The Resident Evil 2 Remake Challenge

I play video games largely for fun, or as a means to blow off steam after a rough day at work. But I also occasionally challenge myself by trying to beat a particular title on the hardest difficulty setting. I’ve succeeded at some—Command and Conquer: Renegade & Fallout: New Vegas—while others—Resident Evil 7 & Neoquest 2 (from the Neopets website)—have eluded me. And I recently set my sights on a game I purchased earlier this year.

I first acquired and played the Resident Evil 2 remake back in February 2019, and I have gotten hours of enjoyment from the title and its associated mini-games. I have since been watching a number of gamers broadcasting their own playthroughs on Twitch. After several months of viewing others run through the grueling hardcore mode of the game, I decided to give it a go myself.

What makes this mode of the game so challenging is that every step through a monster-infested area could be your last. Each creature you encounter moves much faster in hardcore mode and most can kill you in 1-3 hits. And if you die, you must start over from the beginning of the game or from your last save.

I shared my plans with three video game streamers who I watch regularly—Silentkaster, Crazygamingdayz, and ISeeDeadKittensXO. The latter, Kittens, was the only one who had yet to get through this mode with the best grade—more on that later—but said he would if I managed to pull it off.

It took me about six hours to get through Claire’s campaign with 13 saves—about five hours and 15 saves for Leon’s. I didn’t have any ambitions beyond trying to get through both scenarios. I changed my mind when Kittens challenged me to run through it again, this time for a proverbial gold medal.

One staple of the Resident Evil games is that you’re graded on how well you do, ranging from E to S+. Generally, things like speed, accuracy, minimal saves, or number of enemies eliminated contribute to the score you get upon completion. To obtain the best possible grade in the Resident Evil 2 remake’s hardcore mode, you must get through it in under two and a half hours with no more than three saves.

I don’t know how many attempts I made overall, but it had to be at least a hundred. I chose to run through the Claire A scenario since that is the easiest of the four campaigns. Each failure made me more determined and helped me develop tactics to get through.

On my initial try at it, I saved the game just before the first boss fight. Going up against one of the toughest monsters in the game was a grueling experience. I tried a number of different tactics from pumping the creature full of lead to hacking away at it with a combat knife. I’m not sure which method ultimately worked because I kept failing over and over before I could get to my next savepoint.

Fortunately, I got in so much practice against the first boss that I decided to start over from the beginning—this time saving after the fight. I was just under the one hour mark at this point. From here, I had to decide whether or not I should grab a submachine gun on the other end of the police station from my location, or simply run for the next objective. I tried several times to grab the desired weapon before I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the time or risk. There were certain steps I needed to take just to gain access to the SMG; some steps would put me in a situation that could get me killed.

I finally decided to just muddle through with the handgun and grenade launcher I already had and hope for the best. It took some doing, but I finally made it to my next savepoint in the sewers just prior to the second boss fight.

The second boss monster is perhaps the most difficult one in the game for me to get past—primarily because you have to fight it in the smallest self-contained area and have to use a crane to knock it off the platform to end the battle. Unfortunately, I kept getting killed after the few times I did win. I lost count of how many attempts I made to get through this fight intact.

My plan was to have my last save just prior to the back-to-back final boss fights in the game. But frustration from having to do the second battle over and over made me change my mind. Another contributing factor was that my character was in very poor health at the start of the greenhouse area—the most dangerous location in the game. I feared getting killed and having to repeat the previous fight again, so I saved at a less than optimal point. It also meant I couldn’t save any more if I wanted to obtain the best grade.

I should also note that I could have picked up an electricity-based weapon in the sewers that would have helped me out here, but I didn’t have space for it in my inventory when I came across it. I had to rely on just the knife, handgun, and grenade launcher—mostly—to help me get through to the end.

Through all of this, I’d been keeping Crazygamingdayz, Silentkaster, and Kittens updated on my progress. Kittens was so impressed that I made it so far and stood such a good chance of winning that he decided to go for it himself. Ironically, he completed the hardcore mode with an S+ rank before I did!

I ran through the greenhouse section so many times that I became a veritable expert at it—I even joked to several friends that I could do it in my sleep. I did make some really dumb mistakes at times though. For instance, I found that throwing a flash grenade in a room of immobile zombies will cause them all to get up at once. This really backfired when I mistakenly threw one in a stairwell and the zombie in the room at the top of the stairs came down and caught me unawares.

After multiple tries, it was very satisfying to finally triumph over the final monster in the game—especially since I was considering starting the game over from scratch to conserve more ammo than I had. I was given access to a mini-gun just before the fight, but there were several attempts that ended in failure because I ran completely out of ammo. I solved this problem by being stingier with my firearms in the second-to-last battle. And it took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to get through it.

