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Retrospective: Resident Evil – CODE: Veronica

Retrospective: Resident Evil – CODE: Veronica

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis wasn’t intended to be the sequel to Resident Evil 2. It was conceived as an action-based side-story, but owing to a complex mix of financial issues and a delay in the release Sony’s second console, the then Resident Evil 1.9 became 3 and, later, Nemesis / Last Escape. Even after that shift in development, it feels more like an epilogue to the Raccoon City drama than a proper sequel, at least in terms of its length and content. If it were not for Jill Valentine in the lead read, and bringing Raccoon City to an explosive end, it would do little to advance the franchise’s narrative. Sure, it’s an exceptional epilogue, but an epilogue nonetheless.

CODE: Veronica, which debuted on the ill-fated Dreamcast in 2000 and made its way to the PlayStation 2 a year later, is Resident Evil 2’s true successor, interweaving the story of the first two games by uniting the Redfield siblings. Claire, still searching for her brother Chris, is kidnapped by the Umbrella Corporation and detained on an island prison in the Southern Ocean. Shortly after her arrival the island is attacked, once again releasing the experimental T-Virus.

…You gotta wonder if it’s a Claire thing.

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Our Week in Games – Week 139

Our Week in Games – Week 139

A change has taken place here at The Reticule, although it’s one we may all live to regret: I (Ross) have humbly accepted the position of editor to help out Chris, which means I’ll be overseeing content for the foreseeable future. That’s kind of mad, but I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in next week. Do you have any ideas on how to improve the site or what kind of content you’d like to see? Well, gimme an email: ross@thereticule.com!

(That’s not to say I don’t. Promise.)

(But do send your best so I can take all the credit for them, natch.)

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been playing this past week…

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Our Week in Games – Week 138

Our Week in Games – Week 138

Resident Evil Village had finally dropped, to mostly good reviews. The more action-centric affair is building upon its excellent predecessor, to the apparent consternation of a group of ‘core’ fans; though I think the move is smart.  Having only played the demo I can only talk to this point so much, but the balance seems good. The atmosphere is electric and I’m constantly thinking ‘danger danger’. Bonus points for anyone who got that reference.

I will say though that the boxart for Village drives me mad- why the Dickins did they not align the lycan’s chin with his???! Gah. Board decisions be damned- someone needed to take a stand on this one. 1/10, completely unplayable.

In other gaming news, Hardspace: Shipbreaker has had it’s biggest update to, erm, date. Adding a whole host of quality of life adjustments and a crew (gadzooks!) to flesh out the story. This is one of those games that I know I will love. I know I should play, yet for some reason I have not, despite Nick’s Verdict from last year. Following this update I plan to rectify that.

Finally any hope of getting hold of an ever-elusive 30-series GeForce’s card was dashed last-month when nVidia announced that supply-disruption is likely to last until 2022. The fact that AMD haven’t been able to exploit this ‘lag’ speaks to a wider supply problem that I’m afraid probably extends past COIVD-related disruption. Personally I’m convinced that the PlayStation 5 and the 30-series are the adult-equivalent of the Tooth Fairy; you’re told they exist… but have you actually met anyone who’s got one…? Didn’t think so….

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Our Week in Games – Week 137

Our Week in Games – Week 137

As Chris crawls back towards the eternal light of games, he makes his triumphant return to Our Week in Games. Well, triumphant is an exaggeration for a handful of words. It’s a Bank Holiday Monday though, so read on and enjoy what the team have to share.

Chris

Among all the stress and effort of moving house, I was ready to settle in for a session of Outriders this week. The trouble was, a massive update was required.

So I booted up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and focused on taking out one of the Cultists. There are so many strands to the RPG era of Assassin’s Creed games, and hunting down Cultists can be done through the main story or by yourself. While deciding to hunt one down for myself, I came across one of the millions of side quests, this time the One Really Bad Day quest line.

I don’t often remember many quests in Odyssey, but this one was a standout with a perfect blend of action and humour.

What a game.

Ross

This week I finally, finally got around to playing Arkane Studios’ Dishonored. And I have thoughts.

It’s the true successor to Looking Glass Studios’ immersive sims, most notably Thief, of which this feels like a spiritual sequel in many ways, from its sneaky gameplay to its strange fusion of industry and magic. I count those immersive sims as some of my absolute favourite games, so it’s a mystery as to why I’ve only now, almost a decade later, gotten around to playing Dishonored.

Because we’re basically made for one another…

…but we make an odd couple.

There is so much that I love about this game. I was compelled to complete it within days, which is likely the highest compliment I can gift Arkane Studios’ work. Dishonored is compulsively enjoyable; if its goal was to create the feeling of being a master assassin (which, yes, it was), then it succeeded. Life as Corvo Attano in Dunwall is one of supernatural power and it’s incredibly fun. It’s near seamless in its ability to create this perception of power, and each mission offers new opportunities to exercise it, from sumptuous masked balls to gaudy brothels.

Much has been made of Dishonored’s world-building. It’s true that it crafts a distinctive world with texture and grit, but I don’t think it ever truly digs beneath its own surface. At least not enough to matter. And world-building is no substitute for a compelling story filled with interesting characters, which is the game’s foremost shortcoming.

