Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Year of The T-Virus

This article is from January 26th 2012 and was originally published on Forces of Geek

The following may appear to be just a simple rundown of upcoming titles however the Resident Evil series is one that I hold dear to my heart and much like my love of Final Fantasy or Zelda I've been burned in the past by it.

Between groundbreaking titles, mediocre releases and complete misfires (not to mention awful films) I go through a series of erratic emotions when any new title is announced.

Capcom are certainly giving Resident Evil fans a great deal of attention this year, (so you can imagine I'm having a heart attack right now) as they are releasing not one or two... but three new unique titles.

First off there’s the 3DS title Resident Evil: Revelations due for release in February and for Xbox 360 and PS3 owners there’s Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City to look forward to in March.

If that’s not enough to sate your craving for survival horror there’s the greatly anticipated Resident Evil 6 this November!

Last week saw the first full trailer going live for Resi 6 and it’s certainly got my attention (friends, take note - it’s released two days before my birthday! *hint*)

From the looks of it, the game seems to be set in various worldwide locations with a mix of fast paced action and classic survival horror elements that are synonymous with the series. I can’t quite tell from the trailer whether it’s purely in the cut scenes but it looked as though Capcom may be borrowing a duck and cover Gears of War style fighting system. What can be said from the trailer is that part of the game is set in China and I hope the area is as expansive as it looks in the video. Games like Arkham City have shown that a well designed playable area of that scope and size is possible.

Of course, being a fan of the series I’m excited for what is to come but there are a few things I’d like to see fixed. Hopefully the sixth instalment will allow players to simultaneously run whilst shooting. Games that insist on stationary combat only tend to stall the gameplay immensely - though in all fairness it does add to the tension and atmosphere of the game so I can understand why Capcom made that decision in past titles. That said, not being able to run and shoot has never been my biggest in-game irritation with the Resident Evil franchise. That prestigious title goes to... the inability to control camera angles! Inability to control a camera infuriates me and there’s really no excuse for it in this day-and-age. I understand that it’s part of the games unnerving overall atmosphere but when you want to collect small shiny things but are hindered by a jaunty camera angle you start to lose patience, believe me.

There are several characters to play as from the start of the game, each with their own story that intertwines with the others but ultimately this means there are multiple playable campaigns – two will be following Chris Redfield and Leon Kennedy but one of these will see Capcom introducing a brand new character for the series. I’ll also miss the righteous, power hungry Albert Wesker in this sequel because he was always my favourite character. However, Resi 6 does include Chris Redfield and Leon Kennedy possibly working side by side. Not to mention the possibility of six player online co-op! (Xbox.com has published this information on their product listing for the game so it’s not a rumour!)

Operation Raccoon City is set between Resident Evils 2 and 3 and there are six agents to play as each with unique special abilities – albeit with ridiculous names like Four Eyes (seriously). These have been announced as the ability to program the infected, a sharpshooter, a medic, an explosives expert, an agent trained in heavy assault and an agent trained in cloaking devices and recon. As well as playing with three other players, the socially inept have the option to play with three AI teammates... Um, Left 4 Dead anyone?! I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because I absolutely adore the L4D series.

Something that intrigues me however, is that the playable agents in the game all work for the Umbrella Corporation. This new perspective will hopefully add some freshness to the game as Capcom have introduced what they have branded Three Corner Conflict. This means you’re fighting against the infected (who can actually infect you) and the S.T.A.R.S team (who can kick your arse) as well. Playing from this side of the story will be interesting but some die-hard fans might not agree that having Leon Kennedy on your clean up list counts as fun. I love the idea though, playing as the bad guy is always fun! Plus, I’ll be that little bit closer to Albert Wesker *swoon* (judge me all you want... but a girl’s got to have her Lara Croft moment too!)

Still, until Resi 6 is released in November, it should certainly satisfy my appetite for evil of the resident variety. Seeing as the release is a long way off very little is known about the game and much of the information about it is mere speculation. As such, I have decided to speculate that the main character will turn out to be Barry Burton and he is actually arranging a surprise birthday party for Jill... but anyway.

Resident Evil: Revelations isn’t a title I’ll play. Mainly because I don’t play handhelds anymore and 3D is dumb. Like most handheld release of a major series, the story seems to be an add-on, making it the equivalent of mediocre downloadable content. Sure, it might fill in the gaps between Resi 4 and 5 but is it really necessary?

I can’t see the handheld medium being particular good for the survival horror genre although it’s possible the 3D element might work. Maybe I’m wrong but unless I buy a Nintendo 3DS - which I won’t - I’ll never know.

Perhaps I should take back what I said in my last post about 2012 being Year of the Dragon... obviously I was wrong. Three new games and the next film installment makes this Year of the T-Virus.

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