Throughout its 25-year long run, there are a few recurring ideas and concepts that have frequently popped up in the Resident Evil franchise.
By Jonathan Yelenic
Published Jun 05, 2021
The?Resident Evil?series is turning 25 years old this year, and throughout that time, the games have changed quite a bit. While the series started as a purely survival-horror experience, the franchise hasn’t been shy about?becoming more action-oriented, as shown by?Resident Evil 4?and the recently released?Resident Evil Village.?
In spite of?Resident Evil’s?ever-changing nature, the games are still?pretty similar in many regards. Throughout the series, there have been several?characteristics that have become so ingrained into the franchise’s core DNA that it could be argued that they define?Resident Evil?more than any one style of gameplay featured throughout the series.
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Whether one is facing off against zombies, Ganados, or the Lycans featured in Resident Evil Village,?players will hardly ever encounter enemies that will go down without a fight. Zombies aren’t very offense-oriented, but they’re incredibly resilient, often requiring multiple headshots just to be knocked down. Ganados and Lycans boast similarly strong defenses, but also are much quicker and more dangerous than those infected with the T-Virus. Further adding to the challenge faced by players is the scarcity of ammo; a lack of bullets can make some enemy encounters go from manageable to seemingly impossible.
1998’s?Resident Evil 2 first?introduced Mr. X, a hulking, menacing, unkillable bioweapon who?occasionally stalks the player in scripted sequences. A year later,?Resident Evil 3: Nemesis?introduced the titular character, Nemesis, who operates in a similar manner, except he’s much faster. These characters added a fair amount of tension to Resident Evil’s?gameplay, and they’re even scarier in their respective games’ remakes, where both bioweapons will actively seek out the player in a seemingly never-ending game of cat and mouse.
The influence of Mr. X and Nemesis is also seen in the newer?Resident Evil titles. Jack Baker and internet sensation Lady Dimitrescu stalk protagonist Ethan Winters around their respective homes and are highly resistant to any of Ethan’s attacks.
Resident Evil?games are essentially large puzzles; each game’s setting has loads of secrets to uncover, and the player is tasked with figuring out how to do just that. Sometimes it’s as simple as fitting an arrowhead into an imprint, other times it may involve locating several key items at once. Regardless of the problem, players will probably have to do a lot of backtracking to solve it.
While games are often criticized when heavily featuring backtracking,?Resident Evil?usually gets a pass for how different of an experience revisiting an area can be. By the time one has a reason to backtrack through the game, they’ll probably have a new key or another item that will let them access a few locations that they couldn’t before. Sometimes new enemies can pop up too. If players don’t dispose of zombies’ bodies in?Resident Evil 1’s?remake, the more powerful Crimson Heads will arise like a phoenix from undead ashes, adding a fresh new threat to areas players previously thought they secured.
There’s a sense of uneasiness that comes with starting a new game in any Resident Evil.?The sense of isolation, grouped with the lack of ammo and short supply of healing items can make one feel like they’re at a significant disadvantage, and that’s kind of the point. Players are supposed to feel powerless at first. However, as one progresses through a Resident Evil?game, they will come across all manner of high-power weaponry like flamethrowers, grenade launchers, sniper rifles, and so much more.
With each new piece of equipment acquired, players gain more of a fighting chance, and there’s a sense of empowerment that comes with that. Players are afforded opportunities to use their newfound strength to easily blast away enemies that previously gave them grief, resulting in a very satisfying experience.
Resident Evil?games can be rather scary, but they can also be incredibly?cheesy. However, that’s not exactly a bad thing. The series simply wouldn’t be the same without its quirkier elements, such as the dialogue. Lines like “You were almost a Jill sandwich” and “Where’s everyone going, Bingo?” are undoubtedly corny, and may not be conventionally great examples of stellar writing in video games, but many fans agree that it’s hard to criticize the games for them. Rather, the community simply?appreciates the over-the-top, campy quality that the dialogue adds to?Resident Evil. Even developer Capcom is in on the joke, going as far as naming a character, Martin Sandwich, after one of?Resident Evil’s?numerous?infamous lines that the community can’t help but rally around.
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About The Author
(50 Articles Published)
Jon has been gaming since he first played Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES. Since then, his favorite series have grown to include Super Mario (obviously), Metal Gear, Resident Evil, and Yakuza. In his spare time, Jon likes to watch sci-fi, read comics, and watch the Cleveland Browns.
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