If a franchise has been running for as long as two and a half decades, it’s bound to have had a few missteps here and there. Capcom’s celebrated survival horror series Resident Evil series is definitely one of the biggest and most beloved video game properties out there right now, evidenced by its enduring legacy, but even it has not been immune to a its fair share of stumbles. From the downright terrible to decent-but-not-quite great, Resident Evil has seen the release of a few games over the years that have, to varying extents, failed to live up to expectations. In this feature, we’re going to talk about the ones that stick out in memory the most.
RESIDENT EVIL ZERO
Resident Evil Zero came at a time when the series’ fixed cameras and tank controls formula was beginning to lose steam. As it was, people were beginning to grow tired of the series’ formula- and though Resident Evil Zero tried to spice things up with new ideas, sadly, it did not do a very good job. The game is certainly not without its merits- several aspects of its story are crucial to Resident Evil lore, the atmosphere is excellent, and it does retain many of the strengths in level design that classic RE games boasted, not to mention the time that it looked spectacular when it came out. But Resident Evil Zero is also riddled with misguided experimentation.
Billy Coen plays a crucial role in the game, and not just in the story- he significantly changes the gameplay as well. Allowing players to freely switch between him and Rebecca as the two playable protagonists and removing item boxes entirely, Resident Evil Zero ends up almost forcing excessive backtracking down players’ throats. Item and inventory management has always been a core pillar of the franchise, but here, it is taken to frustrating lengths. It doesn’t help that Billy himself is not a very good character, or that even the game’s main villain – James Marcus – is so ridiculously over-the-top and caricaturized in his portrayal that it’s hard to take him seriously any time he’s on the screen.