Released to mediocre reviews at the time of release, Resident Evil 6 disappointed a lot of franchise traditionalists for its more action packed campaign that mostly jettisoned the survival horror roots that had made the series so popular with fans in the first place. Despite Capcom stating that the survival horror market was too small for the game to do well at market, a claim later substantiated as being correct when Resident Evil would go on to be the second best selling game in the company’s history and shifting 6.4 million units in the process, many traditional Resident Evil fans felt distraught about Capcom’s decision to eschew the franchise’s 32-bit era roots by modernising it for contemporary audiences.
I personally loved what I played of Resident Evil 6 as I found it to be a continuation of the gameplay style that I had come to appreciate in 4 and 5. And whilst I respected the series’ obsession with fixed camera angles during the PS1 era, also understood that this was a design decision mostly wrought upon the team by the technological limitations of the time. Indeed, by the time Resident Evil 0 had come out (in 2002), the series’ reliance on fixed camera angles and tank-like controls had largely come to be seen as being unwieldy and clunky, with Resident Evil 4 director Shinji Mikami himself feeling that his team had tired of “making the same stuff” over the previous seven or so years.
Why shouldn’t Capcom take the necessary steps to modernise its product portfolio and broaden its core franchises’ appeal? They’re a business after all, and Resident Evil is big business.
Even if Resident Evil 6 was lambasted by certain series “purists” at the time, more open-minded reviewers have however stated that “people will complain that this game isn’t true to Resident Evil, but rather than whine for nostalgia’s sake, I think we should consider the game for what it is – a good third-person shooter”.
If the last “traditional” Resident Evil game came out in 2002, then it’s worth noting that the franchise hasn’t been a survival horror series for nearly 15 years. Just think about that for a second… 15 years. Why can’t people just accept the fact that times have changed, game styles have evolved, and that if the franchise is going to endure in the modern era, it needs to radically alter its gameplay formula so as to remain relevant in 2016.
Of course, if you’re anything like those nostalgia driven Nintendo nuts who refuse to accept change, and want to carry on playing 2D platforming games as if they’re still en vogue, then you can always go back to the original Resident Evil games – on the PS1. But for the rest of us who happen to be excited by technological progress (which isn’t the same as championing gimmicky hardware) as well as the ramifications which this has on game design principles, then Resident Evil 6 represents extremely good value as it’s an incredibly polished game that has heaps of content and is (less than) £3. And again, just think about that for a second… Whilst Nintendo can carry on charging £7.19 for a bare-bones 20 year old ROM hack, as well as around £30 for a NES game with updated graphics, not to mention £200 for a console that isn’t even in the same technological league as XBox One, there are still plenty of people who are willing to defend (and even commend) these anti-consumerist practices, as part of their biased drive in wanting to relive their childhood. Capcom doesn’t need to pander to this crowd, and nor should it, as its games are still very much in demand – unlike Nintendo’s whose abject failure with the Wii U proves that they don’t have a clue when it comes to making and designing consoles that offer long-term potential. Stuck in their ways, all Nintendo ever do is play catch-up to whatever trend the industry pioneered and mastered years previously. And that’s fine, because it’s practices like these which explain as to why the company appeals to niche interests – that don’t warrant mainstream attention.
Resident Evil 6 was recently given a HD re-release on current-gen XBox One and PS4 consoles. Free from its expectant fixed camera angles and survival horror tropes that “fans” have burdened the series with for the last decade, many gamers who are new to the franchise are stating that it’s an awesome game. And even if the XBox 360 version isn’t quite as polished, due to the platform’s technical limitations which yields lower frame-rates, for less than £3 one really can’t complain. If you’ve ever been on the fence about wanting to pick up the title, then now’s a good time (as any) to dive in and check out this often maligned entry in the “survival horror” franchise.