it doesn't matter that you're useless, just drop the difficulty down and you'll be able to carry on". It just made me more determined to get through the area without changing the difficulty which I finally did.
This being a Resident Evil game there are things to collect as you explore the levels and in Joe's case he can pick up boxer effigies of the yellow and red variety. The yellow increase his hit damage by 1% the red by 5%...er...how exactly does that work...?? Video game logic...obviously, I suppose it was the same for Ethan who could pick up certain coins to help him defend against enemies. Anyway, the more of these effigies you collect the stronger Joe becomes and the easier it is for him to take on the Moulded.
The crafting mechanic mentioned above also works to create first aid medicine, which can be crafted using various bugs combined with chem fluid. Like Ethan he simply needs to splash this fluid on his left hand to completely restore his health. The bugs encountered are grubs, crawfish, and centipedes which Joe can happily scoff down to raw to restore his health. If he'd have encountered Marguerite after her infection he'd have probably looked at her as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Clancy Jarvis could be killed when she forced a centipede down his throat in the Bedroom DLC, maybe he should have simply bitten into it when it was going in and he wouldn't have died?
Joe can also do "stealth" kills but I have put the word stealth in quotation marks because these are probably the loudest silent kills I've ever heard. If he is able to sneak up behind an enemy he will either rip their head off, or loudly stomp on their head or body, and if there are any other creatures in the vicinity they inexplicably don't hear anything. It honestly made me chuckle a couple of times at how stupid these creatures were and how they could be taken down in the loudest stealth kill animation I've ever heard without alerting another one lurking nearby.
Naturally you face the Swamp Man on several occasions and are only able to beat him back, even ripping his head off doesn't actually kill him. Joe has a total of three fights with him, the second and third are actual boss fights. The boss fights are basically just the same thing twice. You are thrown into an area and personally I ran in circles around the Swamp Man as he swung his punches or tried to land his attacks, ran in and punched him when I could and retreated to resume running when he tried to attack. I did try facing him directly, however, this just ended up in Joe almost getting beaten to death so I retreated and adopted the tactic above. In the second fight at the finale of the game, he is able to throw a whip-tentacle-like thing at you (similar to Mercer's whipfist in Prototype) which is tricky to dodge. However, having said that as you have the Gauntlet at the time I simply ran in circles waiting for it to charge, ran in, hit him and then started running around him again. It was using this tactic that I was able to beat him both times. The only boss-type enemy that I had any real issue with was one of those large puker Moulded simply because I struggled to get close enough to it before it vomited on me again causing Joe to stagger.
One final thing that I want to mention is that the majority of the time gates have been nailed shut using wood. Joe has to punch these to progress to the next area (and never once gets a splinter). Now in the same irritating way that the main game sometimes wouldn't let you press a button until enemies are defeated, during the fight with the puker, two regular moulded also attack. I got killed a couple of times as I was trying to deal with them when the puker either killed me itself or staggered me whilst the regular moulded finished me off. I decided to just run to the barred gate, smash the wood apart and sprint for it. Sadly on that one occasion the wood was indestructible and a hint popped up telling me that I needed to deal with the enemies first. I hate moments in games like this when a mechanic that has been used the entire game suddenly doesn't work because the game is forcing you to play something its way. Why have these wooden blocks in the first place, why can't the enemies encountered be mutated moulded versions of the Blue Umbrella soldiers that need to be killed because they have the keys to these gates?? This would explain how there can be more Moulded than the people originally turned in RE7. Again in game this would make sense. However, there is no explanation given, it is the game folding its arms and telling you that it wants you to kill these annoying enemies and you're not proceeding until you have. Plus when I got killed, it once again asked me if I wanted to lower the difficult because clearly the current difficulty setting was too much for me
Once you finish your first play through you are able to start again and the Gauntlet will be in a box outside Joe's cabin (with a shotgun for some reason) so you can happily replay it again with that from the get-go if you want. The trouble with the game was that it was just...boring...run up to an enemy, left jab, left jab, right punch, punch, punch and...rinse, lather, repeat...this is what you did with every land enemy. Gators could only be killed with Spears, and the final boss involved running in circles around him landing hits where you could until you punched him to death. Which apparently is not survivable despite the Swamp Man being able to shrug off decapitation and re-growing his own head in a matter of minutes or even seconds.
This DLC follows the Not a Hero way of doing things and I honestly did not like it. Whilst it was fun to play initially, I started to get bored with the samey game play, with punching one enemy to death after another, and all the time I was trying to figure out why Joe hadn't gone to check on his family the moment the Moulded showed up instead of waiting three years before doing anything. As it was the game just left me with more questions than answers, and once you start getting bored then there is not much that a game can pull out of its hat to reawaken your interest. This DLC could have been really good, the Banned Footage Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 proved that but by choosing to follow the feel of Not a Hero, End of Zoe has pushed my Thumb Down.
4/10 - Game play is fun for a while; sadly beating the Moulded into pulp quickly starts to get dull and repetitive. Zoe survives the events of RE7 is basically all you need to know. If this is going to be important for later editions of the franchise who knows. If you loved the Not a Hero DLC then play this one, but if you preferred the feel of RE7 and the Banned Footage DCLs, then give this one a miss.
Date Posted: 27/10/19
The first Resident Evil 2 came out in 1998 and introduced fans to Leon S Kennedy and Claire Redfield. I didn’t play that game because at the time survival horror wasn’t my cup of tea. However, as it is now 2019 and I have gotten more into that particular genre after enjoying the likes of Alien Isolation and Resident Evil VII I figured that I would give this one a go. Having not played the original I don’t know how faithfully this one follows it, but I will give my opinions on it knowing little to nothing about the Resident Evil franchise.
Now before I go any further I might as well point out that similarly to Resident Evil VII I did somewhat ruin this experience for myself by watching Outside Xbox playing the game, now whilst they did not do a full 100% walkthrough I knew the majority of what was going to happen as I started Leon’s campaign. However, this game is designed to be played at least twice, potentially up to four times through, so whilst half or maybe only a quarter of it was spoiled for me I would be able to enjoy the rest.
When you load up you have the opportunity to play as either Leon or Claire, according to Outside Xbox, the canon is Leon first then Claire, so that is what I did. Apparently the story of one affects the other so playing it through a third and fourth time doing Claire first then Leon may provide new content and different cut scenes or something.
Anyway, we jump into the shoes of Leon Kennedy, a rookie cop who is driving to Racoon City to start his new job. On the way he stops for gasoline and encounters flesh eating monsters that are ripping people apart, moments after fleeing from the gas station shop, he encounters a woman, Claire Redfield. The two of them head to Racoon City together to find out what is happening, Claire is looking for her brother Chris (who I think was in Resident Evil so would be in the mansion at this point...maybe...?) and Leon wants to get to the Police Station. The two get separated almost as soon as they arrive and Leon ventures into the quiet station alone.
After examining a security feed he sees another cop in trouble so he races to the other officer’s aid. He gets there just in time for the other officer to be ripped in half and suddenly the station seems to be swarming with shambling corpses that want to feast on the flesh of the living.
Leon manages to make it to temporary safety and meets a wounded officer named Marvin, who tells him what happened and orders him to get out of the station anyway he can leaving him [Marvin] behind if necessary.
With limited weapons and health Leon must venture through the dark corridors of the Police station, searching for a way out whilst trying not to fall victim to the shambling corpses that roam the hallways, the twisted monsters that have found their way into the station, and a monstrous figure that dogs his every step...
That is the gist of Leon’s story, below is Claire’s during your second playthrough.
Claire encounters Leon then bish-bash-bosh they are separated and she ends up in a different part of the Police Station to him. Like Leon she begins to explore her surroundings and is quickly able to deduce that she needs to find a way out as the station is overrun with zombies.
She is able to get out and encounters a small girl named Sherry. Sherry’s parents are lost and the chief of police Irons, wants the child for some sinister purpose. Unable to find her brother Claire sets about trying to keep Sherry safe from the monsters that have taken over the station, whilst a twisted monstrosity stalks the little girl through the hallways...
Going into the game as Leon I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to face and I was determined to do a better job than Andy and Jane did on Outside Xbox.
You have a gun but the zombies that you face don’t just drop after one headshot, most will take at least three or four bullets before they are put down for good. I tried shooting out their knees to make them fall over but again it takes several bullets to get them down. Plus when they are on the floor they can still lunge and bite at you, sadly there is no Isaac Clark style stomp which will smash their heads in once they are on the ground. The zombies are capable of moving surprisingly fast and as you try to get the all important headshot they will shamble towards you with their arms out and their mouth wide, you can back-up but will quickly find yourself with your back to a wall. Panic firing will take some of your ammo and you need to keep your wits about you at all times, I lost track of the amount of times a zombie managed to sneak up on me from behind as I was distracted. If a zombie does grab you from behind it will take off about a third of your health before you can knock it away, if one grabs you from the front and you have a sub-weapon like knife or grenade then you can stab them or jam the grenade in their mouth to get them off you without losing health. The knives you find have durability though and will get lodged in zombies, so if you want your knife back, you must kill the zombie in whose chest it is now sticking out of.
