What Are You Playing?

RaffoBaffo

Ex-Newser of the late Berserk Chronicles
10/10, best RE8 line of dialogue.

mpv-shot0001.jpg
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
I just finished RE8 and it's ending actually wasn't as bad as I would have thought, given the tonal oddities throughout the game (horror? action? camp? YES!). The actual plot aside, which is of course total rubbish save for some universal family sentiment (when your most affecting scene is a cartoon fairy tale, it's a sign the rest of your drama doesn't cut it), BUT, I was actually won over by the overall monster mash nature of it. You essentially have the classic Universal Horror monsters represented plus just about every other horror convention since to some degree; evil possessed dolls, zombies, giants, cannibals, and of course the dreaded black goo, all under the same... Umbrella. :badbone: Basically, once it becomes clear Heisenberg is essentially Victor Frankenstein it all fell into place for me, even if they had to break a lot of eggs and make a big mess to get there.

Also, the first thing I thought after that puppet video was posted in the thread, and then when we see the "four lords" together with Mother Miranda in the game, is these guys are the generic, dollar store brand God Hand! They each even have individual superficial analogs: Mother Miranda = Void, Heisenberg = Femto, Dimitrescu = Slan, Beneviento = Ubik, Moreau = Conrad. The other comparison I see is a really easy FPS Bloodborne (started Village of Shadows difficulty... so nevermind easy). The lycans are basically villagers from that game, the gothic castle fits right in, and the Moreau setting is a complete ripoff of the Fishing Hamlet, just with no enemies or anything interesting to do. I'm really bitter we didn't get fish-themed zombies to compliment the lycans and blood-starved chicks.

Otherwise, I have no counter for those complaining about the plot, characters and tone, you're right about it all and I agree, but... who cares? It's not that kind of game. If you're worried about continuity with one-liners in this series, you played yourself. That infamous line might be the best one in the game, for better or worse. Endure The Last of Us Part 2 if you want a game that never stops taking itself seriously, because this ain't chasing some faux-Oscar bait game story award: it's gourmet junk food. That's my RE8 story defense, or more like evasion; it's the game series where everything's made up and the points don't matter. So, don't worry about it, judge it by the monsters and gameplay, which was fun and addictive and for which I'm looking forward to more in Village of Shadows (got past the initial onslaught). By that standard, it's not the best Resident Evil, but overall it's not one of the bad ones either, I'd put it just above or below VII depending on your tastes or mood.

So, the ending has a teaser about the BSAA going rogue and Chris wanting payback ala the end of CV, and then a flashforward like 15+ years later... so, I guess they took care of the BSAA? What was the point of that though? All this series needs is multiple fucking timelines, but if it's like CV it'll also go nowhere. Maybe the post-credits was the fastest retcon/reboot in history. Also, if Ethan was dead/undead the whole time and could just straight up come back to life from getting his heart ripped out, without even having it put back... how do we die in-game? =) You should always get to come back eventually! They should have made the save locations benches, like FF7R, where you always reawaken after you "die."

Resident Ranks:

RE2
RE2make
RE4
REmake
RE1
RE7
RE8
RE3
RECV
RERev
RE0
RE6
RE5
RE3make

Anyway, here's a more pointed and point by point review based on my convos with Aaz while playing (if you want to read me shitting on it in a semi-haphazard manner):

Parts of the early and lots of mid-game are certainly underwhelming, thus my response earlier in the thread to Walter calling the title dumb being that the game itself is dumb as well. Now, that was when I was at a low point of frustration with it and my expectations, but also just before the floodgates of typical RE goodness opened so I was in a much better place after that and fighting the first big boss. My hope was that it'd eventually win me over with a quantity of cool shit despite some of the inherent tonal awkwardness. Like Ethan and the bad guys act like they're from different games or something; we need RE4 Leon quipping here! =) His lines are the lamest, honestly. It's only cool in how realistically he's just a big dull clod that's going to kill all these monsters because he's more of a dumb beast than they are. By the end they should be scared of him like the Doom Slayer, "He is the village's prophesied one; the ultimate Resident of Evil!"

Otherwise, that random girl he just met and her father disappearing into a fire (that's literally 10 feet down where the ground, truck and stairs are; where'd they go? =) was his breaking point, not being gangbanged by an army of wolfmen that stick a pickaxe in his head, which is barely a blip. 10 seconds later he says to the obvious evil witch, "Hey you shouldn't be out here." Yeah, it's a bad neighborhood! He also just saw his wife blown away in front of him, got kidnapped and his daughter is missing and possibly dead, but yeah... despite being all concerned about bad memories at the beginning he's the most physically and mentally blunt person in existence. Not even an, "oh man" when half his hand is off. And if he knows he can pop a whole hand back on I'd be fishing those digits out of that lycan's mouth and body by any means necessary, whereas he treats it like change he dropped in the sewer! I honestly half expected new fingers to spring out when he looked at his hand.

Yeah, it's not great characterization, same with most of his obligatory persistence about his daughter. I kind of get it though, because you're not going to have him gutted, ugly-crying/hyper-ventilating at the apparent destruction of his life/family from a first person view; it's always kind of the more objectively reasonable but relatively muted response of an outside observer, like, "Hey, what the Hell!?" because of course that's what we are. It's actually always kind of uncanny valley when they go too big because... I don't feel the same way. More like, "Go ahead, kidnap my fake family I was just introduced to in that tepid segment 5 minutes ago." =)

Given the setup, I was really worried about the ending, like it would be that it's all happening in some ethereal meta sense coming from Rose's monster-god mind as a defense mechanism based on her bedtime story and triggered by her kidnapping. I mean, they played around with how much to believe of what you're seeing in the last game, so my fear was they take that all the way with Ethan being trapped in Rose's bio-hallucinated world. They could've combined it with the "she was really the old lady the whole time" trick again (which, they did with Miranda!). Thankfully they managed to clear that low bar.

Until the factory everything seems like filler or short shrift compared to the castle (and then they don't let you return to the best area in the game!). It's like this was designed in individual episodes ala RE Revelations 2, the first being the most impressive so you spring for the BS doll and mediocre fish episodes. The genuinely horrible monster baby aside, neither of the two subsequent segments lives up to the castle, which was already kind of basic if it wasn't merely the opening salvo. Speaking of the castle though, it was really strange to needlessly recycle the RE7 bugs with the big lady's daughters (right down to the fucking Ethan animations). I guess it's fine since the point is this is all supposedly related somehow, but it made it seem like a retread even though they don't even work the same gameplay-wise. It seems almost like they forced that connection when they should have just been made of pure blood particles or something given their theme, how they worked and were defeated. A head-scratching choice.

Compared to the castle the doll house feels like an interactive cutscene and, after Alien: Isolation in VR, running and hiding a couple times was nothing. The fish thing might be even worse, like they could have been any game and the boss fight was completely generic as well, just crawling around letting you shotgun him to the face. Compare it to the catfish, or pretty much any boss, from RE4 and it's no contest, even the Baker fights in RE7 were each more novel, whereas these all just feel like rehashes of him in his transformed state. And yeah, the problem with riffing on RE4 is you raise expectations impossibly and just make yourself look bad by comparison. It's not like RE7 is better than RE4 either (the first half drops all the baggage and just has you focused on a very simple yet terrifying scenario, but of course that continually digresses until by the end you literally have Chris helicoptering in working for Umbrella now lol), but it has its own identity and strengths, different things it actually does better.

This just feels like a more generic RE4, everything reminds you of something from it but not quite as impressive, which looks even worse for being the second go-around. It does have some cool Doom-like potential though when you're just running wild in the stronghold or factory, which were pretty cool, though I hate endless monster segments when I don't realize they're endless. I literally cut my handgun bullets in half before that to make inventory room and was almost full again by the end, "Somehow I gained back ammo fighting all those lycans!?" The hardest part about Standard difficulty is inventory management, which actually carries some RE4 nostalgia though as I literally rotate things to make them fit (all they need is eggs =), along with the merchant, "What're ya buying? Jk lol."

He might actually be the best character in the game, but he's also tied to a big complaint, which is the way the food/cooking system is introduced is objectively awful design. It happens to everyone apparently that they sell off the food they find before the option is made available. Fortunately for me I only sold like two regular meats, because that shit clogs your inventory too. Finding food should trigger the cooking option, not some random event in the village I don't even remember. And the game doesn't even tell you to hunt, The Duke should mention it and have the option available the first time you meet him! It's such a weirdly handled mechanic, just seems completely tacked on to be more "open world" or something.

On that note, I don't understand why you can't go back to the castle, it's not like you destroyed everything besides the tower, and it would be nice to just check it out and kill shit to clear your inventory. I was waiting for Ethan to go back and get that ancient demon defeating dagger he fucking dropped! Maybe that's why they stop you, and it also taught me I better finish all my shit in a completed area before going back to town because you never know which door or elevator will randomly stop working once you exit through it.

