Love/Hate: Ape Escape 3

Welcome back to the Ape Escape Love/Hate series! In this entry we’ll be looking at the final, mainline Ape Escape game, Ape Escape 3! For whatever reason, despite loving the first two Ape Escape games, I never got the opportunity to play this game as a kid. I remember hearing that it had made some pretty big changes to the formula though, so I was always intrigued to find out how it played. Could it live up to its predecessors’ legacy? Read on to find out…


  • Two Playable Characters – One of the bigger changes in Ape Escape 3 is that you now can play as either a boy or a girl character, Kei and Yumi. This is already pretty cool just for being able to play as the character who appeals most to you, but they’ve gone way further with this than they really needed to. The character you play as gets unique cutscenes and dialogue, they get wildly different costume designs (for example, Kei’s fantasy knight costume is a knight with a sword and shield, whereas Yumi’s is a wizard with a wand and arcane shield), and different gadget designs. Furthermore, Yumi’s character is a popstar in this game’s universe, and some monkeys you will encounter can become star struck when they see her, making them easier to catch. It’s a cute bit of extra differentiation, and it gives some extra incentive to replay the game.
    • I also really want to emphasize how much this change broadens the appeal for Ape Escape. Kei is very much in the vein of a traditional Ape Escape protagonist, with a cool, kid-friendly, edgy look. Yumi, on the other hand, gets to indulge in cuteness, while simultaneously being strong and sassy, making this game more appealing and approachable to girls as well.
  • Gadget Quick-Swap is GREAT – Easily the simplest and best change in the whole game is that you can now quick-swap equipped gadgets. Simply equip a gadget and then press that button again to start cycling through all your gadgets on the fly. Not only does this eliminate the pace-halting menu diving of previous Ape Escape games, but it also means that being forced to use less-used gadgets is less annoying too! This is a fantastic bit of design and I wish it could be retroactively put into every prior Ape Escape game.
  • Costume Designs Are Adorable – A variety of selectable costumes are this game’s main feature and the effort put into their aesthetic design really shows. The aforementioned fantasy knight costume is absolutely adorable, the miracle ninja outfit is really cool, and I like how the cyber ace costume turns Yumi into an anime magical girl (think Sailor Moon). Special shoutout as well to the genie dancer costume – I don’t care as much for the actual costume, but its ability is incredible. You can use it to force everyone to dance: apes, enemy creatures, even the coins and cookies littering the area will dance! You just can’t help but get a huge grin on your face every time you use this thing.
  • Some AMAZING Level Designs – After how derivative most of Ape Escape 2‘s levels were, I wasn’t expecting much from this game. However, imagine my surprise when this game had not one, but two of my favourite levels in the entire franchise.
    • First off, Monkey Expedition Sets Off! is incredible. Starts out fairly unique (for Ape Escape) with a mountain-climbing-themed first area. This results in a vertical level design, which is pretty fun to navigate on its own, but it also shows off the newly-acquired Sky Flyer gadget. Then it moves into a mysterious temple area, which then continues upwards until you end up in the clouds at ape heaven, complete with flying angel monkeys and further vertical level design! An absolute delight of a level, I was blown away with every new twist and turn this level threw at me.
    • Secondly, there’s Ape, Ape, and Away! This level is breath-taking, with the entire level taking place across the backs of a squadron of flying airplanes. You’d think that they’d run out of ideas pretty quickly and force the level to progress to the ground at some point, but no, there are some very creative and unique uses of this space and concept.
  • Mesal Gear Solid – As a huge Metal Gear Solid fan, I was totally primed to love this cross-over, and man did it deliver. The team here have straight-up gotten assets and music from the three Metal Gear Solid games that had released up to that point, they’ve got homages to the games, they mimic the gameplay and style of those games, while also making it simpler and accessible. The referential humour in Ape Escape 3 can be pretty shallow, but they’ve gone so hard into it here that it works great and a lot of effort has clearly been put in to make this a full-fledged experience. My only real complaint is that the controls are really weird (right analog stick to prime your gun, but then you need to use left analog stick to aim it and hold L1 or L2 if you want to aim in first person).


  • TV Show Theme – Ape Escape was themed around time travel, Ape Escape 2 was a global ape hunt, and Ape Escape 3 is themed around a bunch of TV show sets. While this gives us a few really cool levels, it only really seems to exist as a vehicle to allow the devs to make a bunch of movie references. The referential humour of this game is very of its era and it reminds me of the sort of “comedy” that I was making back then, where the “joke” starts and ends with “oh hey, that’s Darth Vader monkey”.
  • Apes Can Steal Your Gadgets – Ape Escape 3 goes a step beyond Ape Escape 2‘s nerfing of the Stun aton. Not only can they shrug off a hit from it, but now they can get pissed off and then whack you, knocking whatever gadget you have equipped out of your hands. Not only does this force you to have to grab them back, but they can then steal your gadgets and use them on you. It is objectively hilarious the first time an ape catches you with your own Monkey Net, sending you back to the starting hub. However, it gets old quick and it REALLY sucks when it happens late in a level, forcing you to replay big chunks of a level to get back where you were. It makes the basic “capturing apes” gameplay a lot more dangerous, but not in a particularly fun way.
  • The Shops – The Gotcha Box is gone, and its replacement is a mixed bag. In its place, we get a suite of shops which give you all the same items as the Gotcha Box, but you get to pick and choose what you want. On the one hand, you’ll always be able to get what you want, but on the other hand, given the choice, I’m never going to spend my coins on the silly bonuses (concept art, enemy photos, monkey fables, etc) which made the Gotcha Box so charming. In addition, the prices of the shop items tend to be pretty high, so it makes splurging on these bonus items even more ill-advised.


  • Costume Implementation – On a conceptual and aesthetic level, I really like the costumes in Ape Escape 3. However, the way that they’ve been incorporated introduces a lot of issues and becomes major flaw for the game at large:
    • First-off, the energy/time limit sucks. You get 30 seconds per charge to use your costume, which immediately turns these things into anxiety-inducers. You can get up to 10 charges to ease the anxiety and extend this time limit, but I’m not convinced that this is entirely necessary because the game showers you with energy pickups whenever it expects you to use the costumes (think the useless oxygen upgrades in Dead Space: the game still has to be balanced for anyone not using the time limit upgrades, making them kind of pointless). The simple solution to all of this is that the game should just let you use your costumes at all times, buuuut…
    • The costumes are game-breakingly overpowered. All of them give you some sort of powerful, room-clearing attacking option, some sort of additional mobility option, and can capture apes at a distance and some even let you capture multiple apes at once. The cyber ace in particular can literally just fire off attacks and fly across an entire map in the process, making entire platforming sections trivial. Which leads to the further problem that…
    • The gadgets are completely invalidated by the costumes. The core gameplay of Ape Escape revolves around chasing apes and using gadgets to deal with challenges. With the way costumes have been introduced, they feel like they’ve been stapled awkwardly on top of the existing system, while also making the conventional gadgets feel entirely outclassed. Why would I risk using my Stun Baton and Monkey Net to catch an ape (who might dodge the attacks or steal my gadgets), when I can just stand in their general vicinity and automatically capture them in a fraction of the time with one of my costumes? The core gameplay has been shot in the kneecap by this decision. They REALLY should have just removed the gadgets entirely and made their functionality a part of each of the costumes’ abilities. That way you would still be incentivized to switch between costumes and you wouldn’t need the time limit.
  • AWFUL Vehicle Gameplay Sections – Ape Escape games tend to have short sections in levels where you need to use some sort of vehicle (rowboat, tank, robot, etc) to get through an area. The row boat and tank actually control a bit better than previous games, but there are two recurring, gimmicky set pieces which absolutely suck:
    • Firstly, there are racing sections which are abysmal. You drive a car where the left analogue stick controls the speed and direction of the car, but then the right analog stick controls the rear wheel steering. It’s supposed to facilitate easier drifting, but in practice it makes you want to throw your controller at the wall. Any section with racing requires you to hunt down two or three apes in cars, and you’re better off sitting and waiting for them to pass you and then ram them three times. This is a tedious waiting game, but it’s far preferable to actually trying to drive this stupid car.
    • Secondly, there’s the robot, which also controls awfully. To illustrate what I mean: WHY THE HELL IS “JUMP” DONE BY PUSHING BOTH STICKS OUTWARDS!? WHY CAN’T I JUST PRESS A BUTTON!?!!! Making matters worse, one of the late-game bosses is fought in the mech, making the entire boss fight pure agony. Thankfully, you can just hop in another mech when yours inevitably explodes, but it doesn’t make the fight any more fun.
  • Weak Story – Story is one of the least-important elements of Ape Escape, but my God, Specter is the least-threatening he ever has been in this game. He was at least sinister and legitimately threatening in prior games, but here he seems like a cartoonish moron… despite basically having already won by the time the game starts.
  • Super Monkey Throw Stadium & Ultim-ape Fighter – The other two mini-games in Ape Escape 3 are, unfortunately, very weak and uninteresting. Super Monkey Throw Stadium is an awkwardly-controlling hammer throw game. On the one hand, it’s like Monkey Soccer, where the apes you catch while playing have different skills you can use in the game. On the other hand… you’re throwing a hammer every time. It gets boring after your first throw. Ultim-ape Fighter, on the other hand, has some potential. It’s basically a simple fighting game, and even has a mini-story mode. However, the controls are really strange, with all actions being input on the left and right analog sticks… I wasn’t a fan of this and dropped it really quickly.

Ape Escape 3 is fun, but it’s a pretty big step down from its predecessors. This is mainly due to the half-baked inclusion of costumes, which compromise the core gameplay and end up making the whole game feel gimmicky. If they had integrated these costumes into the core gameplay more organically, then Ape Escape 3 could have had a shot at being at least on-par with the first two games. As-is, it’s enjoyable, but flawed.

Love/Hate: Ape Escape 2

Welcome back to the Ape Escape Love/Hate series! In this entry we’ll be looking at the PS2 sequel, Ape Escape 2! I remember seeing this game on shelves when it was new and immediately snatching it up for more ape-catching fun. Did it live up to it predecessor? Read on to find out…


  • Monkey Soccer – I’m not even kidding, this mini-game elevates Ape Escape 2 so much in my eyes. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a basic soccer mini-game with apes, but it is so much more than that. You see, your teams are made up of apes that you capture throughout the game, so every captured ape is expanding your roster. This both incentivizes capturing every ape you can find so you can get new players, while also incentivizing you to check-in on Monkey Soccer every once in a while to see what new options you’ve caught for yourself. In addition, each individual ape has their own unique stats, so there’s lots of room for personalization and team-building. My brothers and I used to spend hours playing against each other with our hand-picked teams of simian strikers and it is by far the best memory we all have playing this game… and I don’t even mean that in a way to disparage the rest of the game, it’s just that Monkey Soccer was that much fun.
  • HUGE Graphical Leap – Compared to the very rudimentary PS1 graphics of the original Ape Escape, Ape Escape 2 is simply breath-taking. Between the much-improved graphics and the expressive, fluid, and charming animations, Ape Escape 2 straight-up feels like a Saturday morning anime brought to life. Further reinforcing this feeling, they even managed to get the English voice actors for Ash and Misty from Pokémon involved!
  • Gotcha Box – Fostering addiction in children since 2002! The Gotcha Box is an inspired addition to the formula and a major upgrade from the stars and Specter coins you collected in the original game. Here, coins you collect can be spent for a capsule from the Gotcha Box, which gives you some sort of random reward: extra lives, cookies, coins, concept art, mini-games, new RC Cars, etc. There are also rewards, like monkey fables, which are strangely compelling. Like, they’re usually just monkey-based parodies of popular fables and fairy tales, but I always legitimately finding myself reading them and looking forward to my next Gotcha spin to see if I’ll find out the next part of the story.
  • Themed Monkeys! – In addition to the colour-coded apes we got in the previous game, Ape Escape 2 introduces a slew of monkeys whose appearance and actions mirror the stage they are in. For example, in the Spain level you can encounter a matador monkey, the haunted castle has knights, the Vegas level has disco dancers and clowns, the winter level has Monkey Claus flying on his sleigh, etc. There are plenty more cool variants and it’s always fun to see what sort of new ape type you might encounter.
  • The Magnet – Ape Escape 2 brings back all the gadgets from the original and adds some new ones, but the best of these is definitely the Electro Magnet. This basically lets you attach to, or pull in closer, certain metallic objects, which is utilized in several creative applications to facilitate traversal, open up enemies to attack, or solve environmental puzzles.


  • Really Leans into the Anime Elements – Look, I know I praised the game for looking like an anime, and your mileage will definitely vary on this one, but Ape Escape 2 leans harder into anime tropes than its predecessor. Like, for some reason, you now have a flying, baby monkey companion named “Pipotchi” who is basically just Pikachu (a feeling which is reinforced since the main character is, again, voiced by Ash’s VA). Then there’s some of the bosses, whose designs and characterization just scream “anime”. For one thing, there’s Pink Monkey, who’s this demure little pop-star wannabe, but when she gets angry, she glows with energy and becomes this psychic monster. Worst of all though is Yellow Monkey, who is… problematic, so say the least. Like… just imagine the gay/drag queen anime stereotype character. That’s what Yellow Monkey is… which brings me to…
  • Freaky Monkey Five – Specter has some help in this game in the form of a group of monkey bosses. On the one hand, it’s not a bad idea to give him some henchmen who can give you more regular, and varied, boss fights. On the other hand, they just kind of show up, fight you, and then go down, having very little time to actually make an impact. They also side-line Specter for most of the game’s runtime, reducing the importance of the game’s actual villain.
  • Dance, Monkey, Dance! – Basically a monkey-based Dance Dance Revolution, Dance, Monkey, Dance! is functional, but was not particularly compelling to me. Again, there’s enough here that someone might want to dedicate more time to getting good at it, but I find that these sorts of frame-perfect timing mini-games don’t hold my interest.


  • The Story – Unfortunately, the story of Ape Escape 2 doesn’t work quite as well for me as the original game did. For one thing, the stakes are far lower, with the apes just causing mischief around the world, instead of threatening to change history if they aren’t stopped. For a lot of the game, we’re basically just cleaning up the mess we made. It’s not until late in the game when Specter re-enters the picture and we get information that he’s building a super-weapon to take over the world once and for all, but this “lethargy laser” is barely elaborated on. As a kid, I sure as hell didn’t know what “lethargy” meant, so I was really confused about why exactly everyone was so worried about this weapon.
  • Control Changes – Ape Escape 2 seems to have been rebuilt from the ground up for PS2 and, as a result, it doesn’t play quite the same as the first game, much to my chagrin. I know that some of this is just me being grumpy that “It’s not the same!”, and that I wouldn’t even have an issue with it if I hadn’t played the original first, but… shut up. I can be annoyed that the Stun Baton has shorter range, that you have to spin the stick faster to actually do a Stun Baton spin successfully, that your jump doesn’t travel as far, that the Sky Flyer doesn’t let you travel as far, and that you have to jump up every set of stairs you come across.
  • Apes Can Shrug Off a Stun Baton Hit – That’s right, my mainstay strategy from the first game got nerfed and I’m salty about it. That said, is there any real justification for them to have even the timid monkeys be able to take a hit from a Stun Baton and keep going? I’m not even exaggerating – in the second level of the game, I nailed one timid monkey six times as I was chasing him around the level and he didn’t get knocked over once, it was really frustrating and just artificially makes capturing apes take longer.
  • Rehashed Stages – Look, I get that there’s only so many types of levels you can do in your platforming game, and the original Ape Escape covered a lot of them already, but does it not feel a little derivative when we visit another ninja temple, sandy beachfront, icy tundra, spooky castle… and a dinosaur level…? Again, this game is supposed to just be apes running around in the present day, why the hell is there a dinosaur level?
  • Bananarang and Water Cannon – Unfortunately, the other two new gadgets, the Bananarang and Water Cannon, are kinda useless. The Bananarang acts as a mid-range weapon that you can use to draw in monkeys closer… but it’s rather difficult to use accurately and we already have the Slingback Shooter, so you’ll only really ever use it during the tiny handful of situations where the game explicitly forces you to. Similarly, the Water Cannon just kind of… exists. There are a couple parts of the game where you’ll be encountered by a bonfire… that you could very easily just fly over, but the game arbitrarily prevents you from doing this. There are also water wheels which you occasionally have to shoot the Water Cannon at in order to progress. So… it’s basically as useful as a progression-gating Key Card from Metal Gear or Resident Evil. Oh joy, another gadget that I’m never going to use unless you force me to.
  • Monkey Climber – Okay, this mini-game straight-up FUCKING SUCKS. It describes itself as “extremely hard”, but it’s only “hard” in that it controls awfully. I’m sure you can get better at it and get your monkey to climb higher, but the time investment is not worth it.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed Ape Escape 2. Ape Escape 2 is basically the same as the original, only with some higher highs, but also more things that annoy me at the same time. I think I prefer Ape Escape overall just a bit more, since it’s a tighter experience, but you really can’t go wrong with either.

Love/Hate: Ape Escape

It’s time for a new Love/Hate series on IC2S! For those who have been following my Resident Evil playthroughs, don’t worry – I intend to resume the Resident Evil entries this year. In the meantime, we’re going to look at one of my childhood favourite franchises which has been dormant for far too long now, Ape Escape! And what better place to start this analysis, than with the game that started it all?

Also, just a note: there are a ton of random Ape Escape spin-offs. Maybe I will get to those someday, but at this time I’m only really intending to cover the mainline games.