Throughout my playthrough (as Leon) I was rarely struggling for pistol ammo and found the zombies more annoying than threatening with them only overwhelming me once or twice. The hit boxes that detect when they grab you also seem to be closer than you think they are, I swear that I would run past a zombie only for the grab animation to kick in. Getting bitten by the zombies was like getting pecked to death by ducks, as every time it happened I was rolling my eyes because there had been a good foot between me and the zombie yet they were able to grab me anyway.
Fairly obviously I learned more about how the game wants you to play as Leon than in my second playthrough as Claire. Initially as Leon I was running around constantly and tried running past Lickers and just hoped that they wouldn’t catch me as I ducked into different rooms. However, later as Leon and then as Claire I realised that Lickers are blind, hunting through sound, as Claire I also found a note which said that which I must have missed as Leon, but anyway. Therefore running around meant they could follow my footsteps, however, if I just walked and move quietly I was able to move right past them. There were several instances as Claire when they were on the ceiling above or the walls next to me and I wandered past without altering them. I enjoy mechanics like that because it forces you to change your tactics to deal with different threats the game throws at you.
The map was also ridiculously useful, probably the most useful map in any game I have played. What makes it so useful is the fact that rooms appear red when they are still to be fully explored (or items are still there) turning blue once they have been fully explored and all items have been collected. It means that if you do get a bit stuck you can bring up the map and look back towards rooms that you haven’t turned blue yet. You may just find a crucial item necessary for progress if you return to those rooms to have another look round. Admittedly because I am what you humans might consider Obsessive Compulsive, if a room was red I would venture back to it to find what I missed, potentially wasting ammo and health supplies for something that ultimately wasn’t worth it.
Your inventory is also very helpful and whilst it is initially pretty small, you can pick up hip pouches which add two additional slots for each one you find, so you can quickly increase the amount of items that you collect. The best part about this inventory system though is the small red tick that appears in an item’s inventory slot when key items are no longer required. I was stuck when playing as Claire and couldn’t figure out where to go, however, as my bolt cutters did not have that red tick in the corner I knew there must be other chained doors out there to find. After a map check, sure enough I found a door, cut my way through it and progress was made. This means that if you are short on inventory space and have an item with a red tick beside it then you can safely discard it without worrying that it might be essential for plot progression later. I will admit that it would have been nice if this game simply allowed you to drop items like Dead Space but I guess if it did the rooms would have to return to being red which might just make things unnecessarily complicated.
One final point about the Inventory that is a bit strange is the fact that later on you get a wrist band which your protagonist wears on their arm, and yet it takes up a space. Why does something that is being worn on your person taking up a slot?? Ditto weapons that you have slung over your shoulder also take up room in the inventory, that didn’t bug me too much, but it seemed strange that something on your arm takes up a space in your hip pouches.
Gunpowder can be found and mixed to create various types of bullets, shotgun shells for Leon or Flame and Acid rounds for Claire. I did mix some gunpowder to create more ammunition but I was rarely hurting for bullets as either character as the game is not really stingy with giving you the means to fight the zombies and the other things wandering around.
I was also quite happy with the mixing of Herbs to create health items. Unlike Resident Evil VII neither Leon nor Claire splashes chemfluid on their hand to heal, instead they can either scoff down herbs, or mix them together, then scoff them down. Different herbs have different properties, Blue cures you of poison, red reduces damage, and green heals you. If you mix them together you can create an item that heals, cures poison and gives you damage resistance for a time. I think the damage resistance effectively doubles you health levels. You have a heart monitor thing that appears when you open your inventory with Fine in Green, Caution in Yellow, and Danger in Red. Both Leon and Claire will be slower when they are wounded and very slow when in Danger. If they are wounded though they make strained breathing noises which I found a bit on the irritating side. Three hits takes you down to Danger, but you get around six if you have the damage resistance effect in place.
Weapon-wise, Leon has a pistol, shotgun, Magnum and later a flamethrower. Claire has three different pistols, only one of which I actually seemed to ever find ammo for, a grenade launcher, and a machine gun. I tended to be struggling for health items more than ammo when I was playing because zombies would pick away at my health as I tried to run round them, so I would generally walk into a room and put down anything shambling around in there to save myself getting nibbled on later.
Weapons can generally be upgraded with new parts to make them more accurate, more powerful and take less fuel. Exploration is rewarded because you find these additional parts which make you better able to take on the game’s challenges.
Admittedly I’m not sure how Claire’s story works in parallel to Leon as he has a boss fight with a guy, and then Claire has the same boss fight with the same guy, who falls down the same hole as he did when I beat him as Leon. Doors that I’d unlocked as Leon were closed when playing as Claire. I’m not sure exactly how these stories work if stuff that I have done in one doesn’t appear to carry over to the other. At time of writing I have completed Leon and Claire, but I’m sure I’ll go back to do it again as Claire and Leon to see what is different
In what I assume is a staple of the Resident Evil franchise (having seen it in Resident Evil VII) you save your game in various rooms rather than on the fly. Those rooms are safe from enemies and contain item boxes that you can use to store anything in your inventory you don’t currently need. These boxes are connected so you can put an object in one box, and then retrieve it from another somewhere else. Once you are beginning to know your way around you can plan routes to different objectives making sure to drop items in these boxes then pick them up from another so you don’t waste precious inventory slots carrying them unnecessarily far.
Generally there was a lot that I was really enjoying as I was playing through. Years ago I played Dino Crisis on the PS1 (still just called the Playstation then) which was described as basically Resident Evil with Dinosaurs instead of Zombies. The two games were made by the same guy so it wasn’t really surprising that this game was reminding me of Dino Crisis as I played it.
Sadly, things weren’t all good...
I think the biggest source of irritation in the game can be summarised in one word: Tyrant. I know nothing about this thing apart from it appears human, has a face that looks like a fingerprint, and it punches you to death if it reaches you. There was a horror film I saw a while ago called It Follows which was surprisingly creepy, basically the premise was that “It” would follow after someone killing them when it caught up, it would only ever walk. If a person was being followed they could get rid of “It” by having sex with someone at which point the thing or whatever it was would go after them instead. The Tyrant kind of reminded me of that entity with the glaring exception that “It” was scary and the big guy in the trench coat wasn’t. Now I understand that you start to get comfortable in your surroundings, by the time the Tyrant shows up you have generally explored a lot of the Police Station, you know which rooms are clear and which ones contain dangers. As Claire there were a couple of Lickers in a certain corridor so I knew to walk when I was travelling through there. The Tyrant is probably supposed to represent an omnipresent threat that means you have to move faster, you cannot linger in places because if you do the Tyrant will find you. The problem is that he is not an instant-kill if he reaches you, yes a single punch will knock you down to Danger health immediately but if you get hit, quaff down a health item and get the hell out of dodge. What made the Alien in Alien Isolation so scary was that if it caught you, you were dead, the flamethrower could push it away but it would keep coming after you until you ran out of flamethrower fuel. The Tyrant just slowly plods around with heavy footsteps that seem to be the same volume regardless of how close it is making locating it when you don’t have eyes on it a pain in the arse.
Plus remember a few paragraphs ago when I said that the Lickers hunt using sound so you need to walk rather than run to get by them? Naturally that is a rhetorical question. The reason that I bring it up is because there were several times when I was trying to avoid Lickers and the Tyrant as Claire but the neither attacked the other as both went after my unfortunate protagonist. If Lickers hunt by sound then why do they ignore the Tyrant?? The Alien would ignore the Working Joes in Alien Isolation presumably because they were not alive, still, there were occasions when Joes that had been ripped apart, presumably by the Alien could be seen so perhaps the Alien had ripped apart the first few it encountered, realised they were not the threat so ignored them after that. The Lickers and the Tyrant just ignore one another and it is a pity because it would have added an extra level to the game if you could lure the Tyrant into areas where there were Lickers and leave the two to fight whilst you scarpered in the opposite direction.
