Last week, we took a look at Resident Evil 3, the latest Resident Evil remake from Capcom. Those that pick up RE3 will also receive the online 1v4 title Resident Evil Resistance, developed by NeoBards Entertainment as a standalone game. Since it’s more than simply a multiplayer mode included with RE3, we’ve decided to give it its own review!
Would You Like to Participate in a Clinical Trial?
Resident Evil Resistance pits a mastermind against four survivors in a game of puzzles, monsters, and survival.
The six survivors are made up of a variety of character types including a hacker, graduate student, and “that one guy that was really great at sports until an injury ruined everything.” While all of these survivors have their own skills and areas of expertise, the one thing that they all have in common is that they somehow ended up being injected with one of Umbrella’s viruses and are now forced to take place in a fight for their lives as they try to escape a horrific research experiment.
On the other end of the cameras that are scattered across each level is the mastermind player, using their knowledge of bio-weapons and a host of Umbrella’s creations in order to stop the survivors from escaping.
Ultimately, the story (or lack thereof) presented here in Resident Evil Resistance isn’t really one of any substantial importance. This is a game that puts storytelling at the bottom of its list of priorities. The focus is on the gameplay.
Which Side Will You Choose?
As a mastermind, you’re tasked with making sure the four survivors aren’t able to reach the end of the level and escape before the time runs out. You’ll do this by moving between the cameras around the map and utilizing your toolkit against them. Injuring survivors will also help to reduce the remaining time on a map.
At the start of a match, you’ll select your layout, which determines the placement of puzzle items, doors, creatures, and traps. Starting out, there are saved presets, however after ranking up you’ll be able to customize these presets to your own specifications. Once the match begins, the bulk of your actions will be determined by the cards you have in your deck (which you can customize after ranking up). Each card has a cost associated with it and, as you use each card, your energy will decrease a little, slowly regenerating as you plan out which cards you want to use. I had fun trying to find a balance between spreading out the use of my creatures and traps, or simply using as many as I could and filling a room.
When used, the cards allow the mastermind to execute various actions. Various types of zombies, dogs, and traps can be placed and more will unlock as you complete matches and rank up. Some of these cards can be further enhanced by mastermind specific skills. As an example, Annette Birkin can get a zombie dog card to spawn three dogs at once. However, that number can, frustratingly, be dependent on your placement. One of the more irritating elements of Resistance is, as a mastermind, the amount of times I’ve effectively lost units when going to place them on the map. If you have a card that will spawn multiple units and it’s improperly placed (such as too close to a wall), it won’t spawn all of the units.
Some of the creature units that you spawn can also be directly controlled if you so choose, allowing you to jump into a zombie and claw and grab at the survivors. Each mastermind also has an ultimate skill which will let you take direct control over creatures like G-Birkin or a Mr. X-style Tyrant. As fun as it sounds to take control of one of the series’ boss-like monsters, the reality is that they don’t feel great to control. They move slow, especially when moving through doors, and they’re so large that the camera angle can make it difficult to see what’s going on in front of you. One of my times as G-Birkin was spent just chasing survivors in a circle, never having a chance to hit them because of the difference in our movement speeds. There’s certainly an advantage to using them, however I wish I could also just spawn them onto the map while continuing to use cards as I move between cameras. Any time spent controlling a creature directly can sometimes feel like a waste of time.
In addition to creature cards, masterminds are also given the ability to set traps, or to attach weapons onto one of the many security cameras scattered about the area in order to directly attack the survivors. If you see a group of survivors running from one room to another, you can set a trap, hope they get caught, and then equip your current camera with a weapon in an attempt to take them out. You can also lock doors or turn lights off. Filling a small room with enemies and then doing this is a sure way to help tilt the game in the mastermind’s favor.
On the other side of the screen are the survivors, each with their own unique set of skills that expand as they rank up. January, for example, has abilities that let her quickly disable a camera, effectively eliminating a vantage point for the mastermind, or to trigger an EMP, disabling multiple cameras while also increasing the cost of the mastermind’s cards. If you want to be a more supportive character, Valerie can help to locate objects in a room while also having the ability to heal multiple people at once.
At various points in a match, survivors can use Umbrella Credits in order to buy weapons, ammo, and healing items. While the mastermind has their energy and card cost to worry about, the survivors will be managing their credits and finding out the best way to spend them. Do you pick up extra ammunition for your gun? Or is that grenade looking a little more tempting? Unlockable perks for survivors that you can obtain will do things like increase your ammo or credits at the beginning of the match, giving you a bit of a leg up.
In a match, the ultimate goal for survivors is to progress from area to area, locating keys and progressing until ultimately reaching the final door of a map that will allow them to escape. They’ll have to battle against the matermind’s creatures and try to avoid traps as they locate these items and move throughout the area.
For both masterminds and survivors, completing matches will allow the specific characters to rank up and acquire new skills and expand their level of customization. You’re also able to spend acquired points on loot boxes, giving you new equipment options or cosmetics. The required number of points to purchase the lower level boxes seems fine, however, the cosmetic boxes cost a hefty sum that required several hours of playtime to obtain. One purchased, the box gave me one of a variety of items ranging from survivor costumes, creature skins, and weapon materials. The lesser boxes have a distinction between items for masterminds and survivors, and it’s unfortunate that the much more costly cosmetic boxes also don’t have that option.
I got a “futuristic wood” skin as a reward for my first few hours of the game. I was disappointed to say the least.
There’s no denying that Resident Evil Reistance is a nice-looking game on the surface. Fans of the RE Engine that has been used on the last several games in the series (as well as Devil May Cry 5) will recognize the look of this new venture into multiplayer territory.
However, with the online component comes a level of clunkiness, which for Resistance seems to be compounded further by its choice to not use dedicated servers for its matches. The player that assumes the role of the mastermind in each match acts as the host for the game. I’ve spent entire matches with a connection message sprawled across my screen. Surprisingly, I haven’t encountered as many issues with lag as the message would imply, though I’ve read that others have had issues.
Because of this structure however, a match could easily end early because of a lost connection to the host or if the mastermind isn’t doing well and simply rage quits. The good news is that participants in the match can still accumulate their Rank Points if a session is abruptly cancelled. However, it would seem that any RP boost items that are used (the game’s only microtransaction) are expended which…doesn’t seem terribly great.
Zombies and Lickers and Tyrants, oh my!
While I enjoyed most of my time with Resident Evil Resistance, the game ultimately requires you to invest a lot of time into it in order to unlock additional mastermind characters, character perks and more. Because each character is ranked up individually, players will likely end up settling on one or two characters to ‘main’ when they jump into matches. Right now, matchmaking doesn’t seem balanced, with several of my sessions having a very wide range of ranks among all five players.
Capcom has already announced they have plans to add more content in the future, such as Jill Valentine as a playable survivor. In that regard, it’s nice to see there are plans to support the game into the foreseeable future. Hopefully things like enemy placement I explained earlier can be adjusted in the future as they continue to update the game.
Resident Evil Resistance is an interesting addition to the series. It’s not great, but it’s also much better than 2016’s Umbrella Corps for those looking for a multiplayer experience set in the Resident Evil universe. Fans of the series will no doubt have some fun playing a few matches and tinkering around with abilities and cards, but beyond checking out an occasional update, I don’t know that I’ll personally be playing much more of it in the future.
Review copy provided by Capcom for PC. Screenshots courtesy of Capcom and taken by reviewer.