DJ Arruda ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
After four weeks of episodes, Capcom ends their experiment of episodic gameplay on a surprisingly strong note. Although this episode is mainly about tying up loose ends— and focuses on a hair-raising escape for Claire and Moira, and one final boss battle with Barry— there is a lot to like here. Perhaps what is most striking is that the decision as to whether Claire or Moira kills the boss at the end of their part in the last episode affects the ending of the game. That addition of choice, though very subtle, speaks well for the series. With many gamers expecting narrative choices to factor into single player campaigns, regardless of being an RPG or not, Capcom is able to slip in this one choice. It may not have seemed too important at first, but once you experience both endings of the game, the difference is vast.
The only complaint is that the choice does not scream game changing, yet it has a huge impact as far as the conclusion is concerned. The thrill of confronting Alex and hearing her plan plays well off of all the hints laid thus far. Appropriately named “Metamorphosis,” this episode cements the significance of the allusions to Kafka as Alex’s existential mission is put into perspective. As satisfying as it is to hear her explanations, Claire and Moira’s escape abandons the horror in favor of an adrenaline filled descent through the self-destructing tower of the Overseer. The countdown clock adds a sense of urgency, and there are moments of panic when trying to navigate the flames and debris erupting around you. The end of their section, regardless of that choice, is heartbreaking.
Barry and Natalia enjoy one last mission together as they head to Alex’s lab for the inevitable confrontation, a toxic gas is introduced as a new gameplay factor in this ending section. Here the horror is preserved more, especially once they enter an underground mansion eerily similar to the Spencer Estate after enduring a windy crane and another treacherous mine. With the setting evoking previous titles in the series, and the atmospheric horror measured to just the right degree, the lead up to the long awaited clash with Alex pays off in a big way. In classic Resident Evil fashion, the final fight is appropriately showy and players receiving the good ending get even more of a treat. The future of the series does indeed seem as bright as the characters’.
Overall, Capcom has succeeded with their episodic entry to the series. With a very reasonable price tag for the amount of content, as well as extra episodes which flesh out unseen gaps in the narrative, and the continued improvement of Raid Mode and co-op, there is plenty of replayability in the complete season package. If nothing else this title feels like a setup for another major installment, despite preceding Resident Evil 6 timeline-wise. Though not referencing the events in that game, the characters introduced and reintroduced here seem ready to make more appearances sometime in the near future. The world building and scene setting was very well done, and the emphasis on inventory management and ammo/health conversation was welcome to see again. The fact that what happens in Claire’s parts of the episodes affected Barry’s is very cool and intuitive and it adds more layers of choice to the four episodes.
If Capcom was testing the waters with gameplay, narrative, and design choices, they will surely receive the feedback they want from those who play the game. Though not a perfect entry, this game remarkably stands as one of the strongest titles since Resident Evil 4, a tough act to follow to be sure, and speaks well for the future of the franchise. In taking a page out of another type of game, Capcom took a gamble, but in nailing the landing on a mostly strong footing, they have ensured that fans old and new will be on the lookout for what’s next in the Resident Evil universe.
Overall Season Grade: 9/10