What I find strangest about the Tyrant though is the way it always seems to know where you are. Going back to the Alien Isolation example the Alien was actively hunting you down, if doors were opening and closing it would investigate. It would follow after the sounds of footsteps, and most importantly there wasn’t really anywhere you could go to truly escape it. In RE2 there are several locations that the Tyrant cannot enter, save rooms for one, the S.T.A.R.S office for another, and so you are perfectly safe if you are in one of those locations. But the Tyrant won’t hang around outside a safe room waiting for you to emerge, it will wander off. Now what I don’t understand is how it knows that you’ve left your safe haven behind and have gone somewhere it can get you. Unlike the Lickers which hunt using sound there is no explanation for how the Tyrant can find you every time other than the game knows where you are so the Tyrant does too. Basically, the only way that the Tyrant could keep finding you is if it knows exactly what your objectives are as you complete them and get new ones. It knows that you need to move the shelves in the library to create a bridge to get to the clock tower, then it knows that once you have the electrical parts you are going to be returning to the jails (as Leon) and it also knows that you have left the Police Station behind to travel to Umbrella’s underground lab. The only explanation I could come up with for how it is always able to find you is...you’re playing a video game. The Tyrant can find you because the game knows where you are and so it does too. It is as simple as that. I like context in games and I found the Tyrant to be just out of place, it’s presence didn’t enlighten the game for me, if anything it just irritated me. As I said I’m happy to explore every nook and cranny to find secrets, a game mechanic that prevents me doing that is not one I am going to enjoy.
Plus in Claire’s campaign the Tyrant is killed by something worse, in Leon’s story is running parallel to hers then why does it die when playing as her, but doesn’t die when you are playing as Leon??
I just don’t really get how the two stories are running alongside each other when key events like the Tyrant being killed happen in Claire’s story but it is continuing to follow Leon to the end. Is there more than one Tyrant?? Also how come we have certain boss fights being done in the same way, in the same locations as they were in each story, wouldn’t it have made more sense if Leon and Claire encountered these bosses in different locations and in different stages of mutation??
Graphically the game looks very impressive with a suitable amount of blood and guts on display. If Leon or Claire gets overwhelmed by the zombies you do have to endure the sight of them having their flesh ripped off as a zombie bites into them as they scream in obvious agony. The lip syncing though seemed off to me with Claire’s mouth generally moving a fraction before the words escape them which was a little distracting during her cut scenes.
The version of the game that I have is the Deluxe Edition which contained various new outfits for Leon and Claire, plus a gun that I don’t think you unlock till later, it’s called the Albert something-or-other which appears to be like the Albert 01 from Resident Evil VII which unlocks after you complete the game for the first time. It packs way more of a punch than your regular pistol but takes the same ammo, and I’m pretty sure that the Albert gun in RE2 is the same. It can’t be upgraded but gives you a bit more firepower. As the Deluxe Edition was on sale and reduced by around £20 I bought it (after my recent misadventure with hacking I have decided it will be safer to just buy stuff for a while), and in the PS Store you could get all the unlocks for something like £3 so I thought fuck it and got those too. I arrived at the game’s first item box to discover that I have access to a Mini-gun, Rocket Launcher, Machine Gun, Knife that won’t ever break, as well as a pistol and all of these weapons have unlimited ammo. I looked it up and apparently the criteria a player would need to go through to unlock these basically means that they wouldn’t need them because they are that good at the game already. We’re talking Hardcore runs under a certain time, and without using too many items or saving very often. Personally I don’t mind a challenge and happily used the Hand Canon in Dead Space 3 after playing Classic Mode to unlock it which only allowed you to make classic weapons and locked the difficulty onto Hard. I am a decent enough gamer but I knew though that I would never be able to complete the criteria necessary to unlock these weapons but as I had actually paid real money for them, then I should use them
This was a question that I pondered for a short time. Playing the game with a mini-gun that could tear through zombie and lickers alike without any difficulty would be awesome but it would also remove any challenge from the game. Just for fun I ran around for a bit just wrecking the monsters in the game and it made me laugh. I remembered back when I got the Hand Canon in DS3 I set the difficulty to Impossible just to give myself a challenge because the enemies were pathetic being shredded almost instantly by such an overpowered weapon. By that point though I had probably played the game through two-three-maybe even four times so basically knew it inside out and back to front. However, playing Resident Evil 2 was a first for me, yes I watched others playing it, but that is still different to playing it yourself and in truth I didn’t want to ruin the experience by making it too easy. As a result all of the unlocked weapons sat in the Item Box for my first playthrough as Leon and my 2nd as Claire so I could play the game as it was intended.
...But...I did choose to use those weapons when I came to do my 3rd playthrough with Claire first and am now on my 4th run as Leon. They made the game way easier, but it could still be challenging in places so it wasn’t exactly like playing on God-mode or anything. I can’t say that much seemed to be different this way around, but I haven’t finished Leon’s run yet so it might be different later. I didn’t get bored or feel too overpowered using them so did not feel the need to put them back into the storage boxes.
In summary Resident Evil 2 is a fun survival horror game and utilises the same engine that brought Resident Evil VII to life. It has its problems, mainly the Tyrant being annoying, still generally I have had a lot of fun playing it so obviously it gets a Thumbs Up. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am a firm Resident Evil fan now but it has perhaps made it more likely that I will play the Remake of Resident Evil and Resident Evil 4 both of which have been sitting ignored in my PS4’s Library for quite a while.
9/10 – Anything less than a nine felt wrong and so that is the score I gave it. If you are like me and enjoyed Resident Evil VII then this game features some of the same survival horror elements that game did. If you are simply new to the Resident Evil franchise then this as good a place to start as any, yes you might not know exactly what is going on, but the game play is so fun that by the end, like me, I doubt you’ll care.
Date Posted: 28/3/21
The second remake in the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil 3 Remake was released in 2020 using the same RE Engine used to create Resident Evil 2 Remake and of course the excellent Resident Evil VII. Similarly to RE2 I knew nothing about this game as I had not played the original, however, unlike both Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil VII I made a point of not watching any videos (with the acceptation of the demo) so nothing was going to be spoiled for me.
I know that there are those who are questioning what these two remakes are going to mean for the future of games. Will Rockstar remake Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas using the graphical capabilities of GTA 5 or Red Dead Redemption using Red Dead Redemption 2 as the template?? Could the Dead Space games be remade?? Or would Capcom remake Dino Crisis or Devil May Cry at some point?? The list could go on and on because if remakes become an acceptable norm what is to prevent game companies just remaking older games and rereleasing them?? Personally I am not overly concerned with this because the truth is if Rockstar did remake GTA: San Andreas I would be all over it as San Andreas was the best GTA game ever made and I would welcome going back to it. It is also obvious by the fact that I did not play Resident Evil 2 and RE3 the first time around but I did want to play the remakes show that these older games can attract new fans so why wouldn’t companies follow Capcom’s example??
I have wandered from the point a smidge so let’s bring things back to Resident Evil 3 Remake, and allow me to explain what is happening...
You play as Jill Valentine (one of the survivors of the Mansion Incident seen in Resident Evil which I still have not played) and a former member of S.T.A.R.S (that’s Special Tactics And Rescue Service). It has been a few months since the events of the first game and Jill has been suspended as no one believes her (or her surviving team mates) regarding what happened at the Mansion. She is intending to leave town, and has been in virtual house arrest. She gets a phone call from a former team mate warning her to get out of the house, before she can do anything though a massive humanoid creature smashes its way through the wall of her apartment. Jill manages to escape but the creature pursues her through the apartment building until she is able to elude it.
Outside she meets with Brad (the one who called to warn her about the creature and a fellow survivor of the Mansion Incident) and learns that Racoon City has been overrun with zombies. The T-Virus she encountered in the Mansion has somehow escaped into the general population and has turned thousands of men and women into flesh eating monsters.
Brad is bitten and she is forced to leave him behind as the creature reappears and once again tries to kill her. Jill is saved by the timely intervention of a member of [the] Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S) named Carlos. He takes her to a subway station and tells her that they are planning on evacuating uninfected civilians, unfortunately the power is offline. Carlos’ commanding officer Mikhail Victor has heard of Jill’s reputation from her time with S.T.A.R.S and requests her help getting the power back online so they can get the train moving. Jill agrees and heads into the city to restore the power.
Unfortunately she has not seen the last of the monster who has set its sights on eliminating the final member of S.T.A.R.S....
This review is going to be separated into effectively two parts, a lot of the following paragraphs are based upon notes I made during my first playthrough when I was not exactly having a great time playing the game. However, my opinion basically changed massively after I had completed my first run-through and the game suddenly surprised me.
I haven’t played RE2 for a while and the version I purchased had all of the unlockables unlocked from the beginning. I decided though to play the game through at least once for Leon and Claire as nature intended without using any of the additional weapons or equipment I had. Once I did my first run as Leon then the next as Claire, for my Claire then Leon run through I used the unlimited mini-gun as I was just playing it to see what was different when playing as Claire first. During my first run I did pretty well and managed to unlock a decent rating at the end so I had some confidence when jumping into RE3.
I started playing on Standard difficulty as I tend to be a medium level difficulty man, yes I have done games on Impossible difficulty modes but usually normal is difficult enough for a game to be a challenge without getting frustrating. I may have mentioned in previous articles that I hate getting killed in games as to me you get killed when you are not being careful or you are shit at the game. I never stop finding it annoying especially when games keep track of how many times you die. I mention this because in my first play through of Resident Evil 3 Remake, I got killed, a lot and the majority of those deaths were down to the increased durability of the zombies.