It shows how superficial any of the "open world" gestures are because clearly the RE producers don't get it and aren't interested in it. And that's fine, the series has always been that way, timing, circumstance and opportunity counts, but then don't pretend this is something it's not. This is a completely linear game that's essentially on rails. The crazy thing is because of the nature of the doll scenario, they could have easily made it so you could choose to do it at any point before or after the fish and the stronghold. They actually designed it to be evergreen and then blocked you from doing anything else with a stupid key requirement when it would have made no difference. I actually thought you could choose to do either at first because of how the Duke marked them on your map simultaneously and I chose the doll, but then I realized you need that dumb fetus key for the fish guy so it was just point A to B to C the whole time.

Anyway, for all my bitching, I will say it's worth playing for the gameplay despite the story not amounting to much but some manufactured drama and what amounts to, for the better, a big monster mashup. It's not bad, it's just not great, but I do enjoy running around shooting and looting shit.
 
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You misunderstood my complaint. I’m not looking for an oscar-worthy story at all or even a serious story. My complaint is that they didn’t take the game’s world seriously, like literally every main RE title has, or they couldn’t be bothered to give them depth, lore/flavor-wise.*

Let me use RE6 as an example. Leon’s campaign aside, RE6 is a pure action game. The enemies are just cannon fodder and literally designed solely to make the action as fun as possible for the player. The story is just there to give a superficial justification for the dumb, fun action. But here’s the thing: If you played the game, collected all the files, and read up on the lore the game provides you, you’d know everything about the C-Virus. Why does the virus turn some people into monsters and others into zombies? They answer it. Why does that monster act or look that way? They answer it. How was the C-Virus created? They answer it. In the one RE game where providing detailed lore matters the least (and no one would complain), they go out of their way to explain things with their pseudoscience anyways. Every single RE does it, except when it comes to Wesker (the worst part of the series, imo).

I’ve collected all the files in RE8. What little information there is only answers the most superficial questions, none of which really explain anything about the creatures or how they operate, with one strange exception where they actually fleshed out a particular group of bosses and their leader. The answer to nearly everything that wasn’t already explained in RE7 (they thankfully were faithful to those mechanics) is “it’s magic, I ain’t gotta explain shit.”

And look, I get it. If I were cool I wouldn’t care about a fleshed out world, and my complaints are stupid, and I’m not doing anything right, and the RE series was never anything more than flashing lights and sounds and stream-of-conscious writing. But RE adding fat to its simple stories with a thought out world is a huge reason why I love the series. I don’t love RE4 because Leon rescuing the President’s daughter is an awesome story. I love it because the Plagas look cool, have awesome in-game mechanics, the writers fleshed out every little detail of how they work so my imagination ran wild, and the progression of the game reflects both the progression of the Plagas in its host and reveals a big part of Sadler’s system of control.

It’s not just the creatures either. It permeates everything in RE8. After
the shit hits the fan at Louiza’s (sp?) house and you chase after Miranda through the field, you hear a church bell ring. Why? Because RE4 did it, and RE4 is awesome. But RE4 is awesome because the church bell ringing meant something more than a cool sound effect.

*It appears there’s more flavor in the Japanese version which the English translators just decided to leave out for no reason. So my criticisms might be misguided due to an exceptionally shitty job done by the translators, which is likely IMO. It’s weird that the RE team would put so much thought and effort into every other aspect of the game just to drop the ball like that. Also, I felt like some cutscenes played out like they assumed we knew things we were never told.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
I've finished the game as well, and it's interesting to see the reactions in this thread. I think it speaks to the strange thrall in which this series holds a lot of its fans. Kind of like the mold! :ganishka: I guess I'll start my "review" with the story then.

RE8's story is terrible. The dialogue is awful, the characters are laughable even though they're expected to be stereotypes, and not much of it makes any sense. Now, it's no real surprise, since coherent storylines were never this series' strength. These games are built gameplay first, levels second, and the very last thing they fashion together is a storyline to connect everything together in a somewhat cohesive manner.

But still, the first three games tried to keep things coherent to some extent. Learning backstories through files that were strewn about was novel and you could get a real sense for what went down that way because there were many files and they really fleshed things out. Of course as we all know, Code Veronica ruined the series by resurrecting Wesker and introducing more ridiculous elements like Alexia's queen ant/fire blood powers. It started things down this godforsaken path of "yeah we can do anything and explain it away with a couple cutscenes and some 'secret documents'".

To be fair, all of the games have done it to some extent, but I think it's gotten too silly. I guess we should talk about RE4, since it's very clearly what this game took inspiration from. It was meant to be an independent title and was only retrofitted into the RE series. I distinctly remember how I felt at the time: "this would be one of the best games of all time if only the story wasn't so terrible". Things did not get better since, and I certainly expected no miracle with RE8, but was still disappointed.

I guess in that sense I agree with @Sushi Fish: we're in 2021 and there's only so much laziness I can put up with. The bad acting (from Ethan, Mia, Chris, Miranda... most characters really) is embarrassing and feels straight out of a third rate soap opera. As a result I really couldn't get emotionally involved at all. And it doesn't help that it's all super cliché. Sorry @Draculoid, it really didn't do it for me. Ethan wondering what's going on in the village for 2 hours while he's introduced as being still haunted by Louisana... The death falling in a fire one meter below and disappearing in Luiza's house had me roll my eyes... Not to mention Ethan's reaction then, even though the guy barely reacted to seeing his wife killed in front of him. Even Heisenberg's line about Chris didn't amuse me all that much, especially in the midst of the boss fight.

Now about the story itself. I'll start by saying that RE7's story had gaping holes, one of which is the fact Mia was a "The Connections" operative, trained in firearms use and in charge of handling their foremost bioweapon. She did this while telling her husband she was "babysitting". And somehow, after the events of RE7, Ethan and her remained together and had a child. Even though both were contamined by the mold (something never explicitly said about Ethan if I remember correctly, even though it was the only thing that made sense). I remember playing RE7 that I expected him to need to immunize himself against it, but it never came up right?

Oh well, who cares since he killed Eveline in the end, so he was rid of her power. Or not! Somehow she still kept him alive (why?) but let him die at the end of RE8 (why?). And yeah, like Griffith said, having you die for good in the game just won't do if you're immortal in cutscenes (which happens repeatedly, I mean Lady D runs him through with her claws, he falls from a hundred meters a few times...). These kinds of inconsistencies are, once again, super lazy and therefore irritaring. The worst part is that it's not such a bad idea, but they clearly didn't care very much about its implementation.

Overall, the explanations for what's going on are beyond perfunctory. Again, nothing new: they already were in RE4 and every game afterwards. Eveline's powers were already basically magic in RE7. But it's gotten to a point where it's almost insulting. The reveal that the zombies and monsters were bioweapons was awesome in RE1. Then it was expected in RE2. It's been 25 years now, so they need to make more of an effort. I wish they'd still at least pretend that telling 99% of the backstory through a few text files isn't simply a cost-saving measure to avoid making cutscenes. The connection to Spencer and Umbrella felt super lazy and cheap too. Unnecessary in all regards except to please fans of trivia.

Like @Griffith said, at the core this game is really just a monster mash with the vampires, werewolves, lake monster and evil puppeeter. All overseen by the witch in the woods. Clearly the only reason it bears the Bio Hazard/Resident Evil title is because of brand recognition, but I wish Capcom had the balls to just say they're moving on and have you straight up fight evil magicians. Why not? I'd rather have it straight than be forced to endure contrived "connections". Let it be like Final Fantasy.

What else to say... Chris' actions don't make sense. It's only done that way to induce confusion so the player is on edge, but it's not very effective. Any player will suspect from the beginning that things aren't what they seem. It's all just there to justify why the player is going through the motions he has to go through. Might as well just have had Miranda show up and take the baby away. Mia being locked in a cage, but alive, is again super lazy. They needed her removed from the story for the duration of the game and then return her intact, so that's what they cooked up.

Miranda's plan sucks. It's literally a hundred year long plan and it didn't work at all. Like, she just thought it would I guess? But she had no proof it would, and it didn't. Lol. Maybe Rose was "too strong" or whatever, but who cares? All it does is show you the MacGuffin was a bonafide MacGuffin, lest you'd forgotten. Why even bother with the "four parts" stuff? Just have the baby prisoner in a crib. I guess it's to have a reference to RE7, but it's still very perplexing. Did they chop up a living baby, stuff it in jars, then reassemble it using magic mold? A lot of extra steps for the same result.

Anyway, all it shows is that even without Ethan's and Chris' involvement, Miranda would have failed. Shit maybe the baby would have killed her, who knows how strong that thing is. Speaking of useless, why did Miranda need Ethan to kill the "four lords"? Another thing that seemed to serve no purpose, except to explain why she kills him at the end and not at the beginning. And if she wanted to kill them, couldn't she do it herself? She made them and kept them alive over the years. Another artificial contrivance.