  • The Core Gameplay – First, and most importantly, it has to be said that just playing Ape Escape is a blast. Chasing apes around and trying to catch them is fun and compelling in a similar “gotta catch ’em all” manner to Pokemon. Levels have been constructed so that each ape you encounter is a mini-puzzle you have to approach and overcome using the terrain and tools you have at your disposal. This is the foundation that Ape Escape really had to nail in order to even become a franchise, and this original perfected it out of the gate.
  • The Gadgets – The second key, fundamental piece of the Ape Escape puzzle is the variety of gadgets it puts at your disposal. All of them are really useful, with only the R.C. Car being somewhat situational, but it’s such a cool gadget to have at your disposal that it doesn’t even matter.
    • Special mention needs to go to the Sky Flyer. Video game power-ups that upgrade mobility and traversal are always 10/10, and the Sky Flyer just feels amazing to use.
    • Also, I really need to give props for how well-designed the Stun Baton and Time Net are. The Stun Baton is your all-purpose, close-attacking weapon, while the Time Net is what actually catches 99% of the apes you encounter. In a worse-designed game, you’d just run around with the Time Net to catch every monkey, but the swinging animation for the Stun Baton is much faster. As a result, it is actually better to stun the apes first and then quickly swap to the net to catch them, incentivizing more strategic gameplay than just wildly flailing about with your net.
    • I also want to give a shout-out to the Monkey Radar, which allows you to switch to a “Monkey camera”, which shows you what each ape is doing, its stats, and gives you a little description for every single one. It lends each individual ape a bit of personality, which is a nice touch and incentivizes getting a peek at each ape to learn a bit of their story… before you chase ’em down and catch them in your net.
  • Innovative Controls – It’s easy to overlook this now, but Ape Escape was the first dual-analog console game and was largely intended to be a showcase for the brand-new Dualshock controller. So many games designed to demonstrate new technology end up feeling like tech demos which get in the way of actually playing the game (looking at you, Uncharted: Golden Abyss), but Ape Escape absolutely succeeded in demonstrating that dual-analog controls were not just a gimmick. Moving with the left analog stick, and using gadgets with the right stick feels natural and works very well at facilitating this kind of gameplay.
  • Iconic Character Designs – The cartoonish ape design in Ape Escape is instantly iconic. That said, there has to be special mention for how much thought went into the way that each ape is designed and how this conveys information to the player. For one thing, the colour of their pants denotes how they will behave and gives you information about how they should be approached effectively (yellow pants are “standard”, blue are extremely fast, light blue are timid, red are aggressive, white have high alertness, black have submachine guns, and green have high alertness and missile packs). This also extends to the lights on the monkey’s helmets, which communicate their level of alertness, as well as letting you know whether they’re on the lookout or not. It’s an extremely efficient and effective way in which to communicate complex information to the player so they know how to deal with each monkey they come across.
  • Stage Variety – Levels in Ape Escape are usually split into three “zones”, which share a unifying theme based on whatever time period you’ve travelled to. Despite sharing the same theme with two other levels, each individual stage tends to be very distinctive and well-designed to provide platforming and capturing challenges.
  • Music – Ape Escape was in that era of really evocative and iconic video game soundtracks, and stands strong amongst its peers.
  • Galaxy Monkey – Ape Escape established a precedent that these games will always have some mini-games and easily the best among these is Galaxy Monkey, which is a simple-yet-fun twin-stick shooter.


  • Very Basic Story – On the one hand, it’s as functional and unobtrusive as it really needs to be, giving you the setup of “Apes messing with time travel to change history, go catch them” and only interrupting for more story infrequently. On the other hand, it starts venturing into some really generic anime trope territory (one character literally says “You didn’t need the gadgets, you were strong all along!”). Like, I get that it’s a game for kids, but even as a kid I thought this message was really corny.


  • The Camera – During the first couple generations of 3D console games, developers were still “figuring out” how to effectively do a camera in a 3D environment. Unfortunately, Ape Escape often suffers from this as well. The camera is sufficient during about 95% of gameplay, but that remaining 5% can really stand out in your mind. Camera manipulation is mapped to the D-pad, which is really inconvenient to use unless you stop playing in order to move it around. There is also the ability to re-orient the camera with the L1 button, which works most of the time, but every once in a while you’re going to be chasing an ape into a corner and the camera will completely lose track of everything, which can lead to some frustration.
  • Magic Punch vs Stun Baton – The Magic Punch is an endgame gadget you get, which effectively replaces the Stun Baton: it’s twice as strong, has longer range, and can break more objects. However, the one thing it cannot do is be spun around to hit things repeatedly… which is a pretty frequent thing you need to do to turn wheels throughout the game’s environment. It’s really annoying to give me a straight-upgrade gadget, but then have it be massively inferior in one particular way, necessitating me menu diving to go get by Stun Baton and then swap back immediately every time. The devs clearly agreed, because this was changed in Ape Escape 2 so that a hit from the punch would make wheels spin faster.
  • Boss Fights – Bosses are very basic in this game. They almost always require you to do some sort of action twice, then move to a second phase where you have to do some other action twice… that’s it. Very simple and boring affairs.
  • Ski Kidz Racing & Specter Boxing – Unfortunately, the other two minigames in Ape Escape are not very fun. While you could potentially dedicate time to them trying to improve your skills, they are ultimately brought down by really annoying controls which make them more frustrating than they need to be.
  • Goggle/Missile Pack Monkeys – Oh my God, these types of monkey are SO ANNOYING. You either have to slowly crawl towards them, or you get constantly bombarded. If you get spotted, missiles fly incessantly, making these by far the toughest enemies in the game.

And that is Ape Escape in a nutshell! Easily one of my favourite games of all time, I heartily recommend it if you have never played.

Video Game Review: Raiders! Forsaken Earth

It’s been a really long time since I did a proper video game review (holy shit, 7 years!?), but I’ve been trying to get back into writing more regularly. A few years ago, I saw a post on Reddit about a developer’s upcoming strategy game which would let you play as a Mad Max/Fallout-style raider pillaging the wasteland. I was fascinated by this premise and instantly wishlisted the game, Raiders! Forsaken Earth, although it wasn’t until this year that I finally got the urge and free time to purchase and play the game.

In a broad sense, Raiders! is a strategy game with lite management and RPG elements, not too dissimilar to the XCOM franchise. You play as a player-created raider who has just taken the mantle of leadership and need to bring your band of scumbags from a ragtag group of thieves, to the uncontested rulers of the wasteland. This plays out in classic fashion – raiding caravans, dodging lawmen coming after you, and eventually building up your strength enough that you can extort entire towns to avoid your wrath. The management elements come into play as you have to build-up your base, manage your ever-expanding groups of raiders, and make sure there are enough resources available to survive and craft everything you need to survive. Meanwhile, the wasteland will react to your attacks with ever-increasing levels of offensive and defensive presence.

That’s a fairly rudimentary overview of the game, but it’s emblematic of Raiders! core gameplay – it’s a tried-and-tested formula and the game executes it well. There’s always some new little goal pushing you forwards, and I found myself on multiple occasions getting that “one more turn” compulsion, and then suddenly 30 more minutes would pass as I raided another settlement and made sure all my lowlifes were equipped with the best items. It’s not as deep as, say, a Paradox Interactive game, but I think it strikes a good balance between strategy and breezy fun.

That said, Raiders! is unmistakably an indie game and its flaws are readily apparent. The most obvious of these is that the game has basically no animation at all. World events are told via a static image and text box, the world map is navigated with a bunch of static PNGs being moved around the screen, and don’t even get me started on combat – you’re lucky if you get a 2 frame “animation” whenever someone does an action (honestly, the most “impressive” animation in the whole game is that you can see spent shell casings ejected out when you fire a gun, but that’s because they can just apply the same small JPG every time and rotate it a few times). While not exactly a major detriment to the core gameplay, it does leave Raiders! with a very unimpressive presentation. On the one hand, it captures the sort of vibes you’d get from the first two Fallout games, but it’s so dated that it’s likely enough to turn some people off the game entirely.

I mean… just look at it. If not for the resolution, you could mistake this for a 90s game.

Beyond the presentation issues, the game’s combat is fairly rudimentary. You get 2 rows per side, up to 4 ranged fighters, and up to 4 melee fighters per row, with melee having to fight adjacent enemies, and ranged being able to shoot anyone they want to. As fighters are defeated, units in reserve will move in to take their place, if any are available. Any fighter has about a dozen options available to them per turn, but most of these don’t matter – you can do heavy attacks (at the cost of accuracy), give an enemy a status condition, heal yourself, regain stamina, break armour, insult an enemy’s mother, etc. However, you rarely need to do anything other than just make a standard attack. The XCOM comparison earlier wasn’t just for show – accuracy is a major issue for your raiders, especially in the early game when they might have 20-30% hit rates, and +10 damage for -10% accuracy is not worth it unless you will literally die otherwise. Likewise, who needs status effects when you can just spec your raiders to be able to one-shot everyone you come across? This also makes a lot of the game’s optional level-up perks kinda useless, because about half of them are activated abilities, and then the good half are all passive bonuses. All of this is even more important because you can cheese this game’s AI pretty reliably – if you hit an enemy and get them around 50% HP, they will usually waste a turn healing. Meanwhile, if you kill an enemy, their replacement usually won’t be able to attack, so you can just cycle through enemies without getting a scratch if you have spec’d your band well enough. All this means that, once you get your band together, combat becomes fairly tedious and trivial outside of all but the most overwhelming battles, and it only gets easier when you get access to WMDs and artillery strikes. Thankfully, the game does have an auto-battle option, so you can speed through caravan raids into the late-game when you know that you will definitely win.

The management aspects of the game can get pretty annoying as well. Maybe it’s just because I spec’d by leader to give XP bonuses galore, but my raiders were constantly leveling up, necessitating a trip into the Roster menu after every fight to assign stat bonuses, buy perks, update weapon loadouts, etc, which only gets worse as you get more and more raiders in your party. Eventually I just gave up and started auto-leveling my raiders, but you’re probably going to want to manually level everyone until you have at least 6-8 max level scoundrels spec’d out with high accuracy, high damage, and high crit-chance as your core so they can annihilate anyone you come across. As you start conquering settlements, you also have to babysit them to make sure they’re all fortified and defended, because if not, then they’ll get destroyed by regulators and need to be recaptured and re-stocked. There’s no way to order units to travel between places, so you have to recruit dirtbags from a city into your party, then walk all the way over to the place you want them to be in.

All of this is small beans though compared to this game’s real glaring issue. The fact that they’ve programmed this game where you buy/sell items either 1 at a time, or all of them at once, is INSANE. My raider band carries up to a maximum of 300 units each of water, meat, and beer. I usually keep these around 150 each, because I will quickly top these all up through regular raiding, and then sell off the excess for easy cash. Now, think about what that means – I am regularly having to click the “sell” button 450 times for an incredibly basic action. I legitimately don’t know how this managed to make it through playtesting and how it has not been patched out, because it’s absolutely moronic that this in the game.

I also ran into a pretty major issue in the late game during my playthrough. If you’ve captured all the major settlements, the suddenly caravans stop running… This is a game about raiding caravans in order to get money and resources. When that gets taken away from you, you suddenly become extremely limited on options that you need to actually finish the game. Luckily, I had enough strength left in my band that I was able to capture the remaining slaver and arms dealer settlements so I could get a ton of cash, but even then I had to wait 2 in-game days to generate enough income to be able to get over the threshold to declare myself governor.

Like I said, Raiders! is a game where its flaws are glaringly obvious… but goddamn, I don’t really care, because this game lets you do some awesome shit. I pretty much always play a good guy in games, but it’s nice to give in to the fantasy of playing the irredeemable, chaotic evil villains for once, and Raiders! delivers how you’d expect it to. For one thing, you can go full-hog as a cannibal if you want to – you can kill and eat your own raiders (or just eat them when they are killed in battle), demand captives from a town and then eat them, capture enemies and then eat them, butcher someone and then sell that meat to merchants… It’s despicable and hilarious in equal measure. You don’t even have to eat people either if you don’t want to – hostages can be ransomed for money, killed to send a message, or you can put a bag on their head and use them as a human shield in combat (…guess which option I used half the time). You can perform human sacrifices to your savage wasteland god for combat bonuses. You can unleash napalm and mustard gas attacks on settlements. You can burn down the remaining pockets of civilization for the sheer fun of it. You can recruit feral dogs and boars to fight alongside you. You can engage in polygamy and build up a harem of up to 3 spouses (and if you want more, just kill and eat one of the existing ones). You can build up your base will all sorts of services, including (naturally) a brothel, which your evil-as-fuck ass can keep in business with literal sex slaves.

The game also has some fun random events hidden in the world map off the beaten path. One of my best raiders was welcomed into the group after being found in the desert. Another time, I found a thunderdome and fought a guy there. Then there was the time we came across an old nuclear submarine and found a goddamn tactical nuke inside, which I promptly took to blast the shit out of a pesky settlement. Then there was the time I found a group of cultists and sold them a bunch of slaves to sacrifice, which was handy because I really needed the money at the time. Clearly, the game allows you to be a real son of a bitch, although the dated, text-based presentation might actually help to not make it feel as “grimdark” as it could otherwise – yeah, you’re doing a lot of fucked-up shit, but most of it is left to roleplay and your imagination. You can also play with a conscience if you want to, but that doesn’t feel like the spirit of this game to me: you can be the good guy in every other game, after all.

While I have harped on the game’s presentation, I will give it some major props for the way that it portrays your raiders and their equipment. Every raider has a randomized appearance and name, and you’ll rarely see raiders with the same face (although I did see names repeating every once in a while). Probably around 95% of the weapons, armour, and items you can equip on your raiders will be reflected on their character model (and, conversely, you can prioritize attacking enemy fighters based on the equipment you see on them). The equipment is all classic raider items – hockey masks, riot helmets, nail baseball bats, rusty guns, shields made of manhole covers and stop signs, spiky armour, dusty jackets, etc. Considering the low production value, I was pretty surprised by this, as it no doubt took quite a bit of work to make this all happen, but I’m so glad they put in the effort.

As you play and level these guys (and gals) up, you grow attached to them as they bring you victories. Like I said, you can marry up to 3 of them. You can also promote up to 2 of them to higher positions of command in your band – this can potentially cause them to get too big for their britches and challenge your for control, although this never happened to me in my game; my officers were all ride-or-die. All of this helps to build affection for your regular group of raiders, which is important because, again, this game is like XCOM – no matter how good you are, eventually a lucky crit is going to happen, one of your favourites is going to die, and it is going to hurt. The game keeps track of your fallen brethren (and whether you ate them), and I had a few memorable losses in my playthrough. Poor Blackburn, he was my best marksman early on, and my first spouse and officer. He died at the end of our first big settlement raid, and it was a devastating loss. Then there was Shockmaster, a regulator who was hunting our band down, but when he was defeated in battle, he defected and became a scumbag himself. In one particularly devastating battle when I was outnumbered and outgunned by another band of regulators, I lost Shockmaster and Snaggle, 2 of my 3 best remaining marksmen at the time. If you’ve ever played XCOM, you know exactly what sort of feels this game gives you and just how ripe it is for roleplay.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t go through some of the hilarious names your raiders can have in this game. Like… there’s literally a dude named “Cock” in my band. I didn’t name him that, that’s just what the game called him. In addition to being appropriate for the “raider fantasy”, it also encourages more roleplay: like, I imagine that all these nicknames were made up by the other raiders during initiation and then stuck from there, so you start wondering how they got some of these names. Some highlights from my playthrough include: Hooligan, Shifty, White Legs, Sniffer, Wrists, Smutty, Rotten, Night Hate, Worms, Maggot, Dank, Pisser, Gonorrhea.

I put about a dozen hours into my playthrough of Raiders! Forsaken Earth. For me, that’s a solid amount of time to sink into a game. I don’t have time, or interest, in games that are dozens of hours long, so this was fantastic. However, I can see Raiders! being one of those games you could sink and much, or as little, time into as you want. The game has procedurally-generated maps and lots of customizable difficulty options, so you could easily have several more playthroughs to challenge yourself more, maybe try handling your band differently, or just replay on a different map – the choice is yours, really. Again, like XCOM in that regard, or like the 90s strategy/management games I used to play all the time, like Age of Empires II or Rollercoaster Tycoon, where it’s a different experience each time.

Raiders! Forsaken Earth has some really rough edges, but its core pillars are rock solid. Honestly, I’d love to see a sequel with more quality of life improvements (let me type how many items I want to sell, PLEASE), more weapons/armour/equipment, more random events, more rival raiders, larger maps, goddamn car chases… I think there’s still a lot of untapped potential here that could make for a real homerun if given the chance.


Love/Hate: Resident Evil Gaiden

Welcome back to the Resident Evil love/hate series! In this entry we’re looking at the truly bizarre and unique Resident Evil Gaiden, the oft-overlooked, non-canon Game Boy Color spin-off that started Resident Evil‘s obsession with cruise ships. Having sprung out of Capcom’s desire to port Dino Crisis and the original Resident Evil to handheld, developer M4 felt that a direct port wasn’t feasible and so a new game was developed to make the most of the handheld’s more limited capabilities. How did this stripped down concept play out though? Read on to find out…

Oh, and before we get further, I do want to note that I played this game on my Retroid Pocket 2+, not original hardware (and there were no ports either). I will address what I feel was the game experience “as intended”, but I do also want to acknowledge that the vast majority of people playing the game now are going to be doing so via emulation and therefore will have access to save states, rewind, cheats, etc. I did use the rewind and save state functions pretty frequently which made the game easier for me, without a doubt.


  • Impressive Use of the Hardware – Considering that Resident Evil Gaiden is running on 8-bit hardware (which was already archaic when the game came out in 2002) and only has four buttons and a d-pad to work with, it is insane just how well they managed to translate the Resident Evil formula to Game Boy Color. While the graphics and combat aren’t great on their own, they’re incredible by the standards of the hardware and it’s clear that developers M4 were very skilled at their work. Combat, easily the most contentious aspect of the game, works really well within the hardware constraints and the way it has zombies attack you in first person mode is jaw-droppingly impressive. In fact, I’d be willing to say that this is probably the most technically-impressive 8-bit game I’ve ever played.
  • Core Gameplay is Solid – Resident Evil Gaiden really nails the fundamentals, in particular the exploration of the early Resident Evil games. You’ll spend the majority of the game wandering around the Starlight, finding keys items which will allow you to unlock rooms to gather more key items, weapons and supplies to survive. Helpfully, all the key items give you hints about where they need to go, so you get into an enjoyable loop of “get a new item, head to place where the item is used, find use the item, find another item, repeat”. Gaiden also retains the ability to “feint” zombies to get around them and avoid combat, which is great for conserving health and ammo.
  • Non-linear Progression – Resident Evil Gaiden will show you where your next destination is on its map, but you can actually collect items and unlock areas in a non-linear fashion (a fact which I discovered after forgetting that the map tells you where to go next…). It’s kind of cool that you can choose to unlock areas and get items to help progress sooner than expecting, cutting down on a lot of potential backtracking later on (seriously, I just blitzed through the latter part of the game because I already had all the key items I needed at that point).


  • Combat – When you boil it down, combat in this game is just a reticle moving left and right with a limited window in which you can press a button to do damage. Like I have said, the presentation of this game’s combat is technically impressive and with the hardware limitations it was probably their best option. However, your feelings about this system are probably going to make-or-break your enjoyment of the game. It takes the very simple “ready and shoot” combat of the early Resident Evil games and instead replaces it with a system that demands twitch reflexes to not only succeed, but survive. That reticle moves pretty quickly and every shot you miss is a punishing mistake because ammo is a finite resource that you can’t afford to waste and the knife only works in close range. You can also wait for enemies to get close to make aiming easier, but this is also a problem because they will instantly attack you up close and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. You also can’t just run away because attempting to do this will cause enemies to instantly start attacking you, which will always result in at least one hit. It’s a functional system all-in-all, but I dislike how it turns Resident Evil‘s combat into a game of precise reactions when you can’t afford to miss a single shot.
  • Game Tells You Which Enemies Have Loot – Okay, so you don’t want to get into combat because it drains your resources. Well, Gaiden has a stop-gap solution where certain enemies can drop supplies when you kill them. The game will actually pop up an “!” in the corner to let you know when an enemy will drop items on death, which is handy but I feel like it isn’t a very elegant solution to item scarcity. I’d prefer if the game was less stingy with items in the first place, or make item drops more dynamic depending on the player’s inventory rather than just saying “Hey, shoot this zombie in particular!” since this system also lets you know when you don’t want to fight an enemy because it will be nothing but a resource drain.
  • Multiple Characters Doesn’t Add Much – Resident Evil Gaiden allows you to switch between three characters on the fly (one of whom is Barry goddamn Burton!), which sounds cool but in practice all this adds is the ability to equip a weapon to a characters and then hot-swap to it in combat without having to dig through the inventory. Different characters don’t bring any unique skills or abilities, which is a bit of a missed opportunity.


