Two of the biggest players in the action/horror genre are Dead Space and Resident Evil. One’s been around for the better part of two decades and inspired dozens of games, the other’s has, in a quarter of that time, managed to find a near-perfect balance between action and horror, and proved that a horror game doesn’t have to control poorly to be scary.
At first, this might not look like the fairest of fights. I mean, how do you compare two franchises when one of them has outsold the other by tens of millions of units, spawned dozens of installments, and inspired a series of successful films? Easy. We’re looking at quality over quantity. Which series is trying new and different things? Which do we most look forward to playing? And more importantly, which series has the brightest future?
Adam: Resident Evil has had some interesting plot points, but for the most part they tend to lean too far on the whacky, ridiculous side for me to really care. I love the Umbrella Corporation, but when it comes to story, I’m going with Dead Space. It has some of the same ideas, just replace the seedy Umbrella Corporation’s greed with the government’s lust for power. On top of that is something video games don’t touch on too regularly, and that’s religion. Unitology might or might not have been inspired by another real religion with a similar name (I’ll give you a clue: it rhymes with Clientology), and the pacing in Dead Space 2 specifically, was incredible. I’ll never forget returning to the USG Ishimura, and moments like that haven’t been offered by Resident Evil in some time.
TJ: Returning to the Ishimura was amazing, scared the bejesus out of me. Dead Space still has a strong story, and that could be because they haven’t had 15 years to water it down, try to revive it, try to make it cooler and more hip. The nice thing for Dead Space is it never went through the awkward teenage years for a video game franchise. Like how Resident Evil when 1st starting was actual survival horror at its best. So for the next 10 or so years a lot of the fans have been pissed they strayed from their roots. The Dead Space story is great so far, and despite us having our ups and downs, Resident Evil and I have been together for so long I just can’t look away. I want to know what everyone in the Resident Evil universe is up to at all times.
Adam: If it were five years ago I would’ve totally agreed with you about wanting to keep up with the latest goings on in the RE universe. I used to be really interested in what happened in the games, especially with the first. When Barry Burton looked into Jill’s eyes after she narrowly escaped one of the mansion’s many traps and used his immense wit and charm to make her feel better, by saying she almost became a Jill Sandwich, I was in. I didn’t want Jill to become a Jill Sandwich. It was a touching moment for sure.
TJ I’d like to be caught in a Jill sandwich.
Adam: Even though Dead Space 2 made Isaac a lot more likable by giving him a voice and a personality outside of the occasional grunt when he stomps on a fresh corpse — Resident Evil has this one in the bag. Even if you don’t consider the Umbrella Corporation to be a character, which I do, when you look at the sheer number of iconic characters the series has brought us, from the malicious Albert Wesker to the kind-hearted and strong-willed Jill Valentine — Resident Evil has no shortage of memorable characters. What really takes it to the next level for me is the series’ focus on strong female characters, including Ms. Valentine, Claire Redfield, Sheva Alomar, and Rebecca Chambers, to name a few.
TJ: Everything you speak of is the truth Mr. D-O- double D. Resident Evil has been around a long time and had many games featuring reoccurring characters. Most of us have grow up with the series and I personally have grown quite the bond with the female leads…..and Leon……. Ahem anyways moving on, Dead Space really only has Isaac. The poor son of a bitch lost his lady, and practically everyone else he knows and loves. Maybe that’s the way Visceral wants it though you know? Maybe by bringing in so many different characters, Resident Evil has been watered down. Keeping Dead Space centered around the constantly fucked Isaac (at least as of now) and no one else might be smart in the survival horror universe. I’m really curious to see what they do with Dead Space 3.
Adam: Poor, poor Isaac. On top of him being continuously screwed, he has a pretty loose grip on his sanity to deal with as well. I’m liking Isaac more and more, and the thought of him developing multiple personalities in Dead Space 3 is more than a little intriguing. As for Resident Evil — lately, my interest in some of my favorite characters in that series has been waning. Wesker is all but history, and Jill’s busty blonde makeover comes off as a transparent way to make gamers forget about how dull the characters have become by throwing tight-clothed T & A in our faces.
