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Weekly Top 5: Resident Evil Games

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With the recently released teaser trailer for Resident Evil Revelations 2, I figured this would be a prime time for me to do a "Weekly Top 5" that pertains to the series. I've written extensively about Resident Evil in the past, as I've been a fan of the series from the very beginning. RE is a surefire candidate for my favorite series of all-time (perhaps that could be the topic of a future top 5). My list is likely going to look a bit different than most who have been with the series as long as I have, but if you've read some of my previous Resident Evil related blogs, it shouldn't be too much of a shock.

Honorable Mention: Resident Evil 5

I think RE5 is unnecessarily trashed by fans, and it's all due to what circumstances there are when you play the game. When played single player with an AI-controlled Sheva, the game is straight terrible because Sheva is an idiot. "No, Sheva, I don't need more handgun bullets, I have a shotgun. Sheva, stop healing me, I have my own first aid sprays. Oh great, you gave me all of your ammo and now you don't have any. Sheva, that's a boss, use a bigger gun! Sheva, I hate you!"

But when played co-op with a friend, it's a great experience. When it came to games I played co-op last generation, the only games I played more than RE5 were the Borderlands games. It's basically just a re-skinned RE4 with updated controls. Lots of people hate this game, but I think it's a very serviceable entry in the series when played co-op with a friend.

5. Resident Evil Darkside Chronicles

This may be an unpopular thing to say, but I'm actually not that big of a fan of Resident Evil: Code Veronica. I mean, I like it, and I understand why it was a step in the right direction for the series, I just thought it was mediocre. Resident Evil 3 was released as a way to hold over fans for Code Veronica, but I actually like RE3 better. So, you won't see RE:CV on this list, but what I'm talking about now does include Code Veronica content.

If you've never played Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles or Darkside Chronicles, I highly suggest them, they're two of my favorite games on the Wii. For those unfamiliar, they're basically just rail shooters that recount the stories of the main games in the franchise, as well as giving you a ton of bonuses to unlock. They're essentially love letters to fans of the series. Where Umbrella Chroniclescovered RE0, RE1, RE3, and an extra scenario, Darkside Chronicles went with RE2, RE:CV, and a new scenario called "Operation Javier" which gives us more details about the past relationship between Leon Kennedy and Jack Krauser, as well as an extra hidden scenario.

Darkside Chronicles gets the nod over Umbrella Chronicles for providing a better original scenario, as well as covering my favorite RE title from the original PSone days and providing more backstory forRE4.

4. Resident Evil Revelations

Since Resident Evil had been on a downward slope, and there was already a mediocre Resident Evilgame on the 3DS, I was very skeptical about Revelations. Or "Revelaitons", if you prefer. Yes, they misprinted the name of the game on the box, which didn't exactly convince me that I needed to play this game any time soon. If they can't take the time to proofread the game title on the box, then surely not a lot of care went into the actual game and this is nothing more than a cash grab. Then the reviews came out, and they were mostly positive, which lifted my spirits. I received the game as a gift that year and decided to give it a whirl.

What I found was a return to form for the series. I think Revelations is the best entry in the franchise since RE4. The majority of the game takes place on a tanker ship, and there are sections of the ship that reminded me of the Spencer Mansion, and that's a good thing. Tight corridors, a creepy atmosphere, scarce ammo, Revelations did something that I didn't think the series could do to me anymore: it made me nervous. I've always had a fear of water in games, and the sections of Revelations where you're wading through waist-high water with enemies all around you legitimately made me hesitant to continue. After every water section, I would have to have an internal monologue. Do I continue, or do I save and come back later because I'm too stressed out?

The only real negative I have about the game is that most enemies are very similar to one another, but to make up for that, all of the bosses are awesome. I actually remember the first time I battled Scagdead: I had exhausted almost all of my ammo, and I literally killed him with my last bullet. It was a very thrilling encounter. Also, Rachael is terrifying!

I still haven't played the console port, but I enjoyed it very much on the 3DS. I would consider it a must-have for the system.

3. Resident Evil 2

The original Resident Evil blew my mind. I had never had that kind of gaming experience in my life. Corporate cover-ups, a huge, sprawling mansion full of secrets, terrifying monsters, it was incredible. Sure, by the standards of today it's nothing special, and the voice acting is legendary for its camp factor, but in 1997, it was groundbreaking for me and what I thought videogames were capable of.