Successfully completing this mode with the best grade unlocked both a mini-gun and rapid-fire SMG for use throughout the game, both with infinite ammo. While either would make running through any campaign on any difficulty more of a breeze, I’m still aiming to get through Leon’s campaign on hardcore with an S+ rank, which can’t be achieved if I use these weapons. Winning at this scenario would net me an infinite-ammo rocket launcher.

Leon’s campaign is more challenging than Claire’s because you are being pursued by a near-unkillable monster at certain points throughout. The most you can hope for is to temporarily disable this creature to keep it from chasing you, if not outrun it.

It may take me just as much time and effort to get through Leon’s side of the story as it did with Claire’s. But given that I’ve made it about halfway while only saving once, I know I stand a very good chance.

First Impressions of the Resident Evil 2 Remake

As big a fan I am of the Resident Evil game series, I have never had the chance to play every single game—particularly the early ones. The three sequels to the original game—2, 3, and Code Veronica—were only available on consoles by the time I really got in the franchise. I never got into playing games on the Playstation, Xbox, or Gamecube, and I doubt I will ever invest in one of those consoles.

Which is why I was elated when I first heard news in 2015 that Resident Evil 2 would be completely remade as a high-definition game. Past the initial announcement by the production company, Capcom, there was zero news or updates on the remake’s development until late last year. I got more hyped for this new game the more I learned about it, but I also tried to stay spoiler-free until I could experience it for the first time.

In anticipation of the game’s release on January 25, I invested in a better computer that would be built according to my preferences. While I didn’t get my new PC as soon as I wanted, I was able to play the remake for the first time on January 27 on a Surface Book.

And—aside from the glitches I experienced on the less-than-optimal hardware—the game definitely didn’t disappoint.

As with the original game, the plot follows the adventures of rookie cop Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield—each of them braving a zombie-infested city for their own reasons. You can start the game with either character, but neither impacts how the other’s story plays out like it did in the original—more on that later. It was nice to see more realistic versions of all the characters from the original story, as well as the reimagined and very detailed environments to explore. Graphics-wise, the remake is spectacular.

Lack of knowledge on what to expect made the new and improved Resident Evil 2 a very nerve-wracking experience, though I wouldn’t call that a bad thing. Part of what made it so was that there were certain creatures that didn’t show up in the same locations where they were first seen in the original game. Since I didn’t know where I’d encounter a monster, I was very cautious on my first run through the police station. I very much enjoyed this venture into the unknown—I don’t think it would have been as enjoyable if everything had played out exactly the same.

Another source of tension stemmed from how hard it was to determine if a creature was down for the count. My reaction to a monster getting back up after I thought I’d killed it went as follows: Oh, my God, you’re not dead! Panic fire!

I started my first run playing as Claire. It took me near 11 hours just to get through her campaign—9 hours for Leon—but I enjoyed every minute. Part of what took me so long was that I got stuck at various points—sometimes on a puzzle that should have been easy to figure out. And the locations were at times difficult to traverse—I had to keep consulting the maps for each area to determine how to get to a certain room.

Even the glitches I encountered on the Surface Book made the remake an interesting experience. At one point early in the game, I actually had a zombie walk right through me. The other glitch that really stood out was when I was trying to get supporting character Sherry to hide from one of the bad guys—she kept spazzing out and repeatedly bobbing up and down. In retrospect, I wish I had a recording of the latter—it was really funny to see.

There are many creatures to fear in the remake. But the most daunting has to be Mr. X, a titan who relentlessly pursues you through the different areas—especially if you’re playing Leon’s campaign. And I found out the hard way that hiding from him doesn’t work—if you stay in one place too long, he will inevitably find you. Since he can take away half your health in one hit and will only drop for so long if you shoot him enough times, running is more advisable. Even the sound of his pounding footsteps—whether he’s on the same floor or overhead—can easily work your last nerve.

What made the game even more entertaining were my own blunders. You’re limited on how many items you can carry at one time. My inventory was full when I stumbled upon an item I needed to get through a nearby locked door. I had to discard some ammo I thought I could do without—you can’t retrieve something after it’s thrown away. Ironically, I found the gun that this ammo went with minutes later.

One of my other mistakes originated when I was running from Mr. X. I ended up trapped in a hallway surrounded by three different creature types. In spite of how harrowing that situation was, I could help but start laughing when I was killed.