  • Slow Movement Speed – The Starlight is a pretty big place and navigating through it can take quite a while, which isn’t helped by the game’s leisurely movement speed. This gets especially annoying when, for example, the game will have you go from the fourth floor east side of the ship down to the first floor west side.
    • Making this worse, I noticed that Resident Evil Gaiden had a lot of slowdown during gameplay, especially when several sprites were on-screen at once. This makes getting around take even longer and if you try to shoot at an enemy it can cause your ability to react take even longer. It’s possible that this was an emulation issue, but given how well my Retroid Pocket 2+ runs Game Boy games, let alone more demanding hardware, I have a hard time believing that.
  • Artificial Restrictions on Non-linearity – As much as I love this game’s non-linear structure, there are some really annoying restrictions on it. The most egregious would be that you can get into rooms ahead of the “proper” time to do so, but key items won’t do anything and weapons will be unavailable until after a particular game state is reached. This is so annoying because it feels arbitrary, you know you’re in the right place for your item but the game just won’t let you use it. In regards to weapons as well, if you don’t follow the “proper” order then you’re probably going to miss some of the most powerful weapons because you won’t need to go back to those rooms later and there’s no indication that these weapons are going to become available there later (see: the shotgun in the original Resident Evil and Resident Evil 7, those games will tease you something you can get later rather than just hiding it away).
  • Save System Isn’t Great – Rather than letting you save when you want, Gaiden has a checkpoint-based save system where you get to save after completing a certain story milestone. If you’re playing the “proper” way then this should give you a save after every 15-20 minutes of gameplay. Unfortunately, if you do as I did, you might spend an hour or more between save points (which could make a death devastating) and make it so that latter saves are coming up every 5-10 minutes. Now, as I’ve said in the intro, most players are going to be playing this in 2022 by emulator so this issue is significantly lessened, but it is worth mentioning considering how the game was originally experienced.
  • Weapon Switching in Combat – Simply put, it sucks. If you’re in combat and you don’t have another character, or you forgot to give them a weapon, pray you don’t run out of ammo. Combat still goes on in real-time as you fumble through your inventory to try to find a weapon, often resulting in taking at least one hit, if not more. It’s an extremely clunky system and it can be especially devastating in boss fights.
  • Menu Diving to Use Keys – Likely due to hardware restrictions, you can’t use a key to open a door without first diving into your menu and then trying to manually use it. The fact that most keys will tell you where they need to go lessens the guessing game, but there are times where multiple locked doors are in an area and you’re stuck trying them on all the doors. There are also times where a key item will be automatically used when the game lets it be used, but you don’t know this so you walk up to every computer and try to “use” the Data Disk to try to activate the computer, only for it to not work…
  • Final Gauntlet is Brutal – I did pretty well at conserving ammo throughout Gaiden. I avoided combat whenever possible, I missed very few shots and made sure to make notes whenever I found powerful ammo that I wasn’t able to pickup yet. In fact, the only weapon I missed was the gas launcher… which was a crippling mistake because I dare say that the final gauntlet is damn-near impossible to complete without it. The final gauntlet sees you fighting a beefy parasite B.O.W. three times, and it takes at least ten shots to take down every time. Use all your rockets and grenades the first time you see it? Sucks to be you, you’re gonna die now. Oh and if you beat it and don’t immediately run it will fight you again and you’ll waste even MORE ammo. On top of that, there are swarms of bullet-sponge zombies between you and the exit and avoiding them all is simply impossible, meaning that you are going to waste tons of ammo just to escape… unless you get the gas launcher, which one-shots entire rooms of zombies and saves you that ammo that you need in order to survive the final battles. I got to the point where I was at the final battle but I just didn’t have the supplies I needed to beat the game… so I just put it down and Youtube’d the final cutscene.

Given its reputation I had assumed that Resident Evil Gaiden was going to be a shoddy experience akin to Survivor. I was shocked by just how much I enjoyed this game; don’t let the amount of “Hates” dissuade you, my “Loves” far outweighed them. It reminded me a lot of the MSX Metal Gear games and it plays like a perfect demake of the classic Resident Evil gameplay style. It’s also fairly short, taking me only four hours total, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a look.

Love/Hate: Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Welcome back to the Pokemon love/hate series! We’re covering the newest mainline entry in the franchise today, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. There’s been plenty said about these games already and they’ve quickly become some of the most polarizing entries in the entire franchise, representing a bright future for the series while also being mired in technical issues which would be enough to sink any other game. I’ve got plenty of thoughts on these latest games in the Pokemon franchise so let’s dive in and find out what I love and what I hate…


  • Great Pokemon Designs – I’m not one of those “new Pokemon look so bad!” people that come out every time there’s a new generation, but I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by how good this generation has been. During preview season I was unimpressed by a lot of the new Pokemon that were being shown off, but getting to see Pokemon like Grafaiai, Gimmighoul and Fidough up close in battle and in the overworld, I have really warmed up to them. There are also an unusually high number of top-tier Pokemon for me this generation, which run the gamut from cool basic Pokemon like Flittle, flawless evolutionary lines for Fuecoco and Sprigatito, awesome paradox Pokemon and really interesting legendaries. As usual, I’ll have my list of best and worst Pokemon of the generation at the end of this post.
  • Lively Open World – My expectations for an open world Pokemon game were very much tempered by Sword and Shield (not to mention Game Freak’s never ending capacity to under-deliver at every opportunity), but I was shocked by just how lively the Paldea region can be and how much personality its Pokemon inhabitants exude. Everywhere you go, Pokemon will react to your presence in interesting ways. Pokemon like Hoppip or Gogoat may walk up to you with curiosity, while Deerling or Stantler may be skittish and flee, Dugtrio and Orthworm will hide from you underground, Cyclizar can often be seen bounding around without a care in the world, and aggressive Pokemon like Tauros or Veluza will actively come after you to initiate battle. It also helps that battles now seamlessly occur on the overworld map instead of in themed arenas as in previous Pokemon games, meaning you can actually see Pokemon continuing to go about their business even then. It’s really cool, immersive to see in action and far more fleshed out than I had expected.
  • Overworld Shinies – Shiny hunting is one of my favourite parts of the Pokemon experience, even if my patience for long, full-odds hunts is lacking. This is a big reason why I love exploring in Violet, because I know that at any moment I could come across a shiny Pokemon. This is a pretty simple way to make world traversal much more engaging because I am constantly watching for shinies to appear. As of the time of writing this entry I’m currently up to 3 shinies found at full odds, but I will the shiny charm soon, making this vigilance even more rewarding and will eventually start using herba mystica to up my odds even further.
  • Freedom to Choose How to Advance the Story – Pokemon games run on a pretty standard formula, but Scarlet and Violet make the inspired decision to split the now standard “gym battles”, “evil team” and “raids” storylines and make them be able to be tackled at your own pace and discretion. While there is a “recommended” and “incentivized” path, you’ll still be weaving in and out of these plots at will. It also helps that these three main plots all improve as you go, especially the titan plot with Arven. By the second battle I was all-in on his story and it only gets better as you go along and the three plots become unified in the climax of the game. I am not exaggerating when I say that Scarlet and Violet have possibly the best story in Pokemon, up there with Black and White and I’d argue that it definitely eclipses Sun and Moon.
    • It’s also worth mentioning that there are also several completely optional side-plots and characters in the academy who you can get to know and help out. Your teachers are a colourful cast and it actually helps the sense that you’re off learning at school in these games (completely with mid-term and final exams!).
  • First Pokemon Game to Feel Like a AAA Experience – Pokemon was very much designed as a handheld, social experience and really excelled at establishing this formula for itself for a long time. However, one of my issues with Sword and Shield was that it felt like it was a half-measure, attempting to take the Pokemon series into a console-based future but with the mindset of a game that was still rooted in 25 years of handheld traditions. For Scarlet and Violet it feels like Game Freak finally stepped back and thought “Okay, how can we leverage the technology we have to make a Pokemon game with a modern, open-world structure?” The result is a game which is leaps and bounds removed from the traditional structure of how you interact with the Pokemon world, while retaining the core RPG mechanics that make the game work. It’s a huge step forward for a franchise which has been accused for decades now of creative stagnation.


  • Customization – Character customization has been a big factor of Pokemon games since X and Y and I’m sorry to say that Scarlet and Violet take some baffling steps backwards in this regard. While you can still change your look, hairstyle and most of your clothing, for some reason your main outfit is set between one of four seasonal styles. I have no idea why the hell they would do this, other than “you’re at an academy and therefore need a unified dress code”, even though this is a fantasy game and they could do whatever they wanted to. This game’s player card is also far less interesting and far more limited than Sword and Shield‘s customizable trading card system, to the point where I stopped bothering trying to perfect it early on.
  • Graphics – Look, I didn’t care about the stupid N64 trees in Sword and Shield because of the scope of that game and the fact that it looked much better elsewhere. However, the graphics in Scarlet and Violet are notably bad given the game’s much wider scope. You’re meant to get to the top of high vistas, look down and go “Oh wow!”, but instead all I can think is “Wow, those textures sure are muddy” and “Man, this world sure is lacking in foliage and detail”. This would be one thing if the game ran really well, but it does not (which we’ll get to later) which just makes the graphical issues even more pronounced. Now, I certainly think that the graphics are functional and don’t actually impact my enjoyment of the game, hence why I put it in the Mixed section rather than Hate, but it’s worth mentioning since we’ve already seen better looking open-world Switch games for years now.
  • Tera Raids – Raids were by far my favourite addition in Gen 8, despite some frustrating network issues that tempered that enjoyment somewhat. While I’m happy that they’re back in Gen 9, their implementation here feels like one step forward and two steps back.
    • On the one hand, these move way faster than they did previously. In Dynamax raids it wasn’t uncommon to wait 45 seconds each turn for people to pick their moves, then actually have to watch them all play out before going to the next turn again. Tera Raids, in contrast, occur in real-time and moves all take no more than a second or two to resolve, meaning that the whole process goes far faster. However, it also means that you and your allies need to be focused and acting deliberately, otherwise you may miss your turn or use a heal too early.
    • Tera Raids have also improve the cheer system to no longer give random chances of bonuses, instead allowing you to boost attack, defense, or provide a heal up to 3 times per battle. This is incredibly useful and really helps strategizing during these raids.
    • On the other hand, raids basically are the endgame, especially 6 star raids. These raids are legitimately hard, especially because the Pokemon will create an energy shield halfway through the battle which reduces damage significantly. Sure, you can terastalize to break this shield easier, but 6 star Pokemon will drain your tera orb during the battle, making it take several turns of attacking fruitlessly and trying not to die to make it work. Meanwhile, if a 6 star Pokemon can buff itself, or has a super-effective move against you, it will spam it every turn and just wipe you out. The result of this is that raids have basically devolved into an extremely limited meta of viable Pokemon who can buff themselves massively, heal themselves/take several hit, and/or provide massive team support, all of which need to be max level and ideally using competitive EVs and IVs. On the one hand, it’s exciting to overcome this, but on the other hand it’s frustrating because even a single weak teammate can make a 6 star raid team worthless. Making all this worse is that if you do manage to win a 6 star raid, you aren’t even guaranteed to get a rare item drop, which is what the entire endgame of Scarlet and Violet revolve around (these rare items are needed to easily get competitive boosts and shinies). Now, to be fair, 5 star raids have a chance of dropping these rare items as well and are significantly easier, but it just increases the grind required to access endgame items even more.
    • Add onto this that, somehow, the online infrastructure of Scarlet and Violet for raids may actually be worse than Sword and Shield (which was worse than Gen 7, which was worse than Gen 6…). At least in Gen 8 I could do a surprise trade or player card swap to cause the raid list to refresh regularly, but in Gen 9 you only get a grand total of 8 random raids at a time that everyone in the world can get into at the same time and these can only be refreshed every ~30 seconds, meaning that you have like a second to try to get into a raid before none are going to be available. There’s also a random raid option, but that’s a band-aid on a bullet wound when you want to get into specific raids. Why they couldn’t just implement a server browser with some basic filters is beyond me.


  • Performance is Shit – Without a doubt, the main talking point about Scarlet and Violet at launch has been the game’s notoriously awful performance, innumerable bugs and poor programming. Fun story: literally the first thing I did in this game was move the right analog stick to get a better look at my character’s room, which caused the camera to clip into a black void. I wasn’t even trying to break the game either, but it set the tone for the experience to follow. Your camera will constantly clip out of the world, I’ve had characters go invisible, Pokemon disappear or slide out of frame during a battle, menu screens and icons that freeze in place and refuse to go away, etc. The performance woes are the real problem though, with the frame rate regularly dipping below 20fps in and around city areas. It’s real bad and can make the game headache-inducing, although saving and resetting your game will often alleviate some of the performance issues. Still, it’s an unacceptable state to launch a game in and clearly was due to The Pokemon Company’s mandated game release schedule.
  • No Level Scaling – The biggest issue with Scarlet and Violet‘s ambitions of being open world and letting you chart your own path is that Pokemon and trainers’ levels are all set from the start. That means that you can go into an area, be massively under-levelled and grind to beat that area, but if you do then several other areas of the game will be a boring chore because they will all be hopelessly under-levelled. You can somewhat counter this by following recommended progression guides, but if you spend any time exploring and filling your Pokedex off of the main path then you’re pretty easily going to find yourself over-levelled in no time at all.
  • The Map is Pretty Empty – While the Pokemon make the world interesting and alive, the actual design of the Paldea region is really unengaging. In previous, more tightly-designed Pokemon games there were all sorts of secrets and cool things to find hidden away in the world, but in Scarlet and Violet you will mainly find basic items, or TMs if you’re lucky. The main reward for exploration are stakes which can be used to free legendary beasts, which is admittedly pretty cool. However, the cities are where the game really falls flat. Previous Pokemon games would always have hidden shops, people who wanted to trade, people who could tell you things about your Pokemon, or even just flavourful lore dumps. In Scarlet and Violet, towns are basically worthless. Towns will basically just have food shops which are arbitrarily spread out over a half dozen locations through the town with different menus, item shops (which get spread out between two locations, plus Pokemon Centers themselves) and, if you’re lucky, clothing shops (which are also spread out between 1-2 types of clothing per shop). Very rarely will you come across people wanting to trade or do anything interesting, so you’ll basically just enter to do the gym challenge and then leave quickly (again, the shit performance in cities doesn’t help either). It’s a real shame, considering that places like Goldenrod, Celadon and Lumiose City had so much going on in them and are so memorable to this day, I can’t imagine Paldea’s cities doing the same.
  • Still No Voice Acting – This would probably be my big caveat to the point about Gen 9 feeling like AAA Pokemon, because these games still, somehow don’t have any kind of voice acting. I get that it’s probably a localization issue, compounded with the time and money that it would take that TPC are too cheap to invest in, but goddamn, voice acting would add so much to this game’s story and characters. It’s just one more embarrassing mark against this series that takes some major steps forward but then shoots itself in the foot with moves that feel super goddamn lazy.
  • Missions Can Be Dull – While I do like the storylines in this game, some of the actions that you have to do to complete them can be really dull. The worst offender in this regard is Team Star bases. There are five Team Star bases spread across the world map, they all play out the same way and they’re all easy and boring. All you have to do is use the auto-battle mechanic to make 3 of your Pokemon beat the crap out of 3 opposing Pokemon. Rinse and repeat until you defeat 30 Pokemon and then you’ll have to fight a boss. And if this doesn’t sound easy enough, you get an extremely generous 10 minutes to complete this and unlimited opportunities to heal. I don’t know how you could struggle to complete these missions unless you’re massively under-levelled and using a full team with poor type matchups. Gym challenges can also be pretty boring. Most of these involve doing some sort of chore before you’re allowed to fight the boss and they make me yearn for the days when I just had to fight 2-5 trainers before the leader which would act like a mini-tutorial for that gym’s theme.
  • Slow Battle Pacing – If there’s one major caveat to Pokemon battles occurring in the overworld now, it’s that it has slowed the pace of battles to a crawl not seen since Gen 4. Battles often have long delays between actions, especially if a Pokemon gets swapped out of faints, where you may wait like 5+ seconds before you’re able to make a decision on how to proceed. Thankfully most move animations have been sped up to compensate for this somewhat, but this is definitely the most sluggish battles have felt in several generations.
  • Let’s Go Feature – Pokemon following you on the overworld has always been a fan-favourite feature in these games, so the idea of having your companions come out whenever you want and even battling for fetching items for you automatically seems enticing. Well… as with most things in this game, the implementation really lets it down. This all comes down to the fact that the tether for this ability is extremely short and is based on your Pokemon’s actual movement speed. This means that if you try to navigate the world at a normal pace on the back of your riding Pokemon, you will almost immediately get too far away from your companion and cause them to head back into their pokeball. This is especially frustrating for the Pokemon who evolve by following you around for a certain number of steps, forcing you to either travel the world at a regular pace, or slow your movement to a crawl so you can have a Pokemon follow you. Suffice to say, I barely use this feature now, which is a damn shame.

Scarlet and Violet have been a bit of a mixed bag for me. I love seeing Pokemon living in the open world, constantly keeping an eye out for shinies and struggling through competitive and raid battles, but the performance and design issues are undeniable and unforgiveable and I’m often finding myself yearning for the tighter, focused design of Gens 2, 4 and 5. I hope that Game Freak will actually do something to improve this game and win back some community trust, but given the history of this franchise I’m not holding my breath.

Best Pokemon of Gen 9: Ceruledge, the entire Sprigatito line, Iron Valiant, Miraidon, Koraidon, Roaring Moon, Klawf, Flittle
Shittiest Pokemon of Gen 9: Frigibax, Palafin (the base form is super lazy and the Hero form is an abomination), Sandy Shocks, Dudunsparce (25 years for this… Dunsparce is already the joke, you don’t say the same joke again and expect it to be funny), Gholdengo

Love/Hate: Resident Evil Village

Welcome back to the Resident Evil love/hate series! In this entry we’re looking at Resident Evil Village, the most recent entry in the franchise thus far. After the successful resurrection of the franchise with Resident Evil 7 and then the blockbuster hits that were the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, everyone was excited to see what direction Capcom were going to go next. Their answer was Resident Evil Village, a game which (thankfully) looked to push the bounds of the franchise with vampires, werewolves and a gothic aesthetic that looked more than a little inspired by Resident Evil 4. Could Capcom keep the series’ revival going? Read on to find out…

Also, just before we get into the meat of this article, I played this game on a base PS4. The game still looks and runs fantastically on old hardware, I didn’t really notice any issues in my playthrough. I’m sure it looks absolutely stunning on current-gen systems, but don’t feel like you have to wait to get the full experience.


