I was 12 years old in 2004, when the first Resident Evil: Outbreak came out.
My life as a big ol’ game boy had already been solidified years earlier, when I got my beloved and dearly missed Sega Dreamcast for the 1999 holiday season. I’d also, when even younger, somehow came into the possession of a gym bag full of NES cartridges, despite not owning one.
I was already vaguely familiar with online gameplay by 2004, as my terrible awful stepdad bought SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs for himself to play in 2002 with his family, a clan of nerds. When he was working overnights, I’d step up and play, but boy was I awful. Just terrible. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kids suck at video games. They shouldn’t play them. Ever.
I’d fallen in love with Resident Evil years before though, scared shitless as a youth. Now, older, braver, and with a zippy online connection, I was able to jump in to a group of scared Raccoon City residents and fight my way through the zombified hordes, leech men and mutated tyrants when I got my hands on Outbreak for the first time.
Was the game good? Well…not exactly. There were a couple of bad bugs associated with one of the characters using her special ability, which defeated the purpose of playing as her. The internet would chug sometimes, too, and chug hard. I remember plenty of stuttering frames or graphical pop-ins. The dialogue was poorly subbed and not synced, and the writing was especially terrible, even for this series. Also, there was no voice chat, only the weird “ad-lib” system Capcom implemented. It was a very Japanese design choice and it did not work well at all.
But guess what? I loved every second of it.
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Now, Capcom is stepping up for round two of Resident Evil multiplayer with this new Project Resistance game. When I heard the rumor drop, along with those leaked screencaps, oh boy did my hands start shaking. That RE2 remake blew my mind and transported me back to my ever-fleeting youth (I’m almost 28, for crying out loud) and I’m hoping for very much the same experience with this upcoming title.
From what scarce information there is out there about this beast, we’ve gathered that it’s four-player multiplayer game. That 4v1 asymmetrical aspect hasn’t been confirmed-confirmed, but it certainly looks to be the case. It’ll feature various firearms and, thankfully returning from the Outbreak games, melee weapons, too. It’ll also have zombies and lickers, at the very least. I guess there’s also going to be a big Mr. X robot? Okay! I mean, if Umbrella can genetically engineer monsters with shitty 90s tech, why not a big ol’ bot?
With the RE Engine, what little melee combat we saw in Resident Evil 7 felt alright. I’ve personally never been a big fan of first-person hand-to-hand combat, because I’ve got bad depth perception. I’m hoping with the third-person camera though, which I’m assuming they’re going to be using and carrying over from the RE2 remake, depth will be less of an issue. I’m also looking forward to that weighty, meaty feeling that good melee combat has, like God of War’s heavy axe swings. The RE Engine knows how to give heft to body weight; just look at those zombie swaggers and sways. I’d also expect a pistol whip or rifle butt smack type of action, which is something I’m surprised didn’t make it into Leon or Claire’s new arsenal.
Since this is going to be a multiplayer thing, I’d really like some character progression, too, along with character and weapon customization. Maybe they could frame it as raiding Kendo’s Gun Shop and outfitting your handgun with a laser sight, or those shotgun shell hold-y thingies on the side of the shotguns for faster reloading. Granted, Outbreak had static characters with unique special abilities, so if they go that route, fine, customization and progression could be limited. I’d be alright with either, but at least let me swap hats and drop that awful letterman’s jacket.
I also want voice chat. I want full voice chat. People argue that easy communication ruins the “horror” aspect of “survival-horror.” Uhhh nope, it doesn’t. Getting surrounded by a group of hungry undead, even with three people there to help, is still a bad time that nobody wants to experience. I actually like my flesh, thank you very much. I love yelling for help or screaming into the mic (not that loud) at my pals to save me, because I like getting into games when I can. I played a good amount of that Friday the 13th title, and when Jason was near, it was always spooky.
To be honest, I think this game is Capcom trying to make up for not including a Mercenaries mode in the Resident Evil 2 remake. I was honestly a little hurt by that lack of inclusion. Between that and the lack of a zapping system, as much as I loved the game, the replayability was sort of missing for me. The free DLC was dandy and good, but it was more akin to a bag of potato chips when I was still missing one of the sides with my entree, ya know? I also shelled out for the more expensive super edition, or whatever it was called, so I guess that’s on me.
I also wonder if Capcom will ever acknowledge that this is a spiritual successor to Outbreak, or if they’re trying to move past that comparison. The Outbreak games were not well received upon their original release, at least by most mainstream outlets. Fans seemed to love them, though.
In any case, while I would have preferred either a Resident Evil 3 remake or Resident Evil 8, I believe in Capcom and think that by this point, they know what they’re doing. At the very least, they’re being smarter than Konami. Tee hee!