|This is a /v/ related article, which we tolerate because it's relevant and/or popular on /tg/... or we just can't be bothered to delete it.|
Resident Evil, known as Biohazard in Japan, is a series of zombie-focused Survival Horror games (the first big-name franchise of that type, and the first to make the genre at all "mainstream") produced by Capcom from the mid-1990s on. Its longtime rival is Silent Hill and it spawned a short-lived (three games) rival/spin-off, Dino Crisis, which was basically "Resident Evil on an island with timetraveling dinosaurs instead of bio-engineered zombies!"
As might be guessed, the basic plotline of Resident Evil is simple: the pharmaceutical megacorporation Umbrella has its fingers in some very sticky pies, namely secret divisions working on genetically tailoring viruses and mutant monsters to make illicit millions in the bio-weaponry underground. Naturally, these things keep getting out of their control, and a bunch of innocent schmucks need to try and survive in the resultant monster-filled hellholes. Add in lots of creepy background lore, apocalyptic logs, bizarre traps and puzzles, and enjoy yourself some fun.
Though a video game series, Resident Evil is a perfect source of inspiration and ideas for a DM of D20 Modern, especially if the game being run is at all focused on horror or intrigue. Indeed, Resident Evil 1 has been likened to a horror-themed dungeon crawl in a modern environment. Naturally, the game series would mesh perfectly with All Flesh Must Be Eaten, but since there's no official writeups, that requires a lot of ZM setup. But there is an unofficial pdf book, which has Resident Evil (prior to RE7) converted into AFMBE RE: Regenesis
- 1 Survival Horror vs. Action Horror
- 2 Camp
- 3 Resident Evil 1
- 4 Resident Evil 2
- 5 Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
- 6 Resident Evil: Code Veronica
- 7 Resident Evil 4
- 8 Resident Evil: Revelations
- 9 Resident Evil: Revelations 2
- 10 Resident Evil 5
- 11 Resident Evil 6
- 12 Resident Evil 7
- 13 Resident Evil: Outbreak 1 and File#2
- 14 Resident Evil Survivor
- 15 Resident Evil Survivor 2: Code Veronica
- 16 Resident Evil Dead Aim
- 17 Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
- 18 Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles
- 19 Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
- 20 Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps
- 21 Movies
- 22 /tg/ Stuff
Survival Horror vs. Action Horror
Whilst it actually named the genre of "Survival Horror", Resident Evil has always had a somewhat... complicated relationship with it, though of course don't expect /v/ to acknowledge that. In contrast to the "dread-fueled walking simulators" of the more iconic Survival Horror games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Resident Evil has always been almost as much about being an action game as much as a horror game. Lest we forget; even in the very first game, whilst you're stalking warily through the halls of a monster-infested mansion, you're also doing so with a shotgun and grenade launcher at your hip, and your boss fights center around your ability to blow them into bloody chunks of goo.
Things only got more actiony as the series progressed. As early as the original RE2, once you got past the chokepoint of the zombie-infested streets, ammunition became so plentiful (especially if you learned where the hidden ammo stashes were) that you could kill every single thing that moves and still have ammo to burn by the end of the game. This wasn't helped by the fact that later games continued to bring back the same characters, who by the laws of decent storytelling became increasingly jaded to the whole "virus spill and evil corporation producing monster super-soldiers" shit since, y'know, they'd seen it all before.
The split between Survival and Action Horror is the biggest skub element of RE, so if you're going to play a tabletop game set in the universe, it's probably best to get a Session 0 done so you can get everybody on the same page as to what kind of RE game you'll be playiong.
From the get-go, Resident Evil has had its roots in 80s b-movies, and that applies to both its horror and its action elements. It may make you laugh, it may make you groan, but a certain bit of silliness has always been an inherent part of the series, in contrast to the po-faced psychological horror of Silent Hill. As with the Survival Horror to Action Horror ratio, when gaming Resident Evil with your players, try and get everybody on the same table as to how campy you want the campaign to be.
Resident Evil 1
This is where it all begins. An elite force of police officers, known as the Special Tactics And Rescue Squad (S.T.A.R.S for short - see! Clever!) are sent into the Arklay Mountains in response to gruesomely violent attacks on hikers and campers in the area. Bravo Team goes first, then vanishes. Several hours later, Alpha Team goes to investigate and find their missing comrades. They are attacked by a pack of diseased, decaying, bloodthirsty dobermans, and their chickenshit pilot promptly flies off in terror. The survivors flee for a mysterious mansion, only to find it crawling with zombies and other engineered freaks. As either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, you need to explore the mansion and find a way to safely escape. In your efforts, you discover that the mansion had been a secret research facility for the pharmaceutical megacorp "Umbrella", where illegal experiments into engineering viral weapons and super-soldiers had gone horribly wrong. At the game's climax, you must defeat Umbrella's ultimate Bio-Organic Weapon, the Tyrant, and escape the mansion's self-destruct system.
Gamers had never seen anything like it before. Resident Evil 1 was a smash hit. And thus a series was born...
The original version of this game is also famous for its hilariously bad voice acting, with narmy dialogue and actors who clearly don't know how to properly emote, to the point where some people were disappointed with it getting fixed in the remake. In fact, amazingly, the game was actually created IN English by Capcom, and then dubbed in Japanese for their local market!