  • Great Characters – Most Resident Evil games have one or two really compelling leads and maybe a good villain, but Resident Evil Village has one of the most compelling casts in the whole franchise. There’s at least three top-tier villains, two solid heroes, a top-tier side-character and nearly every other major player has a ton of personality that makes them memorable. The four lords in particular are all fantastic, having more in common with a Metal Gear rogues gallery than they do Resident Evil, which works in their favour. Alcina Dimitrescu makes for a very compelling, haughty antagonist as she stalks you through her castle with her daughters and toys with you, believing you to be below her attention. Donna Beneviento is just creepy, the way she messes with your mind during her level tells you more about her than any exposition could. Salvatore Moreau is a pathetic momma’s boy, you feel a lot of pity for him as you put him out of his misery. Karl Heisenberg is really interesting, a truly chaotic force within the plot whose performance nails the “Nicholas Cage” energy it was going for. Mother Miranda has less personality than any of the four lords, but the game builds up an appropriately intimidating atmosphere around her character which keeps her from falling flat. As for the leads, Ethan Winters has so much more personality here than he did in Resident Evil 7, reacting appropriately as he tears his way through the village to save his daughter. As for Chris Redfield, this was honestly the first time a Resident Evil game has made me interested in him. His heel-turn is definitely contrived, but the portrayal of Chris here is one who is supremely confident and weathered, actually feeling like a proper soldier for once. Perhaps the biggest surprise has to be The Duke though. I was expecting him to be a second-rate Merchant, but he manages to be interesting, mysterious and strange all at once, allowing him to stand on his own merits.
  • Variety – Going into Resident Evil Village I expected this game to just be a ripoff of Resident Evil 4. While it is clearly drawing some inspiration from Resident Evil 4, Village is very much its own game. Perhaps the most interesting way that Village differentiates itself is in how wildly it shifts tones and gameplay in each section. The village is reminiscent of the early hours of Resident Evil 4, then Castle Dimitrescu feels like the original Resident Evil with a gothic coat of paint, House Beneviento goes full-on P.T. with its psychological horror/escape room vibe, Moreau Reservoir has lots of puzzle/environmental hazard gameplay in a Lovecraftian fishing village, the factory plays like a slow-paced Doom game and then the last stretch of the game goes from tank-battle, to full-bore shooter and then to an almost Souls-like final boss. It’s a lot of different styles and tones across a 8-12 hour playthrough and while some work more than others, there should be some levels that catch your interest.
  • Some Great Level Design – Compared to Resident Evil 7, Village is a more linear and expansive game. However, it still does work in some looping areas as it goes along. The most obvious example of this is the main village area, which you can nearly fully-explore in your initial visit, but as the game progresses you will be able to return to areas you couldn’t open at the time, and after nearly every major event some new enemy type or secret area will open up, encouraging you to explore the world as much as you can. Castle Dimitrescu also feels like classic Resident Evil level design as you trek out from the one safe room to find keys, solve puzzles and dodge the pursuer enemies looking to drain your blood. House Beneviento, as I’ve stated, feels like the fulfilled promise of P.T., utilizing frequent backtracking and escape room-like gameplay to mess with the player and build tension until unleashing it all in truly terrifying fashion.
  • Secrets Everywhere! – While I’m mildly disappointed that Village doesn’t have deviously well-hidden items like Resident Evil 7 did, it makes up for it with all the hidden secrets it backs into its levels. Whether its the hidden areas full of rewarding gear, tough bosses off the beaten path, or the iron balls you can use to unlock the rewarding (and fun) labyrinth puzzles, there’s always something new to do in the village after you complete each level. In fact, I know for a fact I missed a few of these secrets in my playthrough and it almost makes me want to go back to find them again.


  • Story Goes Off the Rails in the Last Hour – Surprise, surprise, another Resident Evil game has a narrative I can’t fully get on board with. In some ways, Village may just have the deepest narrative in the franchise, if only because it actually has a theme that it weaves throughout the entire narrative. Specifically, the story is very much about parenthood, the lengths that parents and children will go to for each other. Many of the game’s strongest and most horrific moments revolve around this very theme. However, the story really falls off the rails in the last hour. Much of this has to do with the game’s opening, where Chris kills Ethan’s wife, Mia, and kidnaps their daughter, Rose, who then gets intercepted by Mother Miranda and brought to the titular village. While this makes for a really intriguing narrative hook, the game undermines it in the last hour when it reveals that “Mia” was actually Miranda in disguise and that Chris was actually trying to save Rose… but didn’t bother to tell Ethan for absolutely no reason. It’s stupid, transparently so, and is the one thing that makes me second-guess whether this is the best Chris Redfield portrayal or not. It also doesn’t help that after all the hyping up, Mother Miranda doesn’t get a lot of opportunity to shine and live up to the hype. She very much suffers from a “tell, not show” approach. If she had some more opportunity to get fleshed out she could have been one of the most memorable Resident Evil villains.
  • Hints of What’s to Come – The closing minutes of Village are perhaps some of the most interesting to talk about. It is revealed that the BSAA, the heroic anti-bio-terror organization which has been a fixture in the series since Resident Evil 5, have become corrupt and are now deploying B.O.W.s to combat bio-terror. Obviously, this is hinting at a future where we may have to take down the BSAA, which sounds interesting to say the least. The other big reveal is that Rose grows up infected with the mold, which has given her powers that the government are monitoring closely (kind of like Sherry Birkin in Resident Evil 6). On the one hand, my gut tells me that these plot threads are going to lead us back down an action-heavy direction for the series like Resident Evil 5 and 6 did. If followed to their natural conclusion, you’d need either a soldier-type like Chris or Jill leading the fight against the BSAA and all their B.O.W. soldiers, or you’d need a super-powered Rose Winters leading the fight. Either way, it’s far away from the intimate, tense, horror-focused gameplay of the best Resident Evil games and I’d hate to see the series leave that behind again right after finding its footing. That said, I really don’t want Resident Evil to have yet another major plot hook meet a dead-end. Jake Muller (who was poised to take over the franchise) hasn’t been seen in 10 years, nothing has been done about Alex Wesker’s personality taking control of Natalia and we still know basically nothing about Blue Umbrella or what Mia was up to in Resident Evil 7. Oh, speaking of which…


  • Mia Gets Totally Shafted – If there’s one character who truly gets done dirty in this game, it’s Mia Winters. In a rather shocking twist, Resident Evil 7 reveals that Mia is secretly a part of a freaking bio-terror organization, a fact which comes to light over the course of the game. It was kind of expected that this would be explored more in Village, maybe even be why Chris shoots her in the opening sequence… but no, it is never brought up at all. In fact, Mia is relegated to the role of damsel and crying wife. She’s literally just locked up in a cage throughout the entire events of the game, gets rescued by Chris about 30 minutes before the game ends and then cries and freaks out asking where Ethan is. It’s borderline insulting that Mia gets treated this way, she was (and is) a far more compelling character than Ethan is and could have made for a great hero (or antagonist!) in this game if they’d just stuck with the narrative threads they’d established for her. Honestly, I want her to come back for Resident Evil 9. I think the villainous route could work really well for her. Maybe she had Rose with Ethan in order to continue her research, it is implied she knew Miranda and maybe she was working with her as well. This could lead to a F.E.A.R.-like situation if Mia turns Rose evil, which could be an interesting direction that could keep the games from getting too action-heavy.
  • Two Back-to-Back Awful Levels – The second half of this game really soured the experience for me. I know some people don’t like either Moreau’s Reservoir or they don’t like the factory, but I had the unpleasant experience of hating both.
    • Moreau’s area was unfocused and mediocre enough in the mines, but when you have to make your way to drain the sunken village it became an incredibly frustrating game of trial and error. Basically, you have to maneuver across planks before they go in the water, but if you fail, or if you happen to try at a moment when Moreau jumps past you, then you fall in the water and instantly get killed. I must have died here more times than in the rest of the game combined, and nearly every death was total bullshit. You can tell that there were some major cuts made here, a fact which was only recently confirmed. The original concept for the area sounds way more intriguing than what we got and I’m sad that the developers didn’t get more time to make it work.
    • Meanwhile, Heisenberg’s factory is just a slog. You have a fight tons of cyborg-zombies which become stronger and more well-armoured as the level progresses to keep things interesting. While I appreciate the attempts to keep the fights from getting too routine and I like some of the level design, the factory just goes on way too goddamn long and outstays its welcome. The game is also a lot more action-heavy during this time and every enemy feels like it takes too many shots to down them… everything is just “too much” and really should have been scaled back. Cut 20-30 minutes off this level and the game itself would be vastly improved.
  • Exploration Just Suddenly Ends Without Warning – As I headed off to Heisenberg’s factory, I had no idea that, once I went through those doors, the freeform exploration that the game had allowed up to that point was done. I had some puzzles and areas to explore still, but I figured I’d get a chance to clean all that up after the factory and before moving on to whatever area Miranda was in… haha, nope. As soon as the factory’s done the end-game gauntlet begins and goes on for nearly an hour. There’s also no merchant or weapon upgrades during this time either, so I sure hope you made use of The Duke’s services before you fought Heisenberg. Honestly, this is kind of baffling to me, I can’t help but wonder if they had to rush the ending or cut out some more areas, but it really annoyed me that you couldn’t get one last chance to explore the village before the final showdown.

Resident Evil Village was a big of a mixed bag for me. The first half was fantastic all-round, but by the time I hit the mid-point the game really nose-dived in quality and it left me feeling disappointed at how things went. I appreciate Capcom’s willingness to experiment with the franchise, but I definitely preferred the more focused and small-scale stakes of Resident Evil 7 and hope that the series will try to emulate that experience going forward.

Love/Hate: Umbrella Corps

Yeah that’s right, this one doesn’t even have the Resident Evil moniker, Capcom literally just called it Umbrella Corps. I’m not even going to mince words, this game fucking sucks. It is far and away the worst Resident Evil game I’ve played and I have a hard time imagining how a AAA studio could make a game shittier than this in future. How they managed to make a worse shooter than Resident Evil: Survivor in an era when shooters had been long figured out is beyond me. Oh and as for why I’m covering this game now instead of later with the Resident Evil spin-off titles? Despite being a multiplayer shooter, it is somehow, inexplicably canon.


  • No Microtransactions – I shouldn’t even have to give a game any sort of kudos for not being predatory, but Umbrella Corps seems so ripe for microtransactions that it is shocking to see them absent. Especially for a hollow game like this, you’d expect it to be nothing but a vector to shove microtransactions at gamers, but no, somehow Capcom had some pride in this game. Hooray?
  • Fan Service – Okay, I’ve got to admit that seeing the Resident Evil 4 village in full HD is pretty damn cool. The game even adopts some of the movement mechanics of that game into the map design, encouraging more verticality. Similarly, the Kijuju village map features much more aggressive enemies, similar to how Resident Evil 5 plays, making the game almost feel like a bite-sized remake at times.


  • Customization – Like I mentioned on Resident Evil 6, I love when a game lets you customize trivial things to your liking. Wanna pick the colour of your uniform, your helmet emblems, your gun sights and reticule? Umbrella Corps has you covered. However, you get the sense that they may have put the horse before the cart because you’re telling me that you only start out with two shotguns, two SMGs and 2 pistols? Seriously? I mean, you could theoretically unlock more, but… well…
  • Movement Speed – Holy crap you move FAST in this game, which feels at odds with the tiny maps you’re running around in. Even with just your base movement speed you can cross a room in a couple seconds at most, which I can only imagine was to copy the blistering mobility of games of the time like Titanfall and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I don’t really like the speed of the game, it feels “wrong” to me, but that’s more of a subjective annoyance rather than an actual flaw so your mileage may vary.


  • An Online Shooter With No Online – The big issue with online-focused games is that they are inevitably going to be worthless and most of the content inaccessible once the online part of the game comes to an end. It’s one thing to hold that against a game like MAG or Warhawk where they provided years of online play to people who were buying the game. However, I have absolutely no reservations about Umbrella Corps, because it was dead on arrival. Within a month it was basically unplayable, with less than 50 people playing at any one time. In its release year it spent more time in an unplayable state than it did playable, which mean that this is the game’s content as far as I’m concerned. And Capcom’s still selling the “Deluxe Edition” for $33.50 on PSN! For a completely dead game!!!
  • The Experiment – Full-stop, the single player content in this game is miserable. This would be bad enough if it was just a bonus mode you could ignore, but this especially hurts because it’s the only part of the game that’s actually playable. It plays like Black Ops Declassified, the bargain-basement PS Vita Call of Duty game Activision shit out. You do spec ops missions with such engaging objectives as “kill a bunch of enemies” and “hold some points for 10 seconds”, bored to tears the whole time, stuck with the default weapon loadouts and each mission may take like 2 minutes at most to complete. To compensate for this, the game makes all enemies kill you in 1 or 2 hits, so if you make any kind of mistake then you’re punished severely. If you want to make the game even more boring you can cheese this by standing in front of the meat piles that zombies spawn from and just shoot them before they can even react, but… like, the game is boring enough as is. I’m not ashamed to admit that I quit about halfway through The Experiment, it was that joyless. The game had me doing a tedious “kill 20 enemies” mission and then round 2 was “hold point 10 seconds 5 times”. I died in the 2nd round and had to replay the entire first round again. I wanted to see Raccoon City, but fuck this, I’m not playing this game ever again.
  • Basic Design Decisions Are Flawed – Umbrella Corps just feels “off” when you’re playing it. The aforementioned movement speed doesn’t help too much but on it’s own it’s not an insurmountable problem. The problems arise from how awkward the basic shooting gameplay is. The game’s in a third person perspective, but suddenly switches to first person when you aim down sights. This is disorienting enough, but for a bonus it doesn’t do this if you’re in cover, in that context it just zooms the third person camera when you ADS. It got to the point where I was just hip-firing at all times rather than deal with the camera zooming in and out all the time.
  • Repeated Voice Lines – Get ready to tear your ears off if you hop into The Experiment. Every time you pick up a DNA sample you’re going to hear “This one’s mine!” and “There is is!” over and over and over and over and over and over and over. I swear to God that no one in charge tested this game, no one would greenlight a game this annoying and “yeah, that’s acceptable”.
  • Information Overload – Umbrella Corps‘ UI is buck-wild. In addition to standard shooter UI, the game shows you exactly where you can climb, take cover and the exact range of your melee weapons… which, combined with the small maps means that at any one time your view is going to be filled with obtrusive, over-animated bullshit, whether you wanted to or not.

Umbrella Corps is fucking garbage. I spent $6.50 on this game and I kind of knew what I was getting into, but even that felt like I was getting ripped off. I really want to know how Capcom fucked this up so badly, because there are Steam Greenlight games with better all-round design than this piece of shit.

Love/Hate: Resident Evil – Revelations 2

Welcome back to the Resident Evil love/hate series! In this entry we’re looking at Resident Evil: Revelations 2, a game which, in hindsight, feels like Capcom testing the waters between Resident Evil 6 and 7. Like its predecessor, Revelations 2 experiments with the franchise’s usual formula in plenty of interesting ways. Does it work out for the better? Read on to find out…


  • Horror Is Back, Baby! – The first Resident Evil: Revelations was clearly trying to harken back to the survival horror gameplay of the franchise’s classic entries, but Revelations 2 decides to lean full-tilt into being a horror game. It wears its influences on its sleeves – the Claire/Moira sections are very intense, like Saw II mashed with a creature feature (there’s even a chapter with its own Saw traps!), whereas Barry/Natalia’s sections are much slower-paced and have a post-apocalyptic feel, like The Last of Us. It’s a much more small-scale and intimate return to form for the franchise, which had been going off the rails for years by this point.
  • Lots of Great Characters – Revelations 2 scales down the cast compared to its predecessor, but in doing so it crafts a far more focused and impactful journey for most of them. By far the best of the bunch are Barry Burton and his daughter Moira. It’s really nice to see Barry again after so long and the fact that we like him so much makes us want to find his missing daughter all the more. Speaking of which, Moira has a great debut here. Like most modern-day Resident Evil heroines, she has a serious potty mouth, which goes along with her off-the-charts sass, but it makes her endearing. Learning what caused the rift between her and Barry and helping her overcome her fears makes for a surprisingly poignant journey. Natalia is also a surprisingly decent character, I was worried that a little girl character could get annoyingly precocious or just be used as a vector for limp scares, but she manages to hold her own. I also found the game’s villain to be very creepy, I wish that they had gotten a bit more to do but they really made an impact here.
  • Some Interesting New Enemies – Most of Revelations 2‘s enemies are the usual variety of fast/slow zombies, heavy weapon zombies, etc, but Barry’s campaign has a couple of really interesting new enemy types.
    • First of all are the glasps, which are basically big, invisible bugs. As they close in on you, the camera begins to lose focus in their direction, giving you a hint about where they are. In addition, Natalia can see them, so you can either switch to her to see where they are, or aim and listen to her call-outs to know where to shoot. They’re usually not much of a threat, but they are spooky, so they fit the game’s horror ambitions well.
    • My favourite enemy though are the Revenants, big, creepy zombies with armour all over their bodies which move erratically as you blow the plates off. The really interesting part though is that every Revenant has a randomized parasite in one of its extremities, kind of like the Regeneradors from Resident Evil 4. If you know where their weak points are, you can kill them in as little as two shots, but if you don’t you can waste a lot of ammo guessing. This incentivizes strategic play any time you encounter a Revenant. Natalia can see the parasites, so you can switch to her to know where to shoot, or you can use stealth to get close and one-shot them with a knife takedown. All-in-all, they’re a nice shake-up from the usual sorts of enemies we encounter in these games and the fact that they require some strategizing to kill effectively is appreciated.
  • Partner Switching Returns! – Thirteen years after being introduced in Resident Evil 0, seamless character switching makes its triumphant return in Revelations 2! With a press of a button you can instantly switch characters. While there aren’t quite as many puzzles requiring your characters to separate, in some ways this feature felt more necessary in Revelations 2, because your characters are far more specialized. Claire/Barry are the only characters who can shoot guns at enemies, meaning they’re going to be doing most of the combat, whereas Moira and Natalia can be used to stun enemies and find hidden items in the environment. Because of this, I got into a rhythm of playing as the item-finding characters 60% of the time and then switching to my fighter when combat gets triggered. Of course, if you don’t want to partner switch, then you could always use…
  • Split-screen Co-op! – I was legitimately surprised when I found out that Revelations 2 had a split-screen mode. Considering that Resident Evil 5 and 6 both had split-screen, I probably shouldn’t have been, but it’s a welcome surprise. It may not be as fun of an experience as those games since one player is going to be severely underpowered at all times, but having to adapt to being a support character could make Revelations 2 a unique co-op experience.
  • An Actual Dodge Button – Capcom must have heard my complaints about the dodge in the original Revelations, because the dodge here solves every single problem I had with that game’s system. All you have to do is press a button and it will play an animation, oh my God! Honestly, this probably shouldn’t even warrant an entry on the list, but the fact that I loathed the original game’s dodge so much made this such a joyous addition.