The story it tells is inadequate to the talents of those who penned it. There are some whip smart people behind this game, developers I love and respect – folks like Harvey Smith, Terri Brosius, and Austin Grossman. But somehow they mismanage the telling of this tale in a way that I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

It’s a story where nothing happens until two thirds of the way through, in an almost identical error in pacing to Bioshock. You know what that turning point is by virtue of the fact that, owing to a lack of development and character drama, only one thing can happen (for a lesson in how to avoid this, see the original Deus Ex).

It’s a problem with a lot of gaming narratives; they eschew the ebb and flow of drama that makes stories worth following in favour of piling everything into a single big twist, doing nothing either side of it. I’m astounded that the terrific folks behind this tale both got away with it and that gaming culture at large let them. Is it a problem with how we look at narrative in games? Maybe. But I really don’t think this is how it should be done.

It’s a shame; the premise is so good. It works its way to an effective and powerful final scene, but I find it hard not to feel disappointment at what that scene could have been if the game had bothered to do the dramatic legwork leading up to it. Of course, lots of people disagree with me, and that’s fine. I’m not trying to set myself up as some kind of arbiter on how things Ought to be Done. But I can at least try and convey how I feel, and I know I’ve experienced better than this by its genius developers.

Luckily for Dishonored every other part of it is exemplary. It’s a beautiful game, something like a water colour painting – clouds etched across the horizon, dazzling reds and oranges dusting a world made of blackened stone and rusting metal.

There’s more here that works than doesn’t, and it nails the bit that matters – namely the act of playing. With that, I’m looking forward to its sequel.

Resident Evil 7 – A Retrospective

Resident Evil 7 – A Retrospective

As Resident Evil Village fast approaches, Ross is going to be revisiting some of his favourite titles from a series that has undergone many permutations since 1996—from survival horror to white-knuckle third-person action—reinventing itself whenever the formula became too staid, to varying levels of success. But when it works, it really works.

Let’s dive.

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Resident Evil 4 – A Retrospective

Resident Evil 4 – A Retrospective

As Resident Evil Village fast approaches, Ross is going to be revisiting some of his favourite titles from a series that has undergone many permutations since 1996—from survival horror to white-knuckle third-person action—reinventing itself whenever the formula became too staid, to varying levels of success. But when it works, it really works.

Let’s dive.

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Resident Evil 2 (2019) – A Retrospective

Resident Evil 2 (2019) – A Retrospective

As Resident Evil Village fast approaches, Ross is going to be revisiting some of his favourite titles from a series that has undergone many permutations since 1996—from survival horror to white-knuckle third-person action—reinventing itself whenever the formula became too staid, to varying levels of success. But when it works, it really works.

Let’s dive.

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Resident Evil (2002) – A Retrospective

Resident Evil (2002) – A Retrospective

As Resident Evil Village fast approaches, Ross is going to be revisiting some of his favourite titles from a series that has undergone many permutations since 1996—from survival horror to white-knuckle third-person action—reinventing itself whenever the formula became too staid, to varying levels of success. But when it works, it really works.

Let’s dive.

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Our Week in Games – Week 133

Our Week in Games – Week 133

The football world was shocked this weekend when the Republic of Ireland were beaten by part-timers Luxembourg. The FIFA world however has been suffering numerous shocks in recent weeks with various investigations by the team at Eurogamer exploring issues with racist content, accusations of dodgy selling of Ultimate Team items. This week they are back with an investigation into the claims from EA that you can assemble a truly ultimate team without spending your hard earned money. The sums that some players spend on an annual basis are astonishing. Take a read of that deep dive here.

Chris

I’ve been working my way through Control on and off for a few weeks now. It’s a deeply unnerving game as you explore the weirdness of The Oldest House, but for the most part the missions themselves are fairly generic “go here and meet person x”, there are some really enjoyable moments in those missions, but the narrative drive isn’t as strong as it should be. However, this week I stumbled across the A Matter of Time side-mission, one which starts when you find a wounded trooper called Horrowitz who needs help from a medic stuck in a locked portion of The Oldest House. 

The nature of receiving a mission from someone other than a senior manager of the Federal Bureau of Control, or the mysterious Ahti was welcome, with an understandable tale of someone needing medical help, and you being in a position to help out. The mission itself had all of the elements that you would expect from Control with wild combat and weirdness. But I really did appreciate the natural story telling of this one.

Our Week in Games – Week 132

Our Week in Games – Week 132

When you read this, it will be a Sunday, and hopefully Wales will yet again be Grand Slam Champions., but that’s a by-the-by as you’re here for the games. It has been another big week for games industry happenings with the soft launch of Super Nintendo World, and confirmation that the UK games industry generated £7bn last year. Gaming is well and truly mainstream, but yet it doesn’t always feel like the politicians treat it that way.

If you want a low-down on these topics, there ever reliable GI.biz has you covered. Rob Fahey takes a look at why the opening of Super Nintendo World indicates the famour developer has targets set beyond just the video games industry, and James Batchelor bring the low-down on the record breaking £7bn figure.

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