Speaking of, that BSAA shit was... wow. What is even the point of this. It's like making Umbrella a new and good organization in RE7, it feels (again) like something done only to please trivia fans who try to piece together some complex super secret scheme when it's all really just a big joke. And at the end Chris is like "someone has to pay"... But pay for what? For using zombie soldiers and getting blown out of the sky? They didn't seem to achieve anything, nor did they disrupt Chris' operation. They had nothing to do with Ethan's death or Miranda's plans. In fact it's Chris who conveniently had Ethan and Mia relocate to fucking Transylvania so they'd be "protected"... Which just so happens to be the place where the mold originated. Good fucking job, Redfield.

Now about that ending, or rather post-ending scene, because the ending itself is again just pure soap opera bad acting from all parties involved (Mia, Chris...). The time skip, I mean... Why not. It implies the next game will have you play as an actual superpowered character, which has its allure (since the story of the father is over, it implies now that of the daughter begins). I had a hundred ideas of how this game could have been done better while playing, one of which would have been for Ethan to go full mold on the bad guys at some point. "I'll show you TRUE power."

Shit, they could even have thrown a Tyrant in there somewhere (from the BSAA!) just to have a little sparring contest. Just imagine: the Lycans are running amok, overwhelming Chris' team, but an old school RE1 Tyrant just starts mowing them down by the dozen. Then have Chris do a little quip, anything from "I'd forgotten how strong that thing is" to "Someone throw me a goddamn rocket launcher here!" Now this is the kind of fan service I would want. Not some allusion to Spencer once visiting the village (and leaving alive and unmolded for no reason whatsoever). So yeah, playing as a sorta bioweapon could be fun... but maybe not if you're a teenage girl. Which means Rose won't be playable I guess? Who the hell knows (not Capcom, that's for sure).

BTW, what a mess that cemetary scene was. Special agent Grade A. Dispshit insults Rose with what's probably the most offensive thing he could say, right? Then she gets rightly pissed, and immediately he gets a "target locked, I could shoot" messaged from his earpiece and goes "I'll handle it, she's just a kid!". But... he came to get her because of an emergency they need her help with. So let's see: he provokes her for no reason while she's visiting her father's grave, but then scoffs that he can handle her (clearly not, he's an asshole), more importantly they need her and she's super powerful, but some sniper's offering to "take her down" like it's nothing, even though she's on their side. What a fucking mess. Oh and that mysterious figure walking in the distance! Who could it be? 100% guaranteed the devs don't know themselves, it's just some thread they're leaving and that they might use... or not.

Ah, a word about the Duke. He's alright. I didn't mind him. But he's also clearly just a copy of RE4's merchant with less charm to him. Well I'm gonna go ahead and say they should have just brought RE4's merchant back. Why the fuck not? He would have fit in perfectly. I'd have preferred that. Better than Ethan going "what are you Duke?" and him answering "I even don't know myself!" Like, wow. Why not just say "I'm the merchant character, of course! This is a videogame Ethan." Not to mention of course that the places where Duke shows up make no sense. He's right there in front of the castle, but then is also into a room inside 5 minutes later. How did he enter that room? Then he appears in other random places that should be inaccessible to him. Same as for the rest: Capcom simply didn't care to come up with something coherent and believable.

Alright, so I've written what feels like a novel about the story, which leaves me really not eager to write more about the gameplay, but I'll make an effort for you guys (I'm assuming at least three people will endure this slog :guts:). I play most games in "Hard" just to have a challenge. So I did here, but the opening sequence was so frustrating that I restarted in Standard. And of course, only to realize that first big battle has a no-win condition where you just need to trigger the cutscene with the big guy. Annoying. Frankly one of the worst openings I can remember. At least playing in Standard made the rest of the game more fun, where I just ran and gunned everything down with abandon.

Generally speaking, I also found the titular "village" pretty meh. Graphics-wise, it's very pretty and feels distinctly Romanian. But as far as the level design goes, RE4's was better. And the Ganados were great; they had character. They spoke Spanish, they were clever and felt more human than zombies, and their village felt truly open. Here it's mostly an illusion, and I mean it was an illusion then too, but the threads show more this time. Someone mentioned the bell: agreed, it's dumb. So is Miranda killing the old dude, then his body not being there, as well as Ethan seeing this obviously foreboding evil entity and going "hey watch out, it ain't safe out there!" I don't enjoy playing complete morons. Then again, this is the same guy who reattached his hand after getting it sliced off clean and didn't even comment on it. Just emptied some antiseptic. I mean in RE7 you assumed it was the mold that allowed him to do that, and I get that it's still the case here, but at least have him react or comment or something.

The castle itself is nice and felt the most RE-like section of the game. Doors! Keys! Nonsensical puzzles! Dimitriescu is a great villainness, even though she's a reskinned Mr X. The three daughters felt recycled from RE7 and were fine but not very memorable. Dimitriescu's final transformation was also lackluster for me. Same for Moreau and Heisenberg. I feel like villains in this series haven't had much personally since after RE4. Although maybe their models are amazing, and it's just that the game doesn't give you enough time to see them up close. That's what cinematics should be used for!

Anyway, locking you out of whole zones after you're done with them, even though they could still technically be accessible, was annoying. Same with telling me to take my fish to the Duke, but without unlocking the cooking menu, so that I sold them (and couldn't buy them back). Moving on. The dollmaker's place was alright. It and Moreau's segment felt like quickly made palate cleansers to sandwich the village/castle and stronghold/factory. I'd have liked them to be fleshed out some more. I did like the monstrous baby, even though yeah, it's not much of a challenge. Still probably the most adrenaline this game gave me. At least it was memorable.

The enemies generally felt all alike. It's not as bad as the black goo zombies from RE7, but you get the hairy zombies (Lycans), the plain zombies with swords (ghouls or whatever), and the cyber-zombies (who are just plain zombies but with visors). They all share the same or very similar animations. The turbocharged ones from the factory added some challenge but their character design just didn't wow me. I miss when we had Hunters, Lickers, even giant spiders and such. Going back to RE4, it had various stages of Ganados (villagers, cultists, gun-toting), plus the insects, the regenerators, etc.

All in all, RE8 was fun enough of course. I can't say that I had a bad time playing the game. But my strongest feeling coming out of it is wanting to play RE4's VR port when it comes out this summer. The first person perspective was cool in RE7 mostly because of the opening segment, when Jack is stalking you through the house. In this game, I'm not sure it brought much to the table versus TPS. At least in VR, the motion controllers make for truly novel gameplay, plus you're actually immersed in the world. And of course, RE4 is a vastly superior game, despite being much older. =)
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
And look, I get it. If I were cool I wouldn’t care about a fleshed out world, and my complaints are stupid, and I’m not doing anything right, and the RE series was never anything more than flashing lights and sounds and stream-of-conscious writing. But RE adding fat to its simple stories with a thought out world is a huge reason why I love the series.

Now don't misunderstand, you're cooler and doing things right by recognizing this plot is real bad. I'm just saying we need not all suffer waiting for Resident Evil to get it's story straighted out, and especially don't let it bring you down when it inevitably doesn't.

I don’t love RE4 because Leon rescuing the President’s daughter is an awesome story. I love it because the Plagas look cool, have awesome in-game mechanics, the writers fleshed out every little detail of how they work so my imagination ran wild, and the progression of the game reflects both the progression of the Plagas in its host and reveals a big part of Sadler’s system of control.

You bring up the perfect duality of modern Resident Evil "storytelling," the on paper plot versus the in-game story progression that you actually play. The plot of RE4 might be the worst of the worst on paper with all the nonsense about Leon being some super agent there to rescue the President's daughter from an evil monster cult led by the silliest fucking dorks. But the in-game progression, going from the village, which somehow feels much bigger than this one and enough to be like a whole game, to the castle(s!), to the more industrial areas and caves then back again to confront Saddler is still the very best in the series. It's an EPIC, it's the RE equivalent of The fucking Odyssey.

Now, this one's not even great in that regard, the opening attack is kinda trash like Aaz says, the castle is shorter than one might think, and the rest of the segments until the factory are even briefer, so they did themselves no favors inviting that comparison and the expectations that come with it.

Yet, combined with the gameplay the experience transcends the sum of its parts for me because of how they managed to put all these classic monster archetypes together in a semi-cohesive package that's just different and amorphous enough that it's not just cheesily having the iconic incarnations of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman team up. That's where the ingenuity, as it were, lies and what I appreciate about it and what actually exceeded my expectations, or pleasantly surprised me let's say. It's also what we spend most of the game actively engaged in, not the bad Winters family plot, which is the real window dressing and merely serves as misdirection despite ostensibly being the point. Again, that's not a good thing, but I like the taste of the omelette in the end despite all the egg that puts on my face.