Another thing I loved about the remake was how well the characters—main or supporting—were fleshed out. I found it easy to feel sorry for police lieutenant Marvin Branaugh, gun shop owner Robert Kendo, and even Umbrella scientists William and Annette Birkin with how their respective stories played out. Not so much with police chief Brian Irons, who is just as vile as he was in the original game.

What makes the remake even better is that it recreates a pair of mini-games that were presented in the original version. Firstly, there is a scenario called the 4th Survivor that has an Umbrella soldier code-named HUNK (Human Unit Never Killed) who must run through a monster-laden gauntlet to an extraction point. I attempted this mode once, but didn’t make it very far before I got overwhelmed. 4th Survivor is a difficult game to beat—stopping to shoot the creatures in your path is a waste of ammo. But I will definitely keep trying.

The other mini-game is identical to 4th Survivor except that you’re playing as a joke character from the original Resident Evil 2. The Tofu Survivor has you as a human-sized block of tofu armed only with a knife who must run through the same gauntlet. Even the Tofu character looks incredibly realistic from the texture to the way he jiggles when he runs. What makes it funnier is that Tofu gets chunks taken out of him as he takes damage. I haven’t yet played this mode, but YouTube videos I’ve watched have shown me you can unlock four additional Tofu characters, each with a different arsenal to help them get through the gauntlet. I very much look forward to trying out this mini-game for myself.

On February 15th, another mini-game titled Ghost Survivors was released as a free add-on to the remake. Ghost Survivors explores what-if scenarios for several characters who perished in the main story—what if they had lived to see another day? The roster includes Robert Kendo, mayor’s daughter Katherine Warren, an Umbrella soldier code-named Ghost, and sheriff Daniel Cortini. As entertaining as it was to see each of them escape their fate, Ghost Survivors is an extremely challenging mode to get through. You must make every bullet count—if playing as Kendo, Katherine or Ghost, you must carefully decide what items you’ll need to advance. I’ve yet to beat any scenario on standard mode—each campaign in Ghost Survivors features a training mode that reduces the number of enemies and makes them easier to eliminate. It may take time, but I believe I’ll find strategies that will help me get through each scenario in one piece. And it would be a treat to see a Ghost Survivors 2 that changes the fates of other supporting characters in the remake.

My only gripe is that Leon and Claire’s stories don’t really sync up in the remake. In the original game, the character you started with dictated the path taken by the other—if Leon unlocked a door in his campaign, it stayed accessible for Claire. In the remake, the second character must track down the same keys and solve the same puzzles as the first in order to advance. What further separates the two campaigns is Annette’s actions—if Leon and Claire’s stories were connected to each other, then the ending would have Annette in two places at once.

The Resident Evil 2 Remake is such a fantastic game chock full of content that I don’t see it getting old anytime soon. The developers have done such a great job revitalizing what made the original game so enjoyable that I can’t wait to see what will come next for the franchise. I have heard rumors that the third game in the series would also be remade if enough fans demanded it—rumors that look very likely to become a reality. Since the original Resident Evil 3 was the biggest nail-biter in the franchise, I imagine that a new and improved version will be an even bigger scare-fest.

Bring it on.

Resident Evil: Vendetta – Movie Review

Warning:  There are spoilers in this article.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me is aware I am a huge fan of the Resident Evil video game series.  The same cannot be said for the live action “adaptation” films starring Milla Jovovich.  Though they featured many of the same characters from the game series, it was in name only.  My main problem with the live action movies are their complete disregard for the established stories, conflicts, and character histories that make the games so resonant and fantastic.

I much prefer the anime films which are more closely tied to and expand on the game series.  I enjoy Degeneration (2008) and Damnation (2012) so much that I’ve made them part of my DVD library.  When I first heard news of a third animated film called Vendetta, it instantly was added to my list of movies to see.  And that was before I found out it would mark the return of a character – Rebecca Chambers – who hadn’t been seen since the first two chronological games in the series.

I was even more excited to find out I would be able to see Vendetta on the big screen.  I purchased a ticket ahead of time on the site, FathomEvents.com, for a one-night showing on June 19.  This was something I had never done before, but it is a site I may go back to since they also bring older films back to select theaters for special showings.

I was pleasantly surprised by the décor of the theater – AMC Livonia 20 — showing Vendetta.  It looked much nicer and neater than the one I usually frequent – Star Southfield.  The one thing I was even more surprised about was that there was even a bar serving alcoholic beverages on the premises.  I’ve never been to a theater that featured such a thing.