In RE2 the zombies tended to drop after 2-3 head shots but here it was more like 5-6 and even then they were not necessarily dead. I quickly developed the habit of putting down a zombie then poking it with my combat knife (Jill unconvinced apparently of the benefit of slashing at her enemies) to see if it was dead or not. More often than not they weren’t and despite frantic poking with my knife they almost always seem to be able to get me in a grapple that would take off some health. The game flashes up a button prompt when you get grabbed but not once was I able to hammer the button hard enough to prevent me getting nibbled on. The combat knife in RE2 had durability stats which the one on RE3 doesn’t but it cannot be used to prevent a zombie grabbing you. Yes if you used a knife in RE2 it got lodged in the zombie and you needed to kill them to get it back but it prevented you from being grabbed. In an early cut scene Jill uses a knife to stab a zombie in the head but she never tries to do that during the rest of the game. So either the Special Tactics And Rescue Service members were never taught that stabbing an enemy in the head or chest will get it off you, or the combat knives are about as sharp as a particularly blunt spoon so Jill never bothers to use it.
The zombies are tougher in this game than the previous one, and also have a habit of hiding behind doors so they can pounce on you the moment you venture through one. Plus as I said above if you shoot every zombie in the room and don’t then go around double-tapping them all again in the head to make sure they are definitely dead, you can guarantee that the second your back is turned, it is going to jump up to munch on you. You truly need eyes in the back of your head and this game made me think that if there were a zombie apocalypse I would definitely get killed by some random zombie I didn’t spot. There also seem to be a fuck-tonne more zombies in this game than in the previous one so you can, and will, get overwhelmed by an onslaught of zombies that you put down only for them to get back up again. If I remember correctly Leon or Claire might have to deal with maybe four or five zombies in one go, in RE3 you often have to fight six or more in tight claustrophobic corridors or areas littered with debris that you could get caught up on which make not getting bitten so much more difficult.
The Nemesis takes over the role of the humanoid powerhouse that follows you around, a role that was filled with Mr X in RE2. However, unlike Mr X who basically just plods around after you, making sure you didn’t hang around in one spot too long, Nemesis appears in pre-set sequences. Mr X was an obstacle that you had to work around whereas Nemesis is something that you are generally just supposed to run from. The thing is that Mr X walked after you, whereas Nemesis can jump ahead of you to get in your path, it can used a tentacle to wrap around your legs to pull you towards it, and is even capable of straight up running after you. Jill doesn’t run fast enough to just out pace it so you have to either try and fight it to slow it down, or try and dodge around its attacks.
Now unlike in RE2 Jill has a dodge move that she can use to get around enemy attacks if it is timed correctly. The problem is that the dodge move works when it feels like it. I would mash the button and sometimes Jill would jump clear of an attack from a zombie or Nemesis, but more often than not, she doesn’t and there goes another chunk of neck or some more health as Nemesis punches her with enough force to smash through a concrete wall but not enough to break any of Jill’s bones.
On that point, the wilful suspension of disbelief takes a bit of a hit (no pun intended) whenever the Nemesis swings a punch that connects with Jill. We witness this thing punching through walls and shrugging off attacks from rocket launchers, or getting blown up over and over, and yet his strikes are not one hit kills. In the initial sequence Jill is thrown against a wall, kicked in the side, and instead of her internal organs being smashed into mush she is able to get up and flee. Moments later she is smashed through the floor, and an explosion knocks her into a metal fire escape. Not long later she drives a car off a six story parking lot without wearing a seatbelt, yet climbs out of the tangled wreck with a couple of scratches but otherwise unharmed. Each time she should have been seriously hurt if not killed, she is able to get up and carry on running without any ill effects what so ever.
Apparently within the context of the story Nemesis was released by Umbrella to hunt down surviving members of S.T.A.R.S as a means of field testing its capabilities. Yes we see it killing some civilians but apart from that it just wanders around being annoying. In an early document there are apparently five surviving members of S.T.A.R.S so why don’t we see it killing any of them?? It might carry more weight to the proceedings if characters we knew (or played as if that was a thing) in Resident Evil are slaughtered without difficulty by Nemesis in this game. Nemesis is also one of those enemies that in some ways gets easier the more you encounter him. After your initial encounter in Jill’s apartment building, when it pops up again it is able to follow you through city streets, and can follow you into some of the buildings with you having to dodge round or shoot him to escape. Nemesis is capable of dodging grenade or rockets that you fire at it just making it more intimidating. However after that it is only faced again in linier story moments, cut scenes and boss encounters. When it is chasing you through the city, it is tense, and you are on the edge of your seat trying to get away. After that it is one fairly standard boss fight after another. Its effectiveness as a terrifying monster is lost when you know that you are only going to encounter it again in large open areas that are helpfully littered with health and ammo. The final thing that I will say about Nemesis is that like Mr X from RE2 it always seems to just know where you are. Mr X knew you’d headed down into the lab below the city and follows. Nemesis is the same, it knows that Jill is the only survivor of S.T.A.R.S, so hunts her down remorselessly, but how does it know she is all that is left?? We are given no context for how Nemesis is able to smash down a wall confidently knowing that Jill Valentine just happens to be on the far side at the time. In the second Resident Evil film we saw a live-action Nemesis that was being controlled by a team in some field lab or something but here it is suggested that it was simply given a task to complete, was given a pat on the bum and told to go nuts.
Similarly to the previous games by Capcom like RE2 and Dino Crisis you are able to find weapons parts that make your arsenal more effective. The majority of these parts are found through exploration, unlocking safes, and finding weapons crates. However, at least one of these parts can only be found through combat with Nemesis which was annoying considering that my instinct was to run from the massive bioweapon that wanted Jill dead. But no you have to stand your ground and fight it. Do enough damage and it will drop a supply box which you can race over and pick up. You just have to remember that if you fight, that just seems to really piss it off as it actually ran after me when I shot at it so yes you get parts but you make it very angry.
I wanted to make sure that I would not spoil any of the game for myself by watching playthroughs, which lead to a scenario when I was wandering around wondering what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I had to find a lock-pick to progress but I couldn’t find it. I had spotted a body in the corner near the door where the lock-pick would have been used but as I’d shot at the corpse and the bullets just went through it. This happens with bodies that are not going to reanimate as zombies so can be ignored. I assumed that this corpse was part of the background and couldn’t be interacted with. A good ten-fifteen minutes of wandering around later after I had scoured the rest of the maps I had access to, I returned to the corpse, and a button prompt appeared as I drew close enough and in his lap was the lock-pick.
Like the last game you do get to play as more than one character, however, as I have already said unlike RE2 there are not duel campaigns happening simultaneously. You play as Jill for the majority of the time, but there are a couple of sequences when you take over as Carlos. But when you are playing as Jill, Carlos is sitting on the train not doing anything, and when Jill is on the train Carlos takes over. It is a bit of a missed opportunity as Jill and Carlos have radios so there is no real reason why they couldn’t have been working on their own objectives and we play as Jill in one playthrough doing her stuff then as Carlos doing his. It would have added some variety to the game and presented us with the opportunity to play the game through at least four times, Jill then Carlos, Carlos then Jill, just like RE2 did with Leon and Claire.
When you do take over as Carlos there is no difference in game play except he has an assault rifle which makes fighting the larger amounts of zombies a bit easier to deal with. Also bizarrely despite the fact that he has numerous actual hip pouches and a backpack on, he doesn’t have any more inventory slots than Jill has in her jeans and tank top.
I’ll drop this now...
There are also a couple of plot holes which revolve around a vaccine for the T-Virus. Now my understanding of a vaccine is that it doesn’t cure a disease if you have it already, rather it exposes you to a controlled amount of a virus so your body can build up anti-bodies in order to fight the infection if you encounter it. In RE3 characters talk about a vaccine but it is used to cure a character that has been infected and it cures them. As in, it completely cures them of the T-Virus which makes it a cure not a vaccine. It might be something that annoys only me but it reminded me of the main character from Artimus describing an act of sabotage as a heist. Which annoyed me then as this annoys me now.
The last part of the game is all about getting a sample of the vaccine to the government in order to prevent further outbreaks (as at the time no one knows Umbrella created the T-Virus in the first place). The thing is there is one confirmed sample of the vaccine and as I said above it us used to cure a character. However, if there is only one known sample of the vaccine then would it not be better to get that sample to the government so they can duplicate it?? Both Jill and Carlos are professional Special Forces soldiers so would surely recognise that it is better to sacrifice one life in order to save hundreds, thousands or potentially millions of others. In Spider-Man Peter was forced to make this very choice and he made the tough call to lose someone he loved to save a city full of strangers. It’s an illogical decision unless you consider that I’m pretty sure it is an unwritten rule that if you are the protagonist in any film or game and are single, and someone saves your life then you are pretty much obliged to have sex with them after the credits role. Jill starts off hostile to Carlos but it is a pretty safe bet that they went at it like bunnies once the escape helicopter lands. So was it the promise of getting some action that led one of the characters to willingly risk the safety of everyone to give the one sample of the vaccine to their future fuck-buddy??? It is suggested that there is a stockpile of the vaccine underground but there is no guarantee that it was true or that it hasn’t been destroyed, so wouldn’t it be the harder call but better decision to save the one you have??