I completely understand everyone's mileage varying wildly on how much the monster mash works or matters to you, but I do think we're doing something wrong when the majority of our reviews are concerning the plot of a modern RE game instead of the gameplay, aesthetics and fun factor (which I concede can be hampered by bad plot, just as the big lady being cool enhances the experience with her). I mean, sharp storytelling is just not why I'm playing this or what I enjoy about it, as much as I might have wanted to have that too of course.

I've finished the game as well, and it's interesting to see the reactions in this thread. I think it speaks to the strange thrall in which this series holds a lot of its fans. Kind of like the mold! :ganishka:

I am admittedly totally indoctrinated. I think I've been completely replaced by a mold monster at this point.

Also, full disclosure, since my actual daughter's name is Rose, it made me ten times more inclined to overlook all the rest of the plot's bullshit and just enjoy them fighting over "my daughter, Rose!" See, now if you would all just name your children after character's in the game it would be far more relatable. =)

Like @Griffith said, this is really just a monster mash with the vampires, werewolves, lake monster and the evil puppeeter. All overseen by the witch in the woods. Clearly the only reason it bears the Bio Hazard/Resident Evil title is because of brand recognition, but I wish Capcom had the balls to just say they're moving on and have you straight up fight evil magicians. Why not? I'd rather have that. Let it be like Final Fantasy.

And in that vein just make it a true anthology already! The worst part of every game now is when they inevitably shoehorn in Chris, the BSAA and Umbrella and try to tie the completely separate events of the current game into a larger narrative and retroactively give it some prominent position in the origins of the series too. Really, if Chris and all that shit were cut out and it was just Ethan going to get his daughter it probably would have been fine like RE7 was for simply trapping you in a madhouse before they similarly mucked everything up with shitty series lore.

At least playing in Standard made the rest of the game more fun, where I just ran and gunned everything down with abandon.
All in all, RE8 was fun enough of course. I can't say that I had a bad time playing the game.

This is my main takeaway since I won't be playing the RE4 VR port this summer. =) I really enjoyed RE8's gameplay, and the setting, aesthetics and visual storytelling were compelling enough to keep me engaged and coming back for more in NG+ Village of Shadows, which will hopefully make the gameplay even more preeminent (and truly like FPS Bloodborne) over the rest of this shit not worth mentioning (one last bitch: why did they make Heisenberg sound like a Jared Leto impersonator?).

Gotta go save my daughter, Rose! :guts:
 
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Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
And in that vein just make it a true anthology already! The worst part of every game now is when they inevitably shoehorn in Chris, the BSAA and Umbrella and try to tie the completely separate events of the current game into a larger narrative and retroactively give it some prominent position in the origins of the series too. Really, if Chris and all that shit were cut out and it was just Ethan going to get his daughter it probably would have been fine like RE7 was for simply trapping you in a madhouse before they similarly mucked everything up with shitty series lore.

Yep. I think this is what's most frustrating to long-time fans, especially since they don't actually care about the lore at all. I remember when I started Resident Evil 4 and I learned the Plagas were parasites. I immediately thought "Ohhh that's going to be tied to how Umbrella Europe created Nemesis!" But no. :ganishka: Different, unrelated thing. Never mentioned once. That's when it dawned on me that the writers weren't just incompetent but rather did not care at all. So I wish they'd end this charade already. Then they could have us fight actual monsters, ghosts, werewolves, mummies, aliens, anything they want.

By the way, one of the things that occurred to me while playing is how easily this game could be modded into a kind of bastardized Berserk campaign that'd last a few hours. Nothing that would make sense, just a fun thing that'd be more entertaining than say, the Musou game. The main difficulty would be switching to a third person view (and creating a full Guts model based on the Chris one). But the enemies and locations are mostly fine. Just demodernize the village a little bit, you can reuse the castle and stronghold as is. The Lycans can be possessed people, the more "undead-like" zombies can stay as they are, the flying gargoyles too (who cares). The daughters/cloud of insects can be retrofitted into specters who flying around and try to possess you. The giant undeads and werewolves can be minibosses. Maybe make an ogre model if you're feeling fancy. Just throw dozens of enemies at the player all the time and have Guts mow them down (1 strike = 1 kill). Easy entertainment. :guts:

Dimitrescu & Moreau can be turned into apostles, since that's essentially what they already are. Just redub their dialog, add some steam while they transform, and maybe reskin Dimitrescu's human form a bit. Heisenberg is trickier. Might not be usable. Miranda can basically be reused without modification, though I guess she lacks a real transformation at the end. The dollhouse can't stay, however the monstrous baby could be reused as is for a dream sequence that emulates the one from volume 1, when Guts is preyed upon by an Incubus while sleeping in the carriage. Have him run naked in a labyrinth, pursued by the giant malformed baby, while a giant eye watches overhead.

You could also reuse assets from RE7. Have the mold zombies be mudmen, and Eveline's final monster form be a mega-specter mass like during the Incarnation ceremony. That can be another boss. And to tie this all together (if it even needs to be), just make it some scenario where Guts is looking for Casca as the Black Swordsman. No explanation given, he just arrives at the village, feels in his brand that trouble's afoot (a werewolf tries to sneak attack but gets dispatched), and just start destroying everything. The Demon Child and/or Puck can be used as leads to trigger progress. "Over here, you must hurry!" Simple, effective stuff. He's got the Dragon Slayer, his bowgun, throwing knives to interrupt attacks, Rickert's bombs and his cannon. The iron arm is used to punch enemies when defending from melee attacks. Elf dust is used for healing. Add Falcon of Light imagery in the environment, and maybe even have a solar eclipse start progressing overhead midway through or something.

This is all stuff I daydreamed about while zoning out during the "emotional scenes" of the game. None of it's going to happen but I figure it'd be fun to share.
 
I really enjoyed RE8, despite its many problems. It’s easily in my top 5 REs in terms of entertainment value. Here are my thoughts on it:

(By the way, I played RE7 only once, back in 2017, and pretty much remember nothing about it except being chased by Papa Baker while being called a motherfucker or something. So if that game covers/answers some of the points below, please ignore them).

I had a few things to say about the plot, but Aaz has already covered these points in his excellent post, so I’ve not much to add. But I agree more with the sentiment that we don’t go to RE for great plotting, so this train-wreck of a plot didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much.

The atmosphere and environments are what sells this game for me. Not counting the village itself, which was bland and boring (and kind of ugly to be honest, even PS5 graphics didn’t help), the individuals environments (Castle Dimitrescu, House Beneviento, Heisenberg’s Factory) were really well done. The exception is the Moreau segment, which was easily the weakest part of the game in terms of, well, nearly everything. I only wish they weren’t locked out after you were done with them. Especially the castle. It would have been nice to go back and explore it without being hounded by Lady D and her daughters. I don’t understand the rationale behind locking them out, especially when the way back into these areas remains intact (that stupid drawbridge will forever haunt me).

Castle Dimitrescu was really well done. It’s structure and interconnected-ness reminded me of FromSoft’s level design, which is as good a compliment a level could get. I loved the aesthetics, the variety within the castle itself, and the overall mood. Lady Dimitrescu is easily the best villain in the game (not saying much, I know). She may be a talking Mr. X with tits, but the idea of an unscripted monster hunting you around hadn’t lost its appeal to me. I enjoyed it in RE2make, and I enjoyed it here. Lady D herself was well acted, especially the parts when she grieves for her daughters. It really hits home that you have pissed off this monster that will stop at nothing to get back at you. It made it personal. It gave her a dimension Mr. X lacked, if the comparison is appropriate.

I will disagree with the statement that the Castle is the best part of the game, though. For me, the highlight of the game was House Beneviento. That part got under my skin like nothing else in the game. That monster baby was just fucked up and the person who came up with it needs help. I also liked it’s different approach, as in you needed to get though it by means other than shooting yet another messed up looking bullet-sponge in the face. I will agree that they could have fleshed out this section more; it was over too soon.

The Moreau section was just…meh to be honest. I liked his character, but that’s about it. His chapter was nowhere as good as the others, unfortunately.

I enjoyed Heisenberg’s factory. Helicopter-face was a fun boss fight (despite the possibility that he was plagiarized, if you’d read up on the latest RE8 news). The factory was basically where you got to unload all that ammo you were saving up, being the most action-packed section in the game. Heisenberg himself was kind of silly and overly dramatic, but I enjoyed his part I suppose.

Now we have the Chris part of the game, where you basically John Wick your way through hordes of enemies with relative ease. What this part did for me was highlight what a struggle it was comparatively to be in Ethan’s shoes. I appreciated the contrast; it really showed the difference between a veteran like Chris and an ordinary guy like Ethan, though this aspect was undermined in the game unfortunately (more on this below).

The Miranda part was just dumb, as is everything related to her in the game. I didn’t really care much for it. The battle between her and Ethan looked more like a child custody battle than the finale of an epic game. It was lame.