  • Nerfed Weapon Upgrade System – Considering how much I loved the weapon upgrade system in the original Revelations, I was really excited to see it back in Revelations 2. However, the devs have made some tweaks to this system which make it so much less satisfying. First of all, the upgrade screen now shows you far less information – you can’t even see what effect applying an upgrade will have to your stats until you have applied it… why would they do this? Secondly, parts kits are significantly rarer than they were in the first game. You could reliably find 1-2 parts kits every time you passed a weapons bench in the first game, but here it’s not unusual for me to go a whole chapter and only find a couple upgrades the whole time. The devs seem to have made the decision to have parts kits be hidden much better in the environment, meaning that you really have to go looking to find them now. You can argue that it’s more rewarding, but I just find it leaves your weapons feeling far less personalized over the course of the playthrough.
  • Oh Hey, Skills Are Back… – Skills return from Resident Evil 6… and they’re about as useless as ever. As you play through the game you can find gems which will earn you BP which you can use at the end of a chapter to purchase skills, but most of these skills are very underwhelming. I can increase my fire rate when I crouch by 10%? Wow. I can heal my partner from a downed state faster (a state that I had my partner get into once in the entire game)? What a steal… But hey, at least BP is pretty easy to come by and they combined Skills with an actual weapon upgrade system, so it’s at best unobtrusive. It is, however, pretty underwhelming considering that they included a medal system to try to incentivize getting lots of bonus BP.


  • Linear Level Design – Probably the biggest change in Revelations 2 is that it drops the looping level design in favour of a far more linear progression, which feels pretty disappointing in comparison. Some of this could be chalked up to the game’s episodic release structure, which could make it difficult to design the game with hub areas, looping levels and gradual exploration of a larger area. Making matters worse, Barry’s segments recycle areas from Claire’s campaign. In fact, Barry doesn’t get any substantial new areas until Chapter 3 (of 4, for the record), meaning that nearly a quarter of the game feels like an asset flip. Thankfully, like I’ve said, the tone and pacing in Barry’s version of these areas is completely different so it doesn’t feel too egregious.
  • Claire Gets Shafted – Going into this game I thought that Claire Redfield was the main character, but holy shit does she ever feel like an afterthought. She basically adds nothing to the plot. Like, the ingredients for her to actually matter are there – Moira needs to overcome her fears in order to save the day, why can’t we make it clear that Claire is the one to inspire her? Hell, the game’s T-virus strain is triggered by fear and the villain wants Natalia specifically because she’s fearless… yet she casts aside Claire without a second thought. You’re telling me that Natalia’s more fearless than Claire is at this point? Hell, even at the end when Claire comes back to finish the fight, Barry’s just like “fuck off, this is my fight”. Sure, Claire gets the final hit in, but again it all feels like an afterthought… And oh my God don’t even get me started on her “relationship” with Neil that comes out of nowhere. It’s so badly done that it undermines and sort of emotional heft that could have been mined from it. All-in-all, this is the Burtons’ game and Claire is one again relegated to supporting character which is very disappointing.
    • On a related note, Kaya Scodelario who plays Claire in Welcome to Raccoon City got dragged by Resident Evil fans for saying that Claire gets screwed over after Resident Evil 2… but, like, she undeniably did. After 2 she gets Code: Veronica, which puts her in the back seat for Chris halfway through, and then… this. Claire got shafted hardcore by Capcom and anyone who argued otherwise needs to take a step back and look at just how under-represented Claire is.
  • Bleed/Healing System – One of Revelations 2‘s experiments with the series’ survival horror formula involves adding a bleed status and I’ve got to say that I’m not a fan of this system at all. If you get hit by a strong attack from an enemy, this will cause the edges of the screen to turn a sharp red and your health will drain over time. The only way to stop this is for you or your partner to either apply a tourniquet or use a green herb. It’s fine in concept, but in execution it doesn’t work. First of all, there’s no hotkey to use a tourniquet, so you have to dive into your menu to do it… but if you got hit by an enemy then you’re still in combat and you won’t have time to do that (opening the inventory doesn’t pause the game in Revelations 2). Secondly, you never know if your partner is going to use a tourniquet on you or not, it’s a crapshoot really. Thirdly, I don’t like the way this game indicates damage – you can’t really tell how damaged you are, and even a couple small hits turn a third of your screen red so for all I know I was healing all game while still over half health. Oh and the game also has ANOTHER system where your vision can be obscured by gunk so you can apply disinfectant to clear your screen, but again… why? With no hotkey I’m not digging through my inventory for this.
  • HOLD ONTO THE FUCKING BRICK, NATALIA – Holy fucking shit this annoyed the hell out of me. Natalia’s only offensive option is to pick up bricks in the environment and throw them at enemies or bash them up close. You’d think she could just carry them around easily, but no, if you do anything she will drop it automatically. Went up a ladder? Brick’s gone? Slide down a hill? Bye-bye brick. Open a door? No bricks allowed. It’s so stupid, it makes it so that you can’t even reliably plan to have a brick for any upcoming combats and I honestly can’t wrap my head around why the devs would program the game like this.
  • Doesn’t Take Advantage of A/B Scenario – Revelations 2 makes some attempts for actions taken in Claire’s scenario to affect Barry’s scenario, but these feel token at best. There are a handful of enemies in each chapter with glowing heads whose survival or death affects Barry’s campaign, plus interacting with a couple objects may open up different paths, but that’s it. It could have been cool if there was more ways to “leave a mark” on Barry’s campaign, but unfortunately the execution here is so limited that it is effectively non-existent.
  • Bugs – There are bugs everywhere in this game, and not just of the invisible-variety. Animation bugs are by far the most common and egregious – you will see objects and characters clip through the environment all the time. Even the mandatory sliding animations to load into new areas will blatantly show Barry and Natalia halfway up to their knees in the environment which is really immersion-breaking.
  • The Story Crumbles By the End – By the end of the first half, Revelations 2 had one of the best stories in any Resident Evil game going. The character drama is strong and Chapter 2 ends with a hell of a cliff-hanger, but after this point the plot quickly starts to fall apart. Chapter 3 really puts Claire’s “relationship” with Neil center stage and it goes off like a wet fart, whereas Barry’s Chapter 3 is basically just busywork, feeling like padding. However, by the time you reach the story revelations in Chapter 4 the plot crumbles with any level of scrutiny (spoilers ahead). For example, if Neil was secretly supporting bioterrorism, why did he kidnap his own employees as test subjects? And, for that matter, why kidnap Claire goddamn Redfield!? All that said, Revelations 2 ends on a cliffhanger that must be addressed in a future Resident Evil game, it’s far too big to just leave it as a loose end forever.

I enjoyed Resident Evil: Revelations 2 quite a bit, but it is a far different game than its predecessor. I like some things they did here more than the original, but for every improvement there’s a step back which hinders the experience somewhat. If they had ironed out a handful of the annoyances (eg, drop the bleed system, keep weapon upgrades how they were in the original, tighten the story, etc) then it’d probably be a clear head and shoulders above the first Revelations, but as-is I appreciate both for their unique takes on survival horror.

Love/Hate: Resident Evil – Revelations

Welcome back to the Resident Evil love/hate series! In this entry we’re going to start arguably the most prominent and popular spin-off series in the franchise, Resident Evil: Revelations. Conceived as an interquel set between Resident Evil 4 and 5 and initially designed as a handheld experience, Revelations has since made its way to TV screen and computer monitors. This game also came out at a time when Resident Evil was at its most troubled – the horror elements of the franchise had been forgotten and Resident Evil 6 and Operation Racoon City were just on the horizon to make things even worse. With all this in mind, how does Revelations hold up today compared to its full-fledged console brethren? Read on to find out…


  • Really Impressive For a 3DS Game – While it’s not quite on the same level as Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Revelations makes the jump from handheld to console surprisingly well. You can definitely tell that the game was designed for less-powerful hardware – the graphics range from near PS3-quality for some of the character models to sub-PS1 for parts of the environment, the animations (especially for enemies) can be very stiff and limited and the whole experience feels like Resident Evil 5-lite. However, this ultimately makes the game all the more impressive because throughout the entire playthrough I found myself saying holy shit this was running on a 3DS?!
  • Great Pacing – Resident Evil games, especially after 4, had a bad habit of trying to stretch out their levels as much as possible, making each one take around an hour to get through. Revelations, on the other hand, is designed for handhelds and so most levels top out between 30-45 minutes, which are often divided up between 5-30 minute chunks of gameplay, and each chapter ends with some sort of cliffhanger which makes you want to find out what will happen next. Honestly, I enjoyed this “TV drama” approach more than I expected to.
  • Some Great New Characters – Resident Evil can struggle at times to introduce interesting new characters (or, hell, can be adverse to introducing any), but Revelations has a bunch of fun, delightful additions that I really want to see come back to the franchise someday. The most notable is Parker, a super charming guy who is as memorable as fan-favourite Barry Burton. BSAA director O’Brian is also a solid character, literally a Colonel Campbell type (they even got Paul Eiding for the English dub to play him). Despite being one-note, I also found Jessica to be quite endearing, especially because she plays off of Chris and Parker well. I would be sad if none of these characters ever return to the series – don’t make me sad, Capcom!
  • Return to Classic Level Design – Resident Evil 4 moved the franchise towards a more linear level design, but a good chunk of Revelations harkens back to a more classic-style in line with the original Resident Evil. Over the course of the game, Jill will explore every area of the Queen Zenobia at least twice over, coming back to get to previously-inaccessible rooms and items as you go, which keeps the environments from feeling overly-repetitive. Like I’ve said, it’s pretty stripped-down compared to the classic Resident Evil games, so don’t expect to find an item and then have to trek to the other side of the ship to use it, the game is pretty good at funneling you where you need to go (which is good because the in-game map is not very helpful and the Queen Zenobia isn’t anywhere near as memorable as the Spencer Mansion or Raccoon Police Department).
  • Genesis – I was initially annoyed by the introduction of the Genesis scanning system; it felt like an unnecessary barrier to item discovery, when you should be able to just pick items up in the environment. However, soon enough I found it to be a fun, optional bonus you could use. Low on ammo? Pop out the Genesis and you’re sure to find some. It’s also very handy that when you walk into a room the scanner will tell you if there’s an item there, so you don’t have to waste time searching every corner of every room. It also has the bonus function of producing green herbs when you scan enough enemies… but it’s most effective when they’re still alive (some enemies can’t even be scanned when they die because their bodies dissolve immediately), so you have a strategic decision to make when using it. I’m not sure I’d like this to be added to any other Resident Evil game, but it works surprisingly well here.
  • Weapon Upgrades System – Revelations may have my favourite weapon upgrade system in the entire franchise. Hell, Revelations may have my favourite kind of weapon upgrade system in any game. Put simply, you’ll find parts kits in the environment as you play, the most valuable of which are in hard-to-reach places and/or hidden with the Genesis. If you’re actually looking for them, you should find one or two kits every time you set off to complete an objective. These kits allow you to equip perks onto your guns at workbenches. Each gun comes with a certain number of perk slots, perks can be swapped in and out at will and some perks are exclusive to each weapon. Furthermore, each perk has multiple levels of effectiveness which dramatically improve their quality (eg, Damage 1 boosts your gun by 10%… whereas Damage 5 boosts it 50%). All-in-all, it’s a great system that gives you a ton of flexibility and customization, encourages exploration to get the most out of your weapons and are doled out at a good pace to feel rewarding.


  • The Shooting Gameplay – Revelations plays a lot like Resident Evil 5, which I was pretty meh on. Thankfully, the enemies in this game aren’t quite as bullet-spongey, but some of the endless shooting galleries (especially any time Hunters are on-screen) get to the point of being tedious and mind-numbing. Unlike, say, the Resident Evil 2 remake where you are encouraged to avoid/ignore enemies when you can, Revelations seems to expect you to kill everyone you come across, which clashes somewhat with the more classic survival horror elements of the game. It can be especially problematic during the handful of sequences where you get absolutely swarmed by enemies, where your success or failure will likely come down to whether you happen to have enough ammo stockpiled.


  • …And Some Awful New Characters – As much as I like the new cast in Revelations, there were some utter stinkers added to the roster which I would be remiss to ignore. Worst of all has to be Quint, an annoying dork who refuses to just shut the hell up for five seconds. He’s joined by his comedy side-kick, Grinder, who isn’t anywhere near as bad but ever time Quint said his nickname (which is all the time) all I can hear is “Grindr”… Anyway, this game is also saddled with Raymond, an even bigger dork with an awful, out-of-place anime character design, complete with huge red haircut and gigantic chad chin. Raymond himself isn’t that bad, but his design is so off-putting that I hated every moment he was on-screen and it definitely undermined the “cool guy” energy they were clearly aiming for.
  • Dodging – Okay, I will acknowledge that there is a good chance that this may be 100% on me, but holy fuck I could not dodge to save my life. There’s a whole dodging tutorial section in the early parts of the game where it tells you “move your analog stick and press X to dodge” and if you do it at the right time your character will dodge. Simple enough, but Jesus Christ it doesn’t work. First of all, there is no associated animation for a failed dodge, so you either do it perfectly or don’t do anything, making it difficult to know if I’m even performing it right. Secondly, I would constantly perform dodges at random in this game without even intending to and I can tell you for a fact that all I was doing at the time was moving the stick, I was definitely not pressing X too. Worst of all, dodging is crucial for your survival, because several enemies and attacks are clearly designed to be dodged and your health reserves will barely get you through on Normal if you can’t. Anyway, suffice to say I got extremely frustrated during the dodge “tutorial”.
  • Story Goes Off the Rails – I’ll be honest, for the first half of this game I was enjoying the story here way more than most Resident Evil games. The TV drama format means you’re getting new twists and turns every 30 minutes or so, but at a certain point it just collapses in on itself. Probably the dumbest moment in the whole game is when you play as Chris and Jessica fighting your way through a ship to rescue Jill and Parker… only to get to the end of the level and discover “oh no, the princess is in another cruise ship!” Seriously, someone decided that it was a good idea to have two identical cruise ships with monsters in them and the only reason I can think for that is to pad the runtime and reuse some areas for a dumb twist. As if that wasn’t dumb enough though, it turns out that there’s also a third ship after all this. Oh, and the whole plot is a false flag operation orchestrated by O’Brian to prove that his boss is a terrorist-sympathizer… which he does by unleashing a deadly virus on two (retired) cruise ships and then throws his best agents into them because he can’t risk having the truth leak out! Throw in a couple non-sensical betrayals and it’s pretty clear that twists took precedence over a coherent and satisfying narrative.
  • Enemy Design – The design of the T-Abyss monsters really doesn’t do it for me in this game. On the one hand, blob-like enemies hadn’t been done in the franchise at this point, I can appreciate their deep-sea creature inspirations and they’re differentiated well enough that you can always know exactly what variant you’re fighting. However, blob monsters seem so uninspired to me. Their jerky motions remind me of the necromorphs in Dead Space, but their design as a bunch of flesh blobs make them far less interesting and disturbing as far as I’m concerned. On the other side of the coin, the Hunters and infected wolves clearly got the short end of the stick here, as each are clearly given far less attention with their animations and attacks, preferring to just swarm you and hope you don’t notice.
  • Partner AI – I’m not even sure why Revelations has a partner with you at all times, because they are basically useless. I can only assume that “everyone liked it in Resident Evil 5” so it’s an expectation that it will be there? Anyway, your partner will never do anything useful in combat, can’t hold items for you, can’t heal you and will rarely draw any sort of aggro for you… Honestly, the only good part about having an AI partner with you for the whole game is that at least it helps flesh out their character, which is a big reason why I liked Parker and Jessica so much.
  • Jill’s Redesign – This is a pretty minor issue all-told, but I couldn’t get it out of my head throughout the entire game. Capcom changed Jill’s face model for this game and it just feels… wrong. The new model isn’t that far off from the one they had been using from Resident Evil remake through to 5, but (weirdly enough) that just makes it feel worse, like they subtly screwed up how she’s supposed to look.
  • Horny Devs – Resident Evil 6 was in development at the same time as Revelations and you can definitely see that both games had the same level of horniness in the dev teams (for better or worse). First of all, Jill has a dump truck ass in this game and is always showing some cleavage. This is super minor and I wouldn’t have minded at all if that was the end of it, but there are two particularly egregious offenders. First of all is Jessica, whose special ops wetsuit design apparently doesn’t need to cover an entire leg or ass-cheek. It’s just so transparently horny that even the guy who designed her thinks it looks stupid. The worst offender is, without a doubt, Rachel Foley, an agent who goes into combat on the Queen Zenoba with her two gigantic knockers exposed. You come across her getting fucking murdered right in front of you and you’re probably going to come away from all that thinking “man she had big tits”. Oh, but then she gets infected with T-Abyss and takes it to a whole other level as she suddenly becomes the only ooze monster to retain enough of a human shape to be constantly thrusting her bulbous boobies at you. I’ve heard justifications that they were trying to mix horror and eroticism together in this design, but it just looks like some weirdo’s fetish unleashed. Naturally, Rachel has become one of the most popular Revelations characters, fancy that.

While it may look like my opinions on Revelations are polarized, I honestly feel like most of the “Hates” are relatively minor. Overall, I really enjoyed this game, the mixture of classic Resident Evil level design and Resident Evil 4 and 5‘s gameplay works really well and its characters and unique eccentricities really grew on me the more I played. It just goes to show what you can do with a strong design team, even on an underpowered system like the 3DS.

