Resident Evil: Resistance Review — An Asymmetrical Mixed Bag
Resident Evil: Resistance launched late last week as a multiplayer addendum to the Resident Evil 3 Remake. While technically existing as a separate game entirely, they're sold as a single $59.99 package.
In Resistance four survivor players are pitted against a Mastermind player that controls traps on the map, spawns enemies, and tries to stop the survivors from escaping — or at least slow them down. It's a lot like Dead By Daylight and Friday the 13th, but with some pretty major unique features.
I generally enjoyed what I played, but just like any game as a service, Resistance will live and die by its post-launch support.
Resident Evil: Resistance Review — An Asymmetrical Mixed Bag
There is a good assortment of maps in Resistance, ranging from industrial-style research facilities ripped out of the Resident Evil 3 campaign itself to bright and colorful casinos bustling with visual noise. Predictably, you don't get to pick the level; that's random as far as I can tell.
Instead, you pick from a list of survivors that all have different voice lines, personalities, and skills that make them unique. For example, Valerie is like the medic of the group and uses an AoE heal skill. She can also send out an AoE pulse that locates objectives more quickly, and other survivors have more defensive or offensive-minded skills. You can't have duplicates in a group, so picking the survivor you want in the lobby ASAP is important.
Resistance is all about time management. Each game begins with five minutes on the clock and every positive thing you do (such as killing zombies and disabling traps) adds more time. Bad things (like getting attacked or triggering traps) deduct time.
The levels are split into phases that have different objectives, like needing to find a keycard to power a door terminal or finding missing pieces of a map puzzle to solve. Once you finish whatever that area's objectives are, the next room opens, but you can't transition until the entire party is gathered at the door to move on.
This creates natural bottlenecks for the action and helps balance things since the Mastermind doesn't necessarily need to track down and kill each survivor to win like in other games such as Dead By Daylight.
It's a good, dynamic system that encourages replayability and variety. Since the Mastermind has such a wide variety of abilities, it makes each game genuinely different from the last in terms of what happens from moment to moment. You could play the same map five times with five different Masterminds and the way they each approach things will be extremely different.
As you progress through levels, you'll collect cash that can be used at buy stations to get new guns, purchase ammo, and gather healing items. It's all very Resident Evil with the way inventory management works, but Capcom has converted every gun to a universal "ammo" system, getting rid of different ammo types. Compared to its contemporaries, the survivors in Resistance are far more capable and able to fight back.
My main issue with Resistance is how floaty and clunky the controls feel. It doesn't have the snappy accuracy of the Resident Evil 2 or 3 Remakes, and it feels like Capcom tried to make it more of an action game than a survival horror game, feeling disjointed as a result.
Becoming the Mastermind
For the most part, playing as a Survivor doesn't jive with me all that well in Resistance, although playing with a full team on voice chat helps a lot. The Mastermind, however, is very interesting. In games like Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th, you're locked into playing as whatever killer you pick from the start. Instead of survivors fighting back much, they spend most of their time running away and hiding. Resistance is very different.
As the Mastermind behind the screens, you need to switch between various camera angles to keep an eye on things throughout a match. You'll spend your points on upgrades that let you turn cameras into machine guns, summon enemies like zombies and the fast-crawling lickers, and eventually, you can enter the game as a tyrant like the nearly unstoppable Mr. X from the Resident Evil 2 Remake.
Once these are deployed you can wreak absolute havoc on survivors, downing them and forcing respawns in just a few hits. You certainly feel powerful and dangerous.
The Mastermind is a really unique premise and is the main selling point that helps set Resistance apart. Playing as the Mastermind is, generally speaking, next to nothing like playing as the powerful killers and monsters in other asymmetrical multiplayer games.
But despite all of those options, you never feel like you're able to fully take advantage of them due to how linear Resistance's progression is and how restricted levels feel. There are only so many chokepoints and tricky spots in which to lay traps and spawn enemies, so you won't often catch survivors off guard.
Other than the Mastermind, the one other aspect of Resistance that really stuck out to me as something special is the clever backstory and premise Capcom created here. It's not a generic killer-hunting-people story, but instead, it has some real grounded lore within the Resident Evil universe. All of the survivor characters are actually in a test chamber undergoing trials to test strains of the virus and the mutations it creates.
It's sort of like a Saw-style playground for Jigsaw, if you will, but mixed with the right flavors of Resident Evil instead.
Resident Evil: Resistance Review — The Bottom Line
- Clever premise and setting within Resident Evil lore
- Exciting time-limited matches build tension
- Mastermind role is genuinely innovative
- Not many maps at launch
- Objective structure makes each map feel linear and restrictive
- Survivor controls are floaty and imprecise
Resident Evil: Resistance is a surprisingly strong contender in the now-budding asymmetrical horror multiplayer market. Between Dead By Daylight, Last Year: The Nightmare, and Friday the 13th, along with Predator: Hunting Grounds on the horizon, Resistance finds itself entering a rather crowded market. By comparison, its launch debut is much stronger than its contemporaries, and it has a strong brand tying everything together.
As of now, it's a fun addition to the Resident Evil 3 package but isn't available separately. It's got a good foundation to work with and feels unique enough to stand out if it gets the support it needs.
[Note: This review is based on a retail copy of Resident Evil: Resistance that the reviewer purchased.]