Now to my biggest gripe with RE8: the fact that Ethan is not some ordinary person after all. Now, as I said, I forgot RE7’s events, so I was under the impression that Ethan was just some guy, unlike Chris or Leon or the other protagonists. That was his appeal for me, an ordinary dude who got swept up in these shitty circumstances. And then, he started surviving all sorts of injuries and going about like nothing happened. In the beginning, I just attributed these things to Capcom being dumb. And then Ethan started reattaching his hand, falling from great heights, etc. I really hated that, to say the least.


Overall, a solid game, and one of my favorite REs. I’m already on my second playthrough, though I don’t think I’ll be going for a 100% completion on this one. Some of those trophies are just too much effort imo. Looking forward to seeing where they take the series next.
 
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Vampire_Hunter_Bob

Cats are great
"I enjoyed Heisenberg’s factory. Helicopter-face was a fun boss fight (despite the possibility that he was plagiarized, if you’d read up on the latest RE8 news)."
Just an aside, I watched Frankenstein's Army. Even if it is true Resident Evil plagiarized the design, they did a lot more with it than the movie. The monster is fleshed out better in Resident Evil 8 and scarier.

This isn't to say Frankenstein's Army isn't a good movie to watch (which I did while washing dishes), but I feel like the director Richard Raaphorst saw a chance to bring attention to his movie and went with it.
 
Just an aside, I watched Frankenstein's Army. Even if it is true Resident Evil plagiarized the design, they did a lot more with it than the movie. The monster is fleshed out better in Resident Evil 8 and scarier.

This isn't to say Frankenstein's Army isn't a good movie to watch (which I did while washing dishes), but I feel like the director Richard Raaphorst saw a chance to bring attention to his movie and went with it.
Oh for sure, the monster was one of my favorite parts of the game. They did a great job with it.

That being said, I'm not entirely convinced they did plagiarize the thing. On one hand, the side-by-side comparisons look way too similar, or damning as other people might say. On the other hand, it's just a bulky guy with a spinning fan on his face; could no one else really come up with such a design?

Plagiarism cases tend to be very hard to prove, as far as I'm aware. Capcom will get away with it regardless.

EDIT: Apparently that's not the only design they "stole":

 
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Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Well, on the one hand, these horror designs are all so derivative it's hard to claim any of them are really original on their own, but on the other it's a mighty big coincidence that practically every design Heisenberg, who is clearly a stand-in for Frankenstein, has in his "metal army" recognizably corresponds to ones in a film called Frankenstein's Army. Oh, and Capcom has basically just been blatantly ripping off movies and TV with RE the past two games (not that they ever weren't), so it wouldn't surprise me if some designer got especially lazy here, or if they straight up thought they'd changed them just enough or nobody would notice anyway. So yeah, while it's possible any one of these is just a coincidence or a stretch, particularly given the subject matter, all of them warrants some explanation.

Not that it's going to sour me on the game in any case! I'm doing Village of Shadows with infinites and after surviving the initial attack, and there's some optimal strategies now that you know what you're in for, it's a blast. New and expanded enemy placements, late game enemies appear earlier and in greater numbers, etc. Playing this straight seems like it would be insane in an awful way, but as a proving ground for super weapons it's perfect; basically RE DooM now. I'm currently using maxed infinite Wolfsbane, Dragoon, and grenade launcher for infinite explosives and flashbangs. I also have the sniper rifle, but no need to go infinite with that as ammo is plentiful when you're actually just using it for sniping, and my endgame guns are going to be maxing out the infinite STAKE and WCX for crazy DPS. The infinite STAKE magnum does like 4500 damage a shot, but it looked like you'd basically have to replay the whole game without spending just to upgrade it to infinite, so I was going to skip it since I already have an infinite magnum with its own advantages, but I discovered a spot at the Stronghold where you can keep farming the same enemies for lei, treasure, and even CP depending on how you kill them, so I'm well on my way. For whatever reason I'm playing this way more than RE6, 7, or even RE2R, which is tops in the series in my opinion; could be it's more fun, could also just be the timing.
 
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So I’m officially done with RE8. I wanted to give my final impressions on the game and the series now that the dust has settled and I’ve had time to think things over.

RE8 reminds me of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. SWJ was a lot of fun. The gameplay was really cool. The graphics were great. The game itself was pretty short/small, but there were some secrets you could find and relatively easy trophies you could complete to give the game a little more life. But once I had completed everything I put the game down and never looked back. Even when they did things that would interest me (first releasing a red lightsaber option then making the orange lightsaber available for everyone), I’d have an urge to play the game again to see them, but it’d always end with me going “meh” and playing something else.

I’ve realized games like RE7/8 and SWJ are the game equivalents of big, dumb summer blockbuster movies. They’re going to be beautiful. They’re going to be fun to play. I’m going to be completely obsessed with them while I play them. But six months from now it’ll just be a fun memory I have little interest in revisiting.

I think I’m ok with that though. It’s like paying $60-$80 to go to a theme park. You’re going to have a ton of fun for a set amount of time, and once it’s over you move on. You’re going to have memories, but nothing’s going to be memorable, if that makes sense.

With that in mind, I hope RE9 and beyond builds on the niche RE7’s 3rd part and RE8 created. They’re essentially Call of Duty’s Zombie mode if you sacrificed controls quality for infinitely better setting/enemies/world/RPG elements. If RE9 had controls that closed the gap more with CoD and they kept the same quality in the other areas, it’d be a perfect low tier AAA game. Imagine RE8, but the enemies are smarter, faster, and more numerous, and you can also move/turn faster (and, for fuck’s sake, reload automatically). The controls wouldn’t have to be anywhere near the level of CoD or Doom, but just enough like them so that you’re not so sluggish you’re forced to block attacks as your sole form of reaction. Then you could not only have various difficulty modes but also have one mode that emphasizes survival horror and another that emphasizes action so everyone wins. How awesome would that be?

As far as the story/world building, I’m completely over it and on y’all’s side of things.

I had completely forgotten about the direction they took RE7 in since I hadn’t played, much less thought about, that game in years. I had forgotten that Capcom’s “this is a soft reboot, going back to horror roots, forget those old crappy games” illusion started to fade pretty quickly. After they revealed RE7 took place in the same world as the previous games and the story-centric DLCs felt uncomfortably similar in spirit to RE6, I distinctly remember having a strong “uh oh, this isn’t a good sign” feeling. If I had remembered that when playing RE8 I think I would have thought “this is what I was afraid of” instead of being completely blindsided.

I also didn’t realize how much Shinji Mikami carried the RE series on his back. The correlation between his involvement in the games and their quality is so strong that I can’t help but think if he had left after RE1 the series would’ve suffered the same fate as Dino Crisis. (Mikami literally had a group of workers whose job was to play every new game and make sure the story didn’t conflict with the established canon of the previous games, ffs.)

I wouldn’t say all his games were perfect by any means, but I realize now it’s too harsh to judge the series post-RE4 by the same standard I would a Mikami RE game. It’d be hard enough finding someone to fill his shoes but even if you could that person wouldn’t have anywhere near the freedom or control. Remember RE1.5? When the team creating RE2 wso close to finishing it that Capcom was practically warming up the printing machines but the team didn’t like the quality of the game so Mikami let them start a new game from scratch, putting his neck on the line if it didn’t work out? Can you imagine Capcom allowing that today?

So with that said, I’m completely ignoring a Resident Evil game’s story/world from here on out. If they go above and beyond, I’ll give them credit. If it carries across multiple games, I’ll start paying attention again. Otherwise just give me a shotgun, a fun enemy to blast in the face, and just enough story/motivation to justify it.

Now it’s back to my regular diet of Call of Duty and Dead By Daylight. The next DLC for DbD is a crossover with Resident Evil. I can’t wait to see which RE big bad will become the new killer and which protagonist becomes the new survivor. I suspect it’ll be characters from RE8 given the timing and the fact there’s a potential DbD easter egg in RE8, but who knows?
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Street Fighter V/Anniversary Collection - I needed to test out a Sega Virtua Stick Pro, basically a replica of their 2 player Astro City arcade control boards made for Sega Saturn, I got but unfortunately even after fixing some things it still needs some electrical work. So, I'll be looking for a place that can either fix or cheaply replace the faulty electronics because I don't want to mess it up, or if it needs new parts just refurbish all the buttons with new Segas or possibly Sanwas. I liked the Semeitsu LS-32 sticks though.

Resident Evil VIllAGE - I finished Village of Shadows difficulty with my fully upgraded infinite STAKE magnum and am actually considering a fresh VoS run; it just feels like such a cheat doing it on NG+ with infinites, etc. Like honestly too easy. The hardest part was Chris' segment where the weapons were actually a downgrade (lol) and it was fun having to figure out how to avoid getting mobbed. Or with Heisenberg when you're in the tank and can't heal or use anything other than the weapons provided, so no way to win but to git gud. That was the most fun I had in the run, everything else felt perfunctory or the challenge was to do it as quick and perfect as possible. Otherwise, the tricky part was I was trying not to get hit/heal but had to untrain myself to stop playing like I had limited ammo, needed to draw the Soldats in, aim for the weak spot, etc but instead just go ham on them from across the room. I should be embracing my insane OCD playstyle that's perfectly suited for RE!

