The story is simple – A mad scientist has decided to experiment on a group of infected individuals; hoping to learn more about the zombie mutation by killing them in various gruesome – yet intricate – ways. The survivor’s goal is to work together to outwit the mastermind in hopes of eventually escaping the deadly complex and finding the freedom they desperately seek. But is that freedom worth potentially contaminating the world?
In Resident Evil: Resistance, you can play as either a Survivor or a Mastermind, each offering its own unique style of gameplay.
As the mastermind, your goal is to invoke fear and deadly harm on the test subjects in hopes of provoking them to mutate. As a survivor, your goal is to somehow survive the onslaught of traps, creatures, and bioweapons thrown at your by the mastermind.
Each match begins with a five minute countdown which will either be increased or reduced based on how well you are playing. The survivor’s goal is to keep enough time on the counter to escape, while the Mastermind hopes to reduce the time to zero. Every time a survivor is hurt or bit they lose some of their time, but every kill made increases the time remaining. Completing a section adds 30 seconds per survivor who escapes, and accomplishing goals will add another 30 seconds or so. Time can swing back and forth rather quickly, with the tides turning fast if a group of survivors gets overrun with enemies.
The mastermind controls the chaos through cameras scattered throughout each section. Using the map, the mastermind can quickly switch between rooms to follow survivors and to give orders as to where enemies should be placed and traps should be set. Using skill cards, the mastermind can select what action to perform in a given room. You can place various forms of zombies, set traps, set up machine guns, inhabit enemies to chase survivors, and control bioweapons such as Tyrant.
As a survivor you must endure the experiment and unlock all areas of the facility before the countdown ends. Each character has a special skill to help accomplish the arena’s goals. One highlights nearby items of interest, one can kick in doors, one is good with their fists, one can hack cameras, one is a crack shot with a gun, while another can heal teammates. While there are more skills available, these are the defining characteristics at the outset of the game. Each skill is important to surviving the countdown and must be used strategically.
While playing as a Survivor, Umbrella credits can be found strewn throughout the maps and used to purchase more powerful weapons at boxes located at the beginning of each section and in various rooms in an area. You begin with nothing more than a stick, but can purchase heavy duty melee weapons such as sledgehammers and high powered shotguns as you progress.
Each completed match rewards the player with Result Points (RP) which can then be used to acquire equipment and cosmetic items from the shop to personalize or enhance your characters. RP can also be earned by completing daily missions, of which there are normally three. There are cosmetic and equipment chests available for purchase.
Cosmetic chests allow players to purchase a package which consists of a random cosmetic item, including survivor skins, creature skins, weapon skins, sprays, gestures for both survivors and zombies, and mastermind voice lines. You can also purchase an RP booster to increase the amount of RP received during a match, but there is no need to spend real money to obtain every item.
Equipment chests are divided between survivors and mastermind and come in low-tier, mid-tier, and high-tier equipment. Mid-tier and high-tier equipment opens at levels 10 and 20 respectively. Items earned are random, so it’s essentially a loot box system that does not require actual cash, but will require quite a grind to unlock everything.
There are six survivors to choose from: Valerie, January, Tyrone, Samuel, Martin, and Becca. Valerie specializes in support and is able to heal teammates; January specializes in damage and hacking; Tyrone is the tank of the group, great at brawling; Samuel specializes in damage and is also a brawler; Martin specializes in support and is able to lay traps; and Becca specializes in damage and is great with firearms.
Each character has a Fever Skill, a Personal Skill, and two Passive Skills. These can be switched out on the character selection screen before hopping into a match, although you are limited to only equipping as much as your equipment points will allow. Leveling up will unlock more equipment points and purchasing items from the shop will unlock better skills, but those will come with a much higher equipment cost. Customizing your character is a balancing act, but pays off once you tweak a Survivor to your preferred play style.
There are four playable masterminds, each with a unique bioweapon: Annette, who controls the G-Birkin; Daniel, who controls the Tyrant; Alex, who controls Yateveo; and Spencer, who controls D. Field. Only Annette is available at first, with the other masterminds unlocking once a player has reached rank 5.
Players can jump straight into the game or go through both a survivor and mastermind tutorial. Afterwards, players can try a practice mode to better learn the maps if they still aren’t comfortable with hopping straight into the game. Practice mode can be done as either the mastermind or a survivor.
When you’re ready to begin you can either create a custom match or hop into a quick match. When creating a custom match you can choose which mastermind you’ll play as. When choosing a quick match you can search by random, mastermind, survivor, or survivor team play.
Matches play out quickly, a tense game of cat and mouse where survivors are in a race against the clock to accomplish specific goals while the mastermind throws increasingly dangerous enemies in their path. For the Survivors, matches consist of multiple areas which you must traverse, normally accelerating in difficulty as you progress. What begins as a rather harmless match with few zombies often ends with survivors being pursued by an imposing bioweapon surrounded by zombies, dogs, and traps. It’s exhilarating when it works and both the mastermind and the Survivors are experienced.
As a Survivor, teamwork is the only way to survive. Players can help downed survivors and heal them and must work together for protection, especially when one player is tackling a goal. While you are free to wander off on your own this will most likely turn detrimental to your group. If you are downed your fellow teammates must find you, and if all goals have been accomplished then everyone must meet at the exit and if you are far away you could cause your team to lose or be attacked while waiting.
All the key elements of Resident Evil are present in Resistance. Green herbs still heal, while blue herbs can prevent infection which slowly drains a survivor’s health. Weapons, ammo, herbs, and more can be purchased at the start point of each match or by visiting crates scattered throughout. Umbrella credits are abundant and can be found scattered throughout levels or earned. Stocking up is essential; you do not want to run out of ammunition during a nasty encounter or when one of your teammates is counting on you.
The problems with Resident Evil’s inventory management being present in Resistance is that it was made for a single player, slow moving experience – not a fast-paced multiplayer game. Sorting inventory is cumbersome, especially while being attacked and having to bring up a full screen map is essentially useless as it leaves players open to attack. Even key items, such as key cards, cannot be picked up if your inventory is full – forcing players to swap items and sort inventory while being ganged up on by enemies at the same time.
Unfortunately, there are some other issues. Lag is common, which severely effects playability as enemies will bounce around and survivors will be downed without even realizing an enemy was near. Matchmaking is hit and miss, I rarely got into a match on my first try and many times matchmaking seemed to stop at 4 out of 5 players joining and sit, forcing players to back out and retry. This happened to me more than it didn’t, so hopefully Capcom will patch this.
Network issues aside, Resistance would benefit from more maps and more varied goals. Right now there are four maps and each map has three sections. The first section always has players searching for items to unlock a door; the second section involves downing a zombie with a key card and then unlocking three areas with that keycard; while the third section features survivors needing to break bio cores open. While these are all fun, it can get repetitive repeating the same scenarios in the same areas.
For what it is, Resident Evil: Resistance is surprisingly fun and has great promise. I hope Capcom continues to support Resistance, adding new maps, new goals, and improving the lag and poor matchmaking. When these issues are ironed out Capcom may have a hit on their hands.
Resident Evil: Resistance is available now and is include with Resident Evil 3. Special thanks to Capcom for providing Fan Fest News with a review copy.