As an added bonus, the theater had airplane seats that were quite cozy.  It wasn’t long before I settled in and waited for the film to start.  I was the first one there, but the place gradually filled with at least twenty to thirty more people.  I even struck up a short conversation with one of the movie-goers, whose husband was a bigger fan of Resident Evil than she was.  We didn’t exchange names, but I did find out the latest entry in the game series terrified her.

What made Vendetta even more enjoyable was that a documentary was shown prior to the actual film that talked about the making of the movie.  It even had the three main voice actors sharing their thoughts about the film.

Though I had seen a YouTube video depicting the first nine minutes of Vendetta ahead of time, the theater had such a good sound system that it made the opening sequence very creepy.  There were parts that were so explosively loud that it raised the tension level, especially when preceded by a quiet moment.   The sound of a gun being fired was at such a volume that it seemed like it had leapt off the screen.

Clockwise from top left – Leon, Glenn Arias, Chris, Rebecca

 

Joining the ranks of the many villains in the series is Glenn Arias, a bad guy with a tragic backstory.  In an effort to take out the notorious arms dealer, the government launched an attack on Arias’ wedding day.  Though he survived, he lost many of the people he cared about, including his new bride.  In retaliation, Arias went from dealing in conventional weapons to bio-weapons.

While it’s unlikely that Arias knew how to manufacture a new virus to threaten and potentially destroy the world with, he is quite the formidable villain.  I thought he was very similar to the franchise’s biggest baddie, Albert Wesker, but without the superpowers.  Arias is still a fast and spry enough fighter to give experienced soldier Chris Redfield a run for his money.

The movie’s fights are spectacular, especially for an animated film.  The mix of motion capture and choreography churns out some of the most amazing battles I’ve seen.

However, there were also moments that seemed a bit over-the-top and unrealistic.  For instance, seeing government agent Leon Kennedy shoot and take down a creature while leaning off the side of a motorcycle he’s driving on the freeway can’t be physically possible.

I also loved the story and the character arcs.  Each of the main characters is given their moment to shine, especially university professor and biochemist Rebecca.  Not only does she break up an argument between Chris and Leon, but she also reminds both why they’re in the fight against bio-terrorism.

One thing I found a bit iffy is that Rebecca becomes the damsel in distress in the second half of the film.  Arias abducts and attempts to woo her because she bears a strong resemblance to the wife he lost.  The mere fact that he believes she’ll reciprocate demonstrates just how psychotic he is.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie – though I would have liked to know more about this new virus and how it worked.  Creating a strain that allows the host to differentiate between friend and foe rather than attack everyone in sight seems to be too complex for an arms dealer.  I’m inclined to think that Arias had help in this endeavor.

I look forward to more animated films in the future, especially if they match the caliber of Vendetta.  And it was good to find a new favorite movie theater in the process.

 

Photo credits:

Glenn Arias — https://images.nowloading.co/images/c_limit,q_auto:good,w_600/uvj7sycwjrjglfbsfrch/let-s-take-a-closer-look-at-the-player-characters-of-resident-evil-vendetta.jpg

Chris – http://scontent.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/e35/15337152_1833873270157948_2646422972209823744_n.jpg?ig_cache_key=MTQxMjYwMjk1NDc1ODcyMjY0NQ%3D%3D.2

Leon – http://www.imfdb.org/images/thumb/f/ff/Resident_Evil_Vendetta_05.jpg/600px-Resident_Evil_Vendetta_05.jpg

Rebecca — https://i.ytimg.com/vi/C5uGdP_xtxo/maxresdefault.jpg

My List of Top Ten Things Wrong With Resident Evil 6

In my August 2016 blogpost, I stated that the 2012 video game, Resident Evil 6, deserved its own list of nitpicks. It’s my opinion that RE6’s developers went way overboard in terms of content, and it resulted in one of the most flawed video games I’ve ever played.  Though none of the previous games in the series is entirely perfect, the one thing that they all have going for them is that they operated on a small scale.  Generally, each is limited to 1-3 main characters that the player can control throughout the game and take place in areas that are limited in scope.

2016-9Sept-Photo1

From L to R – Jake, Sherry, Chris, Piers, Helena, Leon, Ada (photo credit below)

RE6 upped the ante by giving the player their choice of seven separate characters to play – four returning from previous games and three newcomers – and having the action taking place in the United States, China, and somewhere in Eastern Europe, as well as on a submarine, a jumbo passenger jet, an aircraft carrier, and a deep-sea oil rig. I feel that both elements ended up hurting the game since more time was spent on their development than on crafting a solid story. (Photo credit)  As if the game didn’t suffer enough with its wider character selection and global scale, I found RE6’s many monsters either annoying or over-the-top.  If the developers had spent as much time working out the kinks in the narrative as they did designing the characters, creatures, and environments, the game would be much more enjoyable.

