Here’s a sad thing for a Resident Evil fan to admit; I had no interest in Project Resistance, or Resident Evil Resistance as its now called since the RE3 remake was officially announced. Why? Because Capcom have never been able to get multiplayer right in Resident Evil, and as a fan of both that and multiplayer games that’s brought me to a single conclusion:
Resident Evil doesn’t need and shouldn’t have multiplayer.
There I’ve said it. Not every game benefits from a tacked on multiplayer mode. Some games work best as solo experiences. Even when you have an AI partner, as several RE titles do, some games still benefit from being single player experiences.
But it’s worse with Resident Evil, Capcom’s obsession with pleasing everyone is what’s led me to this conclusion, most notably their spin-off games which rely on multiplayer. Now I actually don’t count the Outbreak games in this, they were excellent and ahead of their time. It’s a shame they existed on the PS2 before the online multiplayer console boom. Yet since these titles Capcom has made a hash of every multiplayer experience they’ve tried in relation to Resident Evil.
It started with Resident Evil 5 and it’s partner system. Not only did having someone with a gun watch your back strip away the final vestiges of horror from RE5 following it’s troubled reveal, but it also was clunky and ill suited to the experience. This also goes for Resident Evil 6. Although I will say that multiplayer modes in The Mercenaries on both games could be fun. This is an action based side mode anyway so really, who cares?
Resident Evil Revelations 2 redeemed this idea slightly though. The second player took control of gun-shy Moira or little girl Natalya. Both were ill equipped for combat and whose gameplay was focused around other features, which added to the horror at times or became boring at other times. But playing as a character who was practically defenceless put an interesting twist on the Leon and Ashley dynamic from Resident Evil 4 and at points was as traditional survival horror as it gets. If only RE5 and 6 had adopted such an approach.
Since then we had the budget Operation Raccoon City and Umbrella Corp, both disasters without much to redeem either. Playing a group of Umbrella mercenaries in Raccoon city during a zombie outbreak tidying up after the shady company sounded great on paper. Sadly this wasn’t reflected in practice. Umbrella Corp was just a cynical and lazy cash grab and its amazing that the project was even green-it to begin with.
So this brings us to Resident Evil Resistance. Hot on the heels of a return to form after the fantastic RE7 and RE2 remake, Capcom announce a new multiplayer game utilising the assets from the previous two games. It’s essentially a series of escape rooms where 4 players need to work together to kill monsters and make it to the end, while a 5th player takes on the role of an overseer who spawns random RE monsters to thwart their progress. Despite claims from the developers that Project Resistance would be a traditional survival horror experience; it really doesn’t look like one.
The question I had was “Who is this for?” and “Is that what Resi fans want?” I had absolutely no desire to part with £40 to experience this. It seemed like the sort of thing that may be fun for 30 mins, then never again. And may be doomed to join ORC and Umbrella Corp in the ‘bargain’ bin. However the revelation that this is a standalone multiplayer mode, complimentary to the RE3 remake and inclusive in its price tag, may make Resistance worth a longer look. Myself and every other RE fan will probably experience the RE3 remake at some point, so why not have a dabble at its multiplayer? We may be pleasantly surprised.
If it wasn’t for Resistance being a free bundled game mode, like Mercenaries mode, I imagine I would have let it pass me by. As would have many a survival horror fan. Outbreak 3 this is clearly not, and we’ve been burned by Capcom’s multiplayer spin-offs too many times to reach for our wallets again. But bundling it with another game may be a way to win us back. It does beg the question though, why not just forget all this silliness and remake Outbreak?