The game crashed on me...it only happened once but it was annoying so I mentioned it.
Marvin and Kendo from RE2 both cameo in this game and further cement this as part of the canon. We revisit the Racoon City Police Department and blow up part of the shower room and caused the steam leak that Leon or Claire needed to sort out then they arrived. We see how Marvin got bitten and it was cool to see both of these characters again.
My first play through was littered with a lot of niggles and like I said I did get killed numerous times by zombies that just wouldn’t take the hint and just fucking die. However, what really, really, really pissed me off was not the deaths or the fact that the zombies could still function when most of their head was a bloody stump it was the fact that every few times I died the game would ask me if I wanted to drop down from Standard to Assisted mode. In this mode you are given an assault rifle off the bat and the game even helpfully draws your targeting reticule to the Zombie’s heads making it easier to hit them. It fucked me off because I just wanted to bellow “STOP asking me if I want to switch to assisted game mode!!!!! NO I FUCKING DON’T!!!!!” It is so patronising to have the game sitting over your shoulder every time you die asking if you’d like to drop down to an easier difficulty because clearly the game is too hard for you to do on its current setting. I wanted to grab the game by the throat and demand to know why four or five headshots FAIL to kill a single zombie. Why can a zombie still find me when I have fired a bullet into each of its eyes so it shouldn’t be able to see let alone lumber over to me?? Why is my combat knife about as useful as a blunt potato peeler?? Why can I walk into a room pop every downed zombie in the head and yet at an allocated time they will still get up?? Why are there zombie hordes in this game which you must clear out with a lame-ass pistol or an assault rifle that likes to shoot to the left of your target’s head?? If the game didn’t keep kicking me in the back of the legs when I’m trying to move forward then I wouldn’t keep getting killed. Plus, cut me some slack it is my first playthrough, its obviously not going to be perfect so stop asking me if I want the game to auto-aim my gun for me as I’m clearly so shit I cannot do it myself.
I wrote the following paragraph as I was watching the credits roll to a close of my first playthrough...
When you play RE3 you control Jill and Carlos a few times. But unlike RE2 in which there were four different ways to play the game Leon then Claire, Claire then Leon. There is only one way to play RE3 and now that I have finished it I don’t honestly know if I will go back to play it again. I wanted to replay RE2 over and over but with RE3 there isn’t going to be anything different if I play it again.
That was going to be my final word and honestly I would probably have rated the game with a Thumbs Down or at most Horizontal. But then after the post-credits scene the game told me that I have unlocked the Shop. Curious I looked at it under the Bonus section and discovered that the challenges that I had largely ignored during playthrough unlocked XP which could be used to purchase different weapons. These included things like additional hip pouches, coins that increase your defence or healing ability, a knife that sets enemies on fire, and firearms that have unlimited ammunition. Of these firearms there is an assault rifle and a rocket launcher.
I then took a look at the challenges and how many points I would need to unlock the different weapons and set my mind to getting the assault rifle. Now the game isn’t like Doom or Doom Eternal in which you can load a save, killed stuff, quit the game and it’ll save, therefore remembering how many monsters you killed. One of the challenges is killing 2000 zombies which would take numerous playthroughs if you just played through the story. However, whilst looking on YouTube I came across a video which demonstrated how to farm points from the various bits of the game. Essentially all you need to do for any weapon challenge is to create a save, go through the section that you are in killing as many zombies as you can, save again in a different save slot to your original file. Then load up the older save, this saves the amount of kills you have, and resets the zombies back to what they were before so you can go around killing them again. At which point you...say it with me...rinse, lather, repeat...until you have worked through the weapons challenges. Using this method, in short order I had completed the pistol and shotgun challenges (each weapon has two challenges so I had done them both). This gave me sufficient points to buy the assault rifle with unlimited ammo. From there I basically just went through the game, stopping at convenient save points to repeat this technique in unlock more points in order to get my hands on the rocket launcher.
I guess you could say this was a cheating and I am honestly not sure if it was a bug or something that you could always do otherwise you’d have to play this game a dozen times or more to kill enough zombies to unlock the challenge points. Personally if it is a bug I have no qualms about using it because if game makers release a game with bugs in them that can be exploited then that is their fault for releasing a faulty product. If it isn’t a bug and it is a legit way to just crank up your kill count and weapon challenges then I am all for it.
Whilst I finished my first playthrough and was not intending to play the game again once I discovered that there were prizes to be won I dived into another game to unlock the assault rifle. Once I had it the zombies that had proven to be so annoying in my first playthrough were little more than insects to be crushed beneath my mighty boot.
Whilst not a +game mode exactly being able to unlock things makes me want to keep playing the game. Yes it is the carrot being dangled in front of me but you know what these challenges are ones that can be done with better weapons and gear. How do you get better weapons and gear?? By playing the game of course and unlocking them. Once I finished my second playthrough, I jumped into a third determined to get all the weapons parts, Charlie doll statues and documents. I am already thinking about doing speed runs to get S Rankings to gain even more points to expend my arsenal even more. I played Dead Space 3 on Classic Mode to unlock the Hand Canon and once I had it I played the game on all the difficulty settings to give myself a bit of a challenge. If playing Resident Evil 3 Remake allows me to keep returning to the story mode with new means of carving my initials into the same monsters that gave me so much trouble the first time then I am all for it.
The game has numerous faults. The campaign is pretty short, Nemesis is basically scripted, and becomes easier the more you encounter it. The enemies have far too much health and cannot be easily dodged. Plus if you die by crikey does the game like to rub your inadequacy in your face. There was the real potential to have two campaigns running side by side here, with you playing as Jill and Carlos not just switching between the two when the other is indisposed. It smacks of a lazy sequel that was not interested in doing anything other than ride the coattails of the previous better game.
If the Shop had not been unlocked I would have given the game an overall Thumbs Down because the changes made to it caused it to be harder for no reason. A single bullet shot into the head should be enough to kill a zombie, two or three is stretching it, but okay. Any more than that and you are taking the piss and when the volume of zombies has been amped up but so has the difficulty in kill them then you cross the line from challenging to annoying.
When all is said and done the reason that I like Resident Evil 3 Remake is because of the Shop and the means through which I can unlock better toys to play with in-game. The campaign is much shorter than the one in RE2 and the prospect of having two characters to play as doing simultaneous objectives couldn’t have been missed harder making the game feel a little like a cheap cash-in on the success of RE2. Personally though, I am happy to keep playing through it and reducing all the monsters to mush as I work towards getting all the items in the Shop. That is enough for me to recommend the game if you are like me and enjoy painting the nearest walls with an enemy’s face just for having the nerve to look at you funny. If you were playing it to see if it is as good as Resident Evil 2 Remake and do not care about unlocking stuff with which to play the game you have just completed over again then best to give this one a miss.
Considering I played the game once over several days and then charged through two additional playthroughs in as many days, I have to say that I did eventually like Resident Evil 3 Remake and will give it a Thumbs Up, although, that Thumbs Up is only for those of you who want to blast hundreds of zombies into mulch and reduce the Nemesis from a challenge to the equivalent of an annoying fly that you smack with a rolled up newspaper.
7/10 – This rating is for those of you out there who enjoy slaughtering monsters to complete challenges to gain XP that you use to unlock better ways of killing monsters. If you enjoy the catharsis that comes from doing that then do what I did and buy the game when it’s on sale for numerous carefree hours speed-running, shooting zombies and blasting Nemesis with weapons that make crates fall out of its trousers.
Plus, one final question, how does Carlos find Jill after her fight in front of the clock tower with Nemesis?? She didn’t tell him where she was after the incident which prevented her escaping the city so how did he know where to look?? Plot hole anyone???
Date Posted: 16/02/22
My apologies that the second review of 2022 has not been posted till mid-February, the reasons for this are effectively threefold. Firstly I have been training Columbo so most of my time has gone on juggling him and my life with Abbie. Two, I wanted to basically play Resident Evil Village to death in order to get the full experience, and thirdly and finally I have been having huge computer problems recently so just trying to get my computer to work properly has proven to be incredibly difficult. I suspect that one of the Grand Seniority’s rivals may have been attempting to hack my systems, honestly I have no idea why, I mean I’m stuck on Earth which is only remarkable for the beaches so no idea why anyone else would want it. Anyway, I am back now, my computer seems to be behaving itself so hopefully I can get back to posting regularly.
