Resident Evil 20th Anniversary | Reminiscing About Resident Evil (The Cubed Table Special)

By Adam Riley 02.04.2016 3

20 years ago, with the début of the first Resident Evil game, the doors to the infamous mansion first opened and ushered in fans to a whole new world of survival horror. Dark hallways and ominous corners led to thrills and chills that would leave a lasting imprint on everyone who dared to see what was behind each new door. Who could forget the creepy turn of the first zombie's head as it looked up from its feast, the startling surprise of a Cerberus zombie dog crashing through the window of an eerie hallway, the almost Jill Sandwich, or the miracles of typewriter tape and potted herbs?

Since the birth of the series on 22nd March, 1996, Resident Evil has gone on to become one of the most iconic and successful gaming franchises of all time. With game sales topping 66 million copies worldwide and its expansion into successful Hollywood feature films, merchandise, attractions, and events across the globe, the series continues to infect the hearts of survival horror fans everywhere.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series, some of the Cubed3 team decided to share their thoughts on the games of the past, present, and what is to come in the future…


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David Lovato

It's impossible to deny the flavour and tone the Resident Evil series has—despite being horror at its core, there's always been a unique campiness to the games, as far back as the first (and even if you don't count the legendary terrible voice acting). With things like slowly lowering spiked ceilings, giant snakes, and use-a-key-to-get-another-key puzzles, the series excels at not taking itself too seriously. This trend continues throughout, and later games add an almost Bollywood-like action element, with moments like the giant statue chase in Resident Evil 4, Chris Redfield's massive biceps moving gigantic boulders out of the way in Resident Evil 5, or climbing up the cargo bay door of a moving plane in Resident Evil 6.

5 introduced an optional co-op element that most of the series' games have kept, and one that works surprisingly well. Main series games also lean more toward the action and campiness, while the Revelations spin-offs tend to stick more to the atmospheric horror elements, and the rail shooter Chronicles and third-person shooters like Mercenaries and Umbrella Corps exist to mix things up. Even in the oft-criticised Resident Evil 6, three separate campaigns exist, so it's safe to say Resident Evil has something for pretty much everybody—and just about everybody can play, considering the sheer amount of ports and remakes the series gets, almost to a fault. Even phones and the 3DS get Resident Evil games, and in the case of the latter, they really push the system to its limits, something that can be said about most Resident Evil games; if nothing else, they tend to be delicious eye candy, from their cutting-edge graphics to their sick, twisted body horror elements.


 
Hopefully, most of this carries forward into the series' future: a wide array of games on a wide array of platforms, and while each has the overall Resident Evil tone fans have come to love, different games each have their own specific style, setting, and theme, from the deserts of 5 to the oceans of Revelations. More effort could be put into the ports (the fact that Zero wasn't remade to include the series' signature co-op is criminal), but even at their weakest, Resident Evil games tend to at least be consistently entertaining, even after 20 years. With all of these different ideas, gameplay mechanics, new characters, spin-offs, and ports and remakes, here's hoping the series goes on at least another 20 more.

 

Rudy Lavaux

I believe those who know me know that I'm a sucker for old style Resident Evil, and my favourite remains forever the second episode for being the first one I ever played, back on the Nintendo 64. Being a Nintendo guy means that until the GameCube, I didn't get to sample the franchise all that much, though. Once I did in those days, however, it was a blast and that period was for me the pinnacle of the franchise, even if I didn't like the direction taken with 4 and onwards, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

Then, after Resident Evil 5, which for me wasn't as good as 4 but still good nonetheless, just far too action for me... the series only went downwards, with one single exception. Resident Evil 6 is a disaster and Operation Raccoon City just isn't for me at all, but Resident Evil Revelations, first on the 3DS, was a step in the right direction. More horror focused than before, and a good story and graphics for the system, but that game only really shined fully when it came to the Wii U and it became one of my all time most played games for its Raid mode. Five first places worldwide in online events later, and with nearly 500 hours of playtime put into the RAID mode alone, I fancy myself Cubed3's "resident" Resident Evil Revelations expert (hohoho ^^).


