Boss Rush Banter: What is the Most Divisive Resident Evil Title?

After reading the title I’m sure you, the reader, have already guessed which Resident Evil title I will be writing about. It may come as no surprise to Resident Evil fans that I think Resident Evil 6 is the most divisive title in the universe. 

Resident Evil 6 came out at the height of the “action game” renaissance, where titles like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, Killzone 3, and a slew of other big blockbuster action games began to hit the charts. The audience was telling the developers what they were looking for–big action, and Capcom attempted to deliver on what the fans wanted. 

After the release of Resident Evil 4, the developers were looking to try something new. The zombie genre grew stale at this point in time, and Resident Evil 6’s executive producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi knew this. In an interview with Playstation Blog, he said “I still think there is room for innovation with the zombie genre. We have to think about what we do next, but at the core of it, the zombie element is almost like its own genre now.” It was a drastic departure from the “survival-horror” roots of the previous titles to a more action focus with much of the game series’ survival aspects all but absent, most notably the shambling zombies. Destructoid’s Jim Sterling said, in their review of the game, it had “…abandoned any pretense of the survival-horror genre and embraced a world of skin-deep Hollywood audacity.”

The game was, of course, one of the series’ most poorly reviewed titles according to Metacritic. Fan’s didn’t much care for its Michael Bay-like blockbuster presentation. The game suffered a personality-disorder with three separate campaigns and three different play styles. Leon Kennedy and Helena Harper’s story delved more into the survival-horror genre, while Chris Redfield and Piers Nivans’ campaign focused more on a third-person action shooter style. The game’s story mostly centered around the son of Albert Wesker, Jake Mueller, being escorted by Sherry Birkin out of the fictional country of Edonia, to aid in the development of a vaccine for the C-Virus running rampant throughout the world. Their campaign was focused more on melee combat. 

Capcom wanted to deliver what they thought the fans wanted, and they tried to please everyone. In an interview with IGN, producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi wanted to “deliver the ultimate horror entertainment” title to its fans and bring the biggest gameplay experience the series has seen thus far. Resident Evil 6 was its biggest game at that point in the series’ lifespan, with a team of over 600 working on its development.

Fans, however, were divided over the poor story arc Chris Redfield was subjected to as well as the very linear nature of the campaigns as a whole. Admittedly, Resident Evil 5 was linear in nature as well; however, it still retained much of its’ survival-horror roots. While some loved the game for its “unhinged flaming rollercoaster ride,” others panned it for “being a step back for the series.” 

Resident Evil 6 tried to be too much for too many people and fit into a video game world loaded with shooters and action titles. In an attempt to bring a multitude of horror experiences to the game, Capcom pretty much shot themselves in the foot by trying to innovate the “zombie genre” too much. It lacked a singular direction and brought big blockbuster moments into a game series that didn’t need it–not to mention poor character development with a muddled cast of characters, especially Jake Mueller, who was initially slated to be a returning character in future titles. Even though some loved the game, many others hated it. Much to the joy of long-time fans, Resident Evil 7 brought the series back to its survival-horror roots. I’ve been a Resident Evil fan since the very first title for the PlayStation One, and even though 6 may not have been my favorite of the series, I still look fondly on it for trying something different, even if other fans probably don’t share the same feelings as I do. 

What do you think? Was there a particular Resident Evil title you thought was most divisive? Let us know in the comments, or head on over to our Discord and start a conversation!

Sources: Playstation Blog, Destructoid, Metacritic, IGN, Game Informer, Anime News Network

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