When the sequel was announced, I kept obsessive track of the game in magazines. By this time, I was old enough to stay home by myself, but I would still go with my mom on every trip to the grocery store and hang out in the magazine aisle while she did her thing. If any of those issues had information on Resident Evil 2, I would beg my mom to buy it for me. I still wasn't very privy to the game industry, so I didn't actually know when the game was released, but I remember one day seeing it on the shelves at Walden Software and rejoicing. I wasn't able to buy it myself, and I actually remember that the only reason I got it was because I was pouting to my mother that I didn't have any games to play--which was totally a lie--and begging her to buy me the game. She showed up a couple hours later with the game in her hand. I probably didn't even thank her, because I was a crappy 12 year old. Mom, if you're reading this, I'm sorry I sucked so much as a kid, I love you.

I find Resident Evil 2 to be the best of the three traditional games that appeared in its first generation, although all three are quite good. I was never good at Resident Evil games back then, I always tried to shoot my way out of trouble rather than run for my life, and if you've ever played an old RE game, you know that's a bad idea. That didn't stop me from trying though, and it was a communal achievement when a friend and I teamed up to beat the game together. Starting the game at the flaming wreckage from your now destroyed police cruiser and making your way through the streets of Raccoon City was way more intense from the start of the original. Here, your first taste of gameplay is right in the middle of the action with a dozen zombies slogging their way toward you. I found the police station to be a much more interesting setting than the Spencer Mansion, and every time I walked into a new room, I was praying to hear the save room music to signify that I had found respite.

The game essentially had four campaigns with interwoven storylines. If you played Act One with Leon, you played Act Two with Claire, and vice versa, and let's not forget the secret campaigns with Hunk and Tofu. This added an incredible amount of replay value to the game. The monsters were scarier, the story was better, and overall, RE2 offered more than its predecessor.

2. Resident Evil Remake

This is how you do a remake. I just said I thought RE2 was better than the original, but the GameCube upgrade of Resident Evil came and took the throne back.

I never owned a GameCube while it was a viable system, but I had a lot of friends that did. I went with the PlayStation 2 and was too lazy to get a job and buy a GameCube myself. Being a big fan of not only Resident Evil, but also Mario and Metal Gear Solid, I was very jealous of my friends because they got Super Mario Sunshine (I don't care what anyone says, that game is great), Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, Resident Evil 4 (which was luckily only a timed exclusive), Resident Evil 0, and of course, the remake of the original Resident Evil.

It wasn't until 2005 that I finally played the game with a friend, and if 1997 Dustin thought the original game was scary, then 2005 Dustin was in for the same amount of terror. The updated graphics just make the game look...creepy. One of the downfalls with the hardware of the original games is that they were still figuring the system out, so all of those games are very bright and don't do much with shadows or lighting, which makes it harder to create a scary atmosphere. Due to this, they had to rely more on jump scares. That wasn't the case with this one. Don't get me wrong, they definitely have their fair share of jump scares, it's a staple of both the Resident Evil series and the survival horror genre, but this game created a foreboding sense of dread from beginning to end, and it has a lot to do with the graphical upgrade.

But it wasn't just a shot for shot remake like the 1998 version of the movie Psycho. They took a game that many already considered great and made it even better. They added new locations, new monsters, and a new boss. Oh, and those last two things I mentioned? They're two of the most terrifying things in the entire series: the crimson head and Lisa Trevor.

Her mask...is made...of FACES!

And yes, I will definitely be getting the HD remaster of this game the moment it becomes available.

1. Resident Evil 4

This should have been obvious. Resident Evil 4 is scientifically the best game in the series. Yes, the science is all just stuff that I made up in my own head to support my opinion, but that's neither here nor there.

The original Resident Evil didn't invent the survival horror genre, it just took it to the next level, and then Resident Evil 4 perfected it. You can argue that it's not so much a "survival horror" game as it is an "action horror" game, but the first time I played RE4, I still found myself with low levels of ammo and an uneasy feeling throughout the game. Before this game, enemies never teamed up on you, most of them didn't run towards you, most of them didn't carry weapons, and you were free from harm the moment you went through the next door. Not so in Resident Evil 4. From the very beginning, you're given examples of how this game is unlike any survival horror game you've ever played before. You're only given one or two enemies to defeat before you're slapped down right in the middle of a huge encounter, complete with an adorable chainsaw-wielding maniac.