 
Since the release of that, though, the series has only been going sideways. Resident Evil Revelations 2 not releasing on any Nintendo system has meant for me that I had to pass, but players who are as eager Resident Evil Revelations players as I am, all agree that it doesn't hold a candle to the first release, and beyond this one, there have only been remakes of old titles and nothing new to chew on, showing off a worrying trend. Hopefully, the series will be brought back to its former glory.

 

Liam Cook

Only being in my early 20s, I never really experienced a Resident Evil game in full until Resident Evil 4: WIi Edition. I enjoyed playing through it and its various extras so much that I just had to track down the previous titles and play them in some form. Whilst I couldn't really get to grips with the tank-like controls, I still had a blast experiencing them for the first time.

Then Capcom released two games that were quite different to any other Resident Evil title I had played, Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles, also on Wii. Spending a decent chunk of time playing House of the Dead games in the arcades when I went on holiday, I was pretty excited to bring a similar experience home with me. Whilst these two titles were merely spin-offs, I had a ton of fun playing through them in the co-op mode and thought they were a great way to revisit the plot of the first few instalments.

I didn't get to play Resident Evil 5 until a year after its original release, and even though I found the overall experience to be weaker than Resident Evil 4, I enjoyed it enough to go through the story on all difficulty levels with a friend. However, after the brilliant Resident Evil Revelations on 3DS, it all went a bit downhill...


 
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City was a spin-off that felt unpolished and was closer to third-person action titles like Gears of War than it was to traditional Resident Evil. Then Resident Evil 6 came along and the only redeeming factor of that was Leon's campaign, which was only a quarter of the entire game. It may have been more enjoyable if it didn't have "Resident Evil" and its characters plastered all over it. It almost felt like the fan-base had been cheated and that Capcom's attempt at catering to the Western audience turned its beloved series into a full blown action title.

I'd like to leave this opinion piece with something a little more positive, though, as I experienced Resident Evil Revelations 2 a few months ago, shortly after picking up a PS4. It wasn't quite as traditional as the first, but it was still a highly enjoyable title that got rid of the bad taste in my mouth after Capcom gave us Resident Evil 6.

Well it's been a wild ride, but I really hope the franchise picks up with the seventh game in the main series otherwise Capcom might just end up a Jill sandwich. Happy 20th, Resident Evil!

 

Sandy Wilson

I definitely didn't grow up with Resident Evil. In fact, it took me until about 2004 to even begin to be interested in horror games. Then, at a relatively young age, I got my hand on my first Resident Evil game, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on the original PlayStation. It was an instantly gripping game, providing just enough horror to ramp up the terror and the sort of dark story I was beginning to crave. This led to the purchase of Resident Evil Remake on the GameCube and that is honestly one of my favourite games ever.

Capcom recently gave out information everyone has been waiting to hear as it is planning to release a remake of Resident Evil 2 (hopefully in the style of Resident Evil Remake and Zero) and it is being careful with what it reveals about the plans for Resident Evil 7. I really hope the games will be re-entering the niche that they started in, with narrative pacing, back-tracking, puzzles, and so on, but we will soon find out if that is the case.

I think the most interesting thing that could happen, would be if the series returned to after the destruction of Raccoon City to rewrite the events after Resident Evil 3. If they could just rein the story back in a bit, that would be fantastic. However, don't get me wrong, I have played and loved almost every Resident Evil title, bar Operation Raccoon City, and I really am looking forward to whatever Capcom releases, be it in the old style or new.


 
Hasn't time flown by? What are some of your best (and worst!) memories of Capcom's Resident Evil series, and what do you hope to see in the future?

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I started with the oringinal and been a huge fan ever since.  I actually DISLIKED RE1, but RE2 was so good (more action less back tracking) that I was hooked, plus the side games were so good. 
HUNK FOREVER

The standouts, for me, are definitely Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition and Umbrella Chronicles. I did pick up Darkside Chronicles, but never touched it in the end due to lack of time back then.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
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Adam Riley said:
The standouts, for me, are definitely Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition and Umbrella Chronicles. I did pick up Darkside Chronicles, but never touched it in the end due to lack of time back then.

If you do, prepare to get motion sickness from the "natural flowing camera movements" !!

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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