[Dead Days Of Summer] Day 6: In Search Of The Best ‘Resident Evil’ Game Of All Time

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Our Dead Days of Summer is drawing to a close, and if this is any indication, we’re going to end not with a whimper, but with a bang. If you’ve been waiting for TJ and I to whole-heartedly disagree on something, you really should read on, because the arguments that ensue should be mildly entertaining. Hell, if you want, you can disagree with both of us and join in on the debate. Just be careful with the name-calling. TJ and I are delicate man-flowers who wilt at the very hint of criticism.

The Story

Adam: When it comes to bringing gamers deep and thought-provoking stories, Resident Evil is the last series I look to. If you want a good story with realistic characters or situations, might I suggest BioShock? If I had to choose, I’d go with the first Resident Evil. Part of my reasoning behind this is because of how new everything felt back then. This was pre leather-clad Albert Wesker, in the glorious time when most of us hadn’t been forced to fight Hunters in multiple Resident Evils. Fuck Hunters. That is all.

Adam: Wait, you’ll get your turn in a second, TJ. I’m not done talking about Hunters, because seriously, they’re just awful. In fact, I think the name “Hunter” has been given to any enemy in a horror game that just sucks. Like, a creature that game designers craft with the sole purpose of frustrating gamers around the world. Did you know that annoying goddamned enemy that keeps reappearing in the Dead Space series–you know, that big fucker you can’t kill?–is also called a Hunter. True story.

TJ: Damn you Dodd for taking my sexual thunder. See, right off the bat I have to disagree with you. From the start I loved the Resident Evil story. I thought it had mostly good characters (barring some terrible voice acting). This was the series that made me a horror game fan. One thing that made me start getting real pissy about the story was Wesker. We are in the same boat on that. When I killed him in RE5, I said to myself “If he comes back, I’m done with this series forever.” I get the desire to have the bad guy that keeps coming back but I can’t stand him. If I had the T-Virus to my neck in a syringe I would have to choose Resident Evil 2 for best story. I loved following Leon and Claire as they both bit off more than what could chew on them. (See what I did there?) I loved the way the story was revealed to the both of them in different scenarios and to get the whole thing you had to play through both campaigns. Though I haven’t played it yet, I want to play through the Darkside Chronicles because Leon and Claire go through the entire campaign together.

The Characters

Adam: So we might have already covered this a bit already in what was supposed to be the story section, but here goes. As a series, the characters in Resident Evil are a mixed bag. For every Sheva Alomar or Claire Redfield you have that guy with the flock of seagulls hair in Revelations or, well, Albert Wesker. I’ve always enjoyed how this series puts an emphasis on strong female leads, because video games as a whole tend to over sexualize their women. Just play any fighting game ever to get a good idea of what I’m talking about. To me, Code Veronica had the best characters. I love Claire, potentially more than any other character in the series, and Steve was the perfect cocky teen boy with dual Uzis. Any scene that brought the two together was magic.

TJ: I thought they managed to keep the games classy as far as the female characters we’re concerned up until the newer games. I loved the new look of police cop Jill, and they then stuck her in that skin tight cleavage bubbling suit. Sheva has some cleave but it’s not in an obnoxious way. It was hard to like the characters in the first game because of the terrible voice acting. And the douche factor definitely increased in the newer titles. So once again, I think I’m going to have to go with Resident Evil 2. I follow Leon and Claire religiously. I think one thing I liked that I found surprising was the lack of a love story between the two. It’s exactly what you would have expected from the game. Two strangers who meet, help each other, and get together in the end. But it always stayed strictly a friendship. If you saw the Degeneration movie you see the friendship progress as well and that’s where they leave it. I love it and hate it all at once because I’m a sucker for a good zombie love story. Runner up spot to my girl Jill Valentine.

Adam: Alas, Leon’s heart belongs to his barber, for giving him those fabulous bangs.

The Gameplay

Adam: I’d have to be a total idiot not to give the crown to Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil has been continuously criticized for its tank-like controls. This has been an issue with every game in the series, with the exception of RE4. Sure, if you play it now, it’s outdated, but for its time this was an example of near-perfect controls. Everything from the placement of the camera just behind Leon to the laser-sights on your guns to the fantastically satisfying melee combat was great. RE4 wins.

TJ: Battle on BITCH! Resident Evil 5 takes this one. Trust me, I know when the game came out, it should have had newer controls, like Dead Space controls. Minor tweaks from Resident Evil 4 to Resident Evil 5 means RE5 takes the top on this one. It’s still the best of the series.

