Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Resident Evil NET

I remember reading a few comments from Capcom’s staff within the forums about networking games in the possible future. Sure many companies have forums, or use social networks. But never pushing it this far, in the past Sega and Nintendo tried their own outsourcing. SegaNet was Sega’s intended brainchild to outsource their Dreamcast’s internet gaming all over the world. With Nintendo, it was branched out via arcade cabinets, and some of their classic gaming systems like the SNES (in certain countries there were internet capable consoles).

Years later, we’re back to this idea again. How do we branch out gaming in a whole new way? Turns out, it can be done. And its not just the consumers using it, but the world 24/7. It’s a scary idea at first, because there are so many people that turn on their consoles, login, and get their gaming sessions on.

After renting RE6, and watching the credits. I dug online to find out just what this project has been up to. Actually it was a fun idea back when the first RE film came out. Sure it was labeled as an Umbrella ISP for fun, but in reality it was a fully functional system that could be made. Only thing was, console gamers weren’t quite ready. PC gamers have founded networking since day one, and for console users they usually just plugin their Ethernet cord to the back and voila. I never envied friends who were PC gamers, I sometimes sat back and watched them go nuts with Red Bulls and a few Twizzlers nearby. Oh, and Counter Strike or Rainbow Six was the catch of the day.

I never quite got the jist of some gathered together. Till I realized what we console gamers actually had all along. When arcades were alive, we were gathered together watching two people insert quarters, and enjoy a good 3 set match and there was the fun. For PC gamers, it was strategy, or team work catching a flag, or tag teaming how many of the opposing team they can knock out of the match. In the beginning Resident Evil was simple, it was built on horror, suspense, and storytelling.

Evolving a franchise like this is risky, even the films based off the series have detoured into popcorn action flicks. And the odd thing about it, is that people love it no matter the format. Sure critics may bitch and moan, but that’s what makes an underdog stand up to prove that it has something to deliver. Its entertaining, and won’t back away from being unique. Same goes with each recent chapter of Resident Evil. As I’ve read reviews about RE5, it mended various fences yet upped the level of action, and it still carried some moments to give players the chills.

RE5 however broke the mold, no longer did the game move clunky or slow. It was sped up just like the films based upon its foundations. Players actually had to use more or their environment, cover, defense, offense, and using enemies as shields given bad circumstances. And the heroes in the story were familiar faces from the series past pushed into some newer challenges that players weren’t quite ready for.

RE6 on its own feels like a remixed chapter of the series combined. Its something I didn’t quite expect at first. Because I remember playing the series on a friend’s PSX some years ago. I never was a fan of the clunky movement, or the fact that anything could take down your character in a second. Most games I remember had a hero that leaped and dashed all obstacles (a plumber or a hedgehog). But to actually play as a human being stuck in the middle of the worst situation, it gave it more ground that anyone could come up with. So the same formula that made the series work from the start is back in full force. But the best part is that you’re not alone (RE 0, was another chapter that was lead by a team of two characters. One an ex STARS member, and the other a former military officer. Just those two alone, and against some crazy odds find themselves running into a few more friends that gets the ball rolling.

Move several years forward, RE6 is built on a network that relies on the gaming community that plays it. Its not just a simple update, or extra, its founded on the fact that its people actually use the system. I give the team credit for going all out on a project that wasn’t possible years ago. It makes me humble that the team that comprised such a series, actually thinks up ways on how to include the people that are connected to a part of who they are.

I really look forward to what its capable of, and that is so many things. Not just a community website, but people actually communicating, sharing, and forming teams with other players. And the points system seems to deliver some neat rewards when certain conditions are met. Aside from the fact that Capcom has been known to push too much downloadable content on consumers. Its fresh for a change, that they want to get out of such a rut, and allow users to actually obtain stuff via its social network within the very game itself. I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with this system next.

Btw it still has a few kinks that are being worked out. But check it out if you're interested.

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