Resident Evil Resistance Open Beta (PC) | Review – Not-Outbreak is Surprisingly Good

You may have caught wind of the hype surrounding RE3Make or you may not. Regardless, Capcom has cooked it up and a year and the feelings couldn’t be more mixed. Will it be good? Will it be too short? Is the inclusion of Resident Evil: Resistance in place of Mercenaries a bold move or a grievous mistake? After all, multiplayer Resident Evil games don’t have the shiniest track record.

The open beta for Resistance still has a day left, and you can very much still try it. Matchmaking and “obvious beta” issues aside, it’s quite addictive and honestly seems like it could give asymmetric long-standing ruler Dead By Daylight a run for its money.

The variety of monsters you can spawn is broad, but you’re not allowed to directly control all of them. Sometimes, you just have to make sure they get the job done using misdirection.

The premise is thus: Umbrella has been kidnapping young people to infect with a super virus and see what it does. Them being the jolly, lovable company they’re known for being, these infected subjects have some special abilities… and joke dubs. This is more important than it seems. The whole franchise has never been a stranger to funny voices, and Resistance brings a colourful cast that isn’t limited to whimpering when they get chopped up. They actually have a lot of personality on display, eliciting Left 4 Dead and Outbreak comparisons.

Being a survivor in a coordinated team feels good. Being a survivor in a bad team doesn’t feel like you’re quite as boned as in other asymmetric titles. It’s possible to escape alone, although significantly harder.

In fact, it is more like Outbreak than most people would have thought. You have to tackle doors open, you have an ad lib system, and every character plays just a little different. While it is not a co-op campaign, and some of us are still hoping for a full Outbreak remake for real, it’s clearly a love letter to it, and to multiplayer. Cooperation is made easy and rewarding in many ways: sticking together makes you strong, you can break grabs for your teammates incurring in very little to 0 damage, and you can do things such as group heal and multiply credits. It is quite cleverly designed, being a fast, addictive, action-packed experience. So far, in the beta we have only been able to play the default four: Sam, the boxer who can punch things, Tyrone, the firefighter who can kick things very hard for a knock down, January the hacker and Valerie the researcher. Each of them has a starting loadout, with the girls packing guns and the guys packing sticks.

Stalling, damaging and infecting through certain attacks are your options to stop survivors from completing objectives. It’s easy to go back and forth between play styles to suit the moment.

This clearly differentiates how everyone plays and encourages covering for each other’s weaknesses from the second you walk into a match. Getting through the map requires you to solve puzzles on a schedule, as, if the timer goes to 0, you all die. Deaths and taking damage will reduce the timer further, so sadly, it is possible for one player to destroy an entire team, if they try hard enough. Luckily, most of the community is fairly nice and cooperative, at least so far.

If teamwork isn’t your thing, playing Mastermind might be. Masterminds are the natural conclusion of the asymmetric genre. Instead of being just one buff boy-killer, they are all the monsters on the field, the light switches, the doors, and the occasional mounted turret. He has quite a number of tricks up his sleeve. Controlled zombies are very powerful, although you can’t control every creature. The key to winning as a Mastermind is playing the right cards at the right time. Breaking up the enemy team to get some damage done is almost always rewarding in itself, but you can also infect them to try to break them down gradually. You get to play bosses, with a timer, to do some real damage. It’s all in the flow of the game and being unpredictable for the Mastermind.

Grabs deal a lot of damage and a bit of infection, but end with your zombie on the floor and can be broken. Tactical decisions are ever present.

Spawning twenty zombies in the survivor’s face will frequently end in them getting slapped down with a baseball bat and zero effort, but hiding them away in separate rooms to stonewall an objective and then playing Mr X so they’re trapped between two very deadly areas might just be what screws up coordination and sends the enemy team into insults and discord. It is more fun than Dead By Daylight, and also quite a bit deeper, while also dodging the Left 4 Dead problem of needing a very coordinated team to do anything even remotely flashy. A good Mastermind player is a real threat, even if the team he’s facing is good.

Graphics are quite pretty, with standout facial animations in particular. The animations are punchy and satisfying, with each hit actually looking like it’ll hurt, both on the human and the zombie side.

Grading system in traditional RE ranks. Scoring is reasonable and related to playing “well”.

Clearly Capcom’s design teams have learned from past experiences where a human-controlled zombie was just simple, easily stun-locked cannon fodder and now shots alone won’t stun them. With a promised sort of “campaign” mode for Resistance where you can learn how to play against bots before throwing yourself to the online wolves, satisfying victories, and that eternal feeling of “just one more game” being all over the thing, Resistance is worth trying out today, before it goes dark, and if you get Resident Evil 3, there’s no reason to not play a couple games.

Rating:

4 Stars

 

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