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In Defence of Resident Evil and Local Multiplayer

22/03/2016 16:36 GMT | Updated 23/03/2017 09:12 GMT

Finally, Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6 are coming out on the PS4 and Xbox One! But popular opinion makes you wonder, who cares about the latter two? Gamers heap praise on the first four games, but they are not so enthusiastic about 5 and 6. They tend to just pass them off as bad, but the main criticism is that they are too action-heavy, and therefore lack the survival-horror element that made the first games so good. But they don't deserve the dismissive contempt they receive.

The games had to evolve; surely we agree on that. And if you think about it, each new game was more action-heavy than the last. Res 2's innovations were more subtle. But Res 3 introduced quick-turns and precision dodging. This added much more freedom to the game's notorious tank controls (though, admittedly, some players found the restrictive controls quite charming). Res 4's ground-breaking over-the-shoulder gameplay made it much more action-heavy, with combos and even quick-time events totally unlike the previous instalments, but still retained its survival-horror element due a lot to the game's macabre and claustrophobic setting.

Res 5's gameplay style was near-enough the same as Res 4, but it was set in the wide expanse of Africa in the fictional country Kijuju - so unlike the grim streets of Raccoon City and a dark little village somewhere in Europe (though the last half of the game is set in caves and similar creepy locations). And Capcom added a second playable character in the form of Sheva Alomar. This decision is perhaps the biggest factor for the criticisms of the newer games.

From then, the games were no longer evolving, they were mutating, like a shot of 'T-Virus' injected into the veins of the games' baddies. However, these mutations are still recognisable. All of the new instalments were more action-heavy than the last, and all but two-player. For one, they are too scary to play on your own (and kudos to those who do). Like a good horror film, it's more fun to share the horror and tension with someone else. And the games are designed so it's better for one to play, and another to help solve the puzzles and remember the maze-like structure of the games (particularly for the first two games). Why not just add a second controller - particularly for Resident Evil 0 where players are in the strange position of simultaneously being able to control the two protagonists Rebecca and Billy? Two-player actually adds to the horror element; it brings the second player right into the game.

However, for me it's not so much that players don't like the new games because they are too action-heavy, it's that their complaints will bring on the demise of local multiplayer (or couch two-player), which are already dying. By attacking Res 5 and 6, gamers are attacking the last few games that did local multiplayer best. Those who don't like the new games must have had to rely too much on the notoriously bad AI. No doubt many won't bother with Res 6, and even Res 5, but would rather wait for Res 4. I feel for all of you. You have no one to share these incredible games with.