Right now that is out of the way, let us crack on...so Resident Evil Village (also known as Resident Evil VII) continues the story of the human pin cushion, namely Ethan Winters as he searches for his kidnapped daughter in a mysterious European village whilst being hunted by numerous monsters, including but not limited to a giant vampire lady and a weird fish-man. The game was released in 2021 and according to the trailers seemed to be a cross between Resident Evil 4 (referred to as RE4) and Resident Evil 7 (henceforth called RE7). I was a big fan of RE7 because it basically introduced me to the world of Resident Evil and I have subsequently played Resident Evil 2 Remake and the Resident Evil 3 Remake. RE2 was really good whereas RE3 grew on me after multiple playthroughs after I unlocked better ways to slaughtering my way through the enemies.
You are probably wanting me to just get to the point already so without further ado let’s jump in...the game begins with Ethan and Mia Winters’ relationship being a little strained. In the three years since the events of RE7 the pair have been living in a kind-of witness protection. Their handler being Chris Redfield. They have had a daughter named Rose but Ethan is frustrated with Mia’s refusal to talk about what happened with the Bakers. One night after putting Rose to bed, Mia is shot dead by non-other than Chris, who knocked Ethan unconscious and takes their child. Ethan wakes up on the roadside in the snow after the transport van he was in crashed, and the guard with him lies dead nearby.
Seeking help Ethan ventures into the forest and comes across a cabin in the woods that is ransacked by an unseen force as he explores. Going deeper into the woods Ethan discovers a small village, similarly to his experience in Louisiana he is there for a matter of minutes before he is attacked by monsters and has part of his hand bitten off by what appears to be a werewolf-like creature. He is quickly overwhelmed by many more creatures with a giant wolf-man leaping off a building with a massive hammer. But before Ethan can be killed the wolves mysteriously turn away and leave him alive.
Ethan encounters a crone that gives him some cryptic information, and as he searches for survivors he discovers that there is something very wrong with this village. Plus if he wants to save his daughter then he is going to have to take on the four formidable Lords of the village before confronting the one that all of them fear...
I will say right now that I have not played Resident Evil 4, however, I have seen a few people playing bits of it so I do know a little about it. From what I understand it was the game that basically defined the 3rd person shooter genre, and knew what it was. The underlying conspiracies and other bullshit from previous Resident Evil (RE) games was basically forgotten as Leon S Kennedy is sent into a village in Europe to rescue the President’s daughter. Whilst there he is attacked by the locals that are zombie-like creatures, some have weird tentacle heads, and Leon must also exchange words with a midget that for some reason dresses like Napoleon. The opening of Resident Evil Village (RE8) is almost a remake of RE4 with Ethan (like Leon) having to hold out against constantly respawning enemies before they are mysteriously called away with him being none the wiser as to why. The problem with this opening sequence is that it sets up the idea that you are going to be playing a game more like RE3 than RE7 with running and gunning being the preferred method of play. The problem is that it was RE7 that got me interested in the franchise, not RE3, and as Ethan was the protagonist of RE7 which also got away from the previous games conspiracies I was hoping the game would be more like that one. The thing is that bits of RE8 are like RE7 but bits are like RE4. Both the former and the latter knew what they were doing and what tone they were going for, but by flipping back and forth, RE8 just can’t seem to decide what it wants to be. The previous games I have played in the RE franchise at least stuck with a tone, RE2 was more horror and suspense, RE3 more action, RE7 horror and suspense, with RE8 trying to be horror and action which just doesn’t gel. Being chased around a relatively small house with tight corridors by Jack Baker was terrifying, being chased around a giant castle by the tall vampire lady: Lady Dimitrescu just isn’t
Which leads me nicely to the games main antagonists, the four Lords and their Ruler Mother Miranda. The majority of the marketing material for this game had a massive hard-on for Lady Dimitrescu with screen shots focussing heavily on her. Thing is she is the first of the four lords that you face, and therefore is the first you defeat. She is trying to be the Jack Baker or Mr X of RE8 by remorselessly hunting you down but her home is a castle which has numerous other rooms, wide corridors and easy means to get past her. So she is little more than a mild irritation. You quickly learn where she will and won’t go so if she blocks your path duck into one of her no-entry rooms and you are golden as she just wanders off. There is just no tension when she is around and the only thing close to a threat in the castle are the usual zombie-like creatures and her daughters. Now her daughters I personally found more attractive than Lady Dimitrescu, because despite the fact they are comprised of mostly bugs that can take on a solid form, it would be possible to have sex with them. I imagine that trying to have sex with Lady Dimitrescu would be like throwing a sausage down a motorway (if you don’t get the analogy then ask your parents). Anyway, the three daughters appear at various times and attempt to kill you but it turns out their weakness is cold wind (which makes you wonder why Lady Dimitrescu choose to live in a cold climate) so all you need to do is stand in a draught when they are around to freeze them, before putting a few shotgun blasts into their faces to end them. They could have been interesting enemies, they could have had more to them, but they are not given any screen time to develop. One asks why Ethan doesn’t love her (or something) but at that point the extent of their interaction has been the daughters stringing him up to a wall. Where was the love coming from? None of them are flirty or sexual in the way they interact with him so a line in which one of them questions his love or her love for him make no chuffing sense.
Lady Dimitrescu isn’t even a highlight in terms of the game’s bosses because she is dealt with so quickly after she naturally transforms in to a big monster. Jack Baker in his first human form with a chainsaw left me far more unnerved than what Dimitrescu became. In fact it is the second lord, or the Doll House sequence which stays far truer to the RE7 model and is what I wanted from a sequel. Sadly it is a very fleeting section that quickly gives way to huge monsters which aren’t an ounce as scary.
I guess what I am going to talk about now might count as a spoiler but honestly if you haven’t figured this one out yet then you probably don’t have a brain in your head. So you know how Ethan got his hand chainsaw-ed off in the opening of RE7, and it was simply stapled back on allowing him to use it as normal? Plus depending on how you played it was also possible for Ethan to get his leg chopped off which he stuck back on then washed with some first aid med, which, once again allowed the limb to function as normal. I want you to think this one thing: humans cannot do that. Which led to the question of whether Ethan was infected by the same mold that claimed the Bakers, and allowed Eveline to control them. As we know she couldn’t control Ethan so it was supposed to be left ambiguous regarding whether he was infected or not. But come on, he can staple his limbs back on, and regenerate from any wound so of course he is infected, how the hell would think he wasn’t? In this game it is confirmed that Ethan has been infected, but everyone acts like it is a shocking revelation, like every player and their dog haven’t already figured it out.
On the subject of spoilers only not really, remember me telling your about the opening sequence when Chris Redfield, you know one of the main characters of the franchise that has been with Resident Evil since the very first game, shoots Mia Winters in cold blood before stealing their baby? Well, you would be forgiven for thinking that maybe he is actually the antagonist, or one of the antagonists now, hell the box art makes it appear as though Chris and a werewolf (or lycans as they are called here) might be one and the same. When the massive werewolf rocked up with his hammer I was under the impression that was Chris and part of our mission would be to free him from whatever it is that has transformed him. An interesting idea I thought. But no, it turns out that Chris is actually a good guy all along, and is in the village trying to stop the Lord’s Leader Mother Miranda from in acting her diabolical plan. What makes no sense is the fact that he could have explained in two minutes to Ethan exactly what was going on and his actions, but he doesn’t. He perplexingly keeps warning Ethan to stay out of it as it is not his business but the guy’s baby daughter has been kidnapped and Ethan is a guy that has already killed two of the four Lords when Chris next encounters him. It is a ridiculous plot device that was obviously trying to create a hook to draw you in but made no attempt to actually pay it off, or they lacked the balls to do it. You play as Chris for a while and his bit is basically Call of Duty: Lycans as he mows his way through them like they are nothing, which again makes you wonder what the hell Chris and his team were doing whilst Ethan was running around do their job for them. There is also a very annoying boss battle in which you must use a targeted missile strike to take down a boss with the guy controlling the rockets taking his sweet time to reload and nagging you if you try to target too soon. You’d think he’d get a hustle on considering the immense and pissed off creature Chris is faced with but apparently not, he won’t be rushed meaning you have to run circles round the boss like it is a merry-go-round. As a side point Chris’ voice actor was also the same as the guy who voice Carlos from the RE3 Remake, and no attempt is even made to hide his voice, so why not just have Carlos coming back??
Mia, Ethan’s wife and his reason for going to the Baker estate in RE7, is barely mentioned, she is assumed dead. Therefore a key character if not the most significant character in the previous game is brushed to the side with no one being particularly bothered.
Okay, now I am going into full on spoilers so...
We learn that the crone Ethan discovers, and Mother Miranda are one and the same. We also discovered that the Mia that Chris shot was Mother Miranda in disguise. What is not made especially clear is exactly how long was Miranda was impersonating Mia. The suggestion is 4 days, but it could have been much longer. Had she been there long enough for her and Ethan to have had sex? If Ethan’s baby was the key to her plan couldn’t she have gotten pregnant by Ethan herself then disappeared leaving no one any the wiser? If she was intending to kidnap Rose then why did she not just wait till Ethan was asleep and disappear into the night? Why was she pissing about at the beginning of the game? It makes no sense and just creates massive plot holes and bizarre character motivations that the game does not bother to explain.