TJ I like my share of T & A. But I must say I don’t think they were trying to whore her out as much as we might think. Yes when we found her taken and fucked up from Wesker she was all whored out. Well that’s because Wesker is a creep. In all other scenes, the DLC, Revelations, she’s in a police type uniform. So BAM.
Adam: The controls and combat in Resident Evil has evolved quite a bit over the years, from static cameras and tank-like movement of old school Resident Evils, to the more intuitive over the should controls used in Resident Evil 4. Capcom deserves some credit for adapting their series over the years, but why I think Dead Space wins this is because the game took what RE4 did well, and then it did it so much better. Dead Space was a little clunky in its own right, but its sequel tuned and refined everything to near-perfection. It’s also worth noting that the on-rails shooter Dead Space Extraction was far superior to the Umbrella/Darkside Chronicles in almost every way.
TJ: Well I pretty much can’t say much different than you just said. That’s all balls on. The only thing I would add is that though Dead Space controls are definitely better than any Resident Evil game to date, Resident Evil 6 could possibly take the gold upon its release. But only time will tell.
Adam: I hate to say it, especially since I have no proof to back it up other than Capcom’s recent history, but I don’t see Resident Evil 6 controlling better than Dead Space 2 did. In fact, I think they’re going to try and “Gears it up” a little too much so it ends up feeling like a subpar Gears of War game. I have little to back that prediction up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it came true. Especially since Capcom’s said they’re going for more action than anything else as they attempt to “capture the Call of Duty gamers.” Fuck.
TJ Damn you. DAMN YOU FOR SPOILING MY DREEEAAAAMMMMSSS!!!
Adam: This is a tough one, but because I think both series are too closely matched graphically, I’m going to have to judge the winner based off its style. To me, Dead Space is a far more interesting game to watch because of the fantastic lighting. You never know if that shadow that just moved in that far off corner was a Necromorph or just your paranoia playing tricks on you. Resident Evil’s atmosphere has migrated to something more akin to a Michael Bay flick rather than a horror game, while Dead Space has managed the impressive feat of being scary and packed with action and spectacle.
TJ: I wonder how Michael Bay feels about constantly being compared to explosions. He probably loves it as it fuels his explosive rage to make more things go boom. They definitely are very evenly matched as far as visuals are concerned. I also feel the enemies look pretty great in both series’ as well. Disgusting and creepy always. I must say I feel they are evenly matched, and where either one lacks they make up for it somewhere else.
Adam: I’m going to predict that Resident Evil 6 has 200% more explosions in it than the last one did. At least the explosions look pretty?
TJ The devils advocate says NAY! Once Dead Space 3 and Resident Evil 6 are released we need to revisit this article.
Adam: I think it’s too early to tell whether Dead Space is the victor, because it just hasn’t been around long enough. It’s tough competing against a series that consists of dozens of games set across 15 years, but a few years from now, who knows? I have to say, I honestly enjoy and look forward to new Dead Space games more than Resident Evil, and if Dead Space 3 is announced this year it might very well push Resident Evil 6 down my list of most anticipated games coming out this year. So I’m going to give Resident Evil a tepid win over Dead Space, only because I think Isaac Clarke needs a few more games before I can judge it against a series that’s been around for so long.
TJ: I love Dead Space, I love what they’ve done with the series so far but they are still virgins compared to the seasoned whore that is Resident Evil. So I as well will give it to Resident Evil. Though I think I still feel the series is strong, while I feel like Adam is a bit more jaded on the series as a whole. For as much as they have fucked things up, they have still kept me entertained. I do more so want to see what direction Dead Space goes in over Resident Evil. Resident Evil has done so much at this point, so I’m left fairly unsurprised. Dead Space though is very new, and they have many different directions they can take the series.