Resident Evil Resistance – Itchy. Tasty. Laggy.

“These f’**k noobs are gonna get us all killed.” – wiseguy69

That was the first thing I heard when I played Resident Evil Resistance. First week of its release, two of us were level 1 in our first game, someone was level 3, and this one person with voice chat was level 7. None of us had a clue what was going on, and this level 7 expert was constantly whining instead of helping. Needless to say, we all died and nobody enjoyed it. Welcome to Resident Evil Online.

I opened the options menu and turned voice chat off. Sweet silence. The abrupt start had its upsides, as this game also does NOT require an RE Net account to play, kudos to Capcom for that. I thought the reason this game existed was to get people to sign up for their service, but not so.

So why does Resident Evil Resistance exist, and how does it work? I can’t answer the first question, but it works as a 5 player online game that pits 1 against 4. You have two modes that play at the same time, Survival and Mastermind. In Survival you team up with 3 other people to work together and survive 3 rounds of this mad experiment the Mastermind is playing on you. The objective involves finding keys, unlocking computers or destroying cores, fairly simply stuff that becomes very difficult with obstacles.

As the Mastermind you are the one who places traps, spawns zombies, and makes life hell for the 4 survivors. Your goal is to kill them and make the game as unplayable and awful as possible, taking advantage of lag, spam and bad camera angles. Great idea for an online game right?

First I’ll talk about this game’s strengths. It has brand new environments made just for online play, and they look really detailed and cool. It’s nice to see pretty much anything in this incredible RE game engine, and extra nice to see so much variety. We’ve got a casino, new research lab, some kind of downtown area and an abandoned amusement park. There’s also random lore on the walls, like Umbrella Corp buys an abandoned amusement park? I don’t recall any game being set there, and that’s the first I’ve heard of that. A hint for RE8 maybe? You’d be forgiven for not noticing any of this though as the online is so frantic.

Thankfully we have an option to play everything in single player and simply look around. This practice mode is fantastic and you can set many different parameters. You can be invincible, set the time limit to an hour and explore at your own pace. It’s a great way to learn the layouts and take in all the detail. These environments really do look amazing. You could even just pretend this is a new single player game with all the lore and interesting stuff around. Is there anything scarier than a child in a casino?

Yes, an adult in a casino.

The map works different to single player Resident Evil, with the ability to overlay it on top of the screen without stopping. It’s pretty essential while playing a game that you can’t pause. That said, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to navigate in this game when there’s so much clutter on the screen. The option is very welcome though. As someone used to spamming the map button in Splatoon, this felt pretty natural to me.

Every character has their own abilities, one strong fever ability with long cooldown, a regular ability with short cooldown and a passive one. You can also equip different sub-items for additional benefits. The stages themselves contain new items like herbs that increase attack and defense and repair kits that restore broken melee weapons. You can also drop items on the ground now instead of them disappearing forever. This is nice if you have an item that might benefit another character class more than yourself, you can drop it and hope they see it. In my experience though, people just ran away. Assume the worst for your teamwork but hope for the best.

The actual online gameplay experience is painfully bad. The gameplay sucks, the lag is some of the worst I’ve ever seen in a game, it’s poorly balanced, and the grind is depressing. If you’re level 40 you’ll have more abilities than someone who is level 10, for example. You’re pretty much guaranteed to lose to a level 40+ Mastermind but it still matches you with them. Things explode randomly, the screen goes dark, 6 zombies emerge from every room, all of them are buffed, the security cameras start shooting you, and you’re back in the main menu.

Lag is also a very big factor, to the point where it can literally make the game unplayable. You can lose all control of your character, and even sometimes when you land successful shots they won’t do any damage. You can only confirm something hit if the damage number pops up. Sometimes you hit them, see their reaction, blood comes out, but no damage is dealt. It’s rare but when it happens it’s basically game over.

Sounds like I hate the game right? Strangely I still couldn’t stop playing. When it’s good, it’s good, and when it’s bad it’s just funny. There is this very wholesome element of teamwork when people do the right thing. It’s very rare, but you always have hope for the next game. You continue to get EXP and rewards even while losing so it’s not too discouraging.

“Any tips mate?”

I’m not really an expert but I’ve probably put 10 hours into it at this point, and I can offer a few tips based on that. The first one is that positioning is the most important part of the survivor strategy. When the objective is complete, you have to be at the exit. While doing the objective, stick together and defend each other. Splitting up can sometimes get items faster but it’s very risky. I sometimes run off to make something popup on the map for every other player real quick, then immediately come back. You also don’t have to fight every enemy. The next tip is to make sure you play to your characters strengths.

Here you can see Valerie has used her ability to see objects through walls, which should help everyone make better choices. If you’re the hacker, you can hack the item box and buy more items for other people, and hack cameras in important rooms to avoid enemy spawn in key choke points. Disarm traps if that’s your ability. Heal people with your special. If you have strong gunplay or melee weapons, control the enemies. If everyone does that you’ll probably survive, at least until the Mastermind hits the lag switch.

If Mr. X spawns in your game? You’re screwed. Your best bet is to run away from him, and he’ll despawn in exactly 1 minute. You can also go in and out of doors to get a few seconds where he won’t hurt you. If you’re far away from the objective, you can act as bait for him as well while your team clears objective. You just have to hope the team understands what you’re doing and doesn’t try to fight him.

As a Mastermind? I only played this a couple of times and didn’t like it much. Spam stuff and win. The challenge here is switching cameras quickly, and getting used to the interface. Focus on vulnerable players when they split up. You can also take control of zombies if you like, it’s good for a laugh but doesn’t seem any more effective than having them do basic AI attacks. I recommend playing a few Mastermind games just so you can become a better survivor, the matchmaking times can be a bit longer though if you’re hoping to grab this rare spot. I was lucky to get a few quick ones. The average load time for lobbies in general I’d say was 1 minute on my Xbox.

If I had to pay money for this game I’d be much harder on it. As it stands Resident Evil Resistance is a very flawed online game full of bad ideas and terrible execution at the same time. It has possibly the worst network code I’ve ever seen in a game, to the point where you can’t even control your own character. The positives lie in the aesthetics and a good cast of diverse characters with different abilities. It is sometimes so bad that it’s good. There’s so much that happens in each game it’s hard not to be amused by something. Laughing at a zombie grabbing you through a wall, lag literally teleporting you out of bounds. Even if your whole team disconnects you can still have a good time if you really want to.

As for me, I’ve escaped for now but I might return if they make any substantial updates. Some new maps would be nice since the ones there are really nice, but there’s only four. I would also prefer some kind of raid mode or mercenaries mode over this, but this seems to be Capcom’s decision so we’re stuck with dressing up this turd until the next Resident Evil game. It’s all part of Umbrella’s master plan to use gamers as lab rats.

(NOTE: I’m in Australia so potentially have worse lag than the standard experience. Also I recognise that high-level MasterMind play exists, and there can be benefits to controlling enemies. It’s just not apparent at low levels and it takes a long-long time to level up. Impressions are after 10 hours playtime.)

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