With online gaming rapidly growing and evolving, developers often start experimenting to make a formula that stands out. Team death matches, objective matches, battle royale, etc., there are many options. Leave it to Capcom and the Resident Evil series to make a literal multiplayer experiment. Resident Evil: Resistance is the latest in multiplayer titles for the series, offering a 4-vs-1 style game for two types of players. Resident Evil purists may enjoy the role of one of the Survivors, working together in a team to escape. Others, perhaps the more sadistic types, may prefer to torment their test subjects as the Mastermind. Whatever your style, this is a great new way to enjoy the iconic series.
The idea of Resident Evil: Resistance is that Umbrella secures various locations for collecting experiment data. Kidnapping several Raccoon City citizens as “volunteers,” these youths are now tasked with escaping these facilities. Umbrella chooses to watch these tests through the use of cameras and setting traps. Using several researchers, the Masterminds, their task is to keep the survivors from escaping. This means to utilize any means necessary to prevent their escape. The story isn’t very deep, but it works for the style of game. The only narrative you really get is from an intro cutscene and from character dialogue.
Getting to the gameplay, there’s two sides to this game. The Survivors must work as a team of four, solving puzzles, avoiding traps and defeating bioweapons. This will play similarly to the third person Resident Evil titles, but it does have some slight changes to the formula. For example, one of the major differences are the skills that players can equip to their various characters. This includes abilities like auto-aim, auto-healing, stronger attacks and more. You also have a crate to buy items with Umbrella credits, stocking yourself with weapons and other useful items. As you rank up your Survivors, they’ll be able to equip more skills and adjust their abilities. It can take a while to do this, but those that have dedication can create a powerful character.
On the other side, the Mastermind works alone, using a deck of skill cards to make things difficult for the Survivors. They will switch between multiple security cameras to watch over their test subjects, and using the cards, they can place enemies, traps, and more. Even without cards, they have the ability to lock doors, turn off lights, and operate machinery to put a thorn in the side of the Survivors. They can even take control of the many zombies, or even use their deadly ultimate ability, more on that later. Of course, they don’t have limitless power. Their cards cost energy points to utilize, and the energy has to charge over time. It’s really how the Mastermind uses their cards in the given situation that determines how the experiment will go.
Both the team of Survivors and the Mastermind will test their mettle in up to three phases. Currently, there are four different stages, each with their own unique theme and layouts. Cameras are already preset, but Masterminds can select starting layouts for traps, zombies and puzzles. With five minutes on the clock, the Survivors will have to complete various tasks to add to the timer. Defeating enemies, solving puzzles, shooting out cameras and more will give them more time to escape this maze. Of course, this means that doing poorly will decrease their time as well. There are many situations where things will go extremely well, and also many where they’ll go very wrong.
With the presentation, the game relies heavily on the characters available to select from. Survivors currently have six characters to choose from, each with their own specialty. Valerie is your healer and tracker, able to support her teammates during their escape. January is the hacker, who will take out cameras and increase the skill card cost for the Mastermind. Martin Sandwich (yes, that is his name) is your trap saboteur, who can destroy traps safely. You’ll also have Tyrone and Samuel, your melee fighters that act as tank and damage respectively. Finally, you have Becca, who is your firearm damage expert. Each character can provide an essential role to the game, though some require more skill than others. Tyrone and Samuel are probably the best for beginners, as the others are more technical.
When it comes to the Masterminds, there are four to choose from, though not right away. Players will start with Annette Birkin, a character fans will know as the wife of G-Virus subject William Birkin. She strikes a balance of traps and creatures, and can summon her mutated husband on her foes. Masterminds will take control of G-Birkin and unleash devastating damage on their test subjects. After Annette, you unlock the new character Daniel Fabron, who specializes in using bioweapon creatures. Daniel is a very powerful Mastermind with skills that make taking control of zombies a force to reckon with. He also has the powerful ultimate ability to summon Mr. X, who is a joy to control and mow down Survivors.
The next Mastermind is Alex Wesker, who fans may remember from Resident Evil: Revelations 2. Utilizing infectious creatures, she can infect the Survivors and make them slowly lose time with each cough. Her ultimate summons the Yateveo, a stationary plant bioweapon that can literally eat people. Finally, you’ll unlock Oswell E. Spencer, who is the famous CEO of Umbrella with a history dating back to the first game. He specializes in using gun turrets, traps, and other machinery. His ultimate, the D. Field, isn’t a controllable creature, but instead is a powerful laser wall. Placing it down on a group of bunched up Survivors can deal devastating damage.
All the characters bring a lot of fun to the title, especially the Masterminds. They give a sense of charm to the style of game and make it easy to find a favorite. Despite this, there are some problems with the way the game presents these options. First of all, you can’t select the same character as another teammate. That means if you have a rank 30 Samuel, but someone else picks him, you may have to use a rank 2 Valerie. Of course, this helps to get experience with other characters, but it can be difficult if you’re not familiar with them. The Mastermind doesn’t have this issue, though having to unlock the majority takes some time. At least it makes for good practice. A lesser issue is the intro cutscene requiring to pause and hit the skip button every time you boot up the game.
The biggest issue with the game is the use of loot boxes and the in-game currency, Result Points (RP). Using loot boxes, the game keeps skills on lockdown until you can randomly earn it by spending RP. These loot boxes follow three tiers, and players will have to reach a certain rank to unlock the higher tiers. Earning RP can take a while, though finishing daily and weekly challenges helps to earn it faster. Perhaps the biggest concern lies in the cosmetic items. A cosmetic loot box costs 50,000 RP, and unlocks only one of dozens of cosmetics. This can be alternate skins, voice lines, sprays, emotes, and more. While these can be fun, the game doesn’t even show you what you can potentially earn, so it’s a true mystery until you get it. Since it’s not as beneficial as skills, it almost feels like a waste of RP.
It would be nice if there was an alternate resource for cosmetics, as that would at least alleviate the issue. Even then, the system could use some reworking to make it feel a bit more rewarding. The other big issue comes in the matchmaking. While most of my games have been pretty balanced, sometimes I would find myself with heavily differing ranks. I’ve had matches where I was a low rank Mastermind against several high ranking Survivors. This also happens playing as the Survivors, where you might be a low rank against a high ranking Mastermind. It’s not the worst, though some have reported having trouble matchmaking in general. Luckily, I’ve never had any issues with long wait times in my experience.
One thing that is interesting is that despite using the RE Engine, Resident Evil: Resistance feels like a drop in graphical quality. Environments look great, but character models feel like they don’t look nearly as good as those in Resident Evil 2 or 3. Maybe it’s due to the multiplayer environment for better performance, but it is noticeable. On the bright side, the game does perform well as long as there isn’t any lag, which was a rare experience for me. At least the stages offer some fun details, including a cool Darkstalkers Easter egg in the Abandoned Park. With this being an experimental game in the franchise, it was smart to bundle it with Resident Evil 3 to maximize the value.
Overall, while it has some work to be done, Resident Evil: Resistance is still a fun time. Personally, I have more fun as the Mastermind, but I even found enjoyment playing as the Survivors. It has some rough edges but those will likely be ironed out as time passes. With more content on the way, including Jill Valentine as a Survivor, I look forward to seeing this game evolve. As long as Capcom addresses fan feedback, this could be a game that will have people playing for a long time. Being a part of the Resident Evil 3 package makes it even sweeter. If you’re a fan of games like Dead by Daylight or Friday the 13th: The Game, then this is worth checking out.