While I have my share of problems with this game, I don’t hate it as much as many players whose scathing reviews I’ve seen. I consider myself pretty open-minded, and one of the things I do like is how RE6 has four separate campaigns that each contain a piece of a much larger story.

Before I delve into a breakdown on what irked me the most about RE6, I’ll start with an overview of each of the four scenarios.  Government agent Leon Kennedy strives to expose the mastermind behind a string of outbreaks and teams with a rogue Secret Service agent named Helena Harper who was coerced into committing acts of terrorism.  Captain Chris Redfield of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (B.S.A.A.) seeks revenge against a female terrorist who decimated a military team he commanded, while Chris’ protégé, Piers Nivans, strives to keep him from crossing the line.  NSA operative Sherry Birkin undertakes a mission to find and protect a mercenary named Jake Muller, whose blood may hold the key to neutralizing a new manmade virus that’s been unleashed on the world.  And corporate spy Ada Wong launches her own investigation when she discovers she will be made a scapegoat for these new acts of bio-terrorism.  For anyone who may not have played this game but would like to, please be warned that there are spoilers ahead.

And now, on with the list.

10) Leon has an insane amount of patience.

After being forced to kill the zombified U.S. President, Adam Benford, at the start of her and Leon’s story, Helena comments out loud that the President’s death is her fault.  Each time Leon questions her for an explanation throughout the first two chapters of their campaign, she continually makes excuses for procrastinating.  Even though he was close friends with President Benford and only just met Helena, I can understand Leon letting it slide once or twice.  But it’s a wonder he doesn’t lose it after she blows him off a total of five times.  What makes the scenario even more insane is that when Helena finally does reveal what going on, her whole character is called into question.  At the end of the second chapter, she discloses that she was compromised because her sister’s life was on the line.

9) Psychological trauma, what’s that?

Chris’ story kicks off with him going AWOL after the loss of almost his entire squad, trying to lose himself in a bottle as a means of forgetting.  Piers tracks his former captain down after six months have gone by with the intention of bringing him back into the fold.  Yet, the immediate response of everyone in the B.S.A.A. is to throw Chris right back in the field without any treatment whatsoever.  It’s even more boggling that Chris has any sense left in between coming off a serious drinking binge, suffering from PTSD, and later obsessively pursuing the woman who killed his teammates.

8) Might as well have a neon sign that says ‘I’m up to no good.’

One of the things I found most puzzling about Resident Evil 6 were the gargantuan humanoid creatures called Ogroman in Chris’ campaign.  For the sake of argument, I will say that RE6’s villainess, Carla, was the one who manufactured the enormous beasts encountered by the protagonists.  I will also assume that she wanted to keep her activities hidden from the game’s other villain, Simmons, so he wouldn’t swoop in and shut her down.  Yet she still tempts fate and blatantly throws several creatures that are larger than a two-story house at the military, as well as spearheads a bio-terrorist organization called Neo-Umbrella.  Since Simmons is a character who has government connections, likes to maintain order, and stay on top of things, it’s a wonder that Carla is able to operate unhindered for at least a six-month period.

7) The villains who wield far too much power.

I can understand the need for RE6’s game designers, after the apparent death of the series’ supervillain, Wesker, in the fifth game, to come up with a bad guy or two worthy of filling the void.  Yet both Carla and Simmons are able to get away with an awful lot.  Between the two of them, they lay claim to a total of three or four enormous secret facilities or bases, orchestrate a presidential assassination, destroy a U.S. city with a guided missile, cause not one but two massive outbreaks that kill at least half a million people, put a big dent in the forces of a global militaristic organization, manufacture one of the most destructive genetic-altering viruses present in the Resident Evil series, and almost bring about the end of the world.  On top of all that, either Carla or Simmons has an aircraft carrier, an oceanic oil rig, and a nuclear sub in their possession.  Dead or not, I imagine that Wesker has to envy these two for greatly outdoing him in the very game that marks their first appearance.

6) Daddy issues.

I consider Sherry and Jake’s campaign the most polished and straightforward out of the four, but I also feel that it held a wasted goldmine of dramatic elements that could easily have been brought into the story.  Midway through their campaign, Jake discovers that the father he’s never known is none other than the late Albert Wesker.  If it were up to me, I would have put more emphasis on how Jake deals with the revelation that his absentee dad was the world’s most wanted bioterrorist.  It would have been interesting to see more of Jake’s transition from a selfish, greedy soldier of fortune at the start of the game to a character who aims to be the antithesis of everything his father stood for.  Even the scene between Jake and his dad’s greatest rival, Chris, toward the end could have been better written and a much more defining moment, for both of them. Instead, Jake, who has shown hatred toward his father through interactions with Sherry, is inexplicably angry at Chris for having killed Wesker.