Adam: See, there’s a problem here. If a game–in this case Dead Space–came out six months prior to Resident Evil 5 and had superior controls, what is RE5’s excuse? I never thought I’d see someone defend RE5 when it came to its controls, because they’re universally terrible. Where previous games in the series can use the excuse that they’re “survival horror” games, or they’re just plain old, RE5 came out in 2009, long after the inability to strafe became a relic of the past. RE5 is not a horror game, but it still controls like one, and there’s something fundamentally wrong with that. Then there’s the cover system, which was, in a word, awful. Sure, RE5 took what RE4 did and tweaked it a bit, but its predecessor came out five years earlier so the difference between the way the two games played should’ve been huge.

TJ: In the real world, Resident Evil 5 has absolutely no excuse for the controls, but here we’re only pitting the Resident Evil’s against each other. And getting tweaks that the RE4 controls needed, the RE5 controls compared to the rest were top shelf.

Adam: I get your logic, I really do, but I still disagree. If the latest Tomb Raider had pretty much the same controls that the original did, even if we didn’t compare it to other series, there’s still a huge problem there. There needs to be evolution in the way a series looks and plays over the course of its lifetime, and RE5 added nothing that was absolutely required to the table. RE4 had amazing controls, and it’s the only game in the series that I can play and enjoy without bitching about the controls. The other games, RE5 included, frustrate the hell out of me. The reason RE5 is so frustrating to me personally, is because it isn’t a horror game, so there’s no reason for it to have controls that a horror game would have. That, to me, breaks the game. It’s like RE5 had an identity crisis. It wanted to be Call of Duty, but it didn’t want to let go of the past.

TJ: I’ll just sit back and accept the fact that you have a hard on so huge for Resident Evil 4, it’s poking me more than halfway across the country.

The Atmosphere

Adam: This is a tough one. Resident Evil was a horror mystery, and it was crazy terrifying because you didn’t know what was going to happen and limiting it to a creepy mansion in the woods turned it into an unforgettable haunted house game. Then there’s RE2, which is to Resident Evil what Aliens was to Alien in that it took the series out of the haunted house and into a crumbling city. There’s also RE3, where the knowledge that Nemesis could pop out of a wall and crush your unsuspecting ass made that just as terrifying. Then we have Code Veronica, which took it all to an isolated island where you had to deal with this omnipresent feeling of seclusion. But I also enjoy RE4, because it successfully managed to set the tone for the future of the series by perfectly blending action and horror. It had a glorious mix of spectacular action and horror (like the Regenerators, which haunted me long after I set the controller down). Basically, what I’m saying is I can’t choose. It’s a toss up.

TJ: Man, you really summed it up. I have to admit, I hated the action in Resident Evil 4. If I was to rate the game now, that killed the perfect score. I just recently finished the game after several attempts in the past. I never actually got to the action parts until the latest playthrough. I’m going with Code Veronica. I’ve watched a lot of those specials on tv about people disappearing in other countries and while on vacations. It scares the shit out of me. The thought of being trapped on an island is horrifying. You literally need a boat and or a plane to get the fuck back home. Remember in the beginning when you leave the jail cell and you walk out into a small graveyard and you pretty much have no clue where you are? Yeah fuck that, Code Veronica. What a bitch.

The Legacy

Adam: This is another tough one, but I can round down to two options. The first is the original Resident Evil, because without it this series wouldn’t exist. It also set the stage for what would eventually become one of the most iconic and renowned video game franchises of all time. The other game is the hugely influential Resident Evil 4, because it’s widely considered to be the pinnacle of the series as well as one of the greatest games of the last generation. It reinvigorated the series, received universal critical acclaim, and influenced future blockbuster franchises like Gears of War, all while creating a new subgenre: the third person over the shoulder shooter. I’ve sunk more time into RE4 than I have any other game in the series, and while I respect what the original did for the genre, I honestly don’t know if Resident Evil will ever be able to surpass RE4.

TJ: When you put it that way it’s incredibly hard to find reasons behind any other game than 4 getting this title. So I’ll give it to 5. Now watch as I try to defend my answer. 5 took Resident Evil into its obvious future. A shitty action game. It threw in what CLEARLY every one of the previous games was missing. A multiplayer pvp mode. Though what I would have really liked to see is a horde mode, not that stupid time attack. Obviously with its stellar controls the pvp multiplayer mode was a breeze to play through as 4 players stood in front of each other not moving and spraying bullets at each other until one finally falls. Let us not forget the in game multiplayer, and the discarding of that terribly hard to use attache’ case, for an even simpler 9 slotted item list. This game went above and beyond all the others and this legacy will live on forever.

Adam: Wow, where to start? So your reasoning behind saying Resident Evil 5 is the most influential game in the series, or the one with the greatest legacy, is it tweaked the inventory and added a horrible PvP multiplayer mode that literally five people used?

