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It’s almost become an irony of localisation that the Japanese game Biohazard was re-named Resident Evil in western territories. Whilst that moniker was perfectly befitting of the survival horror style and tone of Shinji Mikami’s original titles – there was an evil, horrific, creeping sense of malice, brought about through creaky controls, awkward camera angles and shuffling zombies – the progression of the series has seen the evil somewhat wrung out of it as action game elements take precedence.
That’s not to say that diversification is an inherently dirty word when it comes to sequels; if anything a developer’s attempt to take inspiration from around the industry in order to freshen up its formula is a well-worn and often successful practice. But when a developer reaches for every possible source of popular inspiration, sucks them dry and dilutes what gave its game any sense of personality in the first place, well, then you have Resident Evil 6, an action game still about a biological hazard, but no longer about an evil residency.
The bloat of Capcom’s liberal pilfering is instantly apparent when you consider that Resident Evil 6 is split into four narratively intertwined campaigns, and that each of these is a meaty, unrefined 6 hour experience, broken down into five 60+ minute chapters. Former series protagonists Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield are joined by newcomer Jake Muller and a secret character, as the central protagonists in Capcom’s convoluted tale.