5) Carla shares Simmons’ obsession with Ada?

The source of the conflict between the two villains in RE6 has an interesting basis, even if the plot itself was not well thought out.  More than a decade prior to the events in the game, Simmons was deeply infatuated with Ada, to the point that he didn’t take it well when she left him.  He spent a great deal of time experimenting with genetics and harming countless people in an attempt to create a doppelganger.  He ultimately succeeded with his devoted lab assistant, Carla, who he brainwashed to behave like the real Ada.  This scheme backfired when Carla regained her memory and went mad with thoughts of revenge.  The one thing I find the most unbelievable about this whole scenario is that Carla makes no attempt to change her appearance once she remembers.  Throughout an entire game that takes place over a six month period, both Ada and Carla have hairstyles that are a perfect match. One could argue that Carla made sure she’d be indistinguishable from the real Ada when it came to framing her.  But given that Carla’s master plan was to destroy the world, why bother?

4) Time for a career change.

From the time of her first appearance in Resident Evil 2 in 1998, Ada has never been known as anything other than a freelance spy.  One can assume that she enjoys what she does or she wouldn’t still be at it by the time the sixth game rolls around in 2012.  While it’s puzzling why Carla even attempts to pin the latest string of terrorist attacks on her, there is a plot element toward the end of Ada’s campaign that makes even less sense.  A peek into Ada’s thoughts reveals that she intends to destroy any evidence that would prove she’d played no part in instigating the attacks.  Unless being labeled as a bioterrorist is some weird way of increasing her notoriety or deepening the pool of people looking to hire her, Ada must really be begging to spend the rest of her days behind bars if any law enforcement agency or the military ever catch her.

3) Zombies on a plane.

My explanation for the plane crash that occurs in chapter 4 of Leon’s campaign is that the game developers must have really wanted a grand spectacle to mark Leon and Helena’s arrival in China.  But the events leading up to it are just plain idiotic.  The buildup to this scenario is as follows.  Leon learns from one of his allies that Simmons is en route to China, and Leon and Helena book a flight in pursuit.  Sometime during the last leg of their trip, the heroes discover that the pilot has fallen victim to a virus and has mutated into a horrific creature that is infecting everyone on board, except for the protagonists.  The game’s biggest mystery is that it never explains how or why the pilot is targeted.  By this point, Simmons had just been made aware by Ada that Carla is on a rampage, so his focus had to be primarily on dealing with her.  And it’s doubtful Carla would set her sights on eliminating Leon and Helena out of nowhere since she pretty much ignores them throughout the whole game.  Unless there was an unknown third villain in play operating from the shadows, it would have been impossible for anyone to start an epidemic aboard a specific jet that had been in the air for roughly twelve hours.

2) Just die already!

Generally, I’m someone who likes a challenge and to square off with any game’s final boss that takes extra time and effort to triumph against.  But RE6 sets the bar ridiculously high when it comes to Leon and Helena battling against Simmons.  Within minutes of being exposed to Carla’s specially-made viral cocktail, Simmons mutates into an oversized canine-like creature and is seemingly stopped when he gets dragged underneath a bullet train that subsequently derails.  But it doesn’t stop there.  For Round Two, he transforms into a mutant T-Rex and seemingly dies again after getting pumped full of lead.  Round Three sees him go back to his first stage mutation and supposedly bite it when Ada stabs him in the side and drops him into a raging inferno.  For the final round, he becomes a giant housefly – God,I wish I was kidding about this – and is ultimately defeated after several lightning strikes courtesy of a metal antenna that gets stuck in him and getting shot by a rocket launcher. And yet what finally kills him is that he reverts to his human self, gets impaled on an obelisk, and bleeds out.  To say all of this is overkill is a vast understatement.

1) If the monsters don’t get you, the camera angles will.

One thing that annoyed me the most about RE6 aside from the many plot holes was a certain game mechanic that got me killed more than once.  Sometimes, when my character was running from something dangerous, the tendency of the camera view to shift by a 90 or 180 degree angle without warning often resulted in said character sprinting in the wrong direction.  This aspect was never more frustrating than when I was playing the last chapter in Chris’ campaign and had to run up this inclined spiral walkway to get away from a giant creature that was after me.  The game keeps track of how many times you’re killed, and in all other chapters, my death count averaged from 3-5.  For Chris’ final chapter, I got killed well over a hundred times before I got it right.  To give an idea, here is a video recorded by another player of the scenario in question.

