Videogame Reviews

See also Movie Reviews.

This is a (perpetually incomplete!) personal list of videogames I've either played or attempted to play at some point in my life, arranged in the order in which I remember them. This would also mean it's a rough equivalent of a public backlog like the ones you'd find in various websites suited for such purpose (backloggd, MyAnimeList, letterboxd, etc) except within the comfortable confines of my own site. This list is also a vehicle for personal, one-paragraph reviews of each item in question, alongside the bare minimum information required to identify them (and only naming the platform/s through which I played them) and a rating system purposefully built to be as vague as possible. If I were to make entries any longer I would necessarily have to write a long-form version of my thoughts, which would be more adequate for a separate article anyway.

The List

-Resident Evil (CAPCOM, 1996 - PSX): A cornerstone of the survival horror genre that not only helped define the genre's framework but also spawned an endless multimedia franchise milked to criminal levels. A bunch of cops become trapped in a mansion full of zombies (human or otherwise) and must navigate their way through various beasts and puzzles to escape alive and discover the mystery of Why The Hell Are There Zombies In The Mansion In the First Place. The plot is entertaining despite (or perhaps because of) the inherent silliness behind how the game presents and develops it (its awful dialog being the most memorable), akin to a shoddy adaptation of a horror B-movie; it also kickstarts the franchise's everpresent plot formula of the first 80% being a down-to-earth narrative that takes itself seriously and the last 20% being utterly batshit crazy. Its gameplay aged terribly (through no fault of its own but rather by the technical limitations of the era) so you might be better off playing the remaster (see below) if you intend to play it for the first time. 3/4.

-Resident Evil (HD Remaster) (CAPCOM, 2013 - PC): If Resident Evil is the shoddy adaptation of a horror B-movie then its remaster is the official, big-budget adaptation of the horror B-movie in question. Extremely faithful to the original (down to the tank controls and camera angles) while polishing everything to nigh-perfection and even gracefully expanding it with some extra content that ties up the plot in a prettier fashion. One of the few examples in which the remake surpasses the original in everything except the nostalgia factor. A must even if you played the original. 4/4.

-Resident Evil 2 (CAPCOM, 1998 - PSX): Rookie cop pretty boy Leon S. Kennedy arrives to The City The Mansion From The Previous Game Was Right Next To for his first day at work only to realize the entire Town is finally overrun with zombies; at the same time, pretty girl Claire Redfield visits The City The Mansion […] to look for his brother, better known for being the protagonist of the first game. I don't remember much of this version other than it being much more dynamic and better produced than its predecessor though certainly without its silly charm. It has a fantastic remake (see below) that diverges in content just enough for this one to be more than merely an exercise in masochism. 3/4.

-Resident Evil 2 (CAPCOM, 2019 - PC): Perhaps one of the best examples of how to do a remake right, this one uses the new in-house engine for a fantastic over-the-shoulder gameplay and a masterfully reworked plot to boot. You really just don't stop having fun with it, and keeps worthwhile replayability. Unlike the original RE1, which should be played at least once as a rite of passage, you can absolutely just play this one instead of the original RE2. 4/4.

-Resident Evil 3 (CAPCOM, 2020 - PC): On the flipside, this one is probably one of the best examples on how to have the same toolkit as your previous success with the RE2 Remake and mess it up somehow; shorter to the point it feels like an expansion, and not nearly as engaging nor memorable, with all the bells and whistles from the new engine becoming secondary to a most underwhelming feeling. Not even Nemesis' appearance lives up to the hype! A total affront. 1.5/4.

-Resident Evil 4 (CAPCOM, 2005 - PC, PS2): Pretty boy Leon Kennedy is now all grown up, traumatized, and in a quest to save the US President's daughter (yeah) from his kidnappers in rural Spain, featuring a new flavor of zombies and an increasingly batshit plot. Perhaps not the first game to use the over-the-shoulder 3rd person camera, but definitely the first one to popularize it, changing the paradigm of action survival games to this day; and, most importantly, it's very fun. 4/4.

-Resident Evil 5 (CAPCOM, 2009 - PC): When Capcom asked themselves “How can we expand the gameplay formula of Resident Evil 4?” the answer was “well, make it coop” - and RE5 was born. Chris Redfield has also grown up and is now one of the leaders of a world-wide anti-biowarfare PMC. With his generic sidekick he shoots and punches his way through Africa to discover the origins of yet another goddamned zombie outbreak. It gets as batshit insane as its predecessors and it's certainly entertaining, but despite riding the shoulders of giants it can't capture the franchise's charm fully. Spoilers: Chris punches the shit out of a boulder in this one. 2.75/4.

-Resident Evil 6 (CAPCOM, 2012 - PC): At this point it became clear for CAPCOM that they had run out of ideas and that it was necessary to tie the knot of a franchise more than 10 years old at this point and contaminated with a movie series that couldn't help but shoot itself in the foot. Keeping the over-the-shoulder, cooperative-enabled gameplay while turning the Survival-Action knob all the way to the right, previous protagonists team up in a globe-spanning adventure to (stop me if you already heard this one) prevent a worldwide zombie infection catastrophe; with four playable characters with their distinct (yet interweaving) storylines, it's essentially four campaigns in a single game, toeing the line between extensive replayability and insurmountable exhaustion. Chris does NOT punch the shit out of a boulder in this one. 2.5/4.