Love/Hate: Resident Evil 0

Welcome back to the Resident Evil love/hate series! In this entry we’re going to be looking at Resident Evil 0, the oft-overlooked Game Cube prequel to the original game. Having come out at a time when classic survival horror fatigue was at an all-time high, does this game hold up 20 years later? Read on to find out…


  • Partner Switch Mechanic – By far the most notable addition in Resident Evil 0 is the ability to switch characters with the press of a button. Not because it opens up new gameplay possibilities (which it does, but it’s arguably under-utilized), but because the technology of it is so cool. Seriously, in a game series where opening every door results in a loading screen, the ability to press a button and then a second later be on an entirely different part of the map with another character is mind-blowing. Seriously, this is the kind of thing that modern games struggled with until the most recent generation where SSDs became standardized, but seeing it on a Game Cube game is wild.
  • Graphics – Resident Evil 0 was easily the best-looking Resident Evil game until the series made the jump to PS4. The pre-rendered backgrounds look great and, uncharacteristically, Capcom managed to not lose their hi-res masters so the HD remaster actually looks fantastic in action (although, like the Resident Evil remake, the cinematics are still in stretched 480p). I feel like the art direction in Resident Evil remake is a bit more distinctive overall, but Resident Evil 0 is definitely the prettiest of the “classic” era of the franchise.
  • Train Opening – Resident Evil 0 makes a big impression in its opening hour, which sees you having to deal with zombies on a train. It’s easily the most memorable and unique area in the game and… well, honestly, it was pretty frustrating to play this section but the art direction and level design are so distinctive that it left a positive impression on me overall. It’s too bad that the rest of the game feels like it’s recycling series tropes with its locations, but at least the train at the start of the game gives 0 its own legitimately iconic identity.
  • Billy and Rebecca – Like Sherry and Jake in Resident Evil 6, Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen make for a great odd-couple pairing (albeit without the romantic tension). At the game’s outset, Billy is straight-up a convicted murderer whereas Rebecca is the straight-laced soldier, which makes their forced cooperation and eventual warming up to one another great to see play out. The voice acting is also better-than-average for a Resident Evil game, especially from Billy’s actor, James Kee, who gives his character a confident, menacing, sarcastic edge.
  • Innovations – It’s not unusual for a prequel to be used as an excuse to repeat familiar beats one more time, but Resident Evil 0 actually makes the brave decision to shake up the gameplay of the franchise. For better or for worse this gives the game its own unique identity. First of all, as I’ve mentioned, it introduces an AI partner for the first time in the franchise who you can switch to control on the fly. The game also allows you to drop items and they will stay on the map later, alleviating some stress about item management. Both of these changes fundamentally switch up the way you play the game and make Resident Evil 0 an interesting entry even now, whether you like the changes or not.
  • HD Remaster Costumes – Okay, I’ve gotta say that the plethora of costumes available in the HD remaster right off the bat is a great touch. Most Resident Evil games will have unlockable costume sets that only become available for subsequent playthroughs, but I don’t tend to replay games all that regularly so I never really get to use them. However, right from the outset you get a bunch of choices to customize Rebecca and Billy and can swap them on the fly. It’s a small touch but I personally loved the option!
  • Wesker Mode – THIS is how you convince someone to replay a game that they just beat. The HD remaster of Resident Evil 0 adds the ability to have Billy swapped out for Albert freaking Wesker, complete with his own unique moveset and abilities which fundamentally shakes up the gameplay. It’s such a cool idea and I don’t understand why more games don’t have cool bonus modes like this to reward players for completion.


  • Partner AI – Your partner’s AI can be reeeeeeally stupid at times, often being more of a liability than an asset. You get a few toggles you can set to make them passive or aggressive, or to stay put or follow you, but even if you put them on attack mode they will often stand around doing nothing half the time. Worse, they will usually have to be micro-managed to avoid taking any damage and in certain areas of the game you’re best off leaving your partner behind so you can weave through enemies alone so your partner won’t waste your resources, which you’re only going to know through either pre-existing knowledge or trial-and-error.


  • The Load Times – Here’s a caveat: I played this game on Switch so maybe this is just down to the platform I played on, but oh my God the load times kill me in this game. Every time you go through a door it can easily take ten seconds or more before you get back in control, which adds up big time over the course of a playthrough. Hell, it’s not unusual for me to spend more time waiting for an area to load than actually playing in an area before getting to the next loading screen. This is especially baffling when the player switch is so seamless and quick, despite you potentially being on the other side of the game world at the time… is it not loading in the same resources either way? Why does that take only a second whereas entering some rooms takes upwards of fifteen seconds…? Hell, the Resident Evil remake didn’t take nearly this long either and its definitely comparable technology. In any case, this is a major frustration which makes Resident Evil 0 a slog to playthrough in the moment-to-moment gameplay.
  • No Item Box – While being able to drop items where ever you want is handy, the way it is implemented turns it into more of an exercise in frustration than the Godsend that it sounds like. This is mainly because the game decides to show off this feature by doing away with the traditional item box, which leads to two big issues:
    • First of all, while it sounds more realistic and immersive, managing your big stockpile of items is not intuitive when they’re in a big pile on the floor. There are a couple rooms in the game which were clearly designed as your “item drop” areas and you’ll find yourself annoyed as you try to maneuver just right to be able to pick up the one item you want to get, and not the item beside it. Remember, this is a fixed-camera game and you’re trying to reach the exact point you want to get to in 3D space, it’s not as easy as it sounds and I often found myself grabbing the wrong items. Making matters worse, all areas have a cap on the number of items you can drop there and you will eventually run out of space, forcing you to find another safe area to be your backup item drop room, meaning you now have to remember where you put which items.
    • The second, bigger issue is that eventually you are going to have to move all those items. There are three points in this game where you are going to have to move all your shit around, which is a long, annoying process of dropping all your items, heading back to get more, dropping those off and then backtracking again to get whatever stuff you weren’t able to bring the first time. It’s not fun and all that they would have needed to do to solve it is give you an item box that you can put your stuff into in addition to being able to drop stuff on the floor if needed.
  • The Worst Enemies in the Franchise – Resident Evil 0 has some of the most frustrating enemies in the whole series to have to face, to the point where it makes the thought of replaying the game less enticing. The leech zombies are everywhere in this game and I hate them. They are vulnerable to fire, but if you don’t have a couple molotov cocktails or a grenade launcher then you will literally waste all your pistol and shotgun ammo trying to kill them if you don’t just take the damage and run past. Again, like I said earlier, if you already know how to deal with them or learn through trial-and-error then you can mitigate the frustration, but if you go in blind then it’s just straight-up unfair. The leech zombies aren’t even the worst enemies, that would probably be the Eliminator monkeys since you can’t just run past them. These little bastards can stunlock you, deal huge amounts of damage, attack in groups and take several shotgun rounds to take down. Oh, and I’d be remiss to not mention the Lurkers, which can show up if you cross one particular bridge. If you happened to not bring your partner with you at the time, you die instantly and without warning… how fun!
  • The Leech Controller is Super Lame – So, the main villain of Resident Evil 0 looks like… this. I don’t find myself hating him because of his actions or for being threatening, I want him dead because he’s such a stupid looking villain. That’s it, I just hate this character. When I get through the series I want to do a character tier list and this loser is going to be in the bottom tier, no question.
  • Just a Really Frustrating Experience – I would argue that Resident Evil 0 is probably the hardest game in the franchise. Even playing on normal mode, the game is designed to keep you on the absolute bare minimum of health and ammo, while also throwing you into situations where you have to fight, have to take damage, or get put up against enemies like the leech zombies which you can’t possibly deal with without losing all your resources. Sure, maybe you’ll figure out a way to deal with these problems through trial and error, but you’re going to want to throw your controller across the room because of it. I died maybe a couple times playing through Resident Evil remake on normal and was able to stockpile a lot of resources, whereas I must have died more than a dozen times in Resident Evil 0, and each death just pissed me off. Resident Evil remake feels like it’s more interested in being fun than difficult, but Resident Evil 0 is definitely trying to be difficult.
    • The first half of the game especially is so frustratingly designed, putting you in very narrow corridors where dodging enemies is not a realistic expectation, while also not giving you nearly enough ammunition to kill all the enemies the game throws at you. Even then, it’s not unusual for the game to respawn enemies in areas where you’ve already cleared them out (the train is especially bad for this). This can lead to unwinnable situations where you’ve already used all your ammo or health and can’t deal with one of the big enemies that show up in the early game.
    • You can also get screwed over out of the blue when the game decides to throw a boss fight at you, as these are mostly one-character-only battles. What’s that, you were using Billy as Rebecca’s inventory monkey and all he has is a pistol? Too bad, he’s gotta fight this giant centipede now, good luck!
    • Special mention has to go towards one of the big “fuck you’s” the developers put in this game. See, these bastards knew that their no item box system meant that you were going to have to drop items and backtrack to get more, so they spawn a group of fucking Eliminators in this path after you’ve dropped all your items to free up inventory space. Thankfully I happened to have a shotgun with me, but holy shit that is a clear as day example of the developers knowing their shitty design decisions and then just trying to fuck over the player. It’s either pre-existing knowledge, pure luck, or frustration.
    • Speaking of backtracking, there are chemicals that you have to find and add to Rebecca’s mixing set throughout the game. I just added these by habit during the game, but you need specific chemicals for two or three puzzles at various points in the game, so it was pure dumb luck that I happened to have the right ones when needed. If I didn’t I wouldn’t even begin to know where to go for what chemical, or even know that I needed a specific one. Again… pre-existing knowledge, pure luck, or frustration.
  • The Story – Oh hey, another Resident Evil game, another underwhelming story. Resident Evil 0 has some unique issues though that make it particularly frustrating. First of all, its status as a prequel creates issues, the most glaring being that Rebecca’s characterization in this game and in Resident Evil remake is completely off. Here she’s a capable badass, but in Resident Evil, which occurs literally a day later, she’s a scared little girl who can’t do anything without Chris’ help. The presence of Albert Wesker and William Birkin also irks me, since they don’t really do anything and it spoils their roles in Resident Evil 1 and 2, meaning that new players shouldn’t experience the games in chronological order. It also just isn’t a very good prequel. The idea of finding out what happened to S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team sounds cool, but the premise is almost immediately dropped as the team splits up in the woods and gets lost on their own side quests. We encounter Enrico about three quarters of the way through and then, after blowing up another Umbrella lab, Rebecca decides to wander into the mansion at the end of the game, but that’s not really a great connective story now is it? Honestly, Resident Evil 0 would have been better without trying to tie it directly into the original game.

Overall, I did enjoy Resident Evil 0 and I appreciate its attempts to shake-up the series’ formula which was growing stale at the time. However, there are so many intentionally-frustrating design decisions that the idea of replaying it anytime soon is totally soured for me. I’d recommend checking it out, but unless you’re a masochist then glancing at a walkthrough to know what to expect would probably be wise if you want to avoid some rage-inducing moments.

Love/Hate: Resident Evil Survivor

Welcome back to the Resident Evil love/hate series! Previously we went through the series from the remake of the original to Resident Evil 7. At the time I said I’d pickup the franchise’s several spin-offs and other media at a later date, and that time has finally come. We’re going to start with Resident Evil Survivor, the franchise’s first spin-off video game. While oft-forgotten and overlooked, it is still a canonical entry thanks to the shoutout it gets at the start of Resident Evil 0. At a time when Resident Evil games used pre-rendered backgrounds, fixed camera angles and auto-aiming, Survivor differentiated itself by being a first-person shooter with fully 3D environments. How does it hold-up playing it today? Read on to find out…


  • The Writing and Voice Acting – Early Resident Evil games are known for having bad voice acting, but Survivor‘s bad voice acting combined with its atrocious writing come together to make every bit of dialogue and every file you come across into an unintentional comedy sketch. The main character is often reacting incredulously to the things going on around him but their voice actor sounds like he’s holding back his performance, as if he’s recording his lines while hiding in an attic as the police are searching the house for him. The writing makes it all worse though – the writers want you to know that, get this, VINCENT IS A MURDERER, so every file and line about him hammers home what an over-the-top monster he is, how everyone hates him and is afraid of him, and they’ve got to write all this down to record it because people need to know how much of a murderer Vincent is. There’s even a part where the main character comes across a recording of Vincent’s mother calling to tell him to stop being a murderer, it’s fucking hilarious. Every line feels so unnatural and inhuman, even innocuous stuff like when a character says “At the request of my friend, Leon S. Kennedy, I came here to investigate!”… because we wouldn’t know which Leon they were referring to without throwing in their middle initial. It’s so bad, I legitimately adored this part of the game.
  • Branching Pathways – So the one legitimately good thing that Survivor does is that at a few points in the game you will get a one-use only key item which can be used to open a couple different side-routes of your choice. For a game that is expecting replays this helps keep the game from feeling the same every thing time and there can be some extra rewards for going through some of the more off-the-beaten-path routes.
  • It’s Short – After spending like 20+ hours of my life on Resident Evil 6, I appreciate that Survivor only wasted a couple of my evenings. That said, the fact that it’s short also gives you some excuse to check it out – it’s not going to waste a ton of your life so if you’re curious then maybe give it a shot.


  • It’s Still Survival Horror, For Better or Worse – Survivor plays very much like a first-person version of the classic Resident Evil games, including tank controls, item management and even much of the button layout. One big difference though is that pistol ammunition is unlimited, so you’ll always have at least one gun available for any situation. However, ammo for other weapons and healing items are very limited, which is nice for keeping the game from getting too easy. That said, the game gets real stingy about doling out healing items in the latter section of the game… which is the part where you are actually going to need your healing and special ammo the most. Seriously, health was pretty abundant early on but I don’t even think the game gave me more than one herb during the entire last area of the game, not even before boss fights, which is a major problem because I reached the final boss with literally 1 HP left and low on special ammo types, so I had to either git gud or replay the whole game knowing that you’re not actually supposed to use the resources the game gives you because it will stop giving you them later. I went with option three and just Youtubed the final cutscene.


  • Bad Controls – Resident Evil Survivor is in the unfortunate position of being a console FPS before the control schemes for these kinds of games were figured out and standardized. As a result, Survivor literally lifts its controls from the main Resident Evil games, including tank controls, having to hold R1 to draw your weapon and then press X to actually fire it. Classic Resident Evil manages to get by on this control scheme, but for a first person shooter it does not make for a good time. Probably the worst part of this is that there is no way to move the camera vertically, which is a major problem for two reasons. First of all, you have to just walk over some items and hope you bump into them because you have to get too close to see them in order to pick them up. Secondly, dogs and lickers will get under your line of sight and be untargetable as a result, which is a major issue in a game where 99% of the enemies are trying to melee you. The game’s solution is to lock the camera onto enemies when you shoot them, but this can cause the whole camera to flail wildly as it tracks their erratic movements. Oh, and this also makes follow-up shots ridiculously easy to chain, which leads into the next problem…
  • Bad Game Design – Survivor has a litany of badly designed elements which can make playing it feel dull. One of the worst elements compared to mainline Resident Evil games is its brain-dead use of key items. Classic games in the franchise will have you collecting multiple key items and carrying them all over the map to find their use. In Survivor once you pick up a key item you’re rarely more than one or two rooms away from the place where it’s needed, meaning that you’re barely going to be holding them for more than thirty seconds. Also not helping matters is what I call this game’s “dummy button”, L1. Tapping L1 will lock-on to the closest door, item or enemy, which turns into a crutch to make you have to think even less while playing this game. Also, having played the game like a shooter and fighting all the enemies as I went, in retrospect this game is unintentionally encouraging you to not fight unless you’re going to take damage otherwise. Any area rarely has more than 2-4 enemies in it, there’s plenty of room to maneuver (even when you’re up against tougher foes like Lickers or Tyrants), and ammo for your stronger weapons is too rare to waste on every Tyrant and Hunter you come across because the game does not reward you for fighting them. Running through every room to avoid combat isn’t going to do this already short game any favours. Which leads into the next issue…
  • Bad Checkpointing – What do you do to make your two hour game feel longer? Why, make it so when the player dies they have to replay like a half hour of content to get back to where they were! Brilliant! Seriously, I died on the final boss and the game plopped me back in somewhere before the ruined mansion area, which was easily 30+ minutes of gameplay (and unskippable cutscenes!). Thankfully I was on an emulator so I could just reload a save state, but to make matters even more infuriating, there are no save rooms in Survivor. Anyone who bought this game for PS1 was expected to complete it in one sitting and only got three lives before they just straight-up lose. If I was playing this game back in the day, I would fling my disc across the room if that happened.
  • Bad UX – Item management is a real pain in Survivor. Any time you need to heal or switch weapons, the process is laborious. First, you have to pause, open the inventory, scroll through all your items to find the one you want, select it, press equip/use and then unpause the game. Oh and button inputs are delayed so everything just feels like it takes longer than it needs to, on top of the whole process taking several more steps than it needs to.
  • Bad QA – So, Resident Evil Survivor is so slapdash that it may not have even had a quality assurance team involved in its creation. I can’t verify the veracity of this claim, but it really wouldn’t surprise me because I came across a few bugs in my short playtime. Perhaps the most annoying one was that I had to go into the sewers in order to progress, which involved picking up a manhole opener and then walking over the manhole. I did so, but it wouldn’t trigger, making me think that I had to manually press “Use” on the item. This did not work. It wasn’t until I walked in a straight line from the place where I got the manhole opener to the manhole itself that it finally triggered, which is just ridiculous. How could they not anticipate players maybe approaching the manhole from a slightly different angle…? Perhaps the most common bugs though will be with the enemy AI. I’ve had spiders run headlong at me but not be able to do any damage, enemies getting caught helplessly on scenery and each other, and enemies just running around in circles while you shoot them.
  • Bad Sound Effects – How bad does your game have to be when I’m even ragging on the sound effects??? The pool of sound effects in this game are incredibly limited, meaning that every time you shoot your gun you’re getting assaulted with the exact same gunshot over and over again, and enemies just keep making the same stock sound effects every time they’re hit and die. The worst offenders for this are the Undertakers, bio-weapon soldiers who make this bizarre, ungodly screech like a jungle cat when they die (I guarantee that you have heard the awful sound effect they use for this before).
  • Bad Story – Look, the writing in Survivor is at least ironically funny, but the actual story here is even worse than I was expecting. Like, to set the stage for you, the whole plot revolves around amnesia and a bunch of ridiculously contrived misunderstandings and blatant lying from the writers to make you believe that you are Vincent (who is a MURDERER). It’s bad enough that any sort of story they could have told about what Umbrella was up to on Sheena Island gets lost in the shuffle.

My God Resident Evil Survivor was bad, easily the worst Resident Evil game I’d played up to this point and probably up there amongst the worst games I’ve played through, period. That said, at least it’s short so if you want to check it out you’re not going to suffer for long. And with all that said, Umbrella Corps can’t be worse than this though… right? Right?

