When Resident Evil Resistance was first announced it was far from the game that everyone was demanding. Such was the fervour and clamour for a remake of Nemesis that followed on from the superb reworking of Resident Evil 2 that anything else felt meaningless in comparison. Indeed, the hype train was going so fast than when Resistance's existence was first revealed, it was treated with a rather shocking amount of disdain.
When Capcom finally confirmed Nemesis was soon to be coming, Resistance almost slipped between the cracks, and it was only as we approached its release that it came back into the public consciousness. Roll forward a few months, and having played both this and Resident Evil 3, we've come to a couple of conclusions.
After some of us were left disappointed by the length of Resident Evil 3 and its inability to recreate the magic of the original, there is no doubt that Resistance was made to pad out the offering and add more value to the proposition. The other takeaway is more surprising: it's not as bad a game as you might think based on its raison d'etre. In fact, we had quite a lot of fun in this multiplayer outing.
As you may have noticed, we are reviewing this as a separate entity to RE3 - even though the two are bundled together, it still feels very much like its own thing. Ironically, it's probably detrimental to Nemesis that it was made to feel so separate because if it had been included in the base game's menus, it might have made RE3 feel a whole lot bigger. So, what is this bolted-on multiplayer addition that nobody asked for but that is surprisingly good? Let's take a closer look.
Using the same engine as RE3, it's a third-person over-the-shoulder 4vs1 multiplayer game. Graphically it looks as stunning as the main event. In fact, some of the areas we played in here are lifted straight out of the main game, while others, such as a police station, seemed to be designed just for Resistance. We're not going to spend too long telling you about the graphics or the audio, as these elements are mostly ripped out of the last couple of remakes (if you want to know about the audio-visual side of things, check out our other review).
There are currently six survivors to choose from (Jill's coming as an update later this month) and they boast a range of different skills. Becca is good with firearms, Valerie is a healer, while Samuel is adept at hand-to-hand combat. We liked January, who could hack cameras, and walking reference Martin Sandwich and his penchant for explosives. All of them have their own merits, and it's quite nice that you and three other online players can only choose four of the possible six, effectively meaning you might not have the character you need on the team.
It all comes down to cooperation. Each game is split into different areas, and you must work together to get through to the next part of the stage and the objectives held within. That might involve finding keycards to work terminals or locating the object you need to open a door. Completing simple puzzles in each stage to get through to the next area is very much the aim of the game, all while facing off the hordes of the undead, naturally.
One cavalier member of the team can be to the detriment of the collective's ability to survive. Remember when we said that it's 4vs1? That's because there are four survivors and one player taking the role of mastermind. The mastermind is an evil genius who uses traps and various enemies such as zombies and dogs to impede the progress of survivors. There are some familiar villains you can take charge of such as Annette Birkin, who, for example, can unleash William as a special character.
The mastermind watches the survivors through security cameras, kind of like the gameplay in Five Nights at Freddy's or the more recent Alien: Blackout. Your options in terms of the obstacles you can put into play are displayed like a hand of cards. You select what you want to play, for example, a floor zombie, and then position it in the spot where you think it's most likely to irritate and frustrate the survivors.
There is a range of different traps and zombies that you can deploy. You can have brutish fat zombies that will take a lot of hits to go down, attack dogs which are fast and difficult to defend against, or as we mentioned before, the crawling zombies that drag themselves across the floor to bite your ankles - you never see those bastards coming. Eventually, you'll be able to deploy your mastermind's special character, and you're able to take control of them directly if you want to inflict some damage directly.
One other thing we really liked about Resistance was the levelling system. Sure, it exists in other multiplayer games, but it serves this experience well. Your characters and villains can all be upgraded over time. Each character has a special skill, such as the gun-toting Becca who, with the press a button, has the chance of taking a more accurate shot. These skills are upgraded before the match, during the loadout screen where you can grab equipment and customise the look of your survivors (you can also buy equipment in-game with money that you pick up as you play).
And that's really the crux of it. Four players look to push through a series of objectives while another player does everything they can to stop them. However, what Resistance does with this rather simple format is execute it in an enjoyable way that adds a few extra hours of thematic fun to the otherwise fleeting experience offered by Resident Evil 3.
So, seeing as it's bundled in with Capcom's remade action-horror, you should definitely give Resistance a shot. We wouldn't recommend it as the main reason to buy the remake, but if you're on the fence as to whether or not you should invest in RE3, then this good-looking 4vs1 multiplayer offering might sway it for you. It should give you a few hours of fun, and it certainly expands the experience. All in all, if you bought Resident Evil 3 and are looking for more hours of zombie slaying, don't discount this addition. It might just surprise you.