Resident Evil REMake
In the early 2000s, Capcom signed a deal with Nintendo, and brought Resident Evil to the Nintendo Gamecube. One of their first efforts was this game, a remade version of the original game with many new changes; tweaked puzzles, expanded environments, better dialogue, smoother graphics and a reworked story. Unlike earlier platform ports and reshuffles, this game was a total retcon, and is the "official" prelude to the game series. Initially released for the Nintendo Gamecube, it was subsequently ported to PC and PS4.
The biggest change to the story was the introduction of the Lisa Trevor subplot. This was the daughter of George Trevor, the architect who designed the mansion, whose whole family was kidnapped by Umbrella and used as test subjects for early strains of the Progenitor and/or T-Virus. His wife and one of his daughters died, but little Lisa survived, transforming into an insane, brutally strong mutant with an absurd healing factor - she survived everything that the researchers threw at her, even Ebola. In fact, they ultimately tried out the Nemesis-Alpha parasite on her, and she ate it; the foundation for the G-Virus was cultivated from her cells when they were testing her to see what had happened. Ultimately, they tried to kill her... but they couldn't. They even shot her with an anti-tank rocket, and she just got back up. So, when Chris and Jill arrive, they end up having to evade her in the wilderness surrounding the mansion and the tunnels beneath, until they finally get rid of her by letting her recover the skull of her long-dead mother.
Resident Evil 0
Whilst Resident Evil 1 told a compelling story, it raised many questions. How was the T-Virus leaked? Where did it come from? What happened to the doomed Bravo Team? And what was the story of Rebecca, Bravo Team's last survivor, prior to her rescue by Chris in the mansion?
This game answers those questions. Shortly after their flight into the Arklay Forest, Bravo Team discovered an overturned military prison transport truck, which had been carrying an ex-marine convicted of mass murder and sentenced to death, and separate to look for him. Rebecca found her way aboard a mysterious train and was separated from her unit. There, she was forced to team up with the ex-marine, Billy Cohen, in order to survive zombified passengers, mutant animals, and killer leeches. Ultimately, they learned that they had become swept up in the machinations of Dr. James Marcus - the mad scientist who was one of Umbrella's founders, who had created the T-Virus by splicing the mutagenic "Progenitor Virus" with leech DNA, and whose sadism and psychosis had grown to the extent that Umbrella had ordered him assassinated. But one of Marcus' leeches had absorbed his body, growing over the years into a giant monster with Marcus' memories, the ability to assume his form, and a burning desire for revenge - his attack on Umbrella's Arklay facilities had released the T-Virus and caused the disaster into which the S.T.A.R.S had been drawn. Slaying the Leech Marcus, Billy and Rebecca go their separate ways; Billy strikes off towards a nearby road in hopes of hitchhiking away to safety, whilst Rebecca, promising him that she will claim he was killed in the Arklay Forest, heads to the Arklay Mansion to wait for the rest of her team to join her.
This game came out shortly after the Resident Evil 1 Remake, and was likewise a Nintendo Gamecube debut. It introduced two revolutionary new ideas; the ability to play as two characters simultaneously, and the removal of the Item Boxes mechanic, allowing players to drop items wherever they pleased and then come back to grab them. Unfortunately, the latter idea just led to players having to backtrack all the time and proved annoying, but at least Capcom tried to do something new! Reception to this game was... mixed, with many disliking its status as an official prologue to RE1, but lore from it is canon to all later games.
Resident Evil 2
After the disaster of RE1, Umbrella fucked things over for Raccoon City even further when they inadvertently caused the biggest biohazard disaster in history: in one of their secret labs under the city, a top researcher named William Birkin was working on a prototype super-virus that would put the T-Virus to shame. However, he was being too slow to deliver on this "G-Virus", and Umbrella grew suspicious that he was planning to betray them by selling it to a rival company. So, they sent in a commando team from their private paramilitary forces to take the G-Virus from William, by force if need be. Shot in the struggle, William injected himself with a G-Virus sample and transformed into a hideous mutant, which slaughtered all but one of the commandos - but caused a T-Virus leak that leads to a wide-scale infection, devastating the city.
Into the chaos comes Claire Redfield, younger sister of Chris Redfield above. Sherry Birkin, the daughter of William Birkin. Leon S. Kennedy, a rookie cop on his first day in the force. Lastly Ada Wong, a mysterious woman working as a spy for a rival organization.
These four must now forge alliances and find a way to get out of the city. Opposing them are the various legions of undead and mutated creatures, most of whom evolve to be deadlier as time passes. William Birkin, who is now too far gone and has devolved into a strong but cunning Bio-organic weapon. And Mr. X, a humanoid bio-weapon called a T-103, an upgraded version of the "Tyrant" faced by Chris and Jill, deployed by Umbrella to tie up loose ends in the RPD. The Tyrant is particularly unique in that he doesn't look like an abomination against nature. Instead he's a tall, trenchcoat-clad giant of a man that silently lumbers towards you, akin to something like Jason Vorhees or Michael Myers, only with more violent punching. He's also a total trooper as after getting downed; he'll dust himself off and continue his chase towards you at a later time, also imitating the two horror stated icons previously. That is until you dunk him into a smelting pot, where he stops being cool as a cucumber and simply decides to tear you apart with extreme prejudice.
The last of the lesser-known but important survivors is one of the Umbrella USS Commandos, codenamed "HUNK" and popularly known as "Mr. Death", due to his track record of undertaking Umbrella's most dangerous missions, with him typically being the only one to survive upon completion. Despite being injured by Birkin, alone, and surrounded by a town's worth of bloodthirsty monsters: HUNK managed to survive and outwit his adversaries and call in an extraction to evacuate a G-Virus sample for Umbrella.