Love/Hate: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

After the bloated and unpolished Resident Evil 6, excitement for a new mainline Resident Evil game was at an all-time low. Capcom were certainly aware of this and actually took their criticisms to heart. Resident Evil 6 wasn’t anywhere near as successful as they had hoped it would be, so they decided to take the opposite approach – gone were the bombastic setpieces, action-heavy gameplay and globe-trotting story, instead we were going to get a back-to-basics, claustrophobic, true horror experience. Resident Evil 7 feels, in many ways, like a complete reboot of the franchise, but is it quite as much of a dramatic departure as it seems? Read on to find out…


  • The Baker Estate – As much as I loved the intricate level design of Resident Evil 4 (and even 5 to a lesser extent), coming back to a confined environment with locked doors, puzzles to solve and monsters to dodge makes Resident Evil 7 feel like a true return to form.
    • First of all, the environments really feel like a lived-in location. The main house is covered with details that are just there to hint at the Bakers’ family life, hobbies and backstory before they turned into a bunch of psychos. Meanwhile, the old house is dilapidated and literally crumbling apart, making for a very eerie environment to explore. This makes the arrival of the Molded all the more frightening as you suddenly enter environments which are completely unnatural compared to the spaces you’ve been travelling through to this point.
    • While the Baker Estate is quite large, covering three separate complexes with several floors each, it’s so well-designed that you get very familiar with each location and can navigate with ease quickly enough. Undoubtedly you will enter an area and find something you can’t access right then, but file it away in your brain to come back later when you get the key or lockpick you needed for it.
    • I also have to say that the actual design of the environment really makes Resident Evil 7 a satisfying game to play. For example, early on in the game you’ll find a shotgun on pedestal. If you pick it up, the door behind you closes. So you put it back, but now you know you need to find something to put there in order for you to get that shotgun. Eventually you’ll see a broken shotgun on the other side of a locked door, so now you’re trying to find out how to open that door so you can get that. Eventually you find the way in and get the broken shotgun and trade it to get yourself a fancy new gun. However, later still you can find a wooden shotgun and, if you’re reasonably clever, you may realize “oh shit I can repair the broken one now!” and swap it with the wooden one. If you find one of the super-rare repair kits then you’ll net yourself an optional, more powerful secondary shotgun! It’s stuff like this where the devs make use of your environmental knowledge that makes Resident Evil 7 such a great experience.
  • Return to Survival Horror – One of the biggest changes in Resident Evil 7‘s design philosophy is that this game is a horror experience at its core. It takes inspiration from popular horror games of the era, such as Alien: Isolation, Outlast and Amnesia and applies the classic Resident Evil formula of combat, exploration and light puzzle-solving to make for a very compelling experience. The game also loves to build the tension, allowing you to explore and hinting at danger, but knowing when to hold back and when to finally unleash a pursuer enemy at you. I’d argue that this is as scary as Resident Evil has ever gotten, at the very least since the original game on PS1 as the game oozes an eerie atmosphere and builds tension effectively, while forcing you to make tough choices and conserve your resources in order to survive the horrors coming for you.
  • First Person Perspective – The shift to first-person was one of the most contentious changes in Resident Evil 7, but this isn’t simply trend-chasing or a further slide into Call of Duty-like gameplay, it’s a very calculated and (dare I say) brave decision to increase this game’s immersion and make the horror more effective. The third person perspective of previous games in the franchise is because the series started out trying to be a cinematic horror experience and carried that on even after the camera shifted to over-the-shoulder. This game’s first person perspective makes for a more intimate, focused and immersive experience which this game has clearly been built around. There’s a reason why it’s the default for most horror and survival games of the era.
  • Spectacular Boss Fights – Resident Evil bosses are almost always “shoot big monster in its glowing weak point until it stops moving”, which can get really frustrating because there’s usually little indication of just how much damage you’re actually doing to the boss. While Resident Evil 7‘s bosses don’t deviate from this too much, they do stand out as some of the best bosses in the entire franchise because of all the clever twists and environmental interaction that the developers have brought to the table. The first fight with Jack Baker has you searching around an enclosed garage for the keys to a car to fight him with and then the fight plays out in one of two ways. If you’re quick enough, you get in the car and can drive around, running him over until a scripted event happens that will end the fight. If you’re too slow, Jack will throw you out of the car and try to run you over instead. It makes this into two wildly different boss fights and it’s a big surprise seeing the different ways this can play out. Similarly, the second fight with Jack has him getting into a freaking chainsaw duel with him!!! I died several times in this battle but didn’t care because it was so much fun learning the mechanics and using the environment to my advantage to the point where I was feeling some of that Dark Souls-like satisfaction for overcoming the challenge. Meanwhile, spider-Marguerite is classic “shoot the weak spot” Resident Evil, but mixing it up by having her stalk you in a darkened, dilapidated house where she can emerge from literally any direction may be the creepiest showdown in the entire game. The showdown with mutated Jack is also a highlight, taking the classic Resident Evil boss formula and allowing you to strategically maneuver across two storeys to get different angles on his weak points. All-in-all, Resident Evil 7‘s bosses are consistently some of the most creative, fun and well-designed in the entire franchise.
  • Rewards Exploration – Unlike Resident Evil 6, 7 really wants you to look carefully around your environment. To this end, there are some diabolically well-hidden items in this game. Chief among these are the collectable Antique Coins, which you can use to unlock useful upgrades, including increased health, faster reloads or the freaking magnum. However, that magnum’s ammo is extremely limited and you only find 1 to 2 rounds at a time and they’re all hidden very well in the environment so you could theoretically go the whole game and never even see a magnum round if you don’t look carefully. To help with this, the game has a psychostimulant item which briefly highlights items around the environment, making these tricky hidden collectables more attainable and further incentivizing you to look everywhere for secrets.
  • Influences – While previous Resident Evil games paid homage to other horror media (most notably, George A. Romero films), Resident Evil 7 seems to wear these influences on its sleeve most proudly. As a horror fan it’s really fun to see all the nods to films that influenced this game’s design. Probably most obvious is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is most evident in this game’s iconic nod to the dinner scene. Taking that idea and tone and then transplanting it to Louisiana was an inspired move that helps it to feel like more than just a simple ripoff. Other big influences include The Evil Dead (Mia’s possession scenes and chainsaw duel), The Blair Witch Project (found footage and Andre facing the wall) and [REC] (Mia found footage sequence). Hell, there’s even a random Planet of the Apes reference for good measure! All these different influences also help shake up the Resident Evil formula, expanding the scope of what this franchise is capable of in the process.


  • Found Footage – One of the obvious influences on Resident Evil 7 is the found footage trend that had been popularized in the horror film genre in the years prior to its release. At several points in the game you can find video tapes which, if you bring them to a VHS player, will allow you to play through the footage. On the one hand, these can provide clever ways to learn new details about the environment in an organic way, preview an area you haven’t gotten to yet or simply shakeup the gameplay a bit. The VHS tape filter also makes the environment just creepier – at a certain point, everything becomes blurry and out of focus. However, I have a couple issues with these tapes. First of all, the fact that you can die in them just doesn’t make sense. More importantly though, whenever I find a tape I get annoyed because I know I’m going to have to set aside what I’m actually doing in the game to go deal with some diversion for the next 15 minutes or so. Tapes can be a pace-killer and feel like they’re just there to pad time, or give you an excuse to breeze your way through an upcoming area. Finally, as the game goes on these “found footage tapes” lose a lot of their narrative justification. The first one you find was literally left by a camera crew, but by the time you find Mia’s tape in the last hour and a half the camera gimmick has been dropped entirely in that footage and it seems like it’s just… a memory maybe?
  • The Story – At a certain point I had to sit and ask myself “What is driving me forward? The narrative or the gameplay?” and concluded that it was overwhelmingly the gameplay. The story in Resident Evil 7 is far more personal and low-stakes compared to a globe-trotting, world-ending affair like Resident Evil 6, which works in this game’s favour. However, the specifics of what exactly is going on in this game are left ambiguous for a long time in the game, meaning that most of your time spent playing is going to involve you getting more confused and frustrated as narrative events play out around you. This all comes to a head towards the last third of the game where you’re given a choice between helping Mia (who’s the whole reason you’re in this place) or helping Zoe (some rando you’ve been talking to on the phone off-screen a few times), but by this point I still really didn’t understand what was going on. The ending of the game is tied to the choice you make here and while the “right” choice seems kinda obvious, if you’re going to implement a major choice like this then maybe inform the player better beforehand so they can actually understand what they’re doing. The final third of the game (and most of the DLCs for that matter) has many revelations which make things a bit better in retrospect, but personally I would have liked to have a bit more insight into what was happening earlier.
  • Molded – I’m pretty torn on the Molded enemies which permeate the latter-half of the game. On the one hand, I love their unceremonious introduction: at one point in the game you just enter a room and suddenly this freaking blob of oily flesh sprouts from the wall and starts chasing you out of nowhere, it sets a great impression for them. They’re quite intimidating when they first appear, taking at least two headshots to take down with your starting pistol, and if you find yourself facing off against multiple Molded then you’re probably going to die. However, as the game progresses you’ll become more adept at killing them and the game throws more and more of them at you. At this point, the Molded become more of a nuisance than anything substantial. The first half of the game works so well because you’re being stalked by one powerful enemy in each area, regularly getting into combat with handfuls of Molded is less interesting in comparison.


  • Sluggish Movement – I swear to God, Ethan Winters is the slowest motherfucker in videogames. Oh sure, there is a sprint button in this game, but it barely makes a difference and if you’re being chased, it’s not going to be enough to get you away from that enemy. The game’s sluggish movement is not not helped by the difficulty of avoiding damage from enemies. If an enemy gets right in front of you, you basically have to either shoot it and hope to kill/stagger, block and reduce the damage you take, or quick-turn and hope you can run away (thereby completely losing sight of the enemy). Strafing and backing up are pretty much unviable with this movement speed. Most encounters in this game are designed to be very close-quarters (there’s no easy sniping in this game) so this is a more frequent headache than you may expect. You can compensate for it a bit as the game progresses, especially if the developers throw a big obstacle in the room that you can use to generate distance, but there are times where you’ll be in a completely open hallway and your only real option is to run, or you’ll see an attack coming but have no way to actually avoid it.
  • Load Times – I don’t usually worry that much about loading screens, but good God the load times in Resident Evil 7 are brutal. For me at least, going from the main menu into the game takes around 45 seconds to a minute to complete. And those found footage tapes I mentioned? Well, having to sit and wait for a load screen whenever you start and finish one is just more reason why those segments annoyed me and brought the pacing to a halt.
  • The Final Third of the Game – The gameplay loop of the first two thirds of this game is top-notch survival horror, exploring areas, avoiding enemies, gathering and managing resources, etc. However, shortly after you finish with Marguerite’s section in the Old House, the game becomes far more linear and never really gets back to the same level of quality. It’s a bit of a mixed bag – on the one hand, we get more story context and Mia goes from a damsel in distress to a straight-up badass, but the game also suddenly strips you of all your items not once, but twice which is a bit of a momentum-killer and the shift into more linear, action-heavy gameplay takes away a lot of what made the game fun to this point.

Resident Evil 7 was a great return to form for the franchise when it desperately needed it. By going back to its horror roots and not feeling like it had to fit the same mold as previous games in the franchise, it revitalized the series and finally got people excited to see where the series would go again. After slogging my way through 5 and 6, it was refreshing to play a well-paced, focused experience that didn’t overstay its welcome.

Love/Hate: Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6 is often considered the point where the franchise jumped the shark, leading to Capcom’s total rehaul of the series with Resident Evil 7 and REmake 2. I also never played it and didn’t know a whole lot about it, other than that there were three wildly-different main campaigns and they all had a co-op component, so I was going in largely blind. Is it nearly as bad as its reputation would have you believe? Read on to find out…

Oh and one thing I want to note before going further is that I played this game on Veteran on my first playthrough. This is in contrast to the other games on this list which I usually would play on Normal first time since I was unfamiliar with their gameplay. However, by the time I got to Resident Evil 6 I was like 5 Resident Evil games deep and figured I’d be down for a challenge (I usually prefer to play games on Hard if I’m familiar with their gameplay). I don’t think this affected my experience with Resident Evil 6 disproportionately compared to other games in the franchise, but I wanted to note this just in case the higher difficulty did affect my enjoyment and I’m unaware of it.


  • Free Movement – After Resident Evil 5 took a half-measure of modernizing the series’ movement controls, Resident Evil 6 goes all the way, ditching the last vestiges of tank controls in favour of Uncharted-style, fluid movement. It makes the game play far more intuitively for modern audiences without any kind of learning curve involved. In addition to this, Resident Evil 6 finally also allows players to move and aim at the same time, adds a sprint to your already-fast movement speed and even throws in options for slides, dodges and even shooting while lying on your back. These may not be the best option in most circumstances, but at least it’s an option that you can utilize if you choose to (especially in boss fights). All-in-all, it gives Resident Evil 6 probably the most developed movement system in the whole franchise.
  • Gameplay and UI Customization – I’ll be honest, I may have squealed a bit when I went into the menus in this game and saw all the customization options available. In addition to the standard options, there are several control customizations (including if you want to manually or automatically reload when you run out of ammo), you can choose whether you want a reticule or laser sight for aiming, and you even get to choose the colour of your laser sight! Given how I kept losing sight of the red laser in Resident Evil 5, I immediately went with green and never regretted it. It’s a little thing, but holy crap do I love when developers go to the effort to include these kinds of optional quality of life improvements for players.
  • Improved AI Partner – Capcom must have taken some complaints about Resident Evil 5 to heart because your AI companion in Resident Evil 6 is (usually) great. In addition to just being straight-up smarter in the minute-to-minute gameplay, you never have to micro-manage their inventory, health, weapons, pathing, etc and they’re even more helpful in combat. This makes the single-player experience a hell of a lot more enjoyable than I was expecting. Unlike Resident Evil 5, I didn’t play any of this game in co-op so I have nothing to compare my experience to, but I can’t say that I felt like I was getting a lesser experience, because my AI companion was mostly unobtrusive throughout. Sure, a human partner would have been more useful but an AI that stays out of the way, draws aggro and doesn’t die is all I could ask for. That said, there’s one big caveat to this and that’s when your AI companion has to do something that’s outside the scope of their normal tasks (eg, manning a gun camera, staying away from an enemy, etc). At these points their AI is completely useless and makes for some of the most frustrating sequences in the whole game. Still, compared to Resident Evil 5‘s pain in the ass AI companion? It’s an undeniable improvement.
  • Unique Character Builds – I really like how Capcom have differentiated the characters in Resident Evil 6. Whereas Chris and Sheva played identically, every character in Resident Evil 6 brings something unique to the table, from their starting weapons to unique abilities. For example, if you play as Leon you start with a pistol and knife and can dual-wield with another pistol for crowd control, whereas Helena starts with a stronger pistol and a shotgun she can rapid-fire, but she has to deal with more reloading due to her smaller clip-sizes. The most unique pair have to be Jake Muller and Sherry Birkin. Jake gets powerful melee abilities, whereas Sherry gets a burst-fire pistol and stun rod, both of which bring entirely new options to the table when going through their campaign. These different loadouts encourage unique playstyles and it’s enough to tempt you to replay each campaign just to see how it differs with the other character. That said, characters get a bit more homogenized as the game goes along – soon you’ll find a shotgun, a sniper rifle and an assault rifle, but these are almost always some sort of unique variant for each character.
  • Melee System – I’m kind of torn on whether Resident Evil should even have a melee system to deal with enemies, but that said I really enjoyed it in this game. When you’re not aiming a weapon, the attack button allows you to unleash a melee strike at a foe, which can be comboed to unleash a flurry of blows in quick succession. In Leon and Jake’s campaigns, I actually prefer melee to shooting because most enemies will die to 2-3 hits (especially if you can get an environmental kill or kill them with their own melee weapon), or will get knocked prone so I can go for a one-hit-kill curb stomp if you position yourself near their head. Melee works on a stamina bar, so you can’t spam it too much either, which encourages a healthy balance of shooting and melee for the best effect.
  • Some Attention to Detail Can Make Combat More Interesting – Imagine my surprise when I started shooting at a zombie and all of a sudden the flashlight mounted on the zombie’s body got damaged and went out. Similarly, shooting a J’avo in the chest causes their shirts to get torn off from the bullet impacts. It was a bit of extra effort which didn’t really do anything but was cool to see and made the world a bit more immersive. That said, Resident Evil 6 does give these bits of extra detail some actual gameplay importance later on when there are enemies carrying dynamite (either in-hand or on their body), oil lamps or grenades and if you shoot them it makes for an easy instant-kill on all surrounding enemies. Perhaps the most impressive example of this comes in the first fight against the Ustanak – the arena is full of cover, but Ustanak bursts right through it all to get to you, which is terrifying in its own right and further illustrates how relentless this foe is in an organic manner. This level of extra attention is the sort of thing I really didn’t expect from this game but it was really cool to see.
  • Ustanak – Despite being a blatant Nemesis ripoff and having a design which screams “late 2000s edgelord”, Ustanak makes for a fantastic antagonist in Jake and Sherry’s campaign. Every time he shows up, shit gets real and the game gets a whole lot funner. In fact, he disappears for a good chunk of Jake’s campaign and is definitely missed. There are also several boss fights with Ustanak and they’re all by far the best and most impressive showdowns in the whole game. I particularly enjoyed the first and last Ustanak fights. In the first fight against him, the level of destructibility in the environment is shocking for a PS3 game and it does a great job of conveying just how dangerous Ustanak is (akin of what God of War would do to introduce Baldur years later). Meanwhile, the last fight is just badass, culminating with Jake literally fist-fighting Ustanak over a pit of lava and the whole fight makes great use of this game’s dodge mechanics. I went in assuming Ustanak would be a discount Nemesis, but I was pleasantly surprised that he holds his own despite his obvious and far more iconic influence.


