Two words: microtransactions and lootboxes.
For the first time in Resident Evil history, Capcom has included a separate online multiplayer mode to a title in the form of Resident Evil Resistance, which comes bundled with the Resident Evil 3 Remake for free.
Resident Evil Resistance is a 4v1 asymmetrical multiplayer game similar to titles like Dead By Daylight, Evolve or Friday The 13th: The Game. Players either assume the role of a cunning Mastermind or as one of four Survivors desperately trying to escape. These Masterminds consist of the franchise’s most familiar villains, including Annette Birkin, Daniel Fabron, Alex Wesker, and Earl Spencer.
As a Survivor, the objective is to methodically search the map for several keys to unlock the exits of three areas/levels and successfully escape before the timer ends. That won’t be easy, as the Mastermind spews cheesy and over-the-top lines while throwing zombies, explosives, traps, and other obstacles to stop the Survivors from escaping, all in the name of conducting ‘experiments’ and ‘research’.
Masterminds Have All The Fun
When you first boot up Resident Evil Resistance, you have two choices; whether to play as the Mastermind or as a Survivor. At the very beginning, you’ll only have access to one of the four different Masterminds, which is a bummer, considering that each of them comes with not only their own unique abilities but most importantly, Bioweapons.
For instance, Annette Birkin has access to Resident Evil 2 Remake boss William Birkin, while Daniel Fabron can summon the infamous Mr. X or Tyrant from the same game.
Yes, these monstrosities are actually playable.
In fact, Masterminds are given the ability to control almost all the zombies and manner of undead creatures that they summon, though most of them move so clumsily and clunkily that I prefer to let them be AI-controlled instead.
It’s unfortunate then that players are forced to actually use Annette Birkin until she reaches Rank 5 before unlocking the next playable Mastermind, Daniel Fabron. Rinse and repeat for the two subsequent Masterminds, which beats the purpose for anyone who’d want more variety from the very start instead of having to work for it.
Still, Masterminds do have all the fun in Resident Evil Resistance, compared to the Survivors.
Once you get the hang of properly using everything the Mastermind has at their disposal, it becomes fun as hell to let out your inner evil and villainous side.
In each of the three areas that the Survivors must escape from, the Mastermind can access any of the many cameras strewn around the map.
You observe the Survivors through the perspective of these cameras, and you’ll have to switch between them often to keep track of the Survivors. You also know where the keys are, so you can prepare by putting ‘surprises’ in these specific areas before the Survivors even reach them.
Nothing beats the joy of successfully trapping the Survivors’ progress by trapping them in a locked room with the lights out, filled with zombies, zombie dogs, and explosive mines galore.
You can even use machine guns and grenade launchers that can somehow sprout on the cameras.
I can’t count how many times I find myself cackling gleefully at the mayhem and suffering that I’m inflicting on these poor Survivors, but there are times that the Survivors actually work together and manage to overcome my machinations.
Who The Heck Are These Nobodies?
You must be wondering why I’m mostly discussing the Masterminds and not the Survivors. Well, the true highlight of Resident Evil Resistance is the thrill of playing as the Masterminds, just like how it’d feel to play as the Predator in Predator: Hunting Grounds or Jason Vorhees in Friday The 13th: The Game.
In contrast, the choice of Survivors now consist of only six unestablished and frankly-generic human characters that even fit certain stereotypes.
For example, Tyrone is African-American and he’s the Tank-class character, capable of both dishing out and taking a beating.
Another character named January is a Goth girl who, as you’ll probably guess by now, is a tech whiz capable of hacking stuff.
Some of these characters are clearly more useful than others. Valerie, who is not only Healer of the group (she can heal allies with an AOE First-Aid Spray) but her exclusive Survival Instinct ability turns her into a Scout and marks nearby important items like keys. All of that makes her an indispensable character and a must-have in every match. The problem is that only four players can be Survivors in any given match, so someone has to be Valerie, or risk making it a generally-harder experience.
The biggest problem here is why players would even want to play as one of these virtually-unknown nobodies (who are also stereotypes and caricatures) when they could play as actual Resident Evil characters when playing as the Mastermind. Fortunately, Capcom is already looking into fixing that as we speak, by adding Jill Valentine as a playable Survivor later this month on 17 April 2020.
Still, I would always prefer to play as the Mastermind than the Survivors.
To play well as the Survivors, you need to a level of cohesion and teamwork with your team members.
Playing with strangers thus far has yielded me more of the ‘you do your thing and I’ll do mine’ variety of teammates, which is frustrating.
Have none of these people ever played Left 4 Dead before?
The best strategy for playing as the Survivors so far (for me, at least) has been to stick together with my team members as much I could and keep moving through the map even if you’re not sure where to go. Stopping for even a second would easily enable the Mastermind to ambush you.
Night Of The Living Loot Boxes (And Boosters)
We all thought that we saw the last of the loot boxes in EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II in 2017. To my horror, Capcom has decided to return the dreaded loot boxes and feature them in Resident Evil Resistance. The process goes like; players earn RP (in-game currency) by participating in matches. These RP can then be used to acquire loot boxes, of which there two varieties; cosmetic and equipment to upgrade your characters.
Thankfully, you can’t buy RP using real money, so these loot boxes can’t be abused… or so I initially thought.
Here comes the RP Booster, which is a similar mechanic to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey‘s XP Booster.
Instead of XP, the RP Booster increases the amount of RP you obtain after every match.
Capcom is using the same sneaky and exploitative strategy employed by Ubisoft in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
How is that? Well, you can actually spend real money to buy these RP Boosters. More RP boosters means more RP to acquire more loot boxes, which is essentially a pay-to-win cheese tactic. This is extremely disappointing coming from Capcom, who has thus far refrained from using scummy tactics like this even in recent multiplayer-heavy games like Monster Hunter World.
Not Worth Your Time
Resident Evil Resistance does have its genuinely fun moments and concepts, especially when playing as the Masterminds. However, it’s ultimately a hokey attempt on an easy buck, and cashing in on the current wave of the so-called Capcom renaissance and goodwill generated by great games like Monster Hunter World and the Resident Evil 2 Remake.
It’s a tacked-on multiplayer mode that could have been a standalone free-to-play title of its own ala Call Of Duty: Warzone.
Instead, Capcom bundled it together with the Resident Evil 3 Remake, hoping for it to somehow make up for the main game’s shortcomings and lack of content.
That’s not even mentioning the devious microtransactions, something that shouldn’t still be accepted today.
Say goodbye to the Capcom renaissance, folks. It looks like they’re reverting back to their old 2010-era ways. Let’s hope that’s not the case, considering that we’re about to enter a brand new gaming generation soon.