Earlier this year, Capcom launched Resident Evil, Resident Evil 0, Resident Evil 4 onto Switch, eliciting cries of horror across the land (albeit mostly from the extortionate price tags). And now, the publisher has announced that its previously revealed ports of Resident Evil 5 and 6 will be heading to Nintendo’s console on 29th October.
Neither entries are, of course, considered high-points for the long-running survival horror series; Resident Evil 5, which had the unenviable task of trying to improve on Shinji Mikami’s stone-cold classic predecessor, transplanted the rejuvenated survival horror formula to sunnier climes when it arrived on Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2009, ramping up the action in place of puzzles and exploration, and slinging in co-operative play.
The end result lacked the masterful pace and oppressive tension of Mikami’s game, but still managed to deliver some decent entertainment when experienced with a friend. Eurogamer called Resident Evil 5, “a very enjoyable and polished effort, blessed with considerate checkpointing, well-balanced enemies, sensible ammo-placement and the removal of the needless backtracking” in its 2009 review, while warning that it “only truly comes into its own with a friend”, hamstrung as it was by some woeful partner AI.
As for the much-derided Resident Evil 6, it’s perhaps Capcom’s most ambitious series entry yet, featuring four (!) full-length, co-op-enabled campaigns. Unfortunately, every single one manages to miss the mark in some way.
Leon S. Kennedy’s story, full of shadowy corridors and spooky set-pieces, comes closet to recapturing the series’ oppressive survival horror roots, even if its linearity quickly grows tedious. Two other offerings – lead by Chris Redfield and Jake Muller – lean far two heavily on second-rate action, while the unlockable fourth campaign, starring Ada Wong, is the game’s only real high-point, blending characterful stealth and ingenious puzzles.
“Capcom’s uncertainty about the series’ identity post-Mikami (and post-Uncharted) is hardcoded into its structure: four campaigns offering different, flawed expressions of that potential,” said Simon Parkin in Eurogamer’s Resident Evil 6 review in 2012, “And the inevitable price for this wavering is a lack of coherence. Resident Evil 6 is an unwieldy tribute to the series’ past, an uneven expression of its present and an unwelcome indication of its future.”
Still interested? Then you might like to know that Resident Evil 5 and 6 will feature support for online and local co-op play when they join their franchise bedfellows on Nintendo’s console this October. It remains to be seen whether Capcom will have the temerity to slap a £30 price tag on each game for Switch, as it did for previous games in the series.