For a game that has this many flaws, you might ask why I’m in the minority of people who don’t flat out hate it. I would say that as a writer with a very vivid imagination, I see ways in which those imperfections can be corrected.  I have even done so through writing my own What-If fanfiction stories.  I am currently working on an alternate take of the events in the fifth game, a story titled Tangled Web. And I have some ideas in store for a sequel to said story that will borrow the best elements from RE6.

And, whenever I get around to writing my planned fanfiction sequel to Tangled Web, I can guarantee a cooler climax than battling a giant insect.

Resident Evil illogical moments

Until the first live-action Resident Evil movie starring Milla Jovovich came out in 2002, I had never actually played any of the games. My general experience with the series was limited to watching gameplay videos online or reading the novel adaptations written by S.D. Perry.  I don’t favor the films since they are anything but faithful adaptations and have all the established characters from the Resident Evil, or RE for short, universe play second fiddle to an all-original character portrayed by Jovovich.  But the games aren’t without their share of problems.

While most of the games in the series have stellar stories, epic action sequences, interesting heroes and villains, and truly iconic monsters, there are also moments that don’t make any sense whatsoever if you think about it. Which I have.  What follows is my list of the ten most illogical things in the Resident Evil video game series.  I thought about including a moment from the latest main entry in the series, but there is so much wrong with RE6 that it deserves its own list.

10) Are the bad guys really this bored or stupid?

The opening for RE4 has government agent Leon Kennedy journeying to a remote area in Spain in search of the President’s missing daughter, Ashley.  Story-wise, I believe only two hours transpire from when Leon first encounters a hostile cult-like terrorist group behind the abduction to when he finds a random note written by one of the cultists.  This note not only acknowledges Leon’s presence in their village, but it also flat out states where Ashley is being held.  Given that the cultists have been hell-bent on eliminating Leon as a threat up to this point, it begs the question on why one of them would take the time to write this.  And, the note’s writer may as well have added an additional sentence: I’ll just leave this lying on a table where the intruder can easily spot it.

9) Fear of getting wet?

The water puzzle in the prequel game, Resident Evil Zero, where you have to move three crates to form a pathway over this rather small tank – simply to retrieve a valve needed to access a locked room, I might add – couldn’t be more ridiculous if it tried.  One thought that crossed my mind, as I was pushing the boxes into place, was ‘Why can’t Rebecca or Billy just swim across to get what they need?’  What makes it even more absurd is that this puzzle is encountered just after Billy pulled himself out of a waterway and hadn’t had time to dry off.

8) Shoddy containment measures.

One of the most curious aspects of RE5 is how many monsters are roaming about unchecked in Wesker’s secret facility.  While one could argue that the game’s antagonists unleashed the majority of them to deal with Chris and Sheva, the cages for the Lickers tell a different story.  The beasts are seen confined within a glass enclosure that they can, and do, easily break out of when the heroes are passing by.  There is evidence that at least three people have been killed by these creatures before Chris and Sheva even stumble upon them.  Given that the Lickers are one of the deadliest creatures present in the series, it’s questionable why even Wesker doesn’t take better care to protect his own staff from them.

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Clockwise from top left: Wesker distracted by Alexia; Resident Evil Zero’s crate puzzle; Glass cage for the Lickers in RE5; Chris preparing to punch a boulder; Rachel Foley running from a monster; and Ben’s prison cell in RE2. (photo credits at end)

7) Did the dogs really stay by the doors the entire time?

The first game in the series kicks off with members of the paramilitary organization, S.T.A.R.S., taking refuge in a seemingly deserted mansion after being chased through the woods by a group of zombified Dobermans.  The majority of the game centers around trying to find an alternate way out, as any attempt to exit through the front doors results in one of the dogs gaining entry to the house and attacking whichever character tried to leave.  It doesn’t matter what point of the game it is; the dogs are always there.  Why they stick around that area even when the S.T.A.R.S. members aren’t anywhere near the main hall is anyone’s guess, especially when there has to be something more accessible to hunt somewhere in the forest.

6) Wesker is far too easily distracted.

In RE: Code Veronica, the mainstay villain of the series, normally known for having remarkable focus and awareness, can’t seem to decide who to give his undivided attention to at various points.  During one scene where he has his mortal enemy, Chris, in a chokehold and is threatening to end his life, Wesker hears the game’s primary villainess, Alexia, laughing on a nearby computer monitor before the screen goes dark.  For whatever reason, Wesker throws Chris aside and immediately takes off to chase her down.  Yet later, when Wesker is actually fighting Alexia, he seemingly forgets about her and lunges toward Chris when he realizes the latter is present in the room.  As a result, Alexia nearly succeeds in setting Wesker on fire.