Even when they did things that would interest me (first releasing a red lightsaber option then making the orange lightsaber available for everyone)

Fun fact: At first I actually thought you were talking about RE8 because it in fact has a red lightsaber that's basically impossible to acquire (S rank on all mercenary missions, which I couldn't care less about), had an update, and so I thought for a second they released a lesser version to the bonus shop before realizing, "Oh yeah, Fallen Order had that." To be fair, I think Fallen Order did much better and sober plotting than this, but it just wasn't as interesting as all these colorful characters and monsters.

With that in mind, I hope RE9 and beyond builds on the niche RE7’s 3rd part and RE8 created. They’re essentially Call of Duty’s Zombie mode if you sacrificed controls quality for infinitely better setting/enemies/world/RPG elements. If RE9 had controls that closed the gap more with CoD and they kept the same quality in the other areas, it’d be a perfect low tier AAA game. Imagine RE8, but the enemies are smarter, faster, and more numerous, and you can also move/turn faster (and, for fuck’s sake, reload automatically). The controls wouldn’t have to be anywhere near the level of CoD or Doom, but just enough like them so that you’re not so sluggish you’re forced to block attacks as your sole form of reaction. Then you could not only have various difficulty modes but also have one mode that emphasizes survival horror and another that emphasizes action so everyone wins. How awesome would that be?

I don't think the answer is for RE to become more like CoD anymore than CoD should have controls more like Street Fighter, because that's just not what it's about (though they're obviously blurring the lines with how combat-oriented it is). The point going back to the early games is the tension of the action and your limited resources, thus why they added the block mechanism in RE7, basically just because it's scarier to have to just put your hands up and take hits to conserve life/ammo. I actually think RE2make had a pretty perfect balance because of what bullet sponges the zombies were, especially on hard, so even though it felt good to shoot and you had plenty of weapons, you were still going to run out fast blasting every zombie you see. RE3make gave you even more options with the dodge, to the point I read some saying it makes RE8 feel clunky, but again, without actively hindering the player with outright bad controls, you're not supposed to be some superhero either.

As far as the story/world building, I’m completely over it and on y’all’s side of things.

I had completely forgotten about the direction they took RE7 in since I hadn’t played, much less thought about, that game in years. I had forgotten that Capcom’s “this is a soft reboot, going back to horror roots, forget those old crappy games” illusion started to fade pretty quickly. After they revealed RE7 took place in the same world as the previous games and the story-centric DLCs felt uncomfortably similar in spirit to RE6, I distinctly remember having a strong “uh oh, this isn’t a good sign” feeling. If I had remembered that when playing RE8 I think I would have thought “this is what I was afraid of” instead of being completely blindsided.

It was kind of weird they made this a continuation of RE7 with Ethan since tonally and thematically it couldn't be more of a departure once you get to the castle. It's reminiscent of RE4 where they DID make Leon into a superhero, but that was such a conscious shift whereas here Ethan was still acting painfully normal, even when the circumstances around him were completely fucking insane. His taunting comebacks to Heisenberg throughout the factory were particularly weird, like he was arguing with Rose's stepdad he didn't get along with instead of some insanely dangerous, monsterous demigod, "You take Rose? I'd like to see you try!" I mean, would he? Probably not, I'd be pretty scared as her dad! To me all that's more jarring than the obvious campy stuff, because at least it's of a part. I enjoyed this game for its own flavor and flair, but tacking on Ethan and his family really only did the world of RE7 a disservice rather than grounding this one.

Remember RE1.5? When the team creating RE2 wso close to finishing it that Capcom was practically warming up the printing machines but the team didn’t like the quality of the game so Mikami let them start a new game from scratch, putting his neck on the line if it didn’t work out? Can you imagine Capcom allowing that today?

They might, but now they'd probably rebrand and release both games! The problem with this one is it seems like a wholly different game/world they saddled with RE7's baggage or vice versa.

While on this subject though, don't forget Hideki Kamiya, who still has the distinction of directing the best RE game of all time! Every time I'm about to rank some later game on top I remember the crazy A/B zapping campaign system and all that was unique and cool put into it. They couldn't even adequately fake it for RE2make, which is its biggest stain.

Also, it's not like The Evil Within came and took REs crown or anything. Capcom may seem like it has an almost even ratio of success to fucking up (for every great game there's seemingly a ripoff cash-in =), but for all their obnoxious foibles, on the whole there's few developers/publishers this side of Nintendo that can compete with them, and Nintendo sure don't make games like this!

So with that said, I’m completely ignoring a Resident Evil game’s story/world from here on out. If they go above and beyond, I’ll give them credit. If it carries across multiple games, I’ll start paying attention again. Otherwise just give me a shotgun, a fun enemy to blast in the face, and just enough story/motivation to justify it.

Pretty much, I guess my biggest disappointment is they could have had this crazy game AND continued in the scarier horror vein of RE7 separately. But who knows, part of that good/bad ratio of theirs is the ability to completely pivot and do something totally unexpected, which can be perceived as a weakness, like they're acting arbitrarily, but which may ultimately be a strength since I don't think they'd still be selling millions of copies of RE1 or RE4 derivatives. We didn't know it, but maybe we all needed tall mommy to step on us right now. =)
 
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Recently I've been playing Nier Replicant 1.22 on my PS5. They really did improve a heck of a lot with the remaster, bringing Yoko Taros excellent first outing with the series out to its fullest potential. I'm having a wonderful time.
 
I played Sword of Berserk on Dreamcast last night. Seemed fitting since that was what got me into Berserk to begin with.

Time hasn't necessarily been kind to the gameplay mechanics (though for the time, they're actually really good), but damn, the writing and character designs are still great to this day. Still find it amusing(though fitting) that the fight with Zodd is dramatically more challenging than any of the fights that come after.
 
I played Sword of Berserk on Dreamcast last night. Seemed fitting since that was what got me into Berserk to begin with.

Time hasn't necessarily been kind to the gameplay mechanics (though for the time, they're actually really good), but damn, the writing and character designs are still great to this day. Still find it amusing(though fitting) that the fight with Zodd is dramatically more challenging than any of the fights that come after.

Well, it is Zodd, after all. I think it took me about 20 tries before I beat him.

“I’m looking for warriors!”
 
I played Sword of Berserk on Dreamcast last night. Seemed fitting since that was what got me into Berserk to begin with.

Time hasn't necessarily been kind to the gameplay mechanics (though for the time, they're actually really good), but damn, the writing and character designs are still great to this day. Still find it amusing(though fitting) that the fight with Zodd is dramatically more challenging than any of the fights that come after.

That game is the main reason I've kept my Dreamcast around for all these years, along with for the occasional Jet Set/Grind Radio.

I agree with the story being of note. I appreciate how it is just a nice little side story that could fit into the manga. The subtle mandragora the manga uses to reference it always has me smiling on rereads.

Indra from its OST is also one of my favorite's from Hirasawa.
 
I played Sword of Berserk on Dreamcast last night. Seemed fitting since that was what got me into Berserk to begin with.

Time hasn't necessarily been kind to the gameplay mechanics (though for the time, they're actually really good), but damn, the writing and character designs are still great to this day. Still find it amusing(though fitting) that the fight with Zodd is dramatically more challenging than any of the fights that come after.

Shiiiit, I miss this game, haha. Still find myself thinking about it occasionally. Makes me wish I hadn't given up my DC. That system had some great games, especially for the time.

I've recently picked back up Baldur's Gate 2 after a lengthy hiatus.
Other than that, anyone around here dabble in Magic? I'm a n00b with some janky af homebrew decks, but I've been loving Arena since it came out for iOS. I've had many a humbling experience, but it's (mostly) been a blast. If anybody's interested, I'm pretty easy to find: PereniumFalcon.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Let me get these Street Fighters out of the way, as I've actually got more to say about a previously mentioned Capcom game if you can believe it. I've been on a big kick of classic SF lately, part of my pandemic fighting game renaissance, especially vanilla SFA2, SFA3, with some Third Strike and most recently a return to 2nd Impact thrown in.

