"I...can't remember my password.." - Raccoon City Survivor
Platform: PC, PS4 (platform reviewed), Xbox One
Developer: Capcom, M-Two
Genre: Third Person, Asymmetrical Multiplayer,
Release: April 3rd, 2020
Like any good wine, after allowing some time to breathe, we’re back with the other half of the Resident Evil 3 review (check out our thoughts on the campaign here) and looking at the multiplayer offering in the form of Resistance. Another in a growing line of asymmetrical multiplayer modes, Resident Evil: Resistance takes the now tried and true formula of the remakes and attempts to distill the survival horror experience online.
There is a rather noticeable trend happening with these types of multiplayer horror offerings popping up in recent years. Taking established horror icons like Jason in the Friday the 13th game to the soon to be released Predator Hunting Grounds and allowing people to take on these iconic movie monsters or indeed become them and take the terror online with friends. It has brought with it varying degrees of success and highlighted a rather hungry community of people that want to do more than just battle royale everything or competitively shoot everyone to death, there’s cooperation and tension involved and It has been refreshing to see this form of multiplayer grow.
So, How Does it Work?
Resistance offers two modes of play in the form of Mastermind and Survivor. Playing as the Survivor, you must navigate a labyrinth of connecting hallways and rooms to escape the facility Umbrella has trapped you in. To do this, you must work together with 3 other players to find a series of keys to unlock subsequent areas until you reach the exit. All under a strict 5-minute time limit, that can be extended by taking advantage of specific character abilities or depleted by taking damage from fighting off zombies, getting caught in traps or even becoming undead and attacking your friends.
As the Mastermind then, your goal is simple, stop them at all costs. Switching between cameras placed in every room of the facility, the Mastermind literally monitors everything. However, you are not just a glorified hallway monitor. You have at your disposal, a litany of abilities to torment the Survivors with and impede their progress. Such as strategically placing your standard zombies, dogs (the not so fluffy kind) around corners or even directly behind survivors as they run past to catch them by surprise. To setting bear traps and upgrading your cameras to shoot and pester them as they scurry by.
It is not just your run of the mill zombies that you will be facing here. As Mastermind you can spawn more iconic creatures from the franchise such as hunters and lickers and even take direct control of them. Allowing you to get personal while also dealing extra damage to players. Each Mastermind character, such as Annette Birkin or Daniel Fabron, brings a unique boss enemy that can be spawned (and controlled) to really stick it to the survivors, especially in the late game. Taking control of the likes of the disgustingly detailed William Birkin or Mr. X himself (from Resident Evil 2) depending on your mastermind of choice.
I swear this isn't foreshadowing...
On the survivor side, there are (as of today) 7 characters to choose from. Each bringing their own set of skills. While none of these, outside of the recently added Jill Valentine, are recognizable characters from the franchise, each skill they bring is designed to complement the rest of the survivor team. Which can vary from Tyrone Henry, who can power kick enemies to create space between you and your objective and use a rally cry that decreases your teams damage taken for a brief period. To Valerie Harmon, who can highlight key items and threats for other players around the map and heal others with her first aid spray. The emphasis being on team play, no one character should lone wolf there way through a match and not working together is likely to end in mission failure.
The Nuts and Bolts
With all that set up out of the way, let us dive into some more set up, yay!! As a multiplayer expansion (that on PS4 at least is a separate download) it is designed with longevity in mind. Attempting to create a satisfying game-play loop that keeps players coming back with the promise of XP gains after every match, and cosmetic/equipment drops to outfit your characters and create custom load-outs.
Yes friends, that means everyone’s favorite elephant in the room, this game is chock full of loot boxes and micro-transactions in the form of “RP Boosters”, that can be purchased through the in-game store front. To clarify, loot boxes are not purchasable, only the RP boosters. The difference being that with the loot boxes, you are never sure of what you will get and since they are only available with in-game currency (RP coins), it also skirts around the current loot box/gambling controversy.
RP Boosters on the other hand are a different story. These purchasable items will add a multiplier to the amount of RP you gain from a match once applied. This is where, in my own humble opinion, things get a bit murkier. Technically, you can’t outright purchase loot boxes, but with the RP boosters as an incentive, you can gain access to cosmetics and equipment without putting in as much grind as you might otherwise need without paying for the boosters.
Note: I understand that any kind of micro-transaction can be a sticking point for people, especially when it comes to making a purchasing decision. In the interest of transparency, I felt it necessary to highlight these items before continuing with the rest of the review.
But how Does it Play!
The above image has been, for the most part, my experience with the multiplayer component. I quite often am waiting upwards of 15 minutes before the match making system will connect me with 4 other people and that is with me using the loosest search parameters in the form of a Random Quick Match. To give myself the highest possible chance of getting into a game easily. Without considering the fact that a match can be over inside of 5 minutes once you manage to get a game going, the wait times between matches are atrocious and I just as frequently was booted back to the menu because other players got tired of sitting in a lobby and left.
This was not just a day 1 experience either, each day I’ve logged in to sit down to a game I was met with those waiting times. There’s no option to mess with character loadouts or anything like that to pass the time, you just have to sit there and hope something happens. That goes double for wanting to play as the Mastermind by the way, in the almost 3 weeks since launch, I have played as the mastermind…once, as part of the tutorial. Maybe that speaks to my own impatience that I couldn’t stick it out but waiting double the average length of time to play the other half of the multiplayer component is inexcusable to me. So I can't speak to that side of the game, it seemed fun though?
Once you finally connect to a game then, the experience is a mixed bag. If you’ve read up on the Nemesis campaign, this game largely plays the same just with other people. However, due to the nature of the online experience, I found a distinct lack of tension that was abundant in the single player offering. Maybe the jump to online and seeing the likes “420Sniper4eva123” floating above a players head as they shoot zombies with numbers flying out of their decaying flesh as hit points, takes the sting out of it. I get that this is not going to be the same sort survival horror and concessions had to be made, I just wish it was better implemented and it fit into the fiction of the world better.
I mentioned briefly about the grind needed to level up in this game and boy does it live up to the name. Completing a round yields a pittance in RP coins. At least it seems that way, as the in-game price of cosmetic or equipment loot boxes is ridiculous in comparison to the amount earned per match. It is clear the developers want people to keep playing but for me, it just highlights that RP boosters are in fact a thing that can be purchased with real money and can be used to offset this unnecessary grind.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so glaring if it also wasn’t for the fact that the skill points and RP you might spend to upgrade can only be spent per character. Due to the free for all nature of the character select screen, if you put all your eggs in one basket there's no guarantee you will get to play as that character. Meaning all that time, effort, and possibly money you put into a specific character might be a waste if they are constantly snatched up before you get a chance to pick which puts a further emphasis on the grind.
So, What's the Verdict?
Look, even with all the above aside, the game just isn't that fun for me. Playing as the survivor I didn't feel like I was surviving more so being harassed incessantly by an unseen force while flailing around trying to look for a key to reach the next area. A match can end in just minutes if the team you are on is just barreling through the stage, not working together. The rate at which a mastermind can spawn in enemies and traps can also feel unreasonable and suck the fun out of what is admittedly a cool concept for the franchise. I want this game to be better, it has potential in its premise yet fails in its execution and as it stands now I cannot recommend it in the current state it is in, for my money, the campaign offering is where it's at and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Play this game if...
· You are a die-hard Resident Evil fan
· You literally have nothing else going on
· You’re curious to a fault after finishing the much better campaign
The first, second and fourth images are sourced directly from the website here
Third image captured in-game using PS4 Pro
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