TJ: I would also like to add how great it is that this game’s INCREDIBLE multiplayer is the reason I will never get all of the achievement points. Which I didn’t really need anyhow, it’s all just an arms race.

Adam: I feel like I should point out the fact that one of your biggest issues with RE4 has been its action, but that’s pretty much the only thing that RE5 brings to the table. It’s one big action game, and a poorly designed one at that.

TJ: See, Resident Evil 4 went 90-95 percent with me loving it for it’s incredible locales, and dark feel, and I still felt threatened throughout. Then they dropped in the action, and I only felt threatened because I myself didn’t have unlimited rockets. Resident did the exact opposite. I only felt that awesome dark horror feeling when we ran into the lickers again. They came right out swinging with big guns and dragged it out the whole game. Resident Evil 4 definitely changed the entire series. But then came Resident Evil 5 and completely turned it upside down. It doesn’t look like 6 will come close to having the effect 4 and 5 did.

And The Winner Is…

Adam: For the three people who haven’t gathered this already, I’m going with Resident Evil 4. It is arguably the best game in the series, and it’s also had the widest effect on the gaming industry as a whole. The original might’ve had an admittedly huge hand in making the horror genre popular back in the late 90’s, but RE4 is responsible for so much more.

TJ: I’m sticking with the game that started it all for me. Resident Evil 2. This game in the series might not have changed the gaming industry, but it changed my gaming life. It brought horror to me beyond what I had ever seen. I played it to death in my youth. And every time through I never stopped shitting out my spine. Do I swear too much? Leave it in the comments, or go fuck yourself.


What Is Your Favorite Resident Evil Game?
 
 
 
 
 
 

Here’s the rest of our Dead Days of Summer extravaganza, in case you missed them:
Day 1: Vote For The Best & Worst Games Of 2012 (So Far!)
Day 2: Here’s What I Want From Dead Island: Riptide
Day 3: Win A Metro: Last Light Gas Mask!
Day 4: The 8 Best Horror Themed DLC
Day 5: The Creepiest Video Game Easter Eggs
Day 7: Here Are Your Picks For The Best & Worst Horror Games Of 2012 (So Far)

  • ThunderDragoon

    Great article, guys. I’m gonna have to go with TJ on this one. RE2 was really what got me started in horror games. I remember watching my dad play it late at night; being scared out of my mind. It was great. I freakin’ love RE2. RE3 would come a close second and RE4 would fill out the top 3.

  • Evil_Nik

    Good job guys, but you left out quite a few of the gamea. Particularly Zero which opened the co-op play for Res 4. Zero is by far my fav. Res 1 ticled my fancy when it first came out, but it wasn’t until Survivor was released that I got hooked.

  • J-SiN

    Well I fucked myself to eeny, meeny, miny, moe. I landed on RE2. This was the first game that really freaked me out, or was it E.T. for the 2600.

  • HMH

    great read. I went with RE2. That is my game.

  • Keith

    RE4 was great but RE2 was epic. 4 different scenarios. The introduction of the licker and the hands through the boarded up windows are two of the greatest moments in the series. I just finished playing through RE0 and love that game. The typewriter, while an outdated way to save, was awesome for a survival horror game. Nothing like walking in to a room after splitting them up and you hear the terrifying leech zombie music only to realize that you haven’t saved in an hour. Thank God for that quick turnaround.

  • sighfi

    Resident Evil 4 is definitely my favorite of the series so far. Fantastic gameplay, gloomy atmosphere, formidable non-zombie hordes and amazing mutant battles are some of my favorite aspects of this action ‘em up horror gem. Also, the generally campy plot and cringe worthy one-liners are not to be missed!

  • PALEGRE3N

    I went with RE4 because yes, everything about that game is amazing. It has it all. But it is really hard to pick between 1,2,3,4 & Code Veronica because they are ALL fantastic. I HATE that CAPCOM are choosing to sell-out RE fans going shooter, RE5 is stripped bare of anything that made the series unique and made me want to play in the first place. That game SUCKS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KellenHeller666 Kellen Dionne

    RE2 through and through.

  • rockstar_carebear

    Resident Evil Code: Veronica, Dreamcast. Everything right.

  • mae-zombiegirl

    Why is there no mention of the far superior gamecube remake of RE?? Besides being a beautiful looking game, it removed most of the obvious problems with the original by having decent controls, an expanded story line, and bonus content upon completion- my favorite being the invisible enemy mode.
    I played REmake before starting RE4 when it came out, and was very impressed at the detail of both games. RE4 is still my all time fave, and our home has 4 editions (GC, PS2, Wii, Xbox360), and we never fail to enjoy the replayability.