Street Fighter Zero 3 (Sega Saturn) - SFA2 is probably still my favorite, and of course Third Strike is great, but SFA3 has so much cool shit, especially the Dramatic and Reverse Dramatic Battles on the Saturn version; there's way more fights, like 20, and the AI is way tougher than SFA3 Max, but it's also more rewarding. The final 1 on 2 fight is you against Shin Akuma and Evil Ryu! Can't beat that combo for formidability, though Bison and Cammy are actually harder. The toughest teams were Rose/Dhalsim, Chun-Li/Fei Long, Ryu/Ken, and Bison/Cammy, in that order (Akuma and Evil Ryu actually let you off the hook with all their teleporting around; they're fittingly not good team players =). Rose and Dhalsim are a natural team that basically covers the whole screen between their physical attacks, projectiles and mobility, one almost always hangs back and zones you out while the other, usually Dhalsim, gets in your face. Chun-Li and Fei are constant, relentless pressure and basically come at you as one eight-limbed monster (this fight, following the previous team, was when I started having doubts =). Ken/Ryu are the best of both worlds and work together fittingly, comboing you up while also setting you up for the next guy to juggle; you'd think their skills would be redundant but they alternate frighteningly well. The previous two are probably the best teams in terms of natural compatibility, while Cammy and Bison are the hardest by virtue of both being tough and Bison's cheapass super that can erase your life bar instantly, and which he can potentially do twice per round. So on top of having to outplay them you better be ready to block that at any time, which means you better not be facing off against Cammy on the opposite side! I think both of the rounds I ended up winning against them were comebacks; you just gotta get good enough to persevere and make something special happen. Oh yeah, honorable mention to Dan and Blanka, the first fight, but, perhaps by virtue of that, also a tough one. The coolest part of these is how you learn what not to do through experience; it basically expedites the whole fighting game process of molding you not to be unsafe, and it can be so completely different match to match based on the combination of attacks you'll be facing. By comparison, in Alpha 3 Max you can basically get by eventually just jumping around and sweeping, whereas on Saturn they'll block a lot of that shit and it really feels like you're fighting two individual Alpha characters from a singles match at once. Very cool.

Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact - Giant Attack - What a name! I haven't talked much about 2nd Impact, which I'm drawn to because it's aged especially well; it still has classic throw mechanics, plus escapes, and introduced dashing and EX moves to the series, plus it also has parrying. It's also the only one available in widescreen and graphically superior to Third Strike, and basically any 2D fighter from back then, overall (less characters, more resources, etc). It's arcade progression is also very much like SFA2, potential rivalry and Akuma fights plus an individual boss for each character after Gill, which I obviously love (the AI is also way less forgiving). Because it wasn't very popular/prevalent and never presented in this wide format before, it actually feels more like a modern retro game or remaster, and is quickly becoming my preferred form of SF3 because it's like 90% of the way to Third Strike (which is little bland to me these days, but then I'm not a pro getting the most out of it) and it also has all these different wrinkles, effects, mechanics and stages that are essentially among the best Capcom or anyone has ever produced. I guess I always gravitate to the middle entry in these series eventually: Hyper Fighting, Alpha 2, 2nd Impact. But yeah, best looking hand drawn 2D fighter ever with proto-Third Strike engine and Alpha 2 style arcade progression; what's not to love? Of course, they didn't make it available online so it could potentially catch on with fans today, or incorporate those improvements into Third Strike Online to make the perfect hybrid. If you put Third Strike's brain in 2nd Impact's body, and maybe belatedly added some turbo, you'd have the ultimate old school Street Fighter game.


Resident Evil VIllage - Well, I did it, Village of Shadows difficulty in regular New Game, so no NG+ weapons or infinite ammo, which I previously characterized as awful and insane, but also something therapeutically obsessive/compulsive, which I needed the past few weeks. Like Aaz said, with a few visual mods and adjustments, this could be a Berserk game, so it was strangely comforting to hang out in that space a while longer.

I ended up with over 100 shots of pistol, shotgun and sniper ammo before the final battle, so I wasn't ever seriously worried about softlocking (though I took precautions throughout). I had 4 save slots dedicated to the run, 5 counting the autosave slot, and one I'd use as sort of a "chapter restart" save way behind the others in case I did find I'd screwed myself. They really should have included that feature by default, especially for things like Chris' segment where one could easily find themselves autosaved half dead with no healing items. Just one of the many ways I learned this game was, mostly delightfully, dumb and broken during the run.

One of those things anyone will notice if you've played it is if you run enemies out of their boundary of aggression, they just turn around and will let you shoot them in the back, or more weirdly, if you go too out of sight, just disappear back to their home location, perhaps to prevent the former, but which can also be exploited for repeating favorable setups.

But the biggest thing you may not notice, to the players immense benefit, is like over half the enemies in this game will despawn if you just leave them alone/behind! The very first lycan you see will despawn if you run him around the yard, go in the house, and grab the bolt cutters. He's just gone. I guess he had some other wolfy business to attend to. Obviously you don't have to kill anything in the big lycan attack and they leave. The dudes outside Luiza's disappear after you leave too, and on and on it goes. The wolves between the castle and altar are all gone as soon as you hit the altar gate (it's as easy as running straight there). All the ones between you and the red chimney house, including the heavies? Gone after reaching your goal (one time I accidentally despawned the chickens too). The lycan archers and zombies on the way back from Beneviento? Press on to the altar again and they go away too. The giant wolves headed to Moreau? Gone after you beat him. Once I even got the lycans in the Stronghold to despawn completely, including the ones feeding in the walls for show, like an in-game cutscene, and then even the fuckin' boss no-showed (I couldn't proceed and had to reload, sadly =). I've even had Soldats I killed in the factory before dying myself still be gone when I restarted, and I got my ammo back! If one figured out how to consistently replicate this... Anyway, that's basically the whole game! Forget a knife run, this game is so weirdly enemy scripted you can practically play it as a pacifist.

Of course, I wasn't complaining as I continued to rack up ammo without using any, but once you know this it's a bit too obviously artificial, and not in a challenging, let alone daunting, survivalist, way. Imagine if the enemies in Dark Souls vanished if you merely ran past them. But actually, it's worse in RE because part of the equation with these games has always been the cost-benefit analysis of which enemies you avoid and which you kill, or which resources are worth spending or pursuing and which will cost you more than it's worth. Sometimes the best way to keep your ammo stock high is to simply hold onto to it rather than fighting for more. But, you ultimately don't need to make or live with those choices here because you don't have to kill most enemies or deal with them long term, and more often than not you can still go grab all the shit they were guarding anyway without it even costing you the challenge and effort of avoiding them.

You don't even need to worry about being hit or healing in a lot of these scenarios because you'll eventually recover from near-fatal blows. You'll still have low health when you do, but you'll also be able to tank another hit to get to the next safe spot and repeat the process ad nauseam, so you don't need to evade perfectly or heal if you don't. As a matter of fact, you almost never should heal except to move normally again to preserve victory in a tough boss fight, but even most of those can be completed without healing. Namely, Dimitrescu if you know her pattern, and you will to beat her, Donna easily, Urius, Sturm, and Heisenberg, in most cases without getting hit at all. Dimitrescu's first two daughters, Moreau, and Miranda are really the only ones where you're reasonably guaranteed to need to take/block hits, and I probably just never figured them out.

Speaking of which, despite the game eventually being broken in your favor if you're in the know, you still have to get through the broken beginning to enjoy that, and early on the breaks definitely aren't in your favor. Probably the hardest boss in the entire game is the first daughter of Dimitrescu, Bela I believe, because of the conditions at the time; a small, fast and aggressive boss, multiple deadly adversaries (she has two hearty bloodstarved babes with her), an enclosed space, and low resources. You only have handgun and shotgun ammo at that point, plus a couple of explosives, and you practically need it all (until Moreau and Miranda I wasted a majority of my heals surviving the first two daughters). The whole castle on VoS is a huge pain in the ass for those reasons; limited resources and space to move with enemies that are relatively just as tough as the ones you face later when you're packing real heat.

Dimitrescu herself is similar in that if you didn't collect and save as much ammo as possible before fighting her you better start practicing your knife skills, because that's how you'll be finishing her, which is actually reasonably doable because she can be consistently avoided in the final phase of the fight (I almost beat her this way at first but thankfully died and tried aiming for her weak spot better instead of just blasting =).

Donna and Angie are exactly as they are in normal difficulty, and by this point it's nothing more than an interactive cutscene. It's basically free progress whatever difficulty you're playing on. They still should have made this already evergreen sequence something you could do any time before the factory. The only thing is you would want to collect the available resources on the way back to the altar after you beat her before you take on fishface, but it wouldn't matter on lower difficulty and let us make that strategic choice on the higher ones.

The worst of them all though is Moreau. He is an absolute tank, and he can quickly kill you at any time before you can even run out of ammo trying to kill him. I employed a "quick kill" method where you plant like a dozen mines in one spot for him to set off all at once for massive damage, combined with exploiting a cheese spot where you can get him stuck for a while and avoid his attacks by moving back and forth while constantly shotgunning him in the face... and after half a dozen tries it still took like 15 straight minutes of that and all the heals I had to get him. I could have probably improved my performance with subsequent attempts, as I did with others, but I had enough left to continue and unlike the others I just didn't want to fight him anymore (Dimitrescu is the best fight in the game in my opinion, and I fought her at least twice more after beating her to improve my performance and just because it was fun).

