Resident Evil: Resistance is a 1vs4 asymmetrical online multiplayer game that comes as part of a two-for-one deal with Resident Evil 3, as a way to sweeten the deal for paying for a full price game. Where Resident Evil 3 is a short but satisfying lesson in survival horror, even the addition of Resistance and its complete bare-bones experience doesn’t do much to add any real content.
This review is focusing purely on the multiplayer component of Resident Evil that comes bundled along with the Resident Evil 3 remake. If you’re after a review of the main Resident Evil 3 you can read our thoughts on that here.
Resistance pits four Survivors against one enemy, known as the Mastermind. The Survivors must escape a series of rooms by finding items to open doors, all whilst the Mastermind summons hordes of zombies and utilises various other means at their disposal to defeat the Survivors. If the Survivors make it through three areas, then they win; if they run out of time then the Mastermind is victorious.
Each game starts with five minutes on the clock, and the Mastermind’s primary focus should be on reducing this down to zero as quickly as possible. Zombie attacks, traps sprung, players killed and more will all reduce the timer down. Conversely, if the Survivors complete objectives, revive others and defeat zombies they can increase the timer, creating a tug of war effect for ultimate control of the countdown.
The Survivors all look like they have been pulled from 80’s/90’s slasher horror films: young, attractive and highly stereotypical. All bases are covered with the initial six Survivors, each of whom have unique abilities and playstyles based on their backstory and tropes, similar to other recent team shooters such as Bleeding Edge and Overwatch. You’ll need to strike a balance between team members in order to survive the nightmare.
Capcom have already confirmed more survivors are incoming – starting with Resident Evil 3’s leading lady Jill Valentine herself – and have more plans to increase the roster, which at the moment is on the thin side.
On the Mastermind side of the action, you have classic antagonists including Annette Birkin, Alex Wesker and Ozwell E. Spencer, one of the founders of Umbrella Corporation. Each of these have a different Ultimate ability including classic Bioweapons such as Tyrant and G-Birkin, both of whom featured in 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake. Again though, there are only four Masterminds to choose from; more are needed.
When launching into a new match, you have the option of choosing whether to be a Mastermind, Survivor or let fate decide by choosing Random, which will invariably mean being a Survivor again due to matchmaking issues. By selecting Mastermind, you leave yourself open to waiting times upwards of four minutes before you can find a match, and that’s if you’re lucky. If you need some indication of how rushed and lacking in content this game feels, the open beta ran up until the game released on 3rd April 2020, so any bugs and balancing issues noticed during this beta will be implemented in the coming months. By which point many gamers will no doubt have moved on to pastures new.
If you are lucky enough to get into a game, there is fun to be had. Masterminds will manipulate doors and light switches whilst laying traps and spawning zombies in your path, whilst Survivors search the areas for the items they require. There are also Umbrella Credits to pick up and spend during matches at the item box, offering up more powerful weapons as you progress. Matches can be tense and seeing the timer constantly increasing and decreasing depending on the momentum of the match keeps you on edge. Survivors can be killed but will respawn, though the countdown will then have a huge chunk taken out of it as a penalty.
As a Mastermind, you can move away from only seeing the action through security cameras and take control of one of the zombies that you spawn. Whereas sometimes you can feel a bit out of the action when surfing through the cameras and using the overhead map to find the Survivors, getting up close with a zombie is where the most fun can be had. Mastermind Bioweapons are all player-controlled and can really help turn the tide in your favour when used correctly.
However, Resident Evil: Resistance hasn’t yet been properly balanced at the moment. There is a massive advantage to those playing as the Mastermind – even against a full team of four Survivors – and that will need to be addressed going forward. Don’t get me wrong, it is perhaps more fun playing as a Survivor, but most matches fizzle out before you advance to the third room due to the Mastermind being overpowered in comparison.
Endgame rewards are awarded in the form of Result Points (RP). These RP can be used to purchase chests that contain either cosmetic items or equipment. Cosmetic items include new skins, gestures and voice lines but are priced at a whopping 50,000 RP per crate, and I would anticipate that steep price decreasing as the game starts to receive updates. Equipment crates are more fairly priced, starting at 3,000 RP for the Low-Tier chests, and are split between those for the Survivors and for the Mastermind. Better tiered chests start unlocking when any character reaches Rank 10. However, Ranks aren’t shared across characters or bound to your account – each character has their own unique rank.
Microtransactions are available to purchase items, but rather than offer bundles of RP or the chance to purchase crates, these are in the form of RP boosters. Equip one of these at the start of the game and you will give everyone in the match a boost to their final RP after the game is over. These effects can be stacked if more than one person in the game has a booster attached. Funnily enough – unlike the rest of the game – microtransactions are all in working order.
Resident Evil: Resistance has a total of 51 achievements to unlock, and many will require teamwork and coordination to obtain. There are plenty of achievements unique to each Survivor and Mastermind but many of the trickier ones will require a lot of luck to be in a position to unlock them, at least when playing online in a random group. Strangely though, there appears to be no achievements unlocked to player progression and ranking up.
I don’t know how many times during this console generation we have said this, but Resident Evil: Resistance on the Xbox One is a game that has released too early. Lag, matchmaking issues, unbalanced gameplay, a lack of content: all the major multiplayer issues are here. When it does work, there is fun to be had as a Survivor – despite being at a disadvantage – or when chasing down Survivors as a player-controlled zombie. But there is a lot more that needs to be done here, and quickly too, before the timer runs out on this multiplayer game.