Similarly to RE3 Remake you unlock Completion Points which allow you access a Bonus shop accessed from the main menu after you have beaten the game once. You get these points by completing various objectives (a lot of which are also game trophies) and can use them to unlock new and better weapons. There is a merchant character named Duke who buys and sells you various things throughout the game. He can also upgrade your weapons for the game’s currency Lei. The Bonus Shop allows you to buy unlimited ammo for individual weapons but only after you have fully upgraded them at Duke’s shop (which I initially did not know). There are a couple of assault rifles in the game but you must unlock the unlimited ammo for each weapon separately rather than unlimited ammo for assault rifles in general. I am assuming this was only done to expand the life of the game because similarly to RE3 I was not that impressed with Village. It was not what I wanted from a sequel to the excellent Resident Evil 7, now that being said I did play through it a total of three times, because the Completion Point system is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me playing. It presents challenges that are not particularly hard which I can usually do in a subsequent playthrough, as a result that is exactly what I do. I’d fully upgraded a powerful shotgun in my first game so unlocked the unlimited ammo for it for my second run with that becoming my main weapon whilst I worked to upgrade an assault rifle I wanted. By the time I had done that I was at least two thirds of the way through. Each boss had a beat them in the time limit challenge. So on my second go I dropped the difficulty down, and blitzed those. There was one in which you had to kill 30 enemies in the opening lycan attack, did that too. So it went on. Challenges that require some effort but are not that hard I can be bothered to do which is what kept bringing me back to the game.
One of the problems is that there is a challenge that revolves around finishing the game in under 3 hours, and even taking the time to gather resources and still explore, my third playthrough clocked in at a little over 4. The Doll House sequence, the best thing in the game, can be done in less than 15 minutes. I know because I did it. Repetition is the only reason that the game has a decent length and whilst I did play it over and over, it was just not as good as RE7.
When it gets right down to it, I have played better Resident Evil games, and I have played worse Resident Evil games. RE3 Remake was fun enough in subsequent playthroughs. RE Village got way easier with better weapons but after RE7 you unlocked a powerful pistol that did rip through enemies, but it could only carry 3 bullets, so yes it made another playthrough a bit easier but not by much so the effectiveness of the setting, and the Bakers did not lose their teeth. Even enemies like Mr X from RE2 was still a threat after you’d unlocked better weapons, the Nemesis could be smacked down but he would get back up and keep coming after you. Resident Evil Village’s enemies are ironically completely toothless which is saying something considering you face off against what are for all intent and purposes vampires and werewolves because defeating them is so easy, and this is even before you unlock bigger and better weapons.
I was going to give the game a Thumbs Up but sadly it is only okay, is has flashes of being amazing, but Capcom has pulled it away from what made the previous game so good. It is not scary, the enemies are not interesting, the Lords come and go with barely any ceremony, and all of the plot points could have been explained in the first five minutes. I gave RE3 Remake a Thumbs Up because running around in subsequent playthroughs turning once difficult enemies into mush was fun, and it fitted the more action theme that game was going for. But as a direct sequel to RE7, Resident Evil Village is not as good as it could have been. If the person who created the Doll House had complete control over the whole game it would have been amazing, as it is the game is just average.
6/10 – The game was okay, it was alright, it passed the time...none of these are good terms to a game that people could have been saying it was amazing, it was terrifying, it was scarier than Resident Evil 7. I like action games, I like horror games, I didn’t like games that try to be both because you can guarantee you don’t get the best of both worlds, you get the worst.
Date Posted: 12/11/23
Amazingly Resident Evil 4 Remake is a remake of the 2005 game with the same name (minus the word “remake” obviously) that was originally released on the GameCube before being ported to basically every console that has ever existed. It sees one of the protagonists of Resident Evil 2 namely Leon S Kennedy being sent to remote Spanish village to recover the President’s daughter Ashley Graham (voiced by Genevieve Buechner). Not surprisingly not long after he arrives the mission goes awry with Leon forced to face off against mutated creatures that want to tear him limb from limb and the village’s sinister leader who has his sights set on global conquest.
I have to admit something before we go on, and that is that I have never actually played Resident Evil 4, it has been sitting on my game library for months but I haven’t ever really had the desire to play it. As I have said before the Resident Evil series basically passed me by until I got into the Resident Evil VII back in 2019. I knew of the original RE4 game and the infamous and eardrum bleeding cries of “Help! Leon!” that Ashley would utter whenever an enemy got within coughing distance of her. But I knew very little about the game itself, its plot, or its gameplay. Similarly to RE3 Remake I made a point of not watching any walkthroughs or too much game play footage because I wanted to come into the game as a newbie without knowing what was going to happen. So without further ado, let’s get into it…
The game opens up with a monologue from Leon (once again voiced by Nick Apostolides reprising his role from the RE2 remake) explaining that after the destruction of Racoon City he became a government agent for the United States being trained by Major Jack Krauser. Six years later in 2004 he was dispatched to rescue the President’s daughter Ashley Graham from a remote and rural Spanish village with the assistance of Ingrid Hunnigan. Leon is driven to the outskirts of the village by two police officers, one of which heads off into the bushes to relieve himself. After being gone for a long time, Leon ventures out after him, and quickly finds the officers body as well as murderous villagers that act in a distinctly in-human manner, being able to shrug off bullets, and seem filled with a fanatical desire to destroy any intruders in the village.
Leon is ambushed in the town square soon afterwards after witnessing the second officer being burned alive. Fighting off an seemingly endless army of villagers, things seem hopeless when a bell rings causing the villagers to simply cease their attack and walk away. Leon continues his mission to find Ashley and learns that the villagers are under the influence of a parasite named Las Plagas which robs them of their freewill, turning them into the puppets of the Los Illuminados cult.
The leader of the cult Lord Saddler plans to use the parasites to turn the world leaders into his servants, and both Leon and Ashley have been infected. With time running out to remove the parasites before they succumb to the infection the pair must travel deeper into the bowels of the island and face off against the masters of the cult who can mutate into terrifying monsters at will…
Okay, now I am aware that my opinion of this game is going to be influenced by the fact that whilst the original was a groundbreaking title that influenced the way games were designed to this day, as I never played it, those revelations passed me by. I guess you could compare RE4 Vs RE4 Remake to my opinions of Dead Space Vs Dead Space Remake because I adored the original and was absolutely delighted by the remake which took the first game and improved it in basically every way. As far as the RE4 Remake is concerned it had elements of the remakes I have already played and the original game’s sequels like Resident Evil VII and most notably Resident Evil Village. I commented in my RE Village review that the opening sequence in which you fight off werewolf-like creatures until they decide to just bugger off was similar to how I had heard RE4 started. The paradox that I have is that RE4 influenced RE Village and likely the RE2 and RE3 Remakes and now I am comparing its remake to the games that took influence from it in the first place. I know that this remake is getting 10/10 and Game of the Year awards left right and centre but for me there were times when it exceeded and fell short of the games that have come before it.
Allow me to explain…
First off the game was in all honesty pretty harrowing most of the time, able to go from dead quiet to panic action, and back again in seconds. It kept the tension high because I had no idea when I was about to get mobbed by legions of hard to kill enemies. Most of the time I was scraping through with minimal health and ammunition quite often hoping that I’d kick open a barrel and find a green herb to restore my dwindling health. In both a good and bad thing you don’t get health back when a new chapter begins so if you scraped through a boss fight, don’t expect to have a full health bar when you resume. Bear traps litter the ground and whilst they don’t remove any health, they incapacitate you for a few seconds allowing any enemies to close in on you. You get mobbed a lot leading to panic firing and frantically switching between weapons to keep the monsters at bay. The original was apparently pretty campy but this was anything but and I was saving at every opportunity not knowing if I was going to make it through the next section.
The graphics were very high quality and made the most of the power of the PS5. A lot of the enemies look more human with their only distinguishing feature being the colour of their eyes or the inhuman way they stumble around. Fighting more human-like enemies is in a way more terrifying than battling zombies or werewolves. The plaga parasites themselves also look like huge bugs, and during the game you must fight them in various forms.
The Duke from Resident Evil Village has been replaced by The Merchant (who inspired the Duke in the first place) and functions to enhance your equipment, purchase new weapons or body armour, upgrade your storage space, and buy the treasures that you discover as you explore the various environments. It is not generally very hard to find enough money to purchase whatever you want, and if you have upgraded weapons then wish to sell them you get a significant portion of the money you invested back so you don’t need to worry about upgrading early weapons then losing the funds you invested in them. There is also a gun range mini game, and you can find various tokens which enable you to unlock charms which grant bonuses when fixed to your attaché case. The Merchant will also give you extra tasks to complete which unlock other rewards. The three main sections of the game function as mini-sandboxes which allow you to go anywhere within them, and if you haven’t completed his tasks before the game is due to move to a different location he prompts you to maybe go back and find them because you won’t be able to do it later.