-Resident Evil 7 - Biohazard (CAPCOM, 2017 - PC): A sort of soft-reboot to the franchise (to the point of leaving you utterly in the dark whether or not it even takes place in the same universe), Capcom brings the dial back to the “survival” aspect of horror in a first-person perspective with VR capabilities (which I haven't played): faceless pretty boy Ethan Winters is trapped in the Louisiana plantation of an unkillable zombie hillbilly family while searching for his seemingly dead wife. RE7 may very well be, without exaggeration, the best game in the franchise to date: engaging, fun, scary, mindblowing, you name it - they really nailed it with this one. 4/4.

-Resident Evil 8 - Village (CAPCOM, 2021 - PC): The game opens with Chris Redfield brutally executing Ethan Winters' wife in cold blood and kidnapping their newborn child. If that doesn't already tell you you're in for the ride of a lifetime then wait until you reach the creepy Eastern European village where this game takes place! Play as Ethan Winters tearing the shit out of a zombified settlement with a vengeance above and beyond suspension of disbelief. Capcom has once again finetuned the Horror-Action knob towards the action side but with a much more enjoyable end-result. The Internet went nuts with one of the bosses, a giant big-titted vampire living in a castle, though it turns out she wasn't all that. Chris does NOT punch the shit out of a boulder in this one either, but he sure looks built like he has been doing nothing but punching boulders ever since RE6. Had a lot of fun with it even though my computer hardware wasn't up for the task. 3.25/4.

-Dino Crisis (CAPCOM, 1999 - PSX, PC): The year is 1998, the second Jurassic Park movie had been released to great acclaim and Capcom was on the prowl for making even more money. Whoever said in the board meeting “how about Resident Evil but with dinosaurs?” probably got one hell of a raise because the result is as entertaining as it is engaging. A Generic Evil Scientist has figured out a way to harness unlimited energy at the cost of tearing the fabric of spacetime, and the equally secret armed task force sent to investigate discovers the facility ravaged by dinosaurs brought to the present. Most of the game plays just like Resident Evil with Dinosaurs, though perhaps with more repetitive puzzles. You play as a cute redhead in this one. 3.25/4.

-Dino Crisis 2 (CAPCOM, 2000 - PSX, PC): In the far future of 2010, data retrieved from Generic Evil Scientist's secret energy research has led to the development of time portals and other assorted shenanigans, though don't think too much into it, that's just the invisible backdrop behind the real problem: a military facility drags itself and a neighboring city into the past, switching places with a chunk of Jurassic-era jungle. Dialing the action knob up a notch, this one is a much more fast-paced game to the point it feels like a proper run-and-gun than the usual survival horror from the first RE games, and surely a benchmark for future action-oriented RE games to come. More dinosaurs and weird mute biker-clad teenagers star in this one as a stand-in for Leon Kennedy reluctantly teams up with the cute redhead from the first game as they jump into a time portal to prehistory. It's a shame they barely paid any more attention to the franchise after this one (there's a Dino Crisis 3 for the Xbox which appears to suck and a Lightgun PS2 spinoff game that feels like a heartfelt farewell to the story), but there's really only so much you can get out of “RE spinoff with zombies”. 3.5/4

-Silent Hill (Konami, 1999 - PSX): Another survival horror staple with a lovely story to boot, with clear-cut inspirations from the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, etc. Harry Mason and his daughter arrive at the derelict resort town of Silent Hill, Maine, in the search for the most inconsequential vacations possible after the death of Harry's wife. After what can only be described as a paranormal-induced car crash, Mason must now find his missing daughter in a foggy town chock-full of eldritch horrors and amicable characters with dubious voice acting. A very rich puzzle game which, albeit sometimes confusing, makes up for empathetic character development and a good chunk of replayability to boot. A slightly clunky must-play for genre fans. 3.85/4.

-Silent Hill 2 (Konami, 2001 - PS2/PC): With less emphasis on the history behind the cursed town of Silent Hill and more of a personal, near-Lynchian focus on topics such as grief and guilt, SH2 follows James Sunderland and his quest to find his wife Mary after receiving a letter in her handwriting telling him to go to Silent Hill, despite Mary having been dead for the past three years. Loaded with symbolisms that (fortunately) never require anything beyond a superficial analysis, its perfectly complimented with the still-living town residents James finds along the way, bad voice acting and faulty exposition notwithstanding. The puzzles are (usually) less obtuse than its predecessor, and the linearity of the game may ultimately feel offputting after playing a predecessor that forced you to memorize street names, but the result is still an endearing game that has set the foundations for the narrative canon of survival horror. Great character design, too, even despite the uncanny CGI. 3.35/4.

-Siren 2 (Team Siren, 2006 - PS2): Known as Forbidden Siren in the West, having received a EU-only release, the game pits a group of stranded survivors in a ghost island against enemies that go from the paranormal to the eldritch in record time. The game not only sports rather original survival-stealth gameplay mechanics, but also narrates the plot completely out of chronological order by making the player guide a grand total of twelve different playable characters across timeframes that go from minutes to decades; puzzles are thus stretched between levels, characters and even time periods, with one character turning on the faucet thirty years ago crucial for advancing another character's plot in the present time, and so on; making each interweaving encounter more exciting than the last. One of the most slept-on examples of bright non-linear narratives, going above and beyond mere flashback tropes. 4/4.

games/videogame_reviews.txt · Last modified: 2022/07/25 09:09 by Curator
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