  • Inventory Management is… Different – Inventory management has seen another drastic overhaul in Resident Evil 6. You open the menu which brings up a menu similar to the XMB UI on the PS3 – your horizontal cross houses weapons, items (like herbs) and ammunition, whereas the vertical bar holds grenades, explosives and first aid sprays. Oh and this is done in real-time like in Resident Evil 5, so enemies can attack you if you’re not careful. It’s pretty meh on its own, but what makes this better than Resident Evil 5‘s clunky system is that weapons and items are automatically mapped to the d-pad, making hotswapping far more easy. However, it also comes with the caveat that ALL weapons and items are mapped to this system, meaning that you’ll likely have to cycle through several things you don’t want before you reach the item you do want. In addition, if you use a grenade the game automatically swaps back to your weapon, so if you wanted to use another grenade you have to hotswap all the way back to find the grenade you wanted. It’s still cumbersome but it works a bit better on the fly, especially if you memorize how many times you have to cycle through to get to the weapon you want.
  • The Graphics – I’m really mixed on the graphics in this game. The character models for main characters? They’re quite good, I played this on PS4 and I wouldn’t have noticed that this was a PS3-era game if I was shown the main character models. Pretty much everything else though? Hoo boy. The environments especially can look like ass, with textures so bad at times that they’re literally PS2-era quality. NPC character models are also noticeably worse than the main characters; if some rando comes along and starts talking to the main characters, there’s a stark difference in quality. This is actually a legitimate problem, because this happens several times in the campaigns and you can always tell that the poor bastard is about to be used as cannon fodder by the devs.
  • Improved Cover System – Compared to Resident Evil 5‘s half-assed system, the cover system in Resident Evil 6 works much better, although it is rougher than its contemporaries. Sometimes you want to free aim near cover, but it will automatically snap you into cover and mess up your shot. Or, let’s look at the sequence of buttons you have to press to actually use cover and shoot an enemy, shall we? To take cover you have to hold L2, then press X, then move to a corner with the left analog stick and then poke out and shoot enemies… all while continuing to hold L2, because if you let go you will immediately exit cover. Could they not just make it a single button press? Press X to take cover, press X + left analog stick to vault. Simple, why do I need to press half the buttons on the controller for such a simple action? In addition, sometimes the system itself is just frustrating – I can’t count the number of times it looked like I should be able to pop out of cover to shoot an enemy but the game just wouldn’t let me, because it wasn’t registered as a location where you’re allowed to do that. It’s functional enough, and you damn-well need to use cover to survive some of these campaigns, but it definitely could have been better.
  • No Weapon or Loadout Customization – While I appreciate that Capcom differentiated each character, that comes with the caveat that each characters’ weapons are locked to them and unlocked at the same time in every playthrough. No saving up money to get a rocket launcher early or beelining through a dangerous area to get your favourite weapon, when Resident Evil 6 says you get a weapon is when it happens (hell, even if you miss picking up a weapon it will force it into your inventory by the time the next chapter starts). Again, I appreciate that this contributes to differentiating and specializing the characters, but it’s somewhat disappointing compared to Resident Evil 4 and 5‘s system.
  • J’avo – After two games focusing on parasite-infected enemies, Resident Evil 6 brings us a new variety of cannon fodder in the J’avo. I was expecting to get another round of Plagas-esque parasites from these guys, but was pleasantly surprised to see something completely unique. J’avo initially are just psychotic humans with masks and extra sets of eyes, but they have the ability to rapidly mutate in response to your actions. Miss your headshot and hit the J’avo in the arm? It’s suddenly going to sprout a massive arm that it will then attempt to beat you down with. Blow a J’avo’s legs off? It might just grow a pair of wings and fly around to harrass you. You also run into various special J’avo, such as ones that skitter around like spiders, ones with grasshopper-like legs for long jumps, one with a Rhinoceros beetle head to instantly down you if you’re caught and others with gigantic centipede-like heads which they use to hide their weak spot. They’re a cool enemy type whose dynamic transformations make for really interesting combat… which makes it a shame that their actual implementation often spoils the promise they have. Most J’avo either run at you with a machete or spray bullets at you the second they see you, which isn’t helped by their braindead AI. Seriously, you see these guys walking past you obliviously in a gunfight all the time. In Chris’ campaign they can also be difficult to differentiate from your allies so you can find yourself getting attacked unexpectedly by a J’avo who wandered past you that you didn’t even notice. Their transformations are still cool enough that I have to give them some credit but the actual execution is lacking polish. It’s too bad, J’avo could be top-tier Resident Evil foes in a better game.
  • Jake and Sherry’s Campaign – Of all the campaigns in this game, I was actually surprised to find that I enjoyed Jake and Sherry’s the most. All of Resident Evil 6‘s campaigns are blatantly aping other game franchises which were popular at the time, but Jake’s campaign is the most successful in this regard. It mixes the gameplay and character of Uncharted (seriously, about halfway through the campaign Jake and Sherry literally put on two of Drake’s outfits) and the villain of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis to mostly-good results. There are all sorts of setpieces which are fun and just ridiculous enough to feel tongue-in-cheek (Ustanak chasing you through a convoy of helicopters and the avalanche snowmobile race being particular highlights), the gunplay is eased back enough that fights feel fun rather than a slog and it’s the only campaign that has an ending that’s at all satisfying. In fact, I would have put this under love if not for one major caveat – in nearly every chapter there will be one stretch of gameplay which ranks amongst the absolute worst in the entire game. I’m not exaggerating either, I really liked this campaign but these are inexcusable gameplay segments:
    • Chapter one ends with the awful giant J’avo fight which is just as bad as it was when I first played it in Chris’ campaign.
    • Chapter two has a sequence which is damn-near unplayable in single player where Ustanak is breaking through a series of sealed doors and your success or failure hinges entirely on whether you can rotate the analog sticks extremely fast. With a co-op partner there may be more margin for error, but with an AI? That crazy bastard will walk right up to Ustanak and get instantly one-shotted unless you rotate those stick stupid fast. I only managed to get through this because there’s a bug (?) where you can rotate the left and right analog sticks at the same time and this counts as rotating faster as a result, but I was absolutely infuriated dying here over and over again for no good goddamn reason.
    • Chapter three starts with an abysmal stealth sequence where enemies can spot you unpredictably and, if they do, you get swarmed until you die. Making it worse, enemy damage has been nerfed, but you have no real way of surviving, meaning that you die and restart the sequence slower. Again, this is designed with a co-op partner in mind, but the AI is not built to handle this kind of gameplay.
    • Chapter four has a sequence where you’re supposed to help Chris and Piers deal with a helicopter, but all this really results in is you sitting around waiting for a helicopter to show up from off-screen so that you can miss your shot and have to wait another thirty seconds for it to come back.


  • The Story – My initial impression when starting Resident Evil 6 is that this game puts an emphasis on telling a cinematic story far more than any previous game in the franchise. I thought that perhaps the hate this game gets was due to this change in direction, but as I progressed further I soon came to realize that this game’s story is not good. To be fair, Resident Evil games tend to have B-movie quality stories at best, but they either lean into the campiness (Resident Evil 4) or are unimportant compared to the survival gameplay (REmake 2). However, Resident Evil 6‘s story fails for several reasons:
    • Resident Evil 6 continues the po-faced, self-serious tone that 5 started. This could potentially work, but Resident Evil 6 also wants to be a bombastic action game like Uncharted, so one minute you’ll have gruff characters having a serious conversation and then the next an entire highway will be exploding as you run away from flying cars, or you’ll be jumping from one helicopter to another and then start shooting down your own convoy to stop an approaching enemy, all without a hint of irony. These spectacular setpieces could be incredible if the game leaned into the comedy of them, but they’re so few and far between that I can’t help but think that they were intended to be completely serious (at least in Leon and Chris’ campaigns, in Jake and Sherry’s they come often enough that it feels more intentionally campy).
    • The plot is also so poorly paced. For example, in Leon’s campaign you spend an hour and a half in a zombie-filled campus before you get into a car and escape. I shit you not, you barely even get onto the road before the damn vehicle crashes and explodes. At another point, you fight through a swarm of zombies and then the second you get free from them suddenly a giant shark appears, not even giving you enough time to breathe and build the tension back up. Entire sub-chapters feel like they were done by separate teams and then mashed together in the end haphazardly. For another example, in chapter 2 of Chris’ campaign you go from gunfights with enemies in the streets of a city, to fighting across a random bridge in the middle of a gorge, to suddenly being back in the city and then fighting at city hall with little-to-no story or context linking these gameplay segments together. On a wider-level, entire campaigns just feel “off”. Again, Leon’s campaign feels sluggish for the first three chapters, then suddenly in the fourth chapter they get to China and immediately get in a plane crash set piece, then there’s two boss battles back-to-back and massive setpiece battles. It just feels like this plodding campaign goes off the rails out of nowhere. Similarly, in Jake’s campaign he and Sherry get captured and spend all of chapter 3 trying to escape… only for them to get captured again at the end of chapter 4. It feels like a cheap excuse to get the characters from place to place but it is so deflating to the momentum of the story.
    • One of the major issues with Resident Evil 6‘s story is that it is fundamentally over-ambitious and bites off far more than it can chew. I addressed this in a previous article about Resident Evil 6, but to summarize the way that the developers have put four overlapping campaigns together makes it so that none of them can tell a satisfying story. Each one feels incomplete and incomprehensible on its own and even when you bring them all together it doesn’t make for a better experience than one, focused, well-told story: it’s just four half-baked stories. Ada’s campaign especially gets shafted. I went in expecting her story to be the most important and revelatory, but instead we get one chapter of unique setup and then the other four chapters are 90% recycled content, anything from recycled boss fights to reused environments and enemy encounters, and Ada’s role in the story becomes more about providing backup to the other characters rather than actually doing anything substantial on her own. Sure, we get a handful of revelations which explain what’s going on, but the campaign itself feels like an afterthought.
    • Just… bad writing in general. I’ve already said that the campaign crossovers make it so that there’s no satisfying payoffs in this game, but that’s just the start of this story’s problems. Take Chris’ storyline, where for some inexplicable reason the writers decided to give him amnesia. This begs the question of why the BSAA would knowingly force a PTSD-ridden, revenge-fueled amnesiac to lead a squad into battle. It’s so stupid and then Chris spends the whole campaign trying to get revenge on Ada Wong, until suddenly he runs into Leon and decides that he doesn’t need to get revenge anymore. I’ve said it before, but it is literally that sudden. Oh and there’s the constant shifting of the stakes – the J’avo attack in Eastern Europe and the catastrophic C-virus outbreak in Tall Oaks that take up entire chapters of gameplay? Just a distraction! The C-virus missiles being launched in Lanshiang are the real plan! Oh wait, these were also a distraction, the actual plan was… to have a single, giant BOW called HAOS escape and spread the C-virus through the Earth? WTF? (Also, given that all it takes to stop HAOS is the destruction of its containment facility, I’m pretty sure most governments could kill it before it becomes a problem, honestly missiles full of C-virus are way deadlier.) Worst of all though is the fact that this entire game’s plot revolves around… Jesus Christ, it’s so stupid, are you ready for this? The entire plot revolves around US National Security Advisor Derek Simmons being a simp for Ada Wong. When she rejects him he creates a virus to clone her, forcing a female scientist to become an Ada Wong doppelganger. The clone is so mad about this that she decides to destroy the world. Like… holy fucking shit, I have no words.
  • Unrewarding Level Design – One of the obvious ways that Resident Evil 6 takes inspiration from other AAA franchises of its era is that the level design has gotten far more linear, akin to Call of Duty. Resident Evil 4 and 5 may have ditched the maze-like exploration of Resident Evil-past, but at least those games had lots of hidden secrets and rewards waiting for those willing to go looking. Resident Evil 6, on the other hand, is distinctly underwhelming for those who bother going off the beaten path. You may find a crate that you can smash to get a little bit of ammo or a miniscule amount of Skill Points, but that’s about it. Basically, nearly every level in Resident Evil 6 is functional window-dressing, funneling you along to the next gun fight and isn’t meant to be appreciated on any deeper level than that.
  • Skills – Resident Evil 6 ditches the merchant/upgrade system from Resident Evil 4 and 5 in favour of the new skills system, which operates similar to Call of Duty‘s perks system. Honestly, this would be great if it was done as its own, separate mechanic, but as a replacement to the upgrade system it is infinitely inferior. Instead of improving the stats of my favourite weapons as the game goes on, I just get three flat upgrades to my character, which are far less consequential. Oh, and Resident Evil 6 doesn’t put in interludes between sub-chapters, meaning that you only get to upgrade your skills at the end of a chapter or from the main menu, meaning you get far less use out of the system… not that you will get much use out of it anyway because holy shit any useful skill is stupidly expensive. Seriously, I’ve gone through entire campaigns and still haven’t been able to afford an upgrade by the end, making this system feel even more unrewarding. This also means that your weapons never really get better – your weak-ass starting pistol is still your weak-ass starting pistol in the endgame unless you use one of your extremely limited skill slots on it and several chapters worth of skill points to improve it, but ultimately it’s just not worth it.
  • Zombies – What’s that, franchise purists, you miss zombies? Well, they’re back in Leon’s campaign in Resident Evil 6, for some reason (actually, the reason is literally because fans whined about it)! While I was initially rather impressed with the zombies in this game, they outstay their welcome quickly. On the one hand, they’re suitably squishy and they can even be a bit scary at times when they swarm and suddenly pounce at you from afar. They also show up in urban locations, bringing us our first real glimpse of a Resident Evil zombie outbreak on modern hardware. That said, they can take a lot of shots to put down, which can be annoying for a game like this where you’re expected to kill every enemy you come across and it gets really annoying when they’re constantly pouncing on you and grabbing you, interrupting the action as you deal with their lengthy animations. What really annoys me though is the super-zombies which, by the time you reach the second chapter, the game will throw at you endlessly. They feel like a bunch of bargain-bin, Left 4 Dead knock-offs – screechers, berserk zombies and fatties… that’s about it. They aren’t particularly fun to fight and the worst part has to be their uninspired designs. This is a franchise where zombies stand side-by-side with iconic enemies like Lickers, Tyrants and Hunters and feel like they are an integral part of the experience, the “special” zombies in Leon’s campaign are completely forgettable. Compared to J’avo, this game’s zombies are underwhelming foes.
  • Respawning Enemies – You know what’s annoying? Having enemies spawn from behind you, out of nowhere, all the time. Congrats, you now know what Resident Evil 6‘s combat encounters feel like. Seriously, you can completely clear out an area, move on to the next one and get into a gun fight when suddenly you’re attacked by multiple enemies who showed up from behind you. While I have seen enemies spawn literally out of nowhere in this game, the main culprit seems to be Left 4 Dead and Vermintide-style “nests” where enemies can spawn at will and then enter the area. Unlike those two games, Resident Evil 6‘s system isn’t nearly as dynamic or interesting. Hell, it even gets predictable and exploitable at times, because apparently the developers of Resident Evil 6 are terrified of the idea of having an area completely cleared of enemies. At one point in Chris’ campaign I noticed enemies kept spawning from two directions, one at a time, during an encounter with a giant monster where I took cover in a place where the monster couldn’t reach me. The enemies are obviously meant to keep pressure on you but they were so dumb and predictable that I could just cycle over to them every 15 seconds or so and then get back to the fight. This is a best-case scenario for the respawning enemies, usually they’re just a frustrating pain in the ass.
  • Over-animation – Resident Evil 6 has a bad habit of over-animating actions to the detriment of the gameplay. Like, whenever a dead body is placed into the environment, your character will trip over them, causing you to lose control of them for a couple seconds as they stagger forward. This is especially prominent in Leon’s campaign, but it is always incredibly annoying when it happens. You also get knocked down A LOT in combat. As I understand it, every time you lose a square of health you will be knocked down onto your back. With some enemies, this will happen every time they hit you. As you can probably imagine, this gets infuriating as you get up and then are immediately knocked down over and over again. In addition, there’s also a baffling bit of animation in chapter 4 of Chris’ campaign where the ship just… bobs and there’s an animation as you steady yourself. It’s completely random, very infrequent and I just had to ask why they even bothered to make this happen. (Pretty sure that this is representing Ada fighting her doppelganger during this part of the game… but still, why bother making a whole animation for this?)
  • Very Rough and Unpolished – For a game that had over 600 developers working on it, Resident Evil 6‘s quality is wildly inconsistent. On the one hand, you have those cool (but useless) details I mentioned earlier like being able to shoot out the lights on zombies. On the other hand, you’ve got things like terrible lip synching, sniper laser sights that clip through cover and a game engine that can’t handle sprinting if you do it on stairs. Everywhere you look there’s something that makes this game feel rushed, like the devs needed more time to actually go over everything and give it a consistent level of quality. There are far too many examples to go over them all, but one of the most egregious is that the NPC squadmates in Chris’ campaign are completely braindead, unable to provide any sort of support in a fight and are more likely to stare at a wall than they are to actually shoot at an enemy. It’s so bad that the game will actually spawn more allies ahead of you hoping you won’t notice and will assume your allies are actually doing something. On the gameplay side of things, there’s also moments that feel like they were barely tested to ensure they were actually fun. For example, in the underground in Leon’s campaign trains will pass through the area. When one is coming, you literally have a second to figure out where a train is coming from (behind you, it’s always behind you) and you get insta-splatted if you happen to be on the wrong side of the tracks at the time. Similarly, later on in the campaign you end up in Tall Oaks at a gas station where, late in a siege, an ambulance will come careening through the area out of nowhere. If you just happen to be standing in its path when this happens, you die and have to redo the entire fight. The first time I did this, my AI partner happened to be in its path and died. Suffice to say, I was livid, there was nothing I could do to avoid that cheap game over.
  • The Treatment of Female Characters – Resident Evil 6 feels like the peak of the PS3-era, pre-Gamergate, corporate-fueled pandering to teenage boys in gaming. Resident Evil games up to this point have always had female co-leads which were just as important (if not more) than their male leads (with Resident Evil 4 being the one exception, but that game also had a much different structure than past games and even this got rectified in the Separate Ways expansion that came out not even a year after the original game).
    • For a game that’s so obsessed with reliving its past glories, great female leads like Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield are conspicuously absent. However, Sheva might be the most conspicuous omission of all. Chris’ campaign continues exploring the heroics of the BSAA, but instead of bringing back Sheva or even Jill to act as Chris’ partner, they’re instead replaced with Piers Nevan, a boring, oorah soldier-boy type who feels like he was made specifically to pander to the male, teenage, Call of Duty-loving crowd. Given that this campaign was designed to be the most action-heavy, it wouldn’t surprise me if the decision to have two male leads in this section was 100% deliberately intended to pander to teenage boys.
    • Helena Harper, Sherry Birkin and Ada Wong are cool characters in their own right, but it’s all soured by all the design decisions in this game that make me roll my eyes. For one thing, we’ve got deep cleavage for Helena, Hunnigan, both Ada Wongs and Helena’s sister (who, for bonus points, get transformed into a big titty naked mutant). Even Sherry at one point in the game gets captured and stuck in a medical gown that, for some reason, has a deep v-neck. In addition, Helena’s storyline revolves around the idea that she’s “too emotional” for her job as a Secret Service agent (the unlockable records literally state this), which results in her being used to assassinate the US president and causes an outbreak which requires an entire city to be nuked to prevent it from spreading. Oh, and the trophy for completing Leon’s campaign? Literally “The Trouble With Women”… Like, none of the characters are stuck in bikini armour or anything like that, but seriously? Literally every female character in this game is showing prominent cleavage?
    • I also get annoyed by the way this game positions its characters and campaigns. In the records section, it’s not Leon and Helena’s campaign, it’s “Leon’s campaign”. It’s not Chris and Piers’ campaign, it’s “Chris'”. It’s not Jake and Sherry’s campaign, it’s “Jake’s”. It straight-up acknowledges that the male characters are what’s important here not the women (and that Piers loser). This isn’t a super big deal by any means, but when you add it on top of all the other decisions it’s just another thing that annoys me about how this game places its female characters.
    • Here’s a baffling bonus: during Leon’s campaign there’s a segment where you have to fight a boss inside a cathedral full of civilians. These civilians will almost certainly all be killed and/or turned into zombies during the fight – you can try to save them but it’s almost inevitable that they will all die unless you go out of your way to save them. Well, turns out that there’s a trophy for that… except to get the trophy you specifically have to save at least two female survivors for some reason. Oh, and the name of that trophy? “I Prefer Them Alive”. Is… is that a necrophilia joke? Just… why, Capcom?

Resident Evil 6 is an over-ambitious mess of a game. It went the route that all AAA games of the PS3/Xbox 360-era were going and tried to be a bombastic, serious, cinematic action game and lost a lot of the series’ identity in the process while not being anywhere near as good as the Uncharted, Gears of War or Call of Duty games it so wants to emulate. Hell, it’s not even worthy to stand next to its closest contemporary, Dead Space. It’s peak early-2010s Capcom, in trying to be something for everyone the devs bit off way more than they could chew, leaving us with a game that is lesser overall than if they had made a more focused experience. Thankfully, at least it seems that they took these lessons to heart because the series would make a dramatic shift going forward…