I always like it when characters are voiced by the same people from previous games (I was very happy that Gunner Wright returned to voice Isaac Clarke in the Dead Space Remake having voiced him from the second game onwards) and Leon is once again voiced by Nick Apostolides from RE2 Remake. However another returning character is voiced by someone different from the previous person (I don’t want to spoil who the character is if you don’t know they appear). I couldn’t find any reason why the original actor did not return but in all honesty it did not really bother me too much.
The game is also a lot longer than RE3 was and I’m pretty sure longer than any of the previous games I have played through. There is certainly value for money and the game is designed to be played over and over again allowing your previous inventory, weapons, and unlocks to transfer from playthrough to playthrough.
Ashley’s AI is also pretty good and she has the awareness to generally stay out of trouble. It is pretty easy for her to get picked up and if you don’t kill the person trying to take her away then you get a game over. Generally through you can rely on her to stay out of the way whilst you are doing the hard work. There is a chapter in which you play as her which could have caused the game to grind to a halt but it returned the game to the more horror element because she is virtually defenceless. On that point, I do wonder why Leon doesn’t give Ashley a gun or a knife. Leon starts the game with a gun and has the same one in cutscenes regardless of whether you have sold it so perhaps within the context of the game Leon only has a single gun so can’t give it to Ashley. But if that is true then he definitely has a knife too so he could give that to Ashley to give her some means of defending herself. It would make cultists think twice about grabbing her if she could stab them in the throat the moment they slung her over their shoulder.
The AI of the enemies is also decent enough with them mobbing you, or throwing grenades or Molotov cocktails at you, or firing flaming crossbow bolts at you. It isn’t amazing because the ones throwing the grenades will do so regardless of whether you are on your own or surrounded by a crowd of their chums. It is perfectly viable strategy to let them throw something then get out of the way so the explosive takes out the enemies. There was also blind monsters that have wolverine claws who attack anything that makes a sound which includes other cultists if they are around, which works in your favour if you can make full use of the opportunity.
There are plaga bugs which can camouflage themselves which I only learned after my second playthrough can be made visible if you use the thermal scope that you get late in the game the first time around.
All of these things help to create a game play loop that is challenging whilst walking the line between being frustrating and tedious. Admittedly though the guys that shoot flaming crossbow bolts at you from half a mile away are more annoying than anything else. There is a particular turn of phrase that I like curtsey of an episode of Star Trek Voyager that I always think about at times like this “it is like being pecked to death my ducks”, and it is true. These guys pick away at your health from half a map away, stagger you allowing other enemies to attack you, and take off just enough health to be a massive pain in the arse. Naturally they have prefect accuracy and can hit you if one square millimetre of you is poking out from behind cover.
In my first playthrough I finished the game with a fully upgraded pistol, and magnum. As I played I kept unlocking completion points for getting through levels or completing various challenges. You may recall from my RE3 Remake playthrough that after you complete the game you gain the ability to unlock unlimited new weapons with unlimited ammo if you had the necessary points. This feature was carried over into RE Village but had been tweaked slightly so only weapons that had been fully upgraded during the game could be unlocked to unlimited ammunition. I was therefore working through the game thinking that once the game was completed I was immediately investing some of my CP rewards in unlimited pistol and magnum ammo for my second playthrough. Unfortunately once the credits rolled and I was back to the main menu I went into the Extras section only to find the unlimited ammo options for the weapons conspicuous by its absence. I had made a point of not looking up any info on the game lest it spoil my playthrough and discovered that there were only one way of getting unlimited ammunition for your weapons. This methods tasks you with playing the game on a brand new save file (so no upgrades from any previous playthroughs) on Professional (the hardest difficulty), with no bonus weapons, and get an S+ rank which means completing the game in under 4 and a half hours, whilst only saving the game 15 times. It is one of those tasks that die-hard fans play which unlocks a set of Cat Ears that when worn give all your weapons unlimited ammo. Of course, if you have done Professional difficulty, and got an S+ rank then you probably don’t need unlimited ammo in the first place.
There is one weapon in the game that has unlimited ammo which is available after your first playthrough, and this is a rocket launcher. It doesn’t require CP rewards to unlock; instead it is available for purchase from the Merchant for $2,000,000 pesetas. Money is relatively easy to acquire during the game with treasures you can find having gemstone slots which enable you to increase their value by putting different gems into them. I was a third of the way through my second playthrough by the time I had enough money to buy the rocket launcher (after I sold everything else I owned) and once it was in my possession the enemies in the game might as well have bent over and asked for it gentle. The rocket launcher will one-kill everything, and I do mean anything, from lowly grunts to bosses. The cut scenes for bosses barely had time to finish before I fired a single shot and their death animation was rattling off which turned the latter two thirds of the game into an easy jaunt. Admittedly the rocket launcher does have one major drawback and that is that its damage will affect Leon as well as enemies, so if you fire it off at your feet then you will get hurt. As a result I repurchased a pistol and used that if anyone got too close for comfort. I have unlocked unlimited rocket launchers in previous games and yes they were powerful by were not instant boss killers. Having it was a mixed blessing because whilst nothing could challenge me after I purchased it; nothing could challenge me after I purchased it. So the last few hours of the game were an easy stroll through the tulips.
It is a pity because the enemies are varied; with you facing off against humans that later have body armour and metal shields, to bugs that can camouflage, to the guys with wolverine claws, but none of them can withstand a blast from the rocket launcher. Mr X or Nemesis in RE2 and RE3 Remake could be slowed down by heavy weapon fire but it only slowed them down, and in their boss fights (with the exception of the final sequence on the elevator with Mr X) took multiple hits to take them out.
I played through RE3 Remake and RE Village numerous times completing various challenges because unlock CP rewards that in turn allowed me to gain more weapons with unlimited ammo. I even S ranked RE3 Remake in every difficulty. In RE4 Remake CP rewards can unlock different outfits for the characters to wear, something that means precisely squat to me. The only possible exception to this statement being that one of the unlockables I know about from the original game was a suit of armour for Ashley which meant she could not be picked up, and it is available if you complete the game on Hardcore or above with an A rating. That is possibly the only thing I might want to unlock because if she cannot be picked up then it would make the gameplay a bit easier. But again a blast with the rocket launcher will obliterate anyone holding her whilst leaving her unharmed.
Basically everything that I have commented on was a bit meh but nothing I have talked about was that irritating. However, by far the most annoying thing in the game was the fact that the Evade prompt was the same as the Crouch button. Now there are moments when you need to evade an enemy’s attack, and a prompt will pop up. If you are quick you then avoid the attack. The original was notorious for Quick Time Events so perhaps it is a call back to that, unfortunately, if you miss the timing on the prompt then Leon crouches instead. If you are trying to Evade an attack then the last thing you want to do is crouch because you are going to get hit. It was soooo annoying to watch Leon crouching next to an enemy when I was shouting at him to dodge. After Jill had a dodge option in RE3 I am amazed that Leon, who I remind you has had some form of special forces training, is unable to do a dodge roll to get out of trouble, especially when he can back flip like Spider-Man if you time the evade command correctly.
So now comes the part when I must rate the game, now it is by no means bad, and I can understand why fans of the original would be reaping it which such high praise (as I did with the Dead Space Remake). However, I was disappointed by the fact that the CP rewards are basically pointless when I was so looking forward to having unlimited shotguns, pistols, machine guns and magnums with which to blast my way through the enemies on subsequent playthroughs. When it comes down to it I played through twice, jumping immediately into my second game as soon as I finished the first. I have also started on my third playthrough in which I am planning on getting some of the stuff I missed on my first two goes. I think that RE4 Remake is perhaps a culmination of the Resident Evil games I have played before. RE VII and RE2 Remake were survival horror. RE3 Remake was more action. RE Village was trying to be both and ended up being an action game with horror elements. Resident Evil 4 Remake is what RE Village was trying to be. In my first playthrough I was scraping from one encounter to another always wondering if I’d have enough ammo and health to get through, but I was also looking forward to unlocking unlimited ammo for my upgraded weapons. Something that proved to be pointless in the end and without the promise of unlocking anything other than different costumes there isn’t enough to keep me coming back over and over again as the previous games did.
The game is obviously getting a Thumbs Up because it is a great game that does manage to blend harrowing fights with sequences of action that don’t feel like one exists to give you a break from the other.
9/10 – I think describing this as the game Resident Evil Village wanted to be is quite appropriate, however, unlike that game this one does manage to walk the line to between scares and action. This isn’t about survival horror but it is harrowing. It keeps the tension high and knows when to focus on action and when to focus on the series’ scarier roots.