After that you get the magnum, which I was going to save until Miranda but found it was far more effective for quick killing the next two sub-bosses, Urius and Sturm. The path to the Stronghold is actually one of the toughest because it's one of the few areas the enemies won't just despawn, even after you clear the boss. Urius himself you want to dispose of ASAP because he'll keep calling for backup otherwise. I fed him a very balanced diet of sniper bullets, flash grenades, all my magnum ammo at the time, explosives when his friends showed up, and for desert was shotgun blasts to the face until he died. I didn't even remember to upgrade my magnum beforehand and probably could have saved a heal, but was ready to move on.

Sturm was maybe my most successful boss fight. After quite a challenge largely avoiding the Soldats in the factory, and a couple completions to perfect my methods, I ultimately took him down in less then two minutes using three flashbangs, 10 magnum bullets, and no heals (my first try took two because if you even feel a breeze from those blades you're almost dead). You just flash him as soon as you see him, he hits a wall and you blast his ass, repeat. My only mistake was forgetting to attach the upgraded magnum cylinder to reload faster, which cost me another flash round, but I may have made it up because I finished him off when he stopped to start blasting his fire attack. That was fun.

Heisenberg took a few tries, but he's virtually no different than NG+ because your life and weapon parameters in the tank are the same. The only difference was after I got past that I ran into/under him and shotgunned him to death while he uselessly flailed his arms behind me. Again, this game is really dumb sometimes if you know the tricks... but fun! The tank part still took me a couple tries though (why'd he build a tank out of materials he couldn't manipulate, and then how could he move the canon made of that material with all the metal debris at the end? =).

After Chris' CoD segment where you just run around and throw grenades I faced the final, most worthless, form of Urius where you basically just survive long enough to hit with airstrikes, which still missed several times. This is actually the easiest part of Chris' run, far better than the lycan assault 2.0, and I didn't die against him but it did feel harder as I used my flashbangs on the lycan part this time and the airstrike hit behind the big beast several times despite me seemingly putting the light right on him (whatever).

Finally, I was worried about Miranda from the start because even on NG+ with infinite max magnum she tanked an impressive amount of hits and dished out plenty of her own, requiring me to heal liberally, and this time I wasn't going to have infinite magnum ammo or as many heals as I could ever need. Minus a surefire trick or weakness the strategy was simply learning how to effectively block or avoid her attacks and constantly retaliate well enough to outlast her. I tried using the shotgun at first but it was too slow and limited in range, so I switched to my sniper rifle (btw, another dumb wrinkle; it's clearly better not to upgrade the scope so it's more effective at close range instead of the half dozen times you'd actually snipe somebody!). Anyway, the rifle, some mines and pipe bombs depending on the circumstances, and my last four magnum shots did the trick and it was accomplished and official: I SUCK!!

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Resident Evil 5 Multiplayer
- Post RE8 I fired up RE5 multiplayer and shockingly find co-op partners every time! This game has some kind of lowkey cult following still, because I've waited longer for MK11/SF5 matchups than I will to get someone to join me here. I don't know how much longer I'll continue though because despite the surprising ease of multiplayer after all these years and the death of Games for Windows Live, kudos to Capcom for actually making it work still, I otherwise find this game kind of miserable compared to its predecessor. It still looks good, but feels like a game for the original X-Box with the big colorful button prompts flashing on screen, just jankey and clunky as shit overall without any particularly strong nostalgia to rescue it for me.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 - On the other hand, the only major hole in my RE resume is I never finished RE Revelations 2 (this is about as far out with the RE side crap as I'll go, mainly because I hold Revelations 1 in such significant esteem), so I may rectify this in the time before I return to work next weekend. It wasn't the most fun to start, as I've kept it on the shelf for years now, and looks and plays pretty cheap-feeling (I think it was a half-price game upon release, and remember they did that weird sold-in-parts digital content experiment?). Claire and the prison Island setting obviously has echoes of Code: Veronica, but on that note it's more a return to B movie horror than other modern entries, very reminiscent of the early games, and the buddy system is at least interesting and has one useful enemy detecting skill (it all kind of reminds me of The Last of Us 1). But hey, the biggest feature is you finally get to play as Barry fuckin' Burton! He sounds authentic as shit too, I can't wait for him to bust out some more dad jokes like the already referenced Jill-Sandwich (a Claire-Sandwich in this case =). Update: Yup, that didn't take long, "Who's the master of unlocking now!?"
 
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Vampire_Hunter_Bob

Cats are great
I went back and replayed Resident Evil 7 to finally get all the Mr. Everywhere and Antique Coins. I almost had all the files but missed a super obvious one. I'm debating going back or just moving on with my life.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
I went back and replayed Resident Evil 7

This one has the sort of unpleasant tension where I have little desire to go back and replay it casually, yet I replayed RE8 multiple times for what that's worth. Probably just that RE8 is more thrilling than genuinely tense or scary.

Street Fighter Alpha 2/SF3 Third Strike - Playing through these is now how I put my daughter to sleep. I play as Ken in a purple gi and my daughter roots for "purple daddy" until she's KO'd for the night. My high score in Alpha 2 during these runs is like 1,390,000-something, and Third Strike is more generous and closer to 2 mil. Because these two games don't reset your score with a loss it's possible to run it up indefinitely by winning one match and losing two. The smartest way to do it would be to get an easy first match that'll fall for repeated sweeps and just rack up one perfect round per attempt ad infinitum... Not that I've thought much about it! Let's just say I don't mind getting stuck on Ryu for a few attempts if I'm already carrying a loss anyway.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 - This was a pretty good mix of modern and classic RE. Not RE2 remake AAA good, but a nice little original game and story that reminded me of simpler times. The only downside is the DLC chapters kind of suck, but whatever. I'll be writing more on this game soon.
 
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Over the past few weeks I started playing Bloodborne, pretty much after I finished Demon’s Souls.
I really like the different kind of play style, more aggressive, faster and the more consistent level of difficulty. My main critique point of DeS was probably that most bosses felt much weaker than normal enemies you encountered going through the levels and I think From did a better job equalizing that. Using a gun instead of having a shield is also more thrilling than constantly having your shield or guard up and hence adds to the atmosphere while exploring Yharnam. A bit more thrilling imo.
Yharnam itself looks great aesthetically and I like how the map is connected from all the different places. I know this is also the case in Dark Souls but I haven’t played those games so it’s a welcomed update over DeS for me. Visually I also quite like their character and monster design. Even the normal inhabitants of Yharnam with their elongated limbs and torn clothing fit very well in the world.
I’m often chatting with a friend who already played the game about the story and it’s quite fun to connect how the blood, the church, the cosmos and the great ones are connected and why a character might have done this or that. I think overall there might be more to the story and its secrets than DeS but that might also be because the game is a bit longer (unless it only feels that way).
Weapons, especially because the transform mechanic, feel a lot more different in how you can play them, too. Because of that I’m willing to test way more weapons and vary my battle experience.
I wish the audio and controller feedback would be as good as in the DeS remake because that simply lifted the experience on another level for me. Apart from that I don’t have any issues with the game so far, though. I beat all optional bosses and am currently trying Ludwig before continuing with the main story where I am right before the boss in nightmare of mensis from what it looks like.

Yeaterday I also started playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake INTERmission. For those who’re not yet able to play it I’m keeping it spoiler free. But I’m not very far yet anyway.
You start with Yuffie on her way into sector 7 and have a few short battles. Since it’s been pretty much over a year since I last played the game, I now totally suck at fighting. When fighting against Ramuh in the battle simulator I had no chance at all, I guess I have to play the game without getting his materia :ganishka:.
The only side mission I’ve done yet was similar to the “find all cats for Betty (?)” but at least had some nods to the original game. The newly introduced Fort Condor mini game is an improvement is definitely an improvement over the one in the original, though. It still has the placement of different figures with advantages over each other element of it but in an updated way where they implemented some of the fighting elements like the ATB bar into it.
They also improved aerial combat which was lacking in the main game, imo. Yuffie can stay up in the air while fighting (until she gets hit) and also throw her weapon so it’s not an issue anymore.
 
Thief II: Basically the same as Thief I, but with less monsters, ghosts, zombies, etc. Not sure I’ll be playing the next entry in the series (Robbing the Cradle might give me a heart attack) since I ended up quitting this one early. I was getting pretty jumpy. Gotta tip my hat to the designers for creating such an immersive experience.

Star Wars - TIE Fighter: My wife got me a joystick for my birthday, so I finally got to experience TIE Fighter the proper way. I ended up playing the 1995 CD-ROM version, based on the consensus from fans that it’s the best one of the three. It was a huge improvement over X-Wing. I loved how the bonus objectives made you feel like you were secretly working for the Emperor. It definitely lived up to the hype.
 
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