There was a time when Resident Evil was a really solid video game franchise. The third-person shooter was a fantastic competitor against rival survival horror franchises like Silent Hill, and it introduced zombies in a whole new way—and even made them more terrifying. But with the newest trailer announcing a new Resident Evil game, Umbrella Corps, it’s a little difficult to understand exactly which direction the series is going in. You can view the trailer below.
Here’s what I understand from watching the trailer. For the longest time, Resident Evil has been a third-person survival horror adventure, but Umbrella Corps wants to try to turn it into a competitive shooter like Call Of Duty--basically, a spin-off set in the Resident Evil universe. And here’s why I think that’s a horrible decision. From what I understand by watching the trailer, you will be battling other human beings on a decrepit battleground very much like in Call Of Duty and Battlefield, and zombies will just be running around as an added opponent. Where is the true Resident Evil nature in this?
Resident Evil was built around the idea that zombies were invading Raccoon City and you had to fight to stop that invasion and protect the people. But now, it’s been turned into a mindless competitive shooter that won’t even be able to compare to the multitude of success Call Of Duty has seen with its zombie modes. It’s almost as if Capcom just wanted to transform Resident Evil into something more appealing to a different audience, but in the process they had no idea they’d be maddening the true Resident Evil fanbase. At least I’m maddened.
It’s almost like if someone took the Silent Hill franchise, with its glorious horror environment and hellish enemies, and dropped a Call Of Duty multiplayer campaign in the middle of the town and said “Here, go crazy.” The monsters would still be around to thwart you in the heat of combat, but it would no longer be about the monsters. Just as Umbrella Corps will no longer be just about the zombies. Of course, Resident Evil has been on a rough road for awhile now, but at least the gameplay still centered around the idea of zombies and not just about competing against other human players online.
The single-player mode doesn’t even do the franchise justice. Because even then, it still feels like another Call Of Duty game. And there’s nothing wrong with Call Of Duty. It’s great for what it is, maybe one of the best first-person shooters out there, but Call Of Duty is its own thing. When Resident Evil tries to do the zombie thing too, just not as well, it’s disheartening.
Now I don’t want to completely judge the game before playing it—I’d love to review the game to see how it truly plays and if the gameplay is more rewarding than I judged from the trailer. I also understand the game is not a Resident Evil game, but set in the Resident Evil universe. I get that. And when I think about it as a separate entity from the Resident Evil franchise, then it doesn't sound so bad, because then I'm thinking about it as a competitive team shooter and not as a Resident Evil game. It all comes down to me actually taking some time to play the game and seeing for myself how I feel about it. Because, as a separate game, it probably could be a lot of fun to use the crazy weapons like the Brainer showcased in the first trailer.
As a long-time fan of classic Resident Evil games, it’s hard to see the franchise changing so much, and not for the better, even with spin-offs like this. I only hope that Resident Evil can find its way again in the horror genre without having to pump out another reboot.