5) Turn off for the relentless killing machine?

RE3 sees Jill Valentine attempting to escape the doomed Raccoon City while also trying to survive against a genetically-engineered humanoid creature called Nemesis that’s been programmed to kill her and the other S.T.A.R.S. survivors from the first game.  Jill is relentlessly pursued by Nemesis throughout RE3 until a period where she is infected with a virus and requires a cure to keep breathing.  A man named Carlos, who isn’t even a S.T.A.R.S. member, comes to her aid by manufacturing the antidote she needs.  Even though Jill has been left unprotected and virtually helpless, Nemesis comes after Carlos while he’s on his way back to her.  Given that Nemesis otherwise dogs her every step of the way, this sudden deviation is very curious.

4) Must have found a plot hole to walk through.

During an exploration of the derelict, creature-infested police station in RE2, rookie cop Leon and corporate spy Ada come across a man named Ben who’s locked himself in a jail cell.  Ben states that he wishes to stay in there because he feels it’s safer than roaming the halls.  Later in the game, Leon is literally at the other end of the hall from the holding cells when he hears Ben screaming.  When the scene cuts to Ben, he’s seen being attacked by a particularly large monster that’s somehow gotten into the cell with him though the door is still shut and there is no other viable entry point in sight.  Even odder is that when Leon makes it over there less than a minute later, the creature is nowhere to be found.

3) How many members does this terrorist group have?

Much of the plot of RE: Revelations revolves around a bio-terrorist group known as Veltro and an investigation on whether or not they’re still active.  Several pairs of military teams are sent to investigate the cruise ships that Veltro had been using as their base of operations, only to find that each ship is overrun with mutated members of the terrorist group.  Ridiculously overrun, as there never seems to be any shortage of creatures around during the exploration of the primary ship, the Queen Zenobia.  During one battle, there’s even an endless supply of humanoid monsters coming out of the vents to replace the ones killed by the player.

2) How did she make it into the military if she’s this spineless?

The government organization known as the FBC, or Federal Bioterrorism Commission, featured in Resident Evil: Revelations seemed to have many promising agents to its name.  Three of the four who were featured most prominently – Raymond, Jessica, and Parker – seemed more than capable of keeping their wits in dangerous situations.  Not the case with Rachel Foley.  While it’s unclear how long she’d been an agent prior to being sent to investigate the Queen Zenobia, she immediately turns into a proverbial damsel in distress when faced with just one of the mutated creatures roaming the ship.  She even throws her gun at the creature when she runs out of bullets.

1) Chris suddenly becomes Hercules.

Even though I’ve seen the most outlandish moment in RE5 as the butt of many jokes on the internet, I still have to include it on this list.  During the game’s final battle, Chris Redfield’s idea of creating a safe pathway for his partner, Sheva, is to repeatedly punch a boulder three times his size to get it to move.  You would think that, after Chris stated in an earlier point in the same game that he’s no superhero and even exhibited signs of pain just from punching his arch-enemy, Wesker, in the face, there would be some hesitation before carrying out this daunting task.  Nope.  Not only does Chris rush in and start whaling on this giant rock, but he also gets it rolling aside in under 30 seconds.

Regardless of this list of criticisms, I am a huge fan of the video game series. What I like most is how the games have evolved with the times.  I love the puzzle-driven adventures released from 1996 to 2002 just as much the high definition third-person shooter style from 2004 on.  Each game, excluding the spinoffs of Operation Raccoon City and the Chronicles series, brings something unique to the table that sets it apart from the rest.  Whether you prefer the tense, fast-paced scenario in RE3 that forces the player to keep moving, the twist-around-every-corner story present in Code Veronica, the impressive cinematic fights involving Wesker in RE5, or even discovering the secret cause of the first outbreak in Resident Evil Zero, there is something to satisfy just about everyone.

And the soon-to-be-released RE7, coming next year, promises a new spin on the series. According to reports, it will be a first-person shooter and will return the series to its “horror roots.”  It is unknown yet what the story will be or if any of the previous characters of the series will even be present in this newest installment, but it is something to which I am very much looking forward.
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Photo credits:
1–Wesker distracted by Alexia
2–Resident Evil Zero’s crate puzzle
3–Glass cage for the Lickers in Resident Evil 5
4–Chris prepares to punch a boulder
5–Rachel Foley runs from a monster
6–Ben’s prison cell in Resident Evil 2