You try to find a safe haven in the nearest home, only to have them bust down the doors and windows to try and get to you. Of course, you could use this to your advantage by forcing them all to bunch up as they squeeze through the door and tossing some sort of grenade. It was only a temporary solution, but you had to do things like this in order to get some breathing room. RE4 brought a new sense of strategy to the series.

The new over-the-shoulder camera made the game both easier to play and scarier, as you could no longer see what's behind you until you turned around, whereas before you were usually given a full view of the room you were in and you can freely navigate between dangers. The first time you use the quick turn to find a Regenerator a mere few feet behind you is enough to make you want to turn off the game. Ask my buddy Luke, because that happened to him and he's also a giant woman.

No, thank you.

Many people didn't like the switch from virus-infected zombies to plague-ridden villagers and cultists, but I found them to be much more terrifying. The series had to evolve away from zombies, and the couple of times they brought zombies back (Operation Raccoon City and RE6), the games were straight poo. Even the most ardent supporters of those games have to admit that they're lackluster, at best. Like I mentioned earlier, these enemies knew what they were doing, and they had motivations for taking you out other than "braaaaaaains" or "STAAAAAARS."

The inventory system was revamped, and I was very sad to see it go in RE5. Rather than having a limited number of slots for inventory, you were given a cache case that started out pretty limited, but could be upgraded for more space as the game progressed. Yes, this made the game easier, but the inventory system with the earlier games was just frustrating. You were always worried about carrying too much, because chances were you were going to find an item you needed to keep on you and would wind up having to discard a health item or ammo. Here, you have more space, and items like keys aren't put into the case, so you can fill it to better fit the kind of player you are. Like having a lot of ammo? You can do it that way. Prefer having extra health items? Do it. Want to fill it up entirely with grenades? You can do that, too! There are few things in the game more satisfying than having an inventory that looks like this...

Luke and I would always play this game together, and despite how much we love it, you'd be amazed how many times you would hear us say "I hate this part." We would actually compromise with each other: "I'll fight the town chief if you do the hedge maze later in the game." You ever have that game that you love and hate at the same time, but in a good way? Resident Evil 4 is that game for me.

There is no hyperbole when I say that we did literally everything there is to do in this game. We must have beaten the campaign a dozen times, finished all the Mercenaries maps with an S rank with every character, collected all documents and secrets, got all the trophies in the firing range, unlocked all bonus weapons, completed "Assignment Ada" and her PS2 bonus campaign "Separate Ways." We played the game so much that we would impose challenges on ourselves. To Luke's credit, we was able to defeat the gatling gun Ganado with just a knife. It took him about 20 minutes, but he did it.

I have nothing bad to say about the game other than the fact that Hunk was only playable in Mercenaries. For those wondering, Hunk is scientifically the best character in the series. Again, you can't argue with science. Lastly, enjoy this video my buddy Cole made as a tribute to the game.

 

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TheDustinThomas, and listen to my podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher.

-Dustin

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About TheDustinThomasone of us since 9:12 PM on 09.17.2009



Twitter: @TheDustinThomas

Greetings and salutations.

TheDustinThomas here, you probably don't know me, but I write things here on Destructoid from time to time. Occasionally I get on the front page:

The Most Inexplicably-Often Rented Games At Blockbuster

The Top 10 Videogame Pro Wrestlers

A Retrospective of Pro Wrestling Videogames from the Perspective of a Pro Wrestler

I'm also the host of a pretty sexy gaming podcast that I do with a couple buddies of mine. You can download and subscribe to it here. You should totally do that.

All of my games writing you can find on DToid, but I also write about other things on my personal blog. Here's my top 5 most read blogs:

Let Me Tell You About My $250 T-Shirts

Tempting of the Doon

5 Ways Getting in Shape Has Messed with my Head

Tim Lambesis: A Fan's Struggle to Understand

Why I Already Dislike Planet Fitness

You may notice that most of those blogs are somehow related to pro wrestling. Why? Because I spent 10 years as a professional wrestler before retiring in October 2013 due to back injuries. I actually wasn't too bad.

A bit about me? Well, obviously I love to write. It's not a paying gig yet, but I'm certainly trying to make that happen.

I'm a happily married man, and my wife is smokin' hot.

I have a huge, manly beard.

God comes first in my life above all else. I'm a leader at my church, as well as the head of our media department.

I've been a metalhead pretty much my entire life.

I'm also a die hard fan of The Simpsons.

Other miscellaneous fact.

-Dustin
Xbox LIVE:TheDust34
PSN ID:TheDust34


 

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