Because remakes are the new vogue in the entertainment industry, Capcom decided to give the fans what they want and remake the game to HD. The game was announced back in 2015 and released on January 2019. So far, Capcom's doing well, as REmake 2 was well received by both critics and fans. The game's story is still the same, but with a heavy re-design to the map, enemy behavior, a bigger emphasis on survival-style gameplay, and plays from a 3rd person over-the-shoulder view like the more recent RE games. Its also more atmospheric, as you now need a flashlight to get around due to all the dark-lit areas (which in turn, can potentially expose your presence to enemies). Mr. X also features more prominently during his debut section in the RPD; instead of appearing in a select few rooms, he actively stalks you through the station and can show up at any moment, vanishing when you descend into the basement levels only to return for a climatic final chase.
Despite the love for it (although, hilariously, it's actually pretty low down on the "top 10 best-selling RE games" list), the RE2make does have some problems. These mostly center around the bullet-spongey nature of the zombies, the cutting of several minor enemies, the replacement of the Ivy B.O.W with a new vegetation-infested zombie variant, and the story. Oooh, boy, is that a mess. Long story short, in addition to not trying to tell the distinct stories of the original (Leon A/Claire B and Claire A/Leon B), the game now uses a "1st run"/"2nd run" system, which determines where your character starts the game and whether they face either their unique final boss (Birkin G-4 for Claire, Mr. X for Leon) or the final Birkin mutation. This wouldn't be so bad, except Capcom clearly half-assed putting the effort into fitting the two "subgames" together, resulting in a 2nd run character experiencing the exact same locations, sidequests and boss battles as the 1st run character.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Set a few days before the events RE2, this story charts Jill Valentine's attempts to survive and escape the zombie-infested hellhole of infected Raccoon City. Umbrella realizes that this entire incident basically proves the S.T.A.R.S team's claims against them after they escaped the mansion incident, and so sends in one of their newest bio-engineered weapons against the team's survivors: The Nemesis T-Type, an even angrier and scarier T-103 Tyrant whose ability to tank any firepower reminds many of the Plague Marines. Additionally unlike the T-103, he isn't a silent giant, he'll roar his arrival and relentlessly chase you down to beat you into a bloody pulp like a punchy, muscular, and more relentless version of Leatherface, minus the chainsaw as he's also equipped with a rocket launcher.
Aiding her in this ordeal is Carlos Olivera, one of the many Umbrella mercenaries contracted to assist evacuation of the city, but he and his unit were overwhelmed and largely decimated. Now, the two of them search for a way out of the city before it's too late, while also evading the Nemesis' tireless pursuit with either brutal cunning or cunning brutality.
Overall, it ends with the US government unable to retain control of the city, so drastic measures had to be considered. Fearing the virus getting out (and also the US Government's involvement with BOWs), they wiped out Raccoon city with a barrage of thermobaric bombs, completely obliterating it off the map. Umbrella would later be embroiled in a series of criminal lawsuits that ultimately destroyed the company as a whole, largely thanks to the survivors who provided evidence and their testimonies linking Umbrella and the outbreak.
Quite ironically, due to Umbrella shutting down, their research and experiments are now at the hands numerous other unsavory characters, all of whom are advancing their research in their own ends, which would fuel later sequels.
With the massive wave of positive fan reception to the 2019 RE2make, even if it didn't make the top 10 best sellers for their games, Capcom realized they'd found a new wave to ride; a similarly styled remake for RE3 debuted in April 2020, to everybody's shock.
Ironically, despite the huge build-up of anticipation until its debut on the 3rd, after release, people actually turned on the RE3make very quickly - it's not as hated as RE6 by a long shot, but the general reception was much less positive than it was for the RE2make. Ironically, many of the things now being cited as problematic for the RE3make, such as the heavy changes in the story, were previously ignored, defended or even celebrated for the RE2make. Other problems are actually things that were around in the original RE3, such as the relative shortness of the single player campaign or Nemesis appearances being based on scripted encounters. The most legitimate complaints are the replacing of the much-beloved Mercenaries multiplayer mode with the new "Resident Evil: Resistance" game, a 4 vs. 1 asymmetric multiplayer, and the high price for what is basically a DLC-length story expansion to RE2make packaged with a multiplayer RE game that basically nobody wanted! Making Jill uglier and changing her classic outfit from a shirt to shorts also didn't go over well.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica
CV occurs right after RE2 and has Claire Redfield continuing to look for her older brother Chris, but was caught by Umbrella and ends up on Rockfort island, a private prison island run by the incredibly psychotic Alfred Ashford. Things however, once again go not as planned as a bio-terror attack on the island by a mysterious organization left the island in total, flesh-consuming chaos. She later meets an inmate named Steve Burnside and the two of them think up of a plan to escape the island.
Its later revealed that Alfred has been planning the return of his sister: Alexia Ashford, who has been in hibernation for the past 15 years in the middle of an abandoned Umbrella lab in the Antarctic. She's the creator of a new strain of mutagenic virus that Rockfort was attacked for; the T-Veronica virus, created by splicing the T-virus with a primordial virus found inside an amber-preserved fossilized ant. This new strain allows the host to retain their sanity, even after being mutated by the virus, and anyone infected second-hand will be under the control of the virus' original carrier (which would be Alexia), also there's this random bit about their blood being flammable. Although the downside is that it has a long incubation time, that if improperly handled, will cause the host to degrade into regular T-virus mutants, hence the 15-year power nap.
Learning of this, Claire, Steve, and later Chris himself after Leon got Claire's distress call, set out to ensure that Alexia does not escape and start a new wave of bio-terrorism. They eventually prevailed, in what is probably one of the most frustrating boss fights in RE history.
Oh and Albert Wesker, the bad guy the team in the original who seemed unimportant in the long term, comes back and gave himself superpowers. Its also revealed his organization was the one responsible for unleashing the bio-terror outbreak on Rockfort island. He also tried to take down Alexia after she woke up, but ended up being outclassed, even with his superhuman bullshit (also he had no guns, so that's probably another thing). He does a 180 and has Chris battle the newly-awakened Alexia instead, which he succeeds in putting down, unsurprisingly with guns (which kinda makes Wesker's superpowers underwhelming in the larger scope).
RE:CV is also notable for being the first Resident Evil game to use fully 3D environments, rather than the static, pre-rendered ones in the PS1 era.
Resident Evil 4
This game tells Leon's fate after Raccoon city incident. The US government eventually picks him and Sherry up and he's been roped into becoming a governmental secret agent, partially out of duty, but also to protect Sherry. His first mission is being sent into not-Spain to rescue the US president's daughter named Ashley Graham, who was kidnapped.
Its later revealed that she was kidnapped by the "Los Illuminados", a psychotic cult that worships ancient parasites called the "Las Plagas" that induce mutations and mind control, both of which Leon and Ashley were infected with. The cult's plan is to infect Ashley with a plaga, send her back to the US, then have her do the cult's bidding once the plaga inside her fully matures. Of course this does beggar the following questions:
- Why are the cultists hellbent on killing both Leon AND Ashley, if the latter is so instrumental to their plans?
- Why did they need Ashley to be kidnapped and sent to not-Spain in the first place? Its been shown in-game that plaga infection is relatively simple (be injected with one by a syringe). There was never a need to kidnap Ashley, infect her, then draw attention to it. Especially since the Las Plagas were largely unknown by the outside world until Saddler drew attention to it by involving the US into a rescue mission, so he would have had the total element of surprise once he used his trump card.
Glaring plotholes aside, these cultists are led by three people: Bitores Mendez, a not-Tyrant. Ramon Salazar, a kinda-Spanish aristocrat with a Napoleon complex and two not-Xenomorph bodyguards. Last is the cult's supreme head-honcho Osmund Saddler, a charismatic man who may or may not have a long, bladed tentacle as a dick that he uses to impale people with (it doesn't help it comes from under his robes and between his legs). He also faces off against Jack Krauser, whom is described as one of Leon's closest old agency friends, but his character and history wouldn't be explored until a few years later in a separate game, so everyone at the time was just confused when Leon acts like he's a big deal and we should be feeling some remorse for.
Predictably, this isn't taken seriously in the slightest. Hell even Saddler sort-of breaks the fourth wall and mentions how cliche this entire thing is. The B-movie atmosphere and campy writing blend together to make for an entry that was one of the more memorable, if not the most, and actively played into it in a way that gave it an edge over the next couple of entries.
Now, Leon and Ashley must find a way out of not-Spain, fight through the Los Illuminados cult and their many experimental creatures, and get rid of the plagas infesting them. Like in the previous game, Leon is still being aided by his not-love interest: Ada Wong, who is impractically dressed for a spy mission.
Resident Evil: Revelations
Chris and Jill end up stranded on ships that have been overrun by a new breed of zombies, and a terrorist cell named Veltro is threatening to infect the entire oceans with their new virus called the T-Abyss virus. Except that the terrorist treat isn't real and it ends up with more plot twists that kind of make sense, and are also kind of dumb.
The most remarkable thing about this game is a spelling error on the box for the Nintendo 3DS version of the game. Otherwise it literally has no bearing on the plot of later games. We're not kidding, nobody exclusive to the cast of this game were ever mentioned in later games, nor did the plot of this game affected the entire status quo at all.
Still, it did introduce a fun mini-game that added a lot of replayability to it called Raid Mode, which is the only thing that did carry over to future installments, so it wasn't all bad.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Unlike previous games, this plays in two scenarios: one for Claire and one for Barry Burton, a former STARS member.
Claire Redfield and Moira Burton, Barry's daughter, are kidnapped by a mysterious figure called "The Overseer", thrown into not-Russia, and infected with the T-Phobos virus, a virus that only triggers with a certain level of fear. The virus itself mutates its host in.....unspecific ways, the only constant is that hosts have an increased level of aggression and their bodies are horribly mutated and seem to grant them some form of immortality as hosts can survive for months without food and severe necrosis. They may or may not retain some form of higher thought. Overall Capcom can't seem to decide on what they want their virus to be and just does whatever's convenient for the plot.
The mysterious figure is later revealed to be Alex Wesker, a survivor of the Wesker children. Claire and Moira must now venture through not-Russia to find a way out. Claire later manages to escape, but Moira is left behind. Whether she survives or not is dependent on the player's single asinine, poorly-explained choice.
Barry comes in a few months later after learning about the situation from Claire after being rescued and was told his daughter is dead. Unwilling to accept it without confirming it himself, Barry travels to not-Russia to investigate and personally confirm his daughter's fate, all the while surviving the new breed of horrors the T-Phobos virus cooked up over the months. He's aided by Natalia, a young girl who has somehow survived the craziness of the island and sense monsters around her. He eventually finds out about Alex Wesker, and also makes it a priority to ensure the remaining vestige of his old enemy is eliminated once and for all.
Anyways, it's eventually revealed that Wesker was using the T-Phobos virus to achieve immortality, using Natalia as a catalyst. But predictably, something went not-as-planned and she's stuck being a mutated, multi-limbed hag and Barry comes it to settle the score, once and for all.
This game is notable for going back to the genre's survival-horror roots and foreboding dark atmosphere, with some stealth sections thrown in to make the game easier but isn't 100% necessary to do (that said, it does save you a lot of ammo and time, so its recommended). Also comes in with several plot-holes, like how Claire or Moira are dealing with the fact that they might have been rescued, but still suffering from T-Phobos infection, or how Moira has been able stave-off mutation by the T-Phobos virus by being able to stay as clam and collected as Claire, despite having no military background nor experience with a biohazard outbreak (which Claire has survived thrice at this point, games and CGI movie included).
But that isn't an issue since Revelations games do not make any impact to the overall plot of the series.
Resident Evil 5
RE5 is... The odd point of the series. This is where Capcom were getting on the "Call of Duty" bandwagon that was growing in the west by making their games more action-oriented, instead of survival horror. A lot of fans were divided on this game's new direction.
For the story, this stars Chris Redfield, whom you would have never recognized due to Capcom designing him as a roid-raging body builder, and Sheva Alomar, which is there as the token black character (we're not kidding, this is the primary reason she's even there). Both of them are members of the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance), an international paramilitary group dedicated to fighting the new wave of bio-terrorism spurred on by the collapse of Umbrella. They're currently in Africa to investigate a potentially large bio-weapons exchange.
This once again features the Las Plagas from the previous game, except it's been refined by a mysterious organization to be more potent. Another is the "Uroboros virus", a new pathogen developed by Wesker himself and covertly funded by another company known as Tricell, led by Excella Gionne, an absurdly seductive Italian woman and not much else. The virus itself is....odd. It turns people into a creature comprised of multiple worm-like organisms that only live to consume more and more biomass to grow, unless they were genetically compatible with the virus, which just grants them superhuman powers.
Wesker plans to spread the Uroboros virus into the stratosphere to infect the entire world, where only a chosen few would rise and those who would be consumed by the virus were deemed unfit to live. This plot is so unbelievably stupid for a cunning sociopath manipulating everyone from the sides for his ambitions that even Chris calls him out on it.
Anyway, silliness aside, Chris and Sheva embark on a mission to stop Wesker's plot. Standing between them is the infected population of Africa that have turned into raving lunatics and the new horrors unleashed by the Uroboros virus. Also a giant boulder, which Chris punches into submission, which many fans interpret as either the highest or lowest point of the series that no other event can hope surpass in either spectrum.
Despite the skub, which has lessened over time, RE5 was huge in terms of profits and reception; it's actually number 2 on Capcom's top 10 best sellers list, even after all these years, and inferior only to the insanely popular Monster Hunter games! As much as the vocal "purists" of the fanbase rage over it, RE5 proves that there was a market for a campy Action Horror game.
Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil 6 is, hands down, the skub game of a skub series. Seeing how RE5 had simultaneously sold like fucking wildfire and yet also attracted a shitload of complaints about wanting to get back more of the classic monsters and general "feel" of past games, Capcom tried to eat their cake and have it too. The basic idea: build on RE5's framework as a co-op Action Horror, slather on the camp because, hey, that's part of the beloved "old school feel" for RE, right? And use multiple different stories to try and offer up a spectrum of Action Horror to semi-Survival Horror choices for players to engage in.
None of this was necessarily a bad thing, and in fact the game even makes logical sense, since by this point it's fallen hard into the issue of Returning Horror Protagonist syndrome - aka, "this shit is literally just a day at the office for our player characters, they're obviously not going to be scared, so why are the players going to be scared?" But it's so extremely different to anything that came before, and a lot of people didn't get that it was trying to go for a "Campy Action Movie" feel in comparison to the old school RE games' "Campy Horror Movie" feel, and... yeah, skub.
Whilst often held up on /v/ as a near-franchise killer, that's... actually not true. RE6 didn't sell as well as RE5, it's true, but it actually sold insanely well all the same - it's #3 on Capcom's best sellers of all time list. That's right, this game actually beats out the beloved "old school faithful" RE7 and 2019 RE2 remake games in terms of popularity. Even its criticism scores have always been solidly "high end of average" on review sites.
Okay, now that all that meta-bullshit is out of the way, what's the actual story? Well, this gets complicated, because it's made up of several threads that intertwine, and you're actually getting only bits and pieces of it as you play the four interlocked campaigns. The basic idea is that there's this big Illuminati-esque conspiracy group, referred to as "The Family", who have been pulling the strings behind shit for centuries. With Umbrella gone, they've created a new bio-warfare R&D company, imaginatively called "Neo-Umbrella", to carry on their legacy and be used as a weapon to continue manipulating the world to their advantage. RE6 revolves around one dickhead member of the Family; the current National Security Advisor of the United States, Derek Simmons. When he gets wind that the current president of the United States wants to come clean about how the US government was in bed with Umbrella and caused the Racoon City incident, he decides that he has to stop this to "preserve stability in the world". The best way to do that? Engineer a zombie apocalypse in the city of Tall Oaks, where the president was going to give a lecture, and hope that the president gets killed in the chaos. That's your A plot. The B plot revolves around Carla Radames, a former Neo-Umbrella researcher who has been driven mad because Derek Simmons has a sick obsession with Ada Wong, to the point he used Neo-Umbrella's new mutagenic virus, the C-Virus, to mutate Carla into an exact physical replica of Ada so that he could then brainwash her into becoming his lovesick sex slave. For obvious reasons, she snapped, and decided to seek vengeance on Simmons by using Neo-Umbrella to launch a widescale bio-terror assault on the world, with the hopes of basically annihilating humanity so that the Family's legacy will all be for nothing.
Enter our heroes, who are all tugging at various strings in this narrative.
- Leon's campaign is the closest to a Survival Horror, as it involves slogging his way through not one, but two cities in the middle of a massive zombie outbreak. The first is to escape from Tall Oaks, after having shot the president when he became a zombie. The second is a plunge into an infected Chinese city to confront Derek Simmons, whose role in causing the Tall Oaks outbreak he has revealed. He is assisted in this goal by Helena Harper, a member of the secret service blackmailed by Simmons into making the Tall Oaks outbreak happen.
- Chris' campaign is the most Action Horror of the four. As a leading operative in the BSAA, Chris is sent to intervene in a European civil war that is the first unveiling of the new J'avo B.O.Ws, a result of injecting the C-Virus directly into humans, where he loses almost his entire squad to the virus. Embittered by the experience, he quits, but is brought back for another J'avo-related terorist incident in China, which ultimately results in him seeking out the Neo-Umbrella lab for revenge, where he stops Carla's ultimate bio-weapon, the terraforming HAOS. His assistant throughout the campaign is his second-in-command Piers Nivans, who gets a surprisingly awesome role in the final battle by replacing his torn-off right arm with a C-virus produced mutant appendage that shoots lightning.
- Sherry's campaign has her all grown up and now a government agent, seeking out the mercenary Jake Mueller, illegitimate son of Albert Wesker, whose unique genetic code may hold the keys to a C-virus antidote, during the events of the same European civil war as Chris. Instead, they get captured by Neo-Umbrella, who seek to use Jake's blood to create a stronger strain of the virus. Fighting out of Neo-Umbrella's prison, they assist both Chris and Jake at different points, and ultimately succeed in Sherry's mission. Mostly, this campaign leans towards Action Horror, with some Survival Horror elements mostly stemming from the scenes where they need to escape from Ustanak, which is basically Nemesis with a cybernetic arm.
- Ada's campaign revolves around her working in the background of everybody else's case, going after Carla Radames and taking her down before assisting Leon with defeating Derek Simmons. Her emphasis on stealth over firefights and several prominent sections where flight is emphasized over fight make her lean more towards Survival Horror than Action Horror.
Resident Evil 7
Currently the last of the games in chronological order, RE7, subtitled "Biohazard", or Biohazard 7, subtitled "Resident Evil" if you're Japanese, was released in January of 2017. Breaking from the traditions of previous games, it features a complete newcomer to the series: Ethan Winters, a man whose wife Mia was presumably lost at sea on a boating trip 3 years ago. When he receives an email claiming to be from her and telling him to come and get her off of some farm belonging to a family called the Bakers in the backwoods of Louisiana, he immediately rushes off to her rescue. And that's when things go wrong... see, the Bakers, they're like Mia's family. And they're just dying to welcome somebody new to the clan...
RE7 was, initially, very skubby, as whilst it promised a hard return to the survival horror in contrast to the more action-horror b-movie feel of the previous numbered games, it did so whilst stating the game would be in a first-person perspective. This idea had been used before (in fact, it was originally considered for the first Resident Evil, but the Playstation's graphics just couldn't hack it), but only on the Gun Survivor spin-offs, and the Wii-exclusive rail shooters - it was totally new to a main canon game, and many fans were naysaying it as just more of the same mistakes, if in a new direction.
However, when it came out, it swiftly won fans over with a genuinely dank, creepy mansion to explore, and horrific new foes to fight. The only real complaints was that its blend of combat and stealth made it feel a little like Alien: Isolation, and the lack of variety in enemies to fight. Most people don't care, considering it a throwback to all that was good about the 1st game, helped by an awesomely catchy theme song and incredibly quotable enemies who manage to hit that right niche between hilariously narmy and downright fucking spooky.
Seriously, one of your boss-fights involves grabbing a chainsaw and duking it out with a laughing, mutated psycho cannibal hillbilly wielding chainsaw-shears. Who earlier may have hacked off your leg with a common garden shovel for giggles. Batshit insane does not do this game justice.
Following in the footsteps of Silent Hill, RE7 made use of a playable teaser called the Beginning Hour. Unlike Silent Hills, RE7 actually came to fruition, because Capcom isn't quite as fucked up as Konami.
Hilariously, despite the vocal praise for it on the internet, RE7 actually is nowhere near the top-selling Resident Evil game of all time. It's actually fourth on that list, being beaten out by REs 2, 6 and 5, and ranks at #11 on the Capcom Best Sellers list. That's right, it's not even in the top 10, as far as sales are concerned!
Resident Evil: Outbreak 1 and File#2
Two short-lived co-op games for the PS2 about groups of civilians who banded together in the midst of the T-virus outbreak in Raccoon city and figure out a way to escape. It plays much like the old games, but with a deeper emphasis on survival horror due to the lower amount of resources available in each game, and the ability to be actually infected by the T-virus and zombify after sustaining damage.
The series never really took off significantly, so Capcom abandoned the 4 player co-op concept, and the Outbreak series altogether.
Resident Evil Survivor
The last RE game of the PS1 era and largely remembered as one of the worst of the franchise (being recently overtaken by Capcom's attempt at a godawful RE multiplayer game).
Unlike other games, Survivor is played in a first-person view, but still uses the tank controls of previous RE games. It was meant to be played with a light gun, but due to the US' political climate at the time(this was right after the Columbine shootings), the light gun feature was removed and you now aim a nondescript crosshair with your controller. Additionally, the survival horror tension of the previous game is largely removed due to having unlimited ammo for your handgun, ensuring you can just blast away to your heart's content.
For the game's story, you're transported into not-Europe on an island named "Sheena Island", which houses a secret Umbrella lab and unnamed city. The protag is Ark Thompson, an investigator hired by Leon Kennedy, but gets amnesia and think he's Vincent Goldman, the big-bad of the island. Vincent is the reason for the T-virus outbreak on the island, largely because he's a maniacal dick (we're not kidding, he did it to spite the people he thinks are trying to oust him). Now, Ark wanders around with a gun in hand, thinking he's Vincent, and attempt to uncover the truth about him and the island's outbreak.
Needless to say, the combination of bad game mechanics and story-telling unanimously roped it into being considered as the first black mark of the Resident Evil series. Its so bad that nobody in-universe even acknowledges Survivor happened, no references of it in files or conversations. Hell, even Leon doesn't talk about it. The only thing that keeps it from being officially non-canon is that "Sheena Island" is mentioned in the list of T-Virus outbreaks during the prologue cinematic for RE0.
Resident Evil Survivor 2: Code Veronica
A "sequel" to the Survivor series that uses Code Veronica as a setting. This is basically a quicker re-telling of the story, but in first-person and there's a model for the gun and characters now, so it plays like a traditional-ish FPS. There's still nothing really "survivor-ish" about it as it largely plays out like an arcade game, complete with infinite ammo for your handgun.
Also the entire game was a dream by Claire, so this is even more pointless than the prequel. It only escapes the negative attention due to how obscure it is.
Resident Evil Dead Aim
Officially part of and the last of the Survivor series. Dead Aim tried to mix things up by combining third and first-person playstyles. While walking around, you're in an over-the-shoulder view, but you'll change into first person when you're aiming your weapon, and can also be used with a light gun. The concept was novel, but it overall didn't really do anything revolutionary, so RE:DA ended up as one successful but forgettable game in Capcom's repertoire.
For the story, it has protagonist Bruce McGivern, a gung-ho US secret agent being sent in to investigate the Umbrella-owned ship: Spencer Rain. The ship was infected with the T-virus by a rogue Umbrella scientist named Morpheus Duvall, a beauty-obsessed perfectionist, who wanted to bomb the world with the T-virus to re-create it in his own image, unless he was paid 5 billion US Dollars (which he just did for shits and giggles as he was going to go through it anyway). At the same time, a by-the-book Chinese secret service agent named Fong Ling also infiltrates the ship with the same mission. With their goals aligning and stuck on a murderboat filled with undead, flesh-eating mutants, Bruce and Ling form a tenuous alliance to brave the horrors of the Spencer Rain and bring down Dr. Duvall to save the world from his harebrained scheme.
Predictably, an operation involving two secret agents from two opposing nations, working together despite having two completely polarizing personalities to bring down a hedonistic prettyboy attempting to usher in the apocalypse, does not go as planned.
Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
RE:UC is a different take on the series. It was originally exclusive for the Nintendo Wii, later being ported onto the PS3, and its an on-rails arcade shooter of varying quality.
While gameplay is limited (and the gunplay is kinda finicky at best), its more of a platform for Capcom to expand further into the story, without actually investing on too many resources to do so (huehue). Along with some pre-existing storylines, namely RE3 and RE1 (that were condensed and ranges from kinda-canon to "how the fuck did you cram 3 hours of gameplay into a 20-minute hallway and expect it to be good"), it also explores the stories of some of the side characters, such as:
- What Wesker did during his time in the Arklay mansion and how he escaped
- Ada's escape from Raccoon City and how she extracted the G-virus
- How Wesker rose to power during Umbrella's twilight days
It does have a unique plot, however, and tells the story of Jill and Chris' operation in Russia to permanently shut down the last of Umbrella's labs. Other than that, there's not really much to talk about. It's pretty forgettable in the long run.
Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles
RE:DC is a sequel to Umbrella Chronicles, and its still an on-rails arcade shooter.
Gameplay remains the same, albeit with some graphical enhancements, but decides to focus more on story quality, than quantity. It only features two previous stories now: RE2 and RE:CV, all of which are still condensed, but follow the major events more closely so that it genuinely feels like a decent re-telling of the previous games.
It does however, feature one unique story: Operation Javier, an top-secret US military op involving Leon Kennedy and Jack Krauser. It has them going deep into not-Latin America to stop a drug cartel called the "Sacred Snakes", which is led by Javier Hidalgo. The Snakes attracted the world's attention after Javier began employing BOWs to bolster his forces, and led to a localized T-virus outbreak that forced the US' hand to send in a covert team to stop Javier before he unleashes another Raccoon city incident. On the way, they meet a mysterious girl named Manuela, who escaped from Javier's compound. Now, the three of them venture through the infested jungle to put an end to Javier's schemes for the sake of the world.
While it wasn't explored when he was first introduced, Krauser was shown to be a bro-tier tactical muscle head who supported Leon every step of the way throughout the operation. He was only embittered after suffering a crippling injury during the operation that forced him out of the military. Living only for constant conflict, Krauser sought a way for him to get back into the action, which led to him being employed by Saddler during the events of RE4 and turned into a traitor and monster, and the rest is history.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
RE:ORC is....a mixed bag that gravitates towards bad, but not completely within that zone. Its made by Slant Six games, rather than Capcom, who are known for their SOCOM mil-sim franchise. It leans more towards action, rather than survival horror, and to date is the only RE title to do the action-oriented approach well (its far from perfect, but its loads better than what RE5 or RE6 did).
Unlike previous titles, you aren't playing as an outbreak survivor; you're playing as one of the operatives of the Umbrella Security Service, the elites of Umbrella's paramilitary forces, under USS Delta Team: "Wolfpack", where you control one of 6 quirky sociopaths, all of whom have their own specialties that benefit the team. Here, Wolfpack is deployed in the middle of the Raccoon City outbreak, and are tasked with destroying evidences and killing witnesses who may link Umbrella to the outbreak. Apart from your usual t-monstrosities, including icons like Nemesis and Mr.X, you also go up against US spec-ops, who are trying to get dirt on Umbrella and will do everything they can to ensure you don't succeed, so the game ends up as a 3-way brawl between Umbrella, the US government, and the assorted bio-weapons coming your way.
There's also a DLC campaign where you play as the US spec-ops, but nobody really cares about it because it feels like it was soullessly tacked-on to make a quick buck. Plus you're playing as the good guys now, so the game's appeal is largely gone.
Visually, the game looks great. Characters are designed well, combat is mostly nice (especially knife fighting, the best in the series), guns feel good to shoot, enemies feel nice to put down, and despite being an action game: they did manage to capture the zombie apocalypse atmosphere a lot better than the newer RE titles. There's also other unique mechanics, like bleeding (which does DoT and attracts nearby zombies) and infection (which transforms humans into zombies if they are bitten, which includes one of your teammates).
However, the game is also plagued with variety of cons, one of which is the AI. Any enemy that doesn't rely on it face-tanking you and getting into close combat is plagued with issues, ranging from tactically incompetent decisions, to simply stop working (this also includes your AI teammates). The other is the story: despite the game being advertised as you being the bad guys, there's not really a lot of missions where you feel like bad guys, you just feel like 4 mooks slogging through a zombie apocalypse. Last is the ending, which was so badly written that Survivor looks like a Shakespearean play in comparison.
All in all, a kinda good game that has some enjoyment to it, especially if you're just after combat, but probably won't hold your attention for very long.
Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps
Capcom's attempt at a competitive multiplayer game and what can be described as the poster child of them milking the franchise dry, until it's reboot with RE7. Its widely considered by the fanbase to be the current worst of the series, stealing the trophy from Survivor who held the title for 16 years. How bad is it you may ask? It died on release day, it didn't even have a chance to crash and burn: it just burned out of the gate.
There's no story for the single-player campaign (that was basically a pointless collectathon), AI is worse than that of ORC, gunfighting feels awkward, and is overall just a bad game in all regards. About the only good things you can say about it is that it visually looks alright and the customization options for guns and characters are okay.
Yeah, there are movies.
The first was a set of live-action films, but like pretty much all attempts at a live-action adaptation of a videogame, they fucking sucked like all shit. These are the atrocities that unleashed Alice upon the world, specifically so that director Paul W.S. Anderson could show off how awesome his wife Milla Jovovich is. No, really. And despite the shit quality, the series remains one of the top-grossing film series of all time based on a video game. For these crimes (detailed on her page linked above), they shall never be forgiven.
Mercifully, Capcom got off their asses and have given us some real Resident Evil movies; three so far, they are all fully animated CGI affairs that are actually set in the actual universe of Resident Evil and use regular characters.
Degeneration, the first film, brings back fan-favorite characters Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy. Set between Code Veronica and 4, it involves their efforts to stop an attempt by a madman to unleash the deadly G-virus and T-virus upon America.
Damnation is a post-4 Leon fest involving Leon fighting ganados and lickers in some made-up Eastern European country.
Vendetta is a London has fallen ripoff about Chris and Leon fighting a weapons dealer who got his hands on some Umbrella leftovers. Notable for some impressive John Wick-style gun battles and for finally bringing back Rebecca Chambers. Also notable for breaking the RE canon on par with the movies, the only saving grace for it is the non-stop, dickflick-tier action and them properly using the game's cast.
4D-Executer is the very early CGI movie in the Resident Evil franchise and most disturbing one to boot. The plot of this 45 minute-long movie is centered around a group of mercenaries coming to Raccoon City, before being wiped out, in order to escort a mrs. scientist and her data on a new viral form. Everything goes south when they are attacked by a unknown B.O.W., defeat it, only to realize that the darn monstrosity has a truly scary ability...not to mention the plot twist will horrify you.
You can find material for running RE games under All Flesh Must Be Eaten here: http://thegraveyard.xtreemhost.com/resievilselect.html?ckattempt=1