Review – Resident Evil Resistance
Releasing alongside the great but slightly flawed remake of Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil Resistance is a new “4 vs 1” asymmetrical multiplayer game heavily infuenced by the likes of Friday the 13th and Dead By Daylight, where four survivors have to battle through maps, traps and enemies controlled by the 5th player, the mastermind.
There’s no story in Resident Evil Resistance, as in fact it has been declared as non canon as there is no way its mental premise would fit into the Resident Evil universe. This does allow the game to have fun with the series’ universe and deliver something new. Four survivors have to escape a predetermined map and complete objectives before the time runs out, while another player simply has to stop them. It’s something we’ve seen many times before but there is a unique twist that sets it apart here.
I’ll start with the survivor gameplay, that has you and three other players running around the map collecting keys to progress to the next area. It’s a simple concept that works decently well, as the frantic nature of finding these items and staying alive whilst supporting your teammates might lead to some exciting moments, though not always.
There are six survivors to choose from, each with their own abilities and perks that differ themselves from each other. We’ve got characters like Valirie, the teams medic, January, who can hack cameras and Samuel, who is more about melee damage. None of these characters have appeared in any other game from the franchise, and honestly, they all lack any real personality. That being said, post-launch characters seem to be pulled from the games, with the excellent remake version Jill Valentine being added to the roster in the near future.
Playing as a survivor is just OK at best. The game feels similar to the Resident Evil 2 remake, but with clunky melee mechanics built on top of it. A lot of the enemy types you encounter are stronger than their mainline game counterparts, so it does make them feel tankier and encourages more teamwork. Going in guns blazing by yourself will probably get you killed if the mastermind takes advantage of this. You will only have real fun as a survivor depending on how well you pair with your teammates. More often than not, this will end up being as frustrating as other asymmetrical games.
One major issue that severely impacts the survivor’s gameplay experience is that the host is always the mastermind. This has led to some situations where my shots did not land due to connection issues, turning the entire session into an unresponsive mess. On top of this, if the mastermind quits for whatever reason, say goodbye to your sweet rewards.
Playing as a mastermind, on the other hand, is much more interesting and gives Resistance a unique killer feature. You will be seeing the world through cameras in pre-determined positions around the map, with the ability to interact with certain objects in the environment, such as doors, lights and lifts that scatter the maps. The mastermind can also summon in traps and enemies to slow the survivors down.
Much like the survivors there are a few masterminds, to choose from. Unlike the survivors, however, the vast majority of the masterminds are actually characters from the main games, like Annette Birkin. I don’t think I need to explain in detail who she’s actually able to summon, you probably already got the jist.
I was surprised at how much fun I was having in this mode. Once I got the hang of some wonky controls, trying to get the survivors to fall into my traps was an absolute blast. There’s a layer of strategy in here that I did appreciate: do you keep putting roadblocks in the survivors’ way? Or do you ease them off a little bit, giving them a false sense of safery, and start setting up a deadly trap in another room? In multiple occasions I set up the perfect trap that completed devastated the survivors, leading them into a room filled with enemies whilst barraging them from the back, pushing them into the room.
Resistance is at its absolute best when playing as a mastermind. Watching your deviously placed traps and monsters tear the surviving team apart and witness them panic as you send more and more monsters at them is delightful. Unfortunately, being actually able to play as the mastermind is easier said than done at the moment. I’ve seen matchmaking times stretch up to the 20 minute mark.
Both the survivors and masterminds have their own progress bars and skills to unlock and modify. Whilst this doesn’t sound like a problem, it actually makes the game feel rather limiting. Having to start over for each character just isn’t fun, and if you are locked out of your favourites you may be locked into a low level character for a match. This isn’t as much of an issue for the Mastermind though, but good luck being able to play that role during a match.
Overall, Resident Evil Resistance shows some promise with its fun and innovative mastermind gameplay that brings something new to the genre. Unfortunately, the survivor’s gameplay is simply lacking. If Resistance gets proper post launch support, there might actually be potential for a great Resident Evil multiplayer experience, something we have never actually had, even though Capcom did try a dozen times before.
Environments still look great in the RE Engine, but overall visuals effects and character models look noticeably worse.
Whilst the mastermind’s gameplay is tons of fun, the survivor’s gameplay fall flat. A typical issue with asymmetrical multiplayer games.
Good sound design that doesn’t stand out.
An uneven asymmetrical multiplayer experience that has a ton of potential to be a fun game, but is hampered by some boring gameplay segments and overall technical issues.
Final Verdict: 6.5
Resident Evil: Resistance is available now on Xbox One, PC and Playstation 4.
Reviewed on Xbox One.
A copy of